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Bed & Breakfast news for Innkeepers and B&B travelers
Friday, November 11, 2016

Today marks an important occasion in our country – Veterans Day. It was created specifically to demonstrate our gratitude and appreciation for all of the dedicated and challenging work our men and women of the military perform all year long. They put their lives on the line to ensure our safety and freedom, and we could not be more grateful for their service. For the BnBFinder team, this subject is one that’s near and dear to our hearts, as well as our industry. There are B&B’s all across the country who support the cause through the B&B’s for Vets program. Many also provide discounts and amenities to military families all year long. BnBFinder has a designated area on our website where you can find information about them – Military Specials (click here for more info) – and we ourselves also give back in other ways as well. It is with heartfelt thanks that we salute everyone in uniform today, and always.

Veteran Garry Black with innkeeper GingerVeteran Garry Black with innkeeper Ginger

Veteran Garry Black was awarded a “Wake Up Someplace Special” gift certificate from BnBFinder, and this year he decided to spend a tranquil overnight at Martha’s Vineyard Bed and Breakfast in South Haven, MI, located in the heart of majestic Michigan wine country. Gary served in the 1st Infantry of the Army during the years of 1971 to 1973. He stated that he had a wonderful stay, and that innkeeper Ginger “made us feel very welcome, a gracious host, and the food was wonderful!”

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why visit Santa Fe? Well, for starters, it’s the oldest state capital city in the United States (and the oldest city in New Mexico, too). While it sits 7,000 feet above sea level, it’s also the highest capital city in the country. Bragging rights aside, we must admit that the views alone are enough to send us packing. Once you catch a glimpse of the city’s stunning architecture coupled with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as its backdrop, you’ll soon come to understand why Santa Fe is famous for being such an artistic hub. They pretty much own the arts (don’t even try to deny it) and people travel from all over to marvel the artists. From modern to neo-classical to Native American…you name it, they’ve got it. There’s so much to love about Santa Fe: their colorful cafes, historic museums, folk art markets, premier skiing, hiking, biking, and (without a doubt) some of the best chile and enchiladas you’ll ever have. If you’re interested in exploring a thriving art town, tasting unbeatable Mexican cuisine, and shopping in some of the world’s best farmers markets, this gem in the desert is the place for you.

El Farolito Bed & BreakfastEl Farolito Bed & Breakfast

What to Do

  1. Discover the city’s rich history: Early Native American inhabitants called it “Dancing Ground of The Sun”; while the founding frontiersman at the turn of the 20th century referred to it as “The City Different”. Both nicknames hold true today, and you can see for yourself when visiting the Palace of Governors, the oldest government building in the U.S. Afterwards, treat yourself to Native American handcrafts (sold under the building’s portal) as a souvenir.

  2. Shop til you drop: You’ll find a little bit of everything in Santa Fe. This is the place to buy cowboy boots, turquoise Native American jewelry, Spanish Colonial and indigenous art (or any art, for that matter). Don’t miss out on the Downtown Plaza area where you’ll find wall-to-wall boutiques and shops with everything from knick-knacks to designer clothing.

  3. Explore some of the best neighborhoods: Head on over to the oldest neighborhood in town, Barrio Analco, where you can check out the oldest church in the country. Then, make your way to Canyon Road, home to over 100 art galleries, shops and restaurants.

  4. Tantalize Your Taste Buds with Santa Fe’s Most Beloved Beverage: Margaritas, of course! Trail adventurers have the opportunity to taste 31 different margaritas made famous by the most beloved restaurants and bars in The City Different. ¡Saludǃ

Where to Stay

Inn on the AlamedaInn on the Alameda

Nestled downtown between the historic Plaza and the galleries on Canyon Road, Inn on the Alameda offers guests privacy, comfort and charm in a romantic garden setting tucked behind adobe walls. Located just a short stroll away from world-class museums, fine restaurants, outdoor mercados, shops and historical structures, guests will be able to enjoy all that makes Santa Fe a unique and colorful destination. Amenities include a lavish buffet breakfast served daily, relaxing wine-and-cheese happy hour reception, outdoor hot tub, luxurious bedding and spa robes, fully-equipped exercise room, and a full bar and lounge.

