Our Members Speak Out
Ahern's Belle of the Bends Bed
and Breakfast, Vicksburg, MS
Question for November:
What was your most embarrassing moment as an
Email your responses to
Sandy@BedandBreakfast.com. If we publish your comments, we’ll thank you
with a $25 credit in our Featured Properties Auction program!
You were asked: Why did you take the
plunge into innkeeping? Inspired by an inn where you stayed?
Enjoyed a financial windfall? A life-changing event?
“It was 9-11-01 that was my epiphany. For 20 years I ate, drank,
slept, and breathed bed and breakfast innkeeping. When my son
was a baby, I would put him in his snuggly and take him for
walks in our old Northwest Denver neighborhood and say things
like, "Oh look Jacob, wouldn’t that house make the perfect bed
and breakfast,” and then walk to the next block and say the say
thing about another house. I went to floral design school when
Jacob was 13 months old and then to cake decorating school when
he was 13 years old because I knew in my heart, that someday, I
was going to own a bed and breakfast. I wanted to host weddings
that I could bake the cake and do the flowers for. I read and
reread So You Want to be an Innkeeper so many times that
could nearly recite chapter after chapter verbatim!
“Then, I watched the television in horror as planes crashed into
buildings and everyday people fled a wall of black smoke in New
York City. My office closed early that day as well as my
husband's engineering firm. I remember sitting in the family
room of our home when my husband walked in, and I said to him,
‘I am not doing what I want to be doing; we could all die
tomorrow as was just evidenced today. I want to own a bed and
breakfast, and I am going to start looking tonight!’ I got on
the internet and found B&B for sale sites and the search began.
"'Where is Vicksburg, Mississippi, and why would you ever want
to move there?’ Those were the questions friends and family
asked us as no one could grasp the concept of leaving beautiful
Denver for Mississippi. Since then, all of our friends and
family have come to visit us and they walk in the front door of
our beautiful home and look at me and say, ‘Oooh, now I get it."
– Mary Lee,
Ahern's Belle of the Bends Bed and Breakfast, Vicksburg, MS
“I was living in Colorado Springs, in my late 30s and divorced.
I had always wanted children, but as that didn't seem like it
was going to happen, I decided I wanted to move back home to
northern Iowa/southern Minnesota and get to know my nieces and
nephews before they were all grown up. The question was: How
could I support myself in a largely rural area with limited job
opportunities? I had stayed at Blue Lake Ranch, a beautiful B&B
near Durango, CO, and couldn't stop thinking about opening a
B&B. A lot of my friends were into camping at the time but said
while they loved going to the country, they wished for a
comfortable bed and a nice bathroom instead of a tent and an
outhouse. My hope was that if I opened a B&B in a quaint little
town like St. Ansgar, IA, that people would be able to escape
the city and all its stresses, while feeling pampered with
luxurious, comfortable surroundings. Sixteen years later, I'm
living where I want to live, doing something I love, and able to
spend a lot of time with my family, too. Three and a half years
ago, I married a wonderful man who I never would have met had I
not followed my dream and moved back to the Midwest.” –
Sherrie C. Hansen,
The Blue Belle Inn, Saint Ansgar, IA
“My husband and I had enjoyed a fair amount of travel by the
time we read the new bed and breakfast regulations just
published by the Wyoming Department of Health in a full-page
article in our local newspaper one cold February day in 1986.
“Reading that article struck a chord with both of us. We
realized how much we enjoyed meeting people from all walks of
life and from all around the world. We had never been to a B&B,
but we learned of a nucleus group that had just been formed by
some ranchers in central Wyoming, so we joined the WHOA group:
Wyoming Homestays and Outdoor Adventures. It has evolved now
into Wyoming Hospitality and Outdoor Adventures, and you can
find us directly on the web at www.WyomingBnB-RanchRec.com and
other tourism sites.
“Our inn, The Howdy Pardner, became the first bed and breakfast
in Cheyenne and about the third in the state to officially
register and get inspected.
“Yes, it was the social aspect, not making profits, that lured
us into this fascinating business, and it has kept me going for
20 years now! What a fun occupation!” – Jan Peterson,
The Howdy Pardner Bed & Breakfast, Cheyenne, WY
“I wanted a job that I could do at home, as I was the divorced
mother of one child. My cousin had spent his life in the hotel
trade, and I knew how fulfilling it had been for him. However, I
didn't listen to him when he told me it was a lot of work. But
my daughter wrote a great college entrance application essay
about growing up in a B&B, and garnered plenty of acceptances to
fine colleges and financial aid, so it was worth it after all!”
– Diana Mara Henry,
Lathrop House B&B, Springfield, MA
“We were on vacation with four of our six kids and drove past a
lighted sign: Millstone Inn Bed & Breakfast. ‘I want to stay
there tonight if they availability!’ We turned around, and I
knocked on the door. Was I B&B material? We got one room for my
husband and me and one room for the kids. The next morning,
breakfast was an assortment of quick breads and muffins, juice,
and fruit. We rolled out we were so stuffed. As we drove away I
said, "I can do that!" From that day on my plan was to have a
B&B. Since my non-believer husband thought there "has to be a
hook,” we started going to seminars looking for the hook. (I
found it. I have to clean house!) Moving back to West Virginia
to have a B&B was my husband's reward to me for raising the five
kids he brought to the marriage and the one I brought.
“Now about 25 years later, I am in my twelfth year as owner/host
of a start-up and would not be doing anything else.” –
Kathleen A. Panek,
Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, Shinnston, WV
"We consider ourselves corporate refugees. We lived in the
Northern Virginia area for nearly 25 years and realized that due
to long work hours and commutes, we barely knew each other. We
decided there had to be a better way of life. We moved to New
Hampshire and purchased a B&B; that was nearly six years ago.
There are days that we are frustrated, discouraged or feeling
burned out, but we love innkeeping and will never go back to
corporate America if we can help it." Linda and Wes Matchett,
Tuc' Me Inn B&B, Wolfeboro, NH
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