B&B and winery story open in Hamburg

Charlotte Golden and Hamburg Mayor George Holmes, along with their German Shorthaired Pointer, Rudolph, welcome guests to visit the Bismarck Bed and Breakfast which opened in Hamburg this year. They named the new business after Rudolph’s predecessor, Bismarck.
Charlotte Golden and Hamburg Mayor George Holmes, along with their German Shorthaired Pointer, Rudolph, welcome guests to visit the Bismarck Bed and Breakfast which opened in Hamburg this year. They named the new business after Rudolph’s predecessor, Bismarck. Kolleen Long - Digital First Media
Jess Bouchette (pictured) and her husband, Rick, have opened a wine tasting room in Hamburg. The business is part of the Bouchette Winery, based near Bethel, and will offer wines, hard ciders and beers during regular hours on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Jess Bouchette (pictured) and her husband, Rick, have opened a wine tasting room in Hamburg. The business is part of the Bouchette Winery, based near Bethel, and will offer wines, hard ciders and beers during regular hours on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Kolleen Long - Digital First Media

Two sets of business owners found what they were looking for in Hamburg. Both couples – Jess and Rick Bouchette of Bouchette Winery and Charlotte Golden and George Holmes of the Bismarck Bed and Breakfast – noted the combination of small-town charm and beautiful setting plus proximity to larger metro areas drew them to open their doors for business in Hamburg.

Opening a bed and breakfast was a dream for Golden as it ties into her love of cooking and hospitality and their shared enjoyment of traveling and meeting people. Golden and Holmes grew up in New jersey and Carbon County, respectively. Golden is a full-time educational administrator and Holmes is retired from the military and recently became the Mayor of Hamburg in January 2018.

Wanting to open a bed and breakfast, they looked at existing B&B properties for sale before deciding instead to convert a historic home at 63 N 4th Street in Hamburg, known to many as Dr. Pfieffer’s house where for years locals came for medical treatments or to deliver babies. The house was also owned by a dentist and several private owners before the couple moved in two years ago and began the process of changing it to a bed and breakfast.

“We fell in love with the house first. We started asking people about Hamburg and found there was a lot here,” Holmes explains, listing the Our Town Foundation and other community groups as a big draw. “There was a lot of promise. There’s a lot to do, a lot to be involved in.”

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The house features details like coffered ceilings in the dining room, textured wallpaper and plasterwork, sleek pocket doors and stained-glass windows. The upstairs holds a sitting room for guests, complete with coffee and tea service. Downstairs, guests have access to a large living room facing the street and a dining room where Golden serves breakfasts adapted to guests’ requests, be they meat-lovers, vegetarians or gluten-sensitive.

Many of their changes are “invisible” modern updates, including the roof or updated HVAC systems. The couple did one full renovation, converting an upstairs kitchen area into a bedroom. There are three guest rooms on the second floor, each with a private bath and each with a European theme featuring framed photos taken by Golden during their travels.

They opened Bismarck’s doors to the public in January. Guests are now welcome during weekends throughout the year with some seasonal events midweek. For details or to make a reservation, call the Bismarck Bed and Breakfast at 717-312-4772 or visit www.thebismarckbnb.com.

The Bouchettes also saw the draw of opening a business in Hamburg. In their case, the couple already had a winery on their private property and a tasting room in the Bethel area. They attended several festivals in Hamburg and eventually discussed the possibility of an expansion there.

Jess Bouchette laughs when she recalls their start in the wine business, which began when her brother grew an abundant crop of concord grapes. The family had already processed lots of jellies and juices before they decided to try making wine with some of the fruit.

“It was a hobby that went wild,” she says.

It has been eight years since they learned the ropes of selling wine and creating their own product line. They visited other small wineries for inspiration and took classes to better understand the best way to turn juice into unique wines.

Their signature product is a red created from concord grapes. Bouchette explains they found it a better use of time to purchase fruit and juices rather than growing their own. They prefer to use local products – such as strawberries from Ontelaunee Orchards or apples from Leesport – when possible. Blueberries are sourced from New Jersey and grapes from the Finger Lakes of New York or more exotic locales, like Chile.

“It’s fresh-pressed juice, it’s pure juice and it is so good,” she says.

The Bouchettes opened their Bethel-area business in November 2015, initially selling at the Lebanon Farmer’s Market. In June 2017, they opened their own tasting room in a two-story Bethel house where they host meetings, events and paint-and-sip parties.

They took a different approach to opening a store in Hamburg. Their small space in town is outfitted with a large counter and modern décor. The front area is stocked with a dozen wines plus two hard ciders and wine accessories. In the back is an open area for tasting parties and classes, such as a wine making course for beginners using a kit.

The tasting room had a soft opening in December and now has regular hours Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. In the summer, they will add Thursday hours and plan to offer wine slushies in the warm months.

Bouchette also looks forward to the opening of the 1787 Brewery across the street. Once up and running, the tasting room will stock 1787 beers and the pub owners plan to return the favor, stocking Bouchette wines.

“We want to work together with them,” Bouchette confirms.

For details about the Bouchette Winery, visit their Hamburg location at 16 S. Fourth St., call 717-805-6816 or email info@bouchettevineyards.com.