When our family arrived in Stowe from England in 1997 we were soon told that we were not the first “Limeys” to have moved to the town to purchase an Inn. There was another Brit family in town, that of Chris and Lyn Francis, who had beaten us to it and had bought a “fixer upper” and successfully turned it into “Ye Olde England Inne.”
Within a week of arriving in Stowe I arranged to have a meeting with Chris to see what tips a novice innkeeper like myself could pick up from a fellow countryman. Over the course of our meal the subject of British cars came up, and I couldn’t believe my luck when Chris told me about the “British Invasion,” an event that he and Michael Gaetano had founded a few years earlier.
Having been a British car enthusiast my entire life, to be told that I had, coincidentally landed in the town that hosted the largest “All British” car show in America was, for me, serendipity.
I immediately offered him my help and have worked at the event directing cars to their spaces every year since.
My first car had been a 1966 Mini Cooper, one of the original ones, followed shortly thereafter by a Jaguar “E” Type. That was in the mid 70’s, shortly after the first fuel crisis, when teenagers like myself were able to buy, for next to nothing, the cars that are now considered to be cherished classics. At the time they were just unwanted gas-guzzlers!
My good fortune only lasted 3 weeks. The combination of my young age and a Jaguar “XKE” was not a sensible mix, and I totaled the car in a very spectacular fashion. However, I wasn’t put off and was soon out of hospital, insurance check in hand, and went out and bought another!
It would appear that I had learned my lesson as that same car still sits in my garage today. A year or two later I also bought a Jaguar Mk2 which, again, along with a replica of a 1932 Bugatti, I still own today. The seventies were a good time to be a teenager in England!
As with the Antique Car Show we have our regular guests, some of whom have been staying with us for 20 years now. There are often a few spaces available for the British Invasion and the Antique Car Show weeks so if you want to hang out and shoot the breeze with fellow British Car aficionados then we would love to have you come and stay with us at The Riverside Inn.
Check out the British Invasion website here.