El Farolito Bed & Breakfast is a quintessential Santa Fe lodging compound with a traditional adobe architecture. Guests can delight their senses in one of the eight beautifully appointed rooms and casitas, tucked among gardens and intimate walled-in patios. This charming B&B combines the modern luxuries expected with homey, personal touches that allow guests to feel comfortable and at home. Amenities include fine linens, fireplaces, and even private entrances. After a day of exploring the city, return back and relax with a glass of wine on a private sun-drenched patio, or unwind in front of the glow of a crackling fire.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Aldrich Guest HouseAldrich Guest House

After becoming the sixth owners of Aldrich Guest House, innkeepers Robert and Douglas have made Galena, Illinois their home while creating a “home away from home” for their guests. Last month, we featured the lovely couple for our Innkeeper Interview series in our November Guest Newsletter. And since these guys are so much fun to learn about, we’ve included a few more responses from their Q&A session for our blog readers to enjoy!

Q: Do you have a favorite movie or TV show based on hospitality/travel?

A: Hotel Babylon is wonderful – it does a great job of capturing all of the excitement, craziness, and glamour of travel as well as all of the fun that we have as staff. Coming from years in the ultra-luxury lodging industry in Chicago, this show speaks to us even more as with a larger staff and hundreds or thousands of guests a night, there’s often more opportunity to get up to some pretty ridiculous high jinks!

Q: What is the best compliment you’ve received from a guest?

A: One of the biggest compliments that we can get from a guest is simply their return or sending their friends or family to stay with us! One of the things that we’ve always believed is that being in the service industry is a privilege as our guests have lots of options and they’ve chosen to spend their time with us which is something that can’t be gotten back. In addition to that, we love when our guests tell us that when they come here they feel like they’re right at home and that we feel like family. On two separate occasions, guests have literally cried at breakfast! They said that they felt so well taken care of and pampered which made them feel so special that they couldn’t help but cry!

Q: If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?

A: I’m horrible at this, so Douglas had some flattering insight on this question! He said that Daniel Radcliffe would play me since he’s quick and witty and would be fast on his feet like I am when it comes to taking care of things that guests can sometimes toss at us. He felt like he’d be played by Felix on Orphan Black – not the actor playing Felix, but Felix himself as they share a similar attitude and an appreciation for all things artistic and glamorous.

Stay tuned for many more Innkeeper Interviews to come! Next, we’ll feature Erika, innkeeper of Abbey’s Lantern Inn in Ledyard, CT.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant's Signature Fall SangriaTerrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant’s Signature Fall Sangria

Autumn wouldn’t be the same without apples, right? They’re the signature fruit of the season. They also make for an awesome ingredient in plenty of cocktails and marvelous mixed drinks! Our friends at Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant in Petoskey, MI definitely know all about this firsthand as we can see from their signature sumptuous fall sangria, which guests “absolutely love,” enthuses innkeeper/owner Patty Rasmussen-Rave.

This historic hotel and restaurant is located in the Victorian Association of Bay View. Open to the public daily mid-June through Labor Day and weekends through February, 1911 Restaurant’s outdoor terrace is the ideal spot to indulge in a romantic dinner. When the weather permits, guests can sit back and relax to take in soft breezes off the bay and beautiful views overlooking Bay View’s elegant Victorian homes and grounds. The spacious dining room is air-conditioned and can accommodate 125 people. Happy Hour is 4p.m. to 6p.m. daily. Alcohol purchased here can be enjoyed on the porch, terrace, or lower patio.

Breakfast is provided as part of your stay, and dinner is prepared onsite with high-quality ingredients and delectable regional products.

Fall Sangria
6 apples, chopped
4 pears, chopped
1 750 Ml bottle Pinot Grigio
1 750 ml bottle Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
½ gal. apple cider

Directions: Add all ingredients together and then chill for two hours. Serve with cinnamon stick.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Inn at Weathersfield, exteriorInn at Weathersfield, exterior

The Okemo Valley of Vermont is cooking up something deliciously extravagant this December, and if you’re a fan of indulging in both the sweet and savory, you won’t want to miss what participating inns in the region are serving foodie travelers. On December 3rd and 4th, those looking to sample culinary delights can taste their way through the region while participating in the inaugural “Inndulgence Food Tour”, a self-guided excursion for inn lovers (and those who are curious) to sample dishes from 10 different bed and breakfasts in the area.

