Many of our guests often ask me, “Robin, what made you buy an inn?” My immediate response has always been, “Sheer lunacy.” Who ever thought I would be running a 43 room, Gilded Age mansion the third act of my life!
My first act started out on Long Island, (Brooklyn for the first seven years, but who’s counting.) I grew up singing and dancing and auditioning for every musical production in school and community theatre. In my senior year of high school, I starred with fellow classmate, Tony Danza, in South Pacific. I was determined that I would be the next Ethel Merman. After much resistance from my parents, who felt that having a career as a teacher was much more practical than being an actress, (“Yes, darling you are talented. You can take acting in college, but how about making education your major?”) they gave in. I entered Boston Conservatory of Music and so began my show biz journey.
After receiving my degree, I headed to the Big Apple, pounded the pavement and was lucky to be cast in the Broadway musical revival of Good News starring Alice Faye, John Payne and Stubby Kaye. I starred in Atlantic City musical reviews at the Sands Hotel and Harrah’s Casino and performed on Caribbean cruise ships. The most fun was touring Buenos Aires, Argentina with my own rock band. Not to toot my own horn, but I have the distinction of being the first woman to sing Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, (albeit the disco version) in Argentina. Just call me a “pre-Madonna.” Over the years, I had the good fortune of working with Abe Burrows (director of the original Guys and Dolls), Gary Marshall (creator of Happy Days and director of Pretty Woman), Donald Sadler (Tony Award winning choreographer of No, No, Nanette) and Michael Kidd (choreographer of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.)
My second act followed, with my marriage to Denis and the birth of our twins, Katerina and Andrew. We settled in New Jersey, just outside of Manhattan. Denis began his career as a lawyer and subsequently became a partner in a Wall Street hedge fund while I stayed at home raising the kids. After several years, I found the entertainment bug beckoning me. So, in order to pursue my passion while being a hands-on-mom, I founded The Performing Arts Studio Theatre School and Camp in our town of Scotch Plains. After all those years, I guess my parents actually prevailed… I became a teacher. Over the next nine years, I imparted my love of theatre to thousands of children in our area.
Living in New Jersey with young twins, we opted for a vacation that did not entail much planning or traveling. I knew all about the Berkshires from many of my former Boston Conservatory classmates who had internships at Tanglewood and Jacob’s Pillow. My Canadian husband had never heard of the Berkshires. So, one summer, when our kids were very little, we journeyed up north, got lawn tickets to Movie Night at Tanglewood. The kids fell asleep listening to, of all things, the score to Psyho and Jaws; my husband and I had our first adult conversation in three years; and the rest is history. We made our excursion to the Berkshires every summer after and twenty years later decided to make Lenox our home. We purchased Seven Hills Inn eight years ago and have loved every moment running our inn.