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Bed & Breakfast news for Innkeepers and B&B travelers
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Q: What differentiates your inn from others in your area/region?

A: Shelter Island House exudes a luxurious modern beach flair with unmatchable accommodations and service on the island. We are rated #1 on TripAdvisor, and we are an intimate boutique-style hotel with oversized rooms and bathrooms, complimentary bicycles, petanque courts and outdoor games, picturesque pool, and an onsite restaurant, bar, and outdoor pool bar. Having been operating as a hotel since 1866, we are one of the longest-running hotels on Shelter Island. We also differ in that we are family-owned and operated, upscale but unpretentious, and we are a pet-friendly property.

Q: What makes Shelter Island so special as an alternative to the Hamptons?

A: Shelter Island has been rated as one of the best laid-back beach towns in the Northeast by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Being so close to the Hamptons makes the region popular, but the physicality of being an island and only being accessible by ferry allows for a bit more magic and a lot less hype – often called the “the un-Hamptons” of Long Island.

Innkeeper/owner Janet Rogler of Shelter Island HouseInnkeeper/owner Janet Rogler of Shelter Island House

Q: What kind of hospitality experience do you offer your guests?

A: We encourage our staff to welcome guests as if they were welcoming a friend into their own home, and they are instructed to go above and beyond whenever possible for guests with any special needs. Seasonally, our complimentary offerings change from a glass of local wine upon arrival, to fireside wine and cheese, or coffee and tea at the bar. All rooms are stocked with complimentary bottled water and our favorite North Fork Potato chips. We offer fruit-infused water in our hotel lobby or poolside, and of course, our daily continental breakfast with our specialty fresh baked, all butter croissants! Guests love that we have complimentary beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas for their use, our on-site pool & gardens, and the complimentary bicycles.

Q: Which type of traveler do you cater to most often? (Solo travelers, honeymooners, girlfriend getaways, etc.) Why do you think this is?

A: Shelter Island House has had the pleasure of hosting many guests from different demographics. The majority of the guests are couples and honeymooners, however, our excellent accommodations for family vacations, reunions, and bachelorette getaways have drawn a strong following. The onsite Tavern makes it easy for families and groups to relax and not feel the need to rush around the island looking for large group dining. Our demographics are mostly New York City and New England, but we have a solid number of European travelers.

Q: What makes you stand out from a traditional B&B?

A: We offer additional amenities that we know our guests enjoy such as the restaurant, bar, pool and poolside bar, petanque courts, and soon to be shuttle service. We also offer daily housekeeping service.

Q: What has been your favorite “guest story”?

A: There have been so many memorable stories that we have enjoyed and smiled about since we have opened. The candle-lit engagement in our gazebo with rose petals strewn and the fire pit crackling nearby under the stars was certainly a favorite. However, the couple celebrating their 60th-year wedding anniversary who came back to Shelter Island House to celebrate at the same location where they spent their honeymoon was unforgettable.

Q: What do you love most about being an innkeeper?

A: My favorite part about being an innkeeper is meeting so many wonderful people from all over the world and continuously challenging myself to make their visit at Shelter Island House the best possible experience. Going that extra step for my guests puts a smile on their face, and it is mutually rewarding.

Q: Last spring, actress Jessica Chastain stayed at your boutique B&B. Do you regularly cater to celebrities?

A: Shelter Island is becoming more of a hotspot for celebrities like Jessica Chastain. We have had the pleasure of hosting different celebrities at both the hotel and the restaurant.

Q: What would be your #1 piece of advice for aspiring innkeepers?

A: My #1 piece of advice for aspiring innkeepers is to always take the extra step to make your guests feel at home and welcome. It goes a long way for everyone!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fat Tuesday is just around the corner and for many that means indulging in great Cajun dishes, extra strong cocktails, and some beads (of course). Every year, thousands of people are drawn to the Big Easy, flooding the streets as they celebrate Mardi Gras. Make it a celebration to remember by planning a trip to one of these NOLA B&Bs for some fancy-free partying, New Orleans style.

Find yourself directly on the parade route while enjoying your Mardi Gras stay at the Sully Mansion. Built in 1890 by architect Thomas Sully, this 9-room Queen Anne with 14-foot ceilings and original stained-glass windows is located in the Garden District steps from fashionable Magazine Street. The B&B has fourteen-foot ceilings with original plaster medallions, wide pine plank flooring, a large wraparound porch, antiques and many special touches which embody the grace and charm of a bygone era yet with all the modern-day conveniences.

