January 12, 2014
It's a new year at Forget-me-not! Hard to believe the other one is already gone. We have just gone through a week of terrible weather. We had over a foot of snow. This little Southern Girl has never experienced that before.
We have had some great guests lately, and they remind me of how fun this can be! It can be hard to keep your home ready for guests at all times. But for me it is a good incentive to keep the house like I would like to, but sometimes just don't feel like doing it.
You might wonder what makes a good guest? Luckily we have had very few bad guests, so most people make good guests. All you have to do is be willing to ask questions and find out what the house rules are and live by them (like no smoking, no feeding the pets in the dining room, taking the decorative shams off the pillows if you want to use them for sleeping). We really enjoy visiting with our guests to find out what would make their trip to St. Louis enjoyable, and we like learning about what they do in their own lives and about their special interests. I have learned a little about felt making, charter schools, making paperweights, traveling to all sorts of companies, and running a haunted house! I love it.
One of the things that is special about running a bed and breakfast is seeing the interactions between the guests when they find common interests to talk about over breakfast. Sometimes I get a little jealous that I can't be in on the conversation, but it is great to hear them enjoying each other's company.
Some of our guests don't really want to socialize that much at breakfast. That's fine. That's probably how I was the first few times I went to one as well, Just try to eat breakfast at a different time from the other people! But you may be missing out on something too!
Haley and I can't wait for our next guest to arrive. The winter can be kind of lonely! Our rates are lower now as are most of the B&B's during the off season. So if you really just want a good rest or get away winter might be a great time to do it!
This past weekend, we ended up not having any guests for the weekend. We never know when this is going to happen, but we try to use the time together to do something fun when it does! So on Friday night I made reservations for lunch at a restaurant in the Lake of the Ozarks! We have friends who own homes there, but we have never been. All day I kept expecting someone to call and ask to come stay for the weekend, but they didn't, so it made being away much less stressful.
I saw a helicopter fly overhead and said, "Wow we could take a helicopter ride sometime!" I didn't know that the helicopter was available for rides when I said that, but it was! So we took our first helicopter ride. We took an intermediate length ride which was just about right. We could see well, and the ride was pretty smooth. After we disembarked, Chuck tells me that it seemed awfully flimsy to him, but I thought it was great fun. The pilot's door was missing. When I asked him why, he said he took it off because it was like a hot house with all the plexiglass.
So we were able to get a little super mini vacation ourselves! Fun times!
Well, I did something today that I don't usually get a chance to do. I went out to BRUNCH. My daughter writes a blog about brunching in Richmond,VA. So when she suggested we Brunch I jumped at the chance. We went to Rooster in St. Louis. We had a great time and great food. She decided to write it up since she wouldn't be in Richmond for the weekend and asked me to be a guest blogger. You can read about it on her blog:
So this blogging thing isn't working too well for me, but I will try to write something when I can. One of the things I like best about running a bed and breakfast is all the interesting people we get to meet from all over the world. Just recently we had a blacksmith, an Episcopal priest and his wife who collect paperweights and have made their own, and a collector of American Brilliant Cut Glass. I didn't know you could make your own paperweights and I want to try to do that now. I didn't know their was such a thing as a Cut Glass society, but now I do! And I certainly haven't met a blacksmith before.
Other interesting people who have come our way is a lady who was here for a workshop on making felt. Another couple was here for a convention for those who run haunted houses. They had a small one in their home. And a home brewer that helped me understand what I do and don't like about beer (I don't like hops, and so that means I usually like the darker beers!) We also had the mayor of a small Minnesota town and an artist with a show in St Louis, who may be doing a project based on our staircase. (I'll be sure to say more about that when I know more).
When we opened the bed and breakfast, I soon found out how many people make their living by trying to sell something to other businesses. We are constantly getting calls from website people, internet people, credit card people, catering people and others. Most of the time I say no thank you, but when the St. Louis Weddings people called to talk to us about being on their website, I felt like that was a really good match for us. We get all sorts of people celebrating all sorts of things, but we really enjoy honeymooners, so that was a good fit.
Well, we were going to do a blog about things to do in St. Louis, but there are already a lot of blogs talking about that! So I thought I'd write about what it is like to live in a Bed and Breakfast. Not many people get to do that, but it is an interesting life, of that I can guarantee!
We are going into our 3rd year of running a bed and breakfast. Unlike many of our guests, I had never wanted to run a bed and breakfast but we were fortunate enough to live in a house that was perfect for doing so. We bought this house because I was in love with it. Every time I drove by the house I thought it was beautiful. This was even with it's outrageous colors of teal, mustard and red! And a roof that needed repairing. But it has excellent bones, and a turret!
A friend of ours is a real estate agent, and I asked her if she would take us inside. I was hoping that all the woodwork would be painted or pulled out so I could stop thinking about it. When we came in though, the woodwork had all been preserved! Chuck had to calm me down so I wouldn't let the sellers know how much I wanted it! And there were so many other wonderful things about the house. Such as it having 4 1/2 bathrooms, or actually 3 3 1/2 bathrooms. ( The bathroom that we use is divided into 2 parts one with sink and toilet, and the other with tub and sink!) At the time there was just the 2 of us, so we had no idea what we would do with all the space, but once I came inside, I really wanted the house.
It was a big step, because there was a lot that still had to be done on the house (the joys of owning an old home. Our offer was rejected. So we let it go.
It stayed on the market, and it came down to less than what we offered to begin with, so we made an offer again, and this time we got the house! Plus we got all the repairs that came with it. Like a need roof, a new boiler, a new water heater, and new paint inside and out, repairing walls, replacing light fixtures, etc.
The first time we walked in the house we said to each other that we wanted to always remember how special it felt to walk through our front door and to see all the craftsmanship in the woodwork. One of the most special things about opening our house as a Bed and Breakfast is now we can hear other people's reactions when they walk through the front door! We have 2 more guests coming in tonight. So looking forward to that reaction this evening.
Most recently we have discovered the History Museum. Okay, I know it has been there a long time, but we hadn't taken advantage of it. A post on our neighborhood page mentioned a documentary that would be showing there about Brick. Now that might not sound that interesting, but brick in St. Louis is in a class all by itself. When we first moved here we thought the brick was almost too much. It gave a sameness to things that was boring. But then we really started looking at the buildings around us and notice all the differences. The it's hard to find any area where there are 2 buildings that are the same. The brick is different, or the porches, or the columns, or the windows or something. There is such a rich architecture in St. Louis. Our house, the Forget-me-not Bed and Breakfast, is located in Tower Grove East here in St.Louis. Tower Grove East has just been named a national historic district mainly because of the architecture. Tower Grove East was a street car neighborhood and has mainly middle class homes in it. Our house is fancier than most, but still is not as grand as the ones in Compton Heights or some of the other upper class neighborhoods. There is a nice sense of neighborhood in Tower Grove East with neighbors taking the time to know each other and watch out for each other.