Take a great resource like an old building with great ‘bones’, add some imagination, a heaping dose of talent, and execute a plan with a high degree of professionalism and you’ve got a business that hits the floor running. Many of the ‘newbies’ in the Kingston area are recognizing potential business opportunities, bringing their skills and experience to bear, to develope successful businesses with the full support of what many have said is a very ‘open and accepting’ community. Say ‘hello’ to this week’s Doer and Dreamer who is creating yet another jewel in the Kingston’s Rondout Waterfront business district.
Your name: Tamara Ehlin
Business or organization: The Forsyth B&B , 85 Abeel St, Kingston, NY
Occupation: Innkeeper and event planner
What is your approach to your business or occupation that makes you unique?
I have more than a decade of experience as an event planner, am a professional chef and have held every position in restaurants. Working in large special events and in restaurants trains you to act with grace under pressure, to problem solve, to be creative, and to always put the customer’s experience first. I have also worked as a development director for several major not-for-for profits, building and stewarding philanthropic relationships. That has helped me to listen well, offer creative options, and be patient.
I have a deeply rooted desire to bring the best possible experience to our guests; it makes me really happy to give more and exceed expectations. It’s hard for some people to say what they want; it is my job and my skill to “hear” them or better yet, to understand in advance what they may want.
And finally, although The Forsyth is our home, we bought and designed it for our guests rather than trying to retrofit them into our house.
Where are you from originally?
I was raised in Bergen County, New Jersey but have lived in NYC and Brooklyn for many years.
What brought you to the Kingston area and keeps you in this area?
There were several concurrent factors that landed my husband and me in Kingston. My only sister and her husband moved to High Falls and we wanted to be close to them but I was not quite ready to make the move to the “country.” Kingston offers the best of city and country life, and it’s absolutely beautiful in so many ways. Quality real estate was affordable.
I’ve wanted to open a little hotel for quite some time, and it seemed clear to me that Kingston had space in the market between chain hotel and airbnb. I thought there was a real need for a boutique style bed and breakfast that offered casual luxury, private bathrooms and really great breakfasts. A place that was beautiful but not intimidating, modern but not cold. I think we achieved that.
We really have fallen in love with Kingston and the people here, and we expect to be part of its continued growth. It’s exciting to watch all the changes, even in the short time that we’ve been here.
What is your favorite hangout in this area and why?
Kingston has so many great spots that it’s hard to pick just one. I do love Tony’s Pizzeria. The crowd is friendly, the food is delicious, and the owners are sweethearts.I also like Ship to Shore; the service is excellent as is the food. I spend a fair amount of time at Armadillo, which is next door and has great margaritas. But my absolute favorite place to hang out might be The Forsyth’s front porch. I have met so many people while sitting outside!
When you’re not in Kingston, what’s your idea of a wonderful city to visit, and why?
I like to look at art, eat great food and hear music when I travel, so cities like Rome and Paris that have great museums, galleries, restaurants and music venues. I still love New York, especially for the ethnic food and theater, and the Brooklyn Museum.
Tell us something that we never would have guessed about you.
I was a wild little tomboy and the best girl arm wrestler in town.