Tell us about Chestnut Sweet and why you started it. We started Chestnut Sweet in 2013, after deciding that the structure behind our house that had served for years as a three-bay garage and full workshop might have more practical uses and even some revenue potential. We spent about eight months converting half of that building into a two-floor space that could be used either for our businesses (our original thought), for family overflow or as an in-law apartment. We purposely designed the interior with comfort and simplicity in mind, and eventually we formally registered the space with the state as a B&B. People rent from us mostly in the summer, sometimes purely for pleasure and the enjoyment of Marblehead and the North Shore, and sometimes as an off-site/distance workspace. We’re now seeing many return visitors who have begun to feel like family.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? Read widely, listen to your gut, and keep things simple.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? That’s very tough, since there are so many sweet spots in Marblehead! The Red Steps, at the top of our street, is certainly one (there’s a secret bench there). The view from that spot, either night or day, is just spectacular; and so are Fort Sewall and the lovely quiet walking trails behind Seaside Park.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? OK, two things: I’m a trained Scuba diver and I’ve worked as a professional tailor and dressmaker.
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Owner: Francie King & Robert Erbetta