From savory samples such as Braised Pork Butt over Polenta or mini Beef Wellingtons, to rich and decadent treats such as chocolate cake, baked brie with homemade chutney, or warm cookies fresh out of the oven, there’s something that everyone is sure to love. Participants of the tour will be able to step inside several different inns, fully decorated for the holiday season, while enjoying a tasty bite. Some participating properties will be coupling their food selections with raffles and/or demonstrations. You can even watch as innkeepers at The Golden State Inn simmer their own beeswax as they make molded candles. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any better…guests who visit at least six of the inns during the tour will be entered into a raffle for a free one-night stay at the B&B of their choice. Plus, those who post a “selfie” while participating in the tour and share it to the “Inndulgence Tour” Facebook page will be entered into a raffle for a gift basket each time they post.

Golden Stage Inn's signature Saturday Night Chocolate CakeGolden Stage Inn Bed and Breakfast’s signature Saturday Night Chocolate Cake

*The tour is scheduled for December 3 and 4, 12-5pm each day. Tour “passports” may be purchased ($10 per person) from any participating inn or the regional Chamber of Commerce, and many inns will be offering packaged specials for the event.

BnBFinder Inns participating in the tour include:

Golden Stage Inn Bed and Breakfast in Proctorsville, VT

The Inn at Weston in Weston, VT

The Andrie Rose Inn in Ludlow, VT

Inn at Weathersfield in Perkinsville, VT

Inn Victoria in Chester, VT

For more information on the “Inndulgence Tour”, click here, or visit the event Facebook page.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Aldrich Guest HouseAldrich Guest House

Our November Guest Newsletter has hit the airwaves. This edition features information on holiday gifts; an introduction from our CEO Mary White to two new inns who have joined our “family” (A Breath of Heaven B&B in Traverse City, MI and The Karass Inn in Chester, VT); the Innkeeper Interview (new section!) with Robert and Douglas Mahan of Aldrich Guest House in Galena, IL; and a sumptuous recipe of Apple Sausage Puff Pancake from our friends at Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins in Cascade, CO, which was recently featured on the popular food site Think Tasty. You will also read about the Cameo Heights Mansion: Where Guests Go to Wine, Dine and Spa in Washington Wine Country; 8 B&B’s Offering Awesome Outdoor Adventures; what’s on your Autumn Culinary Bucket List (hint: it’s Black Sheep Inn & Spa, according to Honest Cooking); Ghost Stories from Our Favorite Bed and Breakfast Inns, among others. There’s plenty here to pique every B&B lover’s interest!

Click here to check out our latest edition.

Click here to subscribe for upcoming issues.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Innkeeper Kathleen PanekInnkeeper Kathleen Panek

Welcome to a new series on our blog all about our innkeepers. First up  we’ll earn some fun facts about Kathleen Panek of Gillum House Bed & Breakfast in Shinnston, WV.

1. Do you have a favorite TV show?
The only TV I watch is Mysteries on PBS a couple of evenings because there are no commercials. I would rather read a mystery. It may sound like “fluff” reading, but the research required about location, customs, religions, etc. in these books has helped me learn quite a bit over the years – sometimes about how hotels or resorts operate and even recipes.

2. What has been your strangest guest request?
It was many years ago. We called him Mr. Romance. He must have called me 15-20 times between making the reservation and arrival. He asked if we had a CD player for soft music in the room. (I got lucky and found a clock radio/alarm clock/CD player on sale for $10 – and am still using them – one in each room). He wanted a different romantic surprise each day in the room when he and his wife returned from being out. One night a dish of strawberries and champagne (brand specific), one night candles (they were in glass containers), one night 4 dozen red carnations because that was her favorite flower, and the last night a candlelight dinner. The last night of his stay, he came down and asked if they could come down to dinner in the robes that were in the room. I replied, “You are the only ones here, I don’t care if you come down starkers (naked).” He went upstairs and told his wife they had to come down for dinner starkers – she said, “I don’t think so.” When I gave him the bill for everything, he did not blink an eye as he said, “It was worth every penny.”

Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, exteriorGillum House Bed & Breakfast, exterior

3. If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?
Except for the fact that she died long ago – Marjorie Main. She was not glamorous. For those who have no idea who she was, she was Ma in the Ma & Pa Kettle movies of yesteryear. She was loud, down-to-earth, take charge, and got things done without going crazy.

4. When you are not busy hosting guests, what are some of the things you like to do in your free time?
I read, and I play baritone saxophone in the Shinnston Community Band.

5. What is the best compliment you have received from a guest?
A gentleman told me that they had stayed in B&Bs all over the world, and we were in the top 5%. (I teared up.)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The city of St. Louis may be nestled deep in the Midwest, 300 miles from its more popular cousin, Chicago, but it’s certainly not just a “fly-over” state. There’s a case to be made for the hidden gem that is “St. Louie,” a vibrant city bustling with a wide array of fine dining, shopping, music venues, and so much more. Whether you want to experience awe-inspiring city views atop one of the world’s most famous monuments, shop till you drop, or seek out the greener sides of the city, St. Louis has something for everyone. We’ve listed the top things to do in the Gateway City, featuring the hot spots you just can’t miss along with the best places to stay for an adventure-filled weekend.

What to Do:

  1. The Gateway Arch: Visitors can take a 630-foot ride to the top of this world-famous monument, which offers the finest views in the city.
  2. Spend the day in one of the largest urban parks in the U.S.: Forest Park, once home to the 1904 World’s Fair, attracts around 12 million visitors a year with its scenic walking and biking trails. Make sure to check out the Jewel Box while you’re there (a stunning greenhouse filled with floral displays), along with the World’s Fair Pavilion (the perfect spot for a picnic).
  3. Taste tradition at a St. Louis brewery: From touring the historic Anheuser-Busch Brewery and getting up close and personal with the famous Budweiser Clydesdales, to experiencing local flavor at Schlafly Bottleworks for a free tour where you can try up to 50 different styles of beer, brew enthusiasts have plenty of enticing options to choose from.

B&B NameThe Cheshire

Where to Stay
The Cheshire, located smack-dab in the middle of all that St. Louis has to offer, delivers an Old World feel and quirky charm that guests are sure to love. Dating back to the 1920s, this inn embodies the city’s traditional roots and authenticity of a traditional British B&B with all of the modern conveniences that today’s traveler demands. The past is effortlessly blended with the future, from the hand-carved mantle in the living room to the stained-glass windows found throughout. Eighteenth-century antiques and historical fixtures live alongside flat-screen TVs and granite bathrooms in each elegantly themed suite. Guests can take advantage of the sleek wellness center featuring state-of-the-art equipment, enjoy handcrafted complimentary chocolates from St. Louis’ very own Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier while relaxing in the courtyard, and even stop in for coffee before exploring the city at the inn’s onsite Starbucks.

Seven Gables InnSeven Gables Inn

Welcoming and whimsical, Seven Gables Inn boutique hotel provides comfortable and convenient accommodations while serving up some serious luxury. Just a short 15 minutes from Lambert Airport and 10 minutes from downtown St. Louis, Seven Gables is amid specialty shops, art galleries, and fine eateries for guests to explore. Listed on the National Registry of Historical Places, the inn’s steep roofs, massive chimney, narrow windows and decorative half-timbering give the allure of Tudor influence. And when it comes to amenities, guests will be hard-pressed to find a single missing detail. Enjoy Acca Kappa bath products, complimentary Fiji water, an in-room coffee maker with Wolfgang Puck coffee, as well as complimentary breakfast each morning. From valet parking to nightly decadent chocolates, every element of the inn has been considered in order to ensure a fun, relaxing stay.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

With only 67 days until Christmas, we think the time is right to start feeling merry and bright. That’s why every few weeks we’re going to reveal some amazing opportunities for fabulous holiday fun taking place at inns all across North America. First up is our friends at Jekyll Island Club Hotel on Jekyll Island, GA, who offer plenty of options for celebrating the season with their coastal-themed Christmas featuring warm, white sand.

