B&B owner excels in kitchen and garden

September 08, 1997


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CALEDONIA, Pa. - Her friends call her the Martha Stewart of Caledonia.

Chambersburg, Pa., native Jeanne Henderson, 51, chuckles at the reference. But it's tough for her to shrug off a title that's so befitting in light of her neat appearance amid surroundings fit to be photographed.

With help from business partner Wayne Bear, Henderson took on a renovation project a year ago that even Stewart may have found daunting.

The result is the Chanticleer Inn, a unique bed and breakfast that sits on 17 acres of woodland just two miles west of Caledonia State Park on the property known formerly as the site of The Herb Cottage, which closed about three years ago.


"I can't say it's something I've always wanted to do. But I have all the skills to run a bed and breakfast," Henderson said.

Skills like cooking a hearty breakfast for her guests whenever they want it and keeping the large, antique-filled Adirondack-style home meticulously clean are just the basics to running the business.

Weaving her own bed linens and curtains, running a small gift shop, providing fresh flowers, herbs and vegetables from a large garden and greenhouse and creating hiking trails and a natural plant sanctuary on the property are just some of the extras Henderson provides for her guests.

"What I'm doing here is more than providing lodging. It's providing joy, peace and happiness to my guests," she said.

Henderson is no amateur in her indoor and outdoor pursuits.

For 20 years she worked as a professional weaver in her business called Woven Concepts. Her work has been featured in nationally known magazines and in 1989 she was named one of 200 best traditional craftsmen in the nation by the magazine, Early American Life.

In 1990, she was selected as a master weaver for the Pennsylvania Folklife Program.

But her interest in plants, gardening and landscaping goes back even further. Her gift for taming the wild, practiced through years as an estate gardener and learned through two years of classes at Longwood Gardens in Chester County, Pa., is evident on the grounds of Chanticleer Inn.

"I was born to be an estate gardener because I have these grandiose ideas. I can't just garden in a back yard. I need a whole field," Henderson said.

Now she has 17 acres to play with and has already embarked on an estimated three-year project to identify and catalog every plant, tree, flower and weed on the mountainside property. Henderson eventually wants to list and label everything so that her guests can take a self-guided tour.

Though the renovation has not been without its problems - storm damage, costly tree removal and herds of deer making meals out of her gardens - Henderson said she considers the project as a gift to herself.

"I decided when I turned 50 ... the next 50 years are for me," said the mother of four grown children.

Chanticleer Inn, named for a breed of rooster that ties into Henderson's love of chickens, was built of stone and chestnut logs during the chestnut tree blight in the 1920s and operated as Timberlane Lodge by Gertrude May Cease.

The Herald-Mail Articles