Catch some of the best parade sights as you watch from the doorstep and balcony at the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast located in the Garden District. Nestled under the shady oaks of majestic St. Charles Avenue, the renovated 7,600 square foot historic mansion is the picture of New Orleans, decorated with period furnishing to emulate the original style. Each room features a private bath, personal central air and heat controls, telephone, cable TV and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Take in the natural beauty of majestic oak trees and enjoy the convenience of great local shops and restaurants, convenient public transportation, and so much more, when staying at the Chimes Bed and Breakfast. Located in the Uptown/Garden District area provides plenty of opportunity to explore all that NOLA has to offer. The inns features five unique guests rooms, all of which have their own private entrance, and breakfast, parking, and Wi-Fi are all included.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We all know the nagging feeling of needing to tackle a large cleaning project: the articles of clothes stuffed away in the back of our closets that haven’t been worn in a decade, piles of paperwork crammed in desk drawers that would be better suited filed electronically, and that garage full of unmarked boxes. Thanks to innkeeper Debbie of the Black Sheep Inn & Spa in Hammondsport, NY, we’ve got some helpful tips to help you de-clutter your home (and maybe even your mind in the process).

When Debbie and her husband, Marc, made the move from a 2,500 square foot home in Cleveland to a property over double the size (5,600 square feet), she realized she had much more to do beyond the typical pack-up. Sorting, organizing, boxing, and choosing what to take with her became a necessary process. “We began with things that were more external and not used all the time or rarely”, says Debbie. Her advice? Make piles according to things you’d like to 1) Keep, 2) Sell, 3) Donate, 4) Recycle or reuse in a new way that adds purpose to your home.

The best way to tackle the decluttering of your home, overall living space, and your life is to take small steps that ultimately lead to bigger lifestyle changes. Combined, these seemingly tiny changes lead to large improvements which you can easily maintain in the long-run.

“Many of our goals in cleaning out our homes also helps to clean out our lives, mentally, physically and spiritually…and it helps others too”.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

You don’t have to dish out hundreds of Benjamin’s to enjoy a relaxing President’s Day getaway. This year, the holiday falls on a Monday, which means that most people will be enjoying a three-day weekend. Why not take advantage and book a trip that will leave you both refreshed and informed? Lovingly revived or preserved, these three B&Bs located in long-established hot spots are filled with historic charm.

Hillbrook InnHillbrook Inn

While the first president of the United States, George Washington, may not have slept here, the Hillbrook Inn in Charles Town, WV sits directly on the president’s first land purchase which he made in 1752. At the young age of 18, George Washington invested his earnings as a surveyor in 550 acres of farmland on Bullskin Run, two miles southwest of Charles Town, with Hillbrook Inn’s 18 acres being a part of the original purchase.

Holladay House Bed and BreakfastHolladay House Bed and Breakfast

Before, during, and after the American Civil War, James Madison’s nephew, John Madison Chapman, owned the property that is now Holladay House Bed and Breakfast in Orange, VA. Today, guests can travel back in time alongside period pieces (opera glasses from the era, a top hat, map of the country, etc.) and stay in the John Madison Suite, appropriately named after John Madison’s nephew (also an owner of the property). The inn also offers history and heritage packages where visitors can tour picturesque landscapes and estates along “Constitution Highway” (Route 20), complete with a full itinerary, map, picnic basket lunch, and a complete breakfast each morning for $549 for two guests, plus tax.

Aldrich Guest HouseAldrich Guest House

The Aldrich Guest House in Galena, IL has more than one connection to powerful people (and presidents) in history. The second owner of the property, Congressman J. Russell Jones, was a friend of Abraham Lincoln, who often stayed on the property after making one of his many speeches in Galena. The third owner/builder of the property, Mr. R.H. McClellan (also a congressman), was friends with Ulysses S. Grant. It is said that when Grant was training his troops for the Civil War, he used the yard in order to train his troops from Galena.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Green Mountain InnGreen Mountain Inn

Conveniently located in the center of historic Stowe Village, Green Mountain Inn in Stowe has been hosting guests since 1833 and offers them the ultimate New England regional experience. This gorgeously restored inn seamlessly blends classic elegance with contemporary comfort and modern amenities. In addition to 103 unique guest rooms, lavish suites, and village townhouses, the property features The Whip Bar & Grill, offering fine dining in casual surroundings, and The Main Street Dining Room, which focuses on quality food and fare in a cozy atmosphere complete with fireplace, hardwood floors, a display of an original Walton Blodgett watercolor landscape, and more. Travelers to the inn enjoy plenty of outdoor activities (including the award-winning Stowe Recreation Path), numerous local attractions, and events year-round. They can also indulge in exceptional cocktails such as The Whip, a signature specialty served at its namesake establishment.

