On & Off Campus Blog

Flowers, food, and friends: my summers at the Mary Prentiss Inn
Flowers, food, and friends: my summers at the Mary Prentiss Inn
Chloe Fandetti '21

For the past two years, I have worked as a waitress at the Mary Prentiss Inn, a bed and breakfast in Cambridge. This summer I spent a lot of time working, including serving breakfast to guests in the mornings. 

Located on Prentiss Street, in between Harvard and Porter Square, the buttery yellow inn stands tall with ivory pillars framing the front door. On the front walkway, there is an overflow of colors. Blooming sunflowers, cosmos, lavender, marigolds, and zinnias, in several variations, greet visitors and bring the neighborhood to life. Through the red double doors, the high ceilings and depth of the building are surprising, because the front exterior looks deceitfully humble. Venturing further in, a black and white winding staircase stands bold against the magenta walls. Phone calls buzz from the front office, and guests chatter in the dining area. Vases with flowers from the garden rest on the dining tables, changing every few days to a new flower combination. At tea time, aromas of freshly baked cookies waft through the lobby area. Whether it's oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle, hallongrotta, or chocolate chip, a delectable taste is always guaranteed. 

My favorite part of the inn is the conservatory, because it is so bright. The sun streaks through the glass walls and skylight, lighting up the room and making the glass tables sparkle. Through the glass walls, you can see into the back deck, where an old maple tree canopies the sitting area. Flower pots brim with brilliant hues, and ripe tomatoes hang from their vines. Sometimes, after I finish all of my work, I like to sit in the conservatory and read my summer reading books. 

While the inn’s historical build contributes to its character and charm, it also poses a challenge for me. The dining area is on the first floor, while the kitchen is in the basement, with an extremely steep staircase connecting them. Hurrying up and down the stairs to take orders, bring down tubs of dirty dishes, or deliver plates of food, I’ve spilled hot coffee on my arm one too many times. But I have mastered carrying four plates at a time. One on each forearm, and the other two between my fingers.

Perhaps most interesting is meeting the different guests that stay at the inn. Some memorable guests that have I talked to were an author from Jamaica, an MIT professor, a group of actresses from a local theater, and a renowned Japanese poet. Occasionally there are difficult guests, who get unreasonably upset that there are raisins in the granola or no tomatoes in the scrambled eggs, but for the most part, people are very friendly and kind, which makes my job fun. I also like talking to the people that I work with. One of my co-workers grew up on a farm near the Amazon River in Brazil. He always has funny stories about the farm animals, but the best was when he showed me a video of his pet parrot speaking Portuguese! 

Overall, I have had a great time at my job for the last couple of years, despite the very early mornings, and I look forward to continuing to work there. Next summer, if you ever find yourself staying at the Mary Prentiss Inn, make sure to say hi!