Taeko was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan where as a young student she developed a strong interest in English. Part of her college education was spent at the University of Hawaii, where she was sponsored by and lived with Emily Warinner, the author of the first history book on John Manjiro, the first Japanese to be educated in America in the 1840’s, after having been rescued and brought to New England by the Captain of a Boston whaler. Taeko’s father subsequently published the book in Japanese, and Ms. Warinner received an award from the Emperor of Japan for her work. Upon her return to Tokyo Taeko worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce promoting trade exhibitions in Japan.
Walter was born and raised in a small town near Pittsburgh, PA and received his BA degree from Williams College, majoring in history and including a semester at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland to improve his French. Upon graduation he became an officer in the U.S. Air Force and spent the next several years in Indochina during the Vietnam Conflict. He then joined the Department of State, where he served for the next 30 years, with assignments abroad to Cambodia, Cyprus, Greece and multiple postings to Japan. During one Washington, D.C. assignment he worked on the Congressional Affairs staff, and his final tour was with the Inspector General.
Taeko and Walter were introduced in Tokyo by mutual friends from Williams College; they married two years later, and Lisa arrived the following year in Tokyo. During their third and final tour in Japan the John Manjiro Society for International Exchange was established in 1991, with Taeko as one of the founding members, and for the next eight years she served as its Director in the U.S.A. and she continues to assist in these activities to the present. This experience of organizing mutual exchanges and promoting understanding between Japan and America stimulated their thinking on how to approach the operation of our small Inn .
Fortunately, due to his love of the outdoors, Walter was able to purchase the land on which the Inn is located in 1968. During the years they were assigned to Washington they used the Rustic Cabin on the weekends, and in 1995 built a second home on the ridge as a ‘retreat’. This worked out so well that they decided to move to Star Tannery permanently, but they also realized that because the area is somewhat remote, they needed to add something interesting and constructive, something that would promote the exchanges to which Taeko was so deeply devoted. Thus the idea of a rather unconventional “B&B” was born. They knew they would have a beautiful view, plenty of space and wonderful spring water so therefore building an “onsen” type facility would be possible.
The first version of the B&B was built in 2000, opened up officially in 2001 and then renovated completely in 2007, adding rooms and remodeling others so that it can function more smoothly.
At that time their daughter Lisa joined to reopen the inn, and is now Pembroke’s full time Manager. She graduated from Virginia Tech, majoring in Hotel & Restaurant Management and has ten years experience as a catering director, the last seven at the famous Mayflower Hotel in Washington . Having spent many of her formative years in Japan, she is able to communicate reasonably well with our many Japanese guests. She brings her parents’ energy, experience, and a sense of humor; a welcome member of the team!