Shari Alexander's life reads like a cookbook, with the main ingredients: risk and adventure. After a successful career in the fashion business, Shari stopped dieting and graduated from the New York Restaurant School with a certificate in the culinary arts & restaurant management. She was one of the first women chefs in the fashionable Hamptons resort area of Long Island. She invested every dime she had and opened an intimate bistro in the seaside town of Sag Harbor called "The Ship's Galley." The restaurant was an instant hit and earned 3 stars from the The New York Times, and a worldwide reputation due to her international clientele. Shari traveled and cooked extensively for 10 years, closing her restaurant every winter to learn about the regional cuisine and wines of Spain, Madeira, Portugal, Italy and many other exotic ports of call.
In 1990 Shari sold her restaurant and followed the sun to Sarasota, Florida, where she became catering director for the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and created The Banyan Cafe, a 200-seat destination restaurant on the museum grounds. She began another career as a food and wine writer with her Uncorked and DISH columns for the Sarasota Herald Tribune's Style Magazine, and was also contributing editor for the Taste section of the Bradenton Herald and food and wine editor for West Coast Woman. She was listed in the Blue Book of Who's Who in Florida.
Returning to New York after her Florida adventure, Shari became a partner in a 500-seat restaurant on Sag Harbor's beautiful yacht marina. It was at this time that Shari met her future husband, John Bills, an opera singer.
Bills comes to Spencer after a distinguished 26-year career as a tenor with the Metropolitan Opera, having sung an astonishing 5000 performances as a member of the chorus and in supporting roles. He has appeared with every great singer of his generation, including all "three tenors" on many occasions. He has soloed with Luciano Pavarotti before an audience of 25,000 in Central Park, has recorded a solo role with Placido Domingo in Verdi's Luisa Miller, and has sung in performances of Carmen, Adriana Lecouvreur, and La Forza del Destino with José Carreras. He has also sung solo roles with Leontyne Price, Mirella Freni, Renata Scotto and Joan Sutherland. Bills has performed with such esteemed conductors as James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink, Carlos Kleiber, Klaus Tennstedt, Giuseppe Patané, Nello Santi, Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Charles Dutoit. He has performed in hundreds of Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, dozens of telecasts, and can be heard on several CD recordings and DVDs. Most recently, in 2010, John was appointed Asst. Artistic Director of Opera de San Miguel in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
In 2000, John and Shari joined their creativity and shared love of food and wine to create the Long Island Wine Gazette, a quarterly magazine featuring the wine industry of Long Island, now recognized as one of the important viticultural areas of the world, as well as food and lifestyle features. For five seasons the couple chronicled their food and wine adventures in this entertaining and highly successful journal.
John and Shari, who were married in 2002, see The Red Maple Inn as an opportunity to join all their shared experiences, Food, Wine, Hospitality, and Entertainment, in one venue, to create a destination for guests seeking romance, relaxation, outstanding cuisine, and a touch of history. Come enjoy a special place in time.
All the guest rooms and public areas of The Red Maple Inn have received a thorough re-decorating and up-grading of amenities. Honeymooners and Incurable Romantics love "The Cottage," totally renovated with a deluxe bathroom, shower for two, and kitchenette with private dining area, wonderful open bedroom overlooking a sun-drenched sitting room with an antique day bed, fireplace and lovely "Nantucket" touches. With its front and back private entrances, The Cottage is perfect for honeymooners, families, romantic getaways or extended stays.
Dinner by the bee-hive fireplace in the newly decorated dining room is available to our guests and their friends. Patés , cheese plates, nibbles and canapés can all be arranged with an advance phone call. For special occasions, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, please let Shari know of any special requests.
Be sure to check out Shari's next adventure, "Insider" Culinary Tours to historic San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, FLAVORS AND MAGIC of SAN MIGUEL. Click Here for Details!