So, my wife and I were once innkeepers. After leaving that behind, we slowly purchased and renovated two properties -- one at the shore and one in Asheville, NC -- which we rent out on AirBnB. Now I certainly know all the hoopla amongst the innkeeping community about AirBnB. But I thought it might be instructive to focus on the positive for a bit and put up a post about what I've learned from working both sides of the breakfast table: regular innkeeping and AirBnB/VRBO "innkeeping." So I did what any self-respecting writer would do, I asked my wife to write the post! You can check out her excellent thoughts here (with part II here).
Then, we have an especially "sweet treat" this month: a recipe from our friend over at the Big Mill Bed and Breakfast for Strawberry Bread. It looks super-scrumptious and is almost enough to make me want to take the 6+ hour trip to the other side of my home state of North Carolina to get a slice!
See you at the inn!
As seasons go, Spring takes the prize in my opinion for being the best time to travel. The kids are still in school, so destinations aren't overrun. Prices tend to be lower. And you have a good chance of hitting perfect weather no matter where in the country you head.
For ideas on where to get away this Spring, we've got four destinations covered in our continuing B&B Kinda Town series: Lenox, MA (part II); Savannah, GA (part II); Sturgeon Bay, WI (part II); and Lancaster, PA (part II). That last one's a personal favorite as that's where I used to own my B&B. But I never got to do all those cool things I talk about in my article -- I was too busy running the joint! Hmmm, maybe it's time for a vacation back to Amish Country ...
Now that spring is doing its thing, it's certainly time to get out and check out some "B&B Kinda Towns" wherever you live in the country. So this month I bring you B&B town profiles from all around the country. We go from Traverse City, Michigan (part II) to Carmel, California (part II) and from Austin, Texas (part II) to Burlington Vermont (part II). Let me know if you visit any! See you at the inn.
I must need a vacation because this month I covered a lot of towns in my ongoing B&B Kinda Towns series! There's Jackson, Sonoma (part II), Denver (Part II), and Leavenworth (part II). I'd take a week in any of them after being snowbound on the east coast for the last few months! And of course, I'd take my trusty dog Lucie along with us and stay at a pet-friendly B&B. That's Lucie up top. She loves the snow!
Sure the New Year's a great time for looking forward, but there's a lot of reflection that goes on during this time of the year. That's why it was the perfect time to feature an innkeeper's reminiscences about how she came to be the owner of a delightful B&B in the cool green hills of Jamaica (part II here). As I was looking back over our experiences owning and running our own B&B with my wife, we remembered plenty of the good. But we also remembered one particular challenge: the constant need to make small talk no matter how talked out we might have felt. That's what gave birth to her guest column this month about how innkeepers can keep their conversations with guests energized and flowing smoothly (see part II here).
Something else I like to do when the weather gets cold is EAT! Which is why I can't wait to make a loaf of the Coconut Pumpkin Bread Cloe Tuttle was so kind to share with all of us this month.
See you at the inn!
Happy New Year to you! 2013 was certainly a busy year here on the About.com B&B site with about 40 new articles written including reviews of inns, information about starting and running your own B&B, and B&B destination stories like St. Petersburg (part II), Kauai (part II), and St. Louis (part II). We even got to cover five things that guests do that drive their innkeepers crazy (with part II here)! I'm looking forward to lots more coverage from the B&B world in 2014. Don't forget to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something you'd like to see covered or even if you're interested in writing a guest post. See you at the inn!
Photo: Courtesy Paul Wilkinson (EEPaul), Flickr
When I asked my fellow innkeepers about the things they'd incorporate into a B&B if they could create an inn from scratch, the response was overwhelming and led to my first four-part article (I, II, III and IV) on this site! Although we all love our inns, having the chance to start from scratch and incorporate all the things that would make life easier in a very demanding profession is just too tempting a topic on which to not spend some serious day-dream time.
Speaking of making things easier, I did some reflecting over the holiday weekend (always a busy time at B&Bs) about the aspects of dealing Read More...
I was recently asked by a reader what things I would incorporate into a B&B if I was building one from scratch.
For me, the division between personal life and work life is very important when you own an inn, so I'd ensure that I had a clear distinction between my own quarters and the areas of the inn guests could enjoy. At my inn, we had lovely quarters with one fatal flaw -- no kitchen. So when we were making our dinner, guests would poke their head in to ask what we were having. If I wanted a late-night snack and was already wearing my sleep clothes, I always worried that if ran down to the kitchen, I'd run into a guest not looking very "innkeeperly." Read More...
Ah fall. It's the perfect time to visit an inn and curl up on the front porch with a good book -- maybe even a book about a B&B! Some inns even sell or give away books for free, so you can leave it up to chance and choose your novel when you get there.
As you're considering an inn for your autumn getaway -- be it for your family or for a romantic jaunt -- be sure to check out this list of three of them that give back to charity, or this article that'll tell you how to stay at a B&B for free! If you're on the West coast, a getaway to Portland offers hundreds of inns to choose from and that's exactly why it makes our list of one of the best B&B towns in Oregon. Wherever you go, I hope the air is crisp and cool and that you get plenty of rest!
If you're thinking about opening a bed and breakfast, one of the things you'll want to keep in mind is seasonality. My inn was located in an area of the country the drew leaf peepers in Autumn. That was great for business, but not so great for me because Autumn happens to be my favorite time of the month, and I missed plenty of them! If you find that you're a summer person, you might want to consider buying your inn somewhere that lets you get away to beach B&B yourself for a week or two in the warm months (Key West might be a good idea!). If winter's your thing, consider a B&B that slows down in January and February. Then again, there's always a B&B you can just drive off in so you can be wherever, whenever you want!
As for my own summer, I had the chance to visit with the lovely folks at the Inn At Meander Plantation in Virginia's Wine Country. I also moved myself to Asheville, North Carolina which reminded me of a great inn with a labyrinth I once stayed at: Wintersun. Speaking of Labyrinths, I also had the chance to correspond with the new owners of a brand-new inn in Maine called Winding Way. As they build their business, they might want to employ some of the strategies I've laid out in these this article (see part II here) about using Facebook to enhance occupancy. If anyone's got any other ideas, do let us know!