The WhipThe Whip

The Whip

Ingredients:
1 Orange Slice
1 Maraschino Cherry
A Splash of Seltzer
3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
2 oz. Maker’s Mark Bourbon
A Teaspoon of Maple Syrup
Ice

Directions:
In an old fashioned glass, muddle an orange slice and maraschino cherry with a splash of seltzer and 3 dashes of Angostura bitters. Fill with ice, add 2 oz. Maker’s Mark bourbon, a teaspoon of maple syrup, and stir.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Inn at RiverbendInn at Riverbend

For chocolate lovers, Valentine’s Day is one of the best days of the year. And what could honestly be better than a holiday where you’re pretty much expected to give, receive, and eat chocolate everything? We’re featuring a delicious recipe courtesy of Inn at Riverbend in Pearisburg, VA that will have you head-over-heels in love. Whether you’re making them for someone special, friends, or solely for yourself, these Chocolate Raspberry Truffles deserve to be enjoyed.

Raspberry Truffles

Ingredients:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam

Directions:
1. Cook semi-sweet chocolate, heavy cream, butter over low heat
2. Stir in the seedless raspberry jam
3. Wrap bowl in plastic wrap, freeze 20 minutes
4. Drop by teaspoon on foil, freeze 15 minutes
5. Remove from freezer and roll in cocoa

Yields one dozen. Serve at room temperature on decorative plate.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Making Waves BoatelMaking Waves Boatel

In June of 2004 Diane Greene and her husband, Ted, stepped off the corporate treadmill and bought a boat. Their dreams of living on the sea came to life and today the innkeepers are owners of Toronto’s only boat, bed, and breakfast, Making Waves Boatel. This month we caught up with Diane for an interview. Read the Q&A session below!

Q: What’s one thing that you wish potential guests knew about B&B’s?

A: There are two things actually! One: Breakfast at the Captain’s table is the highlight of every day. Good coffee, good conversation, and a great breakfast. It’s something that only happens at a B&B. You don’t get that at a hotel or restaurant. Two: Our boat B&B is an opportunity for people to experience marina life and living on a boat, even if for just a few nights. Let’s face it, there aren’t many places in the world you can go on vacation and stay on a yacht that you don’t own.

Q: What has been your strangest guest request?

A: We have a sign on the door that reads, “No Tell Boatel. What happens on the Boatel, stays on the Boatel,” so my lips are sealed. However, I can tell you about a business traveler who was staying with us and realized he forgot his cuff links for his shirt. He was checking out and heading to a meeting before flying home. He came up to the kitchen and asked me what time the men’s clothing stores opened to buy some. He was trying to figure out if he had time to go to the store and get to his appointment on time. I left him pondering, quickly went downstairs, grabbed a nice pair of my husband’s cuff links, and handed them to him. The look on his face was priceless. He couldn’t believe it. He promised to return them by courier when he got home, which he did with a note that read: “Thanks – you wouldn’t get that service in a hotel!”

Q: When you’re not busy hosting guests, what are some of the things you like to do in your free time?

A: We summer in Toronto. In the fall when our season is done, we cruise our boat to the Bahamas for the winter. We are avid beach combers, and in particular, we collect sea glass. If we are not on the beach then we are in the water spearfishing for lobster, snorkeling, or scuba diving. I enjoy making sterling silver jewelry with the sea glass, and whenever I can fit a jewelry class into my schedule, I take one at a local metal studio.

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

A: A favorite movie is called Eye of the Dolphin, which was filmed in the Bahamas and closely resembles the real Bahamian Out Islands that we know and love. Another one is the comedy called Captain Ron starring Kurt Russell and Martin Short. It is always a regular on movie night when we cruise through the New York Canal with our crew on our way south.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Iris InnIris Inn

The month of love has finally arrived…which means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and you may be looking to whisk your sweetie off for a romantic B&B getaway. But how do you find the right trip for your relationship?

That’s where we come in. Each pair is different and so are B&B experiences. With over 1,500 unique travel experiences to choose from, we have something for every type of romantic. BnBFinder Gift Certificates are a great option thanks to their flexibility and the ability to personalize. They also boast no blackout or expiration dates, free shipping or the choice of sending an instant E-Card, and the ability to add a personalized message for your loved one.

Click here to purchase your BnBFinder Gift Certificate.

Click here for participating inns.

