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In a previous blog, I introduced the Charlton House, a bed and breakfast opened in the late 60’s by two retired school teachers.  They patterned this BnB after  some of their favorites from summer backpack excursions through Europe.   Ample breakfasts, shared baths down the hall and a collection of record albums for guests were the norm.

Well, after a little more than a decade of success  in innkeeping, they sold the bed and breakfast in the mid-80s to two sisters.  One was the resident innkeeper while the other had a job with a successful computer software company.  While both enjoyed innkeeping, for one it was a hobby and investment…for the other, a full time job.

They promptly added color to the walls…lots of it.  Seafoam green, peach, country blue, deep wine shades and forest green flowed throughout the bedrooms.  Wallpaper was added.  Stripes, flowers….wallpaper was popular, easy to clean and very trendy.  Drapes adorned  the windows and plush carpeting covered the floors.  For entertainment, cassettes replaced vinyl, and then with the walkman, CD’s started to appear.  Thanks to cable, guests watched TV in their room and could also choose one of the VHS tapes the innkeepers kept on hand.

The 80’s were all about Dallas….the tv show, that is.  Everything was big…cars, guest rooms, beds, breakfasts, and yes hair….really really big hair.  Our innkeepers replaced the full beds with queen size.  They removed one guest room, remodeled and added a bath to every room. Bathrooms were ornate, with large mirrors (remember the big hair) oversized light fixtures and large gold plated bathroom fixtures.  Parking was still an issue.  Cars were big, and expensive…in fact, the bigger and more expensive the better.  Guests were becoming a little health conscious.  Equal was added to the table and  Yogurt became a popular breakfast add on.  The innkeepers added a small guest refrigerator stocked with Coca Cola and Tab…diet soft drinks had arrived.  On top of the fridge they left a basket of goodies for guests, Doritos, and California Raisins (the commercial with claymation singing raisins was quite popular).

Special events were becoming popular.  These innkeepers accommodated 2 small weddings, one family reunion as well as a “Who Shot J.R.” TV night.  People liked meeting in their BnB.  It was a warm, welcoming place for a gathering.   After their first year, they added Murder Mystery Party weekends with much success.

Reservations were still taken by phone. Guest found the BnB from popular guidebooks, magazines and sometimes AAA.   Credit cards were now a popular means of payment, but many people arrived, checkbook in hand.  The new innkeepers required a one night’s deposit.  The Charlton House had remodeled into an elegant little BnB and now they were quite popular.  Reservations were a must on weekends and that one night’s deposit was important.

Guests expected privacy in their rooms, but enjoyed sharing success stories around the communal dining table.  In the 80’s comparing cars, rings, fashion…well comparing just about anything was popular.  Guests would start the morning with freshly brewed coffee, Coffee Mate and croissants.   Breakfast casseroles had arrived and the innkeepers had a recipe box full of their favorites.  Orange juice was Minute Maid and Apple juice was now a tasty alternative.

The owners were happy.  In the 80’s guests were ready to spend and they enjoyed spending on travel.  People from all over the country visited their city and they were truly welcoming the world at their doorstep.  They took pride in spotlessly clean rooms, well placed guest amenities, as well as fresh ample breakfasts served with a warm, genuine smile.  As with the previous owners, hospitality abounded.  They were always available to answer a question, suggest a great hike or restaurant or add a bouquet of flowers or bottle of wine to the room for a special occasion.

Décor changes, foods change, styles change, but good hospitality is forever.  Paint to wallpaper, TV to VHS, sugar to Equal, vinyl to cassette….remember some things never change.  A warm greeting, welcoming smile, comfortable bed, fresh breakfast and genuine concern, never go out of style.

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Foodie: A person that spends a keen amount of attention and energy on knowing the ingredients of food, the proper preparation of food, and finds great enjoyment in top-notch ingredients and exemplary preparation. Urban Dictionary

Innkeepers are foodies.  I know, most people don’t think of breakfast as a culinary experience.  In fact, most renowned chefs would never darken the door of a kitchen before 10:00am.  Breakfast is eggs and cheese and milk…sausage, and muffins or scones.  Breakfast is the realm of pastry chefs and short order cooks.   If you believe that, then you have never had breakfast at an inn or bnb.

Innkeepers are absolutely obsessed with breakfast.  They buy cookbooks and watch the Food Network to learn how to make the fluffiest eggs or the perfect scone.  They cook, bake, poach and saute and serve up gourmet breakfasts to friends and soon to be friends a like.  They take a simple recipe, scour the local farmers market for fresh organic ingredients and then they lovingly create a dish that would impress even the most discerning food snob.  They study vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, sugar free, no dairy recipes the same way a stock broker would study the Wall Street Journal.

