The House at Royal Oak

Starting Over & Rebuilding a Life One Room at a Time

by Carol Rizzoli A Little Sing-a-Long

Featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Preservation Magazine, Washingtonian, AARP Magazine, on Public Radio, and a Notable Selection of the Independent Booksellers Association.

Written with honesty and humor, The House at Royal Oak is a journey to the heart of what it means to start over and chase a dream.  Part inspirational account of reinventing yourself at mid-life, part love story about learning what matters most in a relationship, it is above all a book about home—what it means, and the unexpected places we find it.

The author and her husband Hugo bought a dilapidated farmhouse in the tiny village of Royal Oak, Maryland, on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay. They spent two years transforming it into a bed and breakfast, which took them twice as long and cost three times as much as they had originally estimated (on the back of a napkin). As they struggled to restore the house and open the B&B, Carol and Hugo were also slowly acquainting themselves with the rural community of Royal Oak, rich in custom and culinary traditions, and populated by neighbors with particular views on politics, hunting, wildlife, and of course, newcomers from the big city. This is a story that will win your heart.

Available at, Barnes and NobleBorders, Independent Booksellers.



One of “the season’s best travel books. . . the kind of domestic travelogue that demonstrates the wisdom of the lines from Emily Dickinson that Rizzoli has chosen for her epigraph: Eden is that old-fashioned House we dwell in every day.”
New York Times

“Beautifully and thoughtfully told.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“The appeal of this genre is profound: it hits the sweet spot—the intersection of our collective passion for real estate and our national belief in the power of reinvention.”
Wall Street Journal

“Engaging. . . bracing.”
AARP Magazine

“I swallowed it all in one reading. A captivating story with great prose and images, poetic in the best sense. I didn’t want this book to end.”
Helen Chappell, author of Oysterback Tales

Read more reviews…

News & Events

Warmest thanks to everyone who has read The House at Royal Oak and taken time to write to us. It’s heartwarming to know that others have traveled similar roads and that our experiences have much in common.

New for 2011, Carol is writing a regular column for the beautiful Victoria Magazine, on gardening, hospitality, the quest for inspiration, time for oneself, and more.

Spring Appearances 2011

March 7, Midatlantic Innkeepers Conference, Lancaster, PA

Carol will discuss “Writing for Publication”

March 11 at 1:30 pm, Academy of Lifelong Learning, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD

If you’re in the area, DON’T MISS THIS! A reprise reading by Carol, Hugo, and honored guest, Scott Kilmon.

March 15, Soroptimists International, Easton, MD

Talk and book signing.

June 4, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Book signing.

More soon! — Carol and Hugo