Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Friday, September 16, 2011

INN KEEPING-101

Who would have thought! A quick lesson in Inn keeping from the Master (my brother Mark) and we were on our way. Mark and I bought The Maples Inn in Bar Harbor, Maine in 2005. This is a wonderful, small Bed and Breakfast with six rooms and an owners living area. Mark always wanted to run an Inn in Maine. I was just an investor wanting no part of running the business. He even went to B&B school and I went to RV school. He came to Maine every summer, ran the Inn for six months then went back to Chicago. I stayed in New Orleans and pursued my career and Nancy and I visited once in a while. This summer was his sixth year there and he needed a break. Enter Nance and me.


We volunteered to run the Inn for a week while Mark went to Chicago for some fun. Nancy thought it would be fun to cook breakfasts and be creative. I always liked people so thought it would be fun to mix with the guests and meet people from around the world. All of that sounded great until the reality of the work in this business hit us! Mark even typed out an operational schedule so we wouldn’t miss the details. It was ten pages long. And we had a chamber maid who took care of the rooms everyday. We knew we were in deep.

If any of you ever think that you want to own a B&B, I would advise that you work in one as an Inn-sitter first. We had a great time for one week but don’t know how Mark does it by himself. Nance and I had each other to do what the other didn’t want to do or didn’t have time for at the moment. Our day (Nancy’s) began at 5:45 am, getting coffee, tea, juice, milk and pastries out for the early rising guests. The table had to be set, lights turned on, paper fetched, and a host of other small chores that make the guests feel comfortable. Then Nance would begin preparation of the breakfast to be served at 8:30 am. Sometimes breakfast foods were prepared the night before, but there was always bacon, muffins, tomatoes and other items that were prepared in the morning. I visited with guests on the front porch with coffee, rang the breakfast bell at 8:30 and served the breakfast as fast as Nancy could plate it. We always had fresh fruit followed by something like blueberry stuffed French toast, the signature dish of The Maples Inn. Sometimes Nance got creative and made phyllo with orange custard, fresh fruit and blueberry sauce for a starter and then cottled eggs with baked balsamic tomatoes. Guests loved the food and Mark has developed wonderfully delicious and satisfying recipes over the years.


Blueberry French Toast.

Phyllo, orange custard, fresh berries, and
blueberry sauce.














After we gave guests advice on how to spend their days at Acadia National Park, whale watching, or etc, they would scurry off and we would begin house cleaning, vacuuming, laundry with lots of towels, napkins etc. I would then run credit cards and say good bye to guests leaving. Nancy would plan the next days’ breakfast and we would go to the little grocery in Bar Harbor and buy supplies. If a toilet broke (which it did) or a lock broke (which it did), we would head to the hardware store. Thank God for a chamber maid (Sharon) who was wonderful and made up the rooms to be spectacular. Then Nance made fresh baked cookies or snacks with tea at 4 pm as the guests began to return from their day. Enter me again as I visited with them to talk about their adventures. Then the next round of guests arriving for check in – sometimes not until 7 pm and often later. That always meant showing them their room and visiting with them on the front porch until we were exhausted from the days’ work. Then there’s all of the bookkeeping and answering the phone all day and evening long about calls wanting reservations. We only got to go out to dinner once that week because we couldn’t get away.

We welcomed Mark back with open arms and gladly turned the Inn back to him. But we made lots of new friends, learned a lot, had fun and got to spend another wonderful week in Maine; but, we loved going back to our home-the motor home and headed on down the road.


Maples Inn gorgeous garden and front porch.
The front porch