How d0 I know this?  Some of my best friends are innkeepers…and since I love food, especially good food, this works really well for me!  Sit in the room and have coffee with a couple of innkeepers and after the initial pleasantries, things like “How is business? Did you buy a new commercial dishwasher?  How do you get your sheets so soft?”  the discussion turns to food.   Recipes are shared. Ingredients are analyzed and stories are told.

A typical afternoon goes something like this…

“My guests just LOVE my poached pears!  They are organic.  I add just a touch of fresh squeezed orange juice, you know.”

“Seriously, you use orange juice? Try splitting one vanilla bean and using just a touch of cinnamon, but make sure it is Korintje cassia.”

“Well, I found the best organic greek yogurt.  Just add a little lavender honey from that great little farm in Sequim and top it with some organic berries from the Skagit valley.”

“Does anyone else add a drop of truffle oil to their veggie scramble?  The scent wafting from the kitchen is delightful and it certainly enhances the flavor of the organic veggies and blends well with the goats cheese.”

“My Bosch Grain Mill broke and I actually had to BUY wheat flour…can you imagine.  They simply can’t ship me a new one soon enough.”

These are people who know food, love food and believe in sharing that love with their guests.

Here are just a few examples.

Try the versatile Fruit Pasta Salad from The Shepherd’s Inn in Volcano Country within easy driving distance of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and Mt. St Helens.     Start your day with Eggs Florentine featured at The Blue Goose Inn in located in charming Coupeville or relax in Aberdeen at The Harbor View Inn and enjoy their specialty,Apple Cinnamon Tart Souffle.

Need more?  Just visit our website to learn how to create a breakfast fit for a king…or a guest.

So next time you consider a getaway, visit a BnB.  Not only do they have comfy beds, soft, elegant, sheets and friendly innkeepers, they also serve a breakfast perfect for the foodie in all of us.

Book you next getaway today and discover Washington, one delicious breakfast and one delightful inn at a time.

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Innkeepers, generally are happy people.  Innkeepers in Washington state are happy and thankful people!  Below are 8 reasons why.  (listed in no particular order)

1.  Washington state is a diverse, beautiful place.  From mountain to sound, farmland to islands, vineyards to forest, Seattle to Spokane…Washington is just a beautiful place to live and visit.  Lots of people from all over the world choose to vacation here.  We are just plain thankful that we get to live here….and share it with you.

2. Salmon.  No whimpy  Atlantic East coast salmon here…This is rich, beautiful salmon country.  With names like Chinook, Sockeye and Coho, the salmon here is some of the best in the world.  Guests love it and innkeepers can find it year around.  Thinking about salmon makes us thankful….and hungry.

3.  Seattle.  People from all over the world visit Seattle.  With Pike Place Market, trendy restaurants and a vibrant music scene, Seattle offers something for everyone and we have inns to satisfy the needs of any traveler.  Thank you to all who make up the fabric of this fascinating city.

4.  Cruise Ships.  We especially like cruise ships.  Don’t be surprised.  Innkeepers do not consider those floating hotels competition.  People come from all over the U.S. to cruise from Seattle to Alaska.  Wise travelers spend 2 or 3 days before and after their Alaskan cruise exploring Seattle and the surrounding area.  We like cruise ships and are thankful for all those people who stop by to visit us.

5.  The Washington State Ferry System.  Yes, the ferry system offers a dependable affordable way to travel from urban Seattle to the islands in the sound, but really, innkeepers are also thankful just because riding on a ferry is just so cool…and everyone wants to do it.

6.  Bill Gates and Microsoft  That’s it, Bill Gates and Microsoft.  We are thankful.  Enough said…

7.  Starbucks.  People who live in Seattle  like to think that the coffee culture started here.  This could be true.  The climate and coffee compliment each other.   Generally, innkeepers are thankful for Starbucks.  Starbucks made coffee cool…from Seattle to Miami, people need their daily fix.  With the expansion of a coffee culture, competition ensued.  In Washington state you can find some of the finest purveyors of coffee in the world, and our innkeepers take advantage of that every morning…and so can you.

8.  Lewis and Clark  Seriously, these guys took quite a trip!  Thanks to them, we have an appreciation for the discovery of the Columbia River Gorge.  You can trace their steps all the way to Illwaco and learn about their incredible journey at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. We are thankful not only for their willingness to journey across the country, but also for the wonderful written history they left behind. ( Travel in Washington is infinitely easier now, and thanks to our innkeepers, no tents, bed rolls or sleeping in the rain for you!)

These are just some of the reasons our Washington innkeepers are happy.  Watch for another Thanksgiving blog this month and discover more things that make us thankful.

Do you really need more reasons to visit a BnB today?  Reserve a room in a local Washington bed and breakfast and meet some of the nicest and most thankful people around!

Discover Washington and some very thankful innkeepers….one inn at a time.

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