Considering the name (Bartlett Pear Inn), the decor (pear-shaped sculptures, baubles and squeezy toys) and the menu (pear salad, pear-spiced mayo), I assumed that the B&B’s owners seriously fancied the fruit. But when I asked Jordan Lloyd whether he and his wife had named their Easton, Md., place after their favorite produce, he replied with an answer far sweeter.
“I told my wife, ‘I’d like the chance to give you your name back,’ ” said the professional chef who runs the nearly two-year-old inn and restaurant with his missus, Alice. “Bartlett was her maiden name.”
All together now: awwww.
“Pear is like pair,” he continued, “the two of us.” Somewhere in the heavens, cupid is spit-shining his bow and arrow.
The romantic thread continues throughout the inn, running from the pink brick exterior of the 220-year-old edifice, up to the O-Romeo veranda, and down into the garden, where tiny white lights twinkle, knockout roses bloom and a stone cherub frolics in a fountain.
The Bartlett Pear Inn inhabits the same space as the nearly foreclosed Inn at Easton, a casualty of divorce. To exorcise the ill-fated union, Alice invited a feng shui expert to purify the building. In accordance with the Eastern practice, the Lloyds removed all the hard edges (see, for instance, the curved bar and circular stools) and painted the kitchen green, to encourage wealth and prosperity. In the back right corner, which spatially represents love and marriage, Alice colored the office walls the hue of a Valentine’s Day card.
Each of the seven rooms is named after a specific variety, creating a feng shui-pear mash. I stayed in the Starkrimson Pear, a summer crop that ripens to a bold red. With its cloud-white bedding and startling blue walls illuminated by sconces, I felt as if I were sleeping in a tranquil moonlit field. Adding to the sense of comfort: Per feng-shui principles, neither twin bed faced the door, so I didn’t have to worry about an evil spirit dragging me out by my feet mid-dream.
In the airy L-shaped bathroom, the glass-enclosed shower provided surprisingly pleasant seating, where I paused my daily ablutions to read the labels of the L’Occitane toiletries (how fresh — verbana leaves). Another interesting feng-shui touch: Staff makes sure that toilet lids are always down, performing the action not for gender equality but to prevent the inn’s wealth from being flushed away.
Unlike traditional hotels, the B&B has no check-in counter or lobby; the entire lower level is dedicated to the restaurant. From outside my second-floor room, en route to the common-use balcony, I could hear the lively murmur of tableside conversations and the robust clanking of silverware. I could also eavesdrop on the reviews of departing diners, including one California couple who adored the duck.
As a lodger, I experienced a high level of VIPness in the restaurant. Descending the staircase, I was greeted by my first name and escorted to a table set for my arrival from one flight up. (I also received 10 percent off the bill.) That front door — it was for those other callers. Arranging a ride home after dinner — unnecessary. Feeling like I was part of an extended family — definitely.
After dinner, Jordan stopped by to deliver a personal greeting. But this being a family affair, I met additional members of the Bartlett-Lloyd clan as well: Alice, of course; Jordan’s older brother, who delivered the crusty bread and salty butter to the table; and Alice’s mother, who was touching up the paint in the dining room. I also became familiar with Alice’s aunt, whose abstract artworks adorn the walls; her father, who tends the lavish garden; and her father’s first cousin, who created the whimsical upholstery on the upper deck furniture. By now, I knew that the name on the truck parked across the street — Bartlett Design Studio — referred to the family, not the fruit.
The next morning, Jordan reappeared full of smiles on the front porch to serve me breakfast, an orchard on a plate. I slowly ate my pear slices and drank my pear tea, feeling no need to rush: Since my table did not face any doorways, there was no risk of being stolen away.