“All of the holiday fun kicks off early on November 26, 2016 with the Annual Jekyll Island Christmas Tree Lighting Festival,” reveals Amy Wisenbaker, Social Media and Web Communications Manager. “Guests can bring a lawn chair or blanket and grab a spot on our Sans Souci lawn to watch as the magical lights begin to shine on our southern red fern, combined with endless amounts of delicious treats, holiday activities for the whole family, jingle bell tours and even a visit from Santa!”

The hotel’s holiday event calendar typically begins with an annual favorite, Holiday High Tea, which is hosted in the Grand Dining Room and features a delicious variety of teas, warm scones, tea sandwiches and all of your favorite Christmas carols performed by the Club pianist. Then, guests indulge in a special holiday-themed lunch at the hotel’s Chef Demonstration from 12-2pm, which typically takes place during the second week in December. “Included in the event is a three-course meal with a complimentary glass of wine, along with easy-to-follow recipes that you can take home and add to your collection,” explains Amy. “The merriment continues when guests join us for magical day at Crane Cottage as Santa Claus spends the afternoon with all of his favorite little boys and girls as a thank you for always believing in him. The event will be free admission, but a photographer will be on site to capture precious moments (optional) for a fee.”

A walk through the historic district to view all of the twinkling holiday lights never disappoints, and during the week before Christmas, the walk will become extra special as the Christmas Bagpiper joins in the fun. Dressed in full Scottish regalia, Tim Atkins makes his way through the district as he plays the songs of the season. The festive holiday event calendar comes to a close with the deliciously sweet Christmas Cookie Workshop, where attendees can head to the hotel for an afternoon filled with candies, sprinkles, icing and much more.

“The Jekyll Island Club Hotel offers holiday packages throughout December for those guests dreaming of experiencing all of the holiday hustle and bustle and Christmas finery at the hotel,” adds Amy. “Our Nights Before Christmas Special includes the breakfast buffet and passes for two at the brand new Jekyll Island Skating Village, and our Christmas Package includes our breakfast buffet, a stocking filled with goodies and a commemorative Christmas ornament.”

For more details on Jekyll Island Club Hotel’s holiday packages, click here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Chimes Bed and BreakfastChimes Bed and Breakfast

In New Orleans, you’ll find that music is at the heart of everyday life. This bustling city is known as being the birthplace of jazz, making it reign supreme when it comes to being a top destination for music lovers. Creole and zydeco beats, jazz and brass bands bellow out of some of the city’s most famous dive bars, clubs, and music venues (Tiptina’s, Spotted Cat, and the Preservation Hall in the French Quarter just to name a few). And while the city has expanded its musical tastes in recent years, jazz still remains king, a genre so intrinsically tied to the culture of NOLA that its residents even have “jazz funerals”, a longtime tradition in which live music is played through the procession. Those looking to travel to The Big Easy for a getaway have plenty of B&Bs that offer the same jazzy aesthetic that sets New Orleans apart from every other major musical destination.

Where to Stay

Chimes Bed and Breakfast: Both welcoming and private, the Chimes Bed and Breakfast makes a perfectly peaceful retreat after a day out exploring the colorful Crescent City. Nestled in the heart of New Orleans, this B&B is located near many of the city’s best attractions, restaurants and shops. Each of the inn’s five guest rooms features its own private entrance that opens up to an outdoor sanctuary with plenty of seating for guests to kick back and relax.

Grand Victorian Bed & BreakfastGrand Victorian Bed & Breakfast

Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast: Nestled under the shady oaks of majestic St. Charles Avenue at the edge of the Garden District, this renovated historic mansion allows guests to experience a rich past within the comfort and convenience of a modern day bed and breakfast. Each of the inn’s spacious rooms features 12-14 foot ceilings, private baths and free Wi-Fi access. Guests that stay in either the Greenwood or Nottoway suites have access to their own private balconies, Jacuzzi tubs and generous seating areas too.

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