Click here to find Valentine’s Day Specials to fall for.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

With National Carrot Cake Day this Friday, we figured we’d switch things up a bit and share a recipe that puts a little extra zing to the popular desert choice. And since innkeepers are the pros when it comes to all things breakfast, we asked Avenue Hotel Bed and Breakfast in Manitou Springs, CO to share their recipe which takes the traditional carrot cake and merges it with one of our favorite morning dishes: waffles. Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Waffles courtesy of Avenue Hotel Bed and Breakfast in Manitou Springs, CO

Avenue Hotel Bed & BreakfastAvenue Hotel Bed & Breakfast

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cup finely grated carrots

Maple Nut Cream Cheese Spread:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Heat 4 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat until melted. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly, until butter is brown and has a faint nutty aroma, 2-4 minutes. Add spices and continue to cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds; remove from heat and allow to cool about 30 minutes. Sift together flour, salt, sugar baking soda. Mix together the buttermilk and the egg yolks. Stir in the spiced butter and vanilla. Spray the waffle iron well with non-stick cooking spray and preheat it. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Beat the egg white in a separate clean bowl with an electric mixer until they hold peaks. Stir them gently into the batter. Add pineapple, raisins, walnuts, and carrots. Stir gently to combine.

Spread batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 4 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Spray iron with cooking spray between waffles as needed.

To make the cream cheese spread, simply combine nuts, syrup, cinnamon, and cream cheese and mix well. Serve waffles immediately with spread or keep waffles warm for a few minutes in the oven then spread with cream cheese between the waffles. Pour maple syrup over the top and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Yields: 6-8 waffles.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Olde Savannah Inn Bed and Breakfast HotelThe Olde Savannah Inn Bed and Breakfast Hotel

Savannah, Georgia is known best for its historic charm, antebellum architecture, and having the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the U.S. This coastal city is brimming with beautiful scenery and architecture, and great places to eat, drink, and shop. With its pedestrian-friendly layout and innovative urban design, Savannah is a city easy to navigate and explore. From music and food festivals, architectural tours, art exhibits and Civil War re-enactments, the “Hostess City” brims with exciting events to entertain travelers.

What to Do

1. Do a honey tasting: Get a taste of something sweet at the Savannah Bee Company where you can get up close and personal with honey bees, learn about swarming behavior, beekeeping, royal jelly, propolis, and beeswax production, taste all of the different honey offered, and participate in a discussion about origins, flavor profiles, etc.

2. Take a historical trolley tour: Take a journey back in time to the old South aboard an old-fashioned trolley and marvel over the amazing architecture and culture that Savannah has to offer.

3. Sip, shop, and stroll along Broughton Street: Spend the day walking along one of the most famous streets in all of Savannah. And since the city allows to-go cup cocktails on the streets, bring one with you and sip as you stroll.

Where to Stay

Located in the heart of historic Savannah and surrounded by an oasis on antebellum homes, this elegantly designed, one-of-a-kind inn features 5 unique guestrooms. Glamourous yet comfortable, The Olde Savannah Inn Bed and Breakfast Hotel offers luxurious amenities including a complimentary gourmet breakfast, afternoon refreshments, evening wine complete with cheese and crackers, room service, maid services, BOSE CD players, gas line fireplaces, 800 thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, and more. At the end of the day, relax under a pure down feather comforter, luxury linens and custom bath accessories.

Green Palm InnGreen Palm Inn

Green Palm Inn is situated just steps away from tranquil Greene Square, one of historic Savannah’s most famous public garden parks, and just a short stroll to bustling River Street and the vibrant history and culture of spectacular Savannah. With four impeccable guest rooms, expect some of the best personal service and hospitality. Enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast featuring both light and hearty Southern cuisine, indulge in the dessert bar, and relax as you savor daily wine hours complete with hors d’oeuvres. “Savannah offers an evergreen landscape year around. Yet, on Friday, March 17 – and for the long weekend through March 19, 2017 – expect the color green wherever you roam! Forsyth Park and all City of Savannah fountains in the downtown area run with green water. Revelers wear green, Irish green, and every green shade in hats, shirts, beads, hair, ribbons, ties, jackets, pants…everything imaginable!” says innkeeper Diane McCray Crews.

Diane McCray Crews, innkeeper of Green Palm InnDiane McCray Crews, innkeeper of Green Palm Inn

Parade Tips:

  • The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Friday, March 17, 2017 from 10:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. To make sure you get a great seat, bring your own folding chair and be in place by 8:00 a.m.

  • Eat breakfast early and pack and picnic lunch. Eateries in the downtown area will be packed!

  • Follow these St. Patrick’s Day resources online: City of Savannah’s web page (with links to party-zone wristband fees for those wanting to use to-go alcoholic beverage cups, use of squares, places and ways to recycle, parade route, and street closure information), the official Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Twitter, @savstpat, and the Facebook page.

Green Palm Inn provides off street parking to guests. However, if you do not have off-street parking, purchase St. Patrick’s weekend parking garage tickets early! Beginning Monday, February 27 at 8 a.m. Mobility & Parking Services will offer a pre-sale of parking spaces for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration (Thursday, March 16; Friday, March 17; Saturday, March 18; and Sunday, March 19). Here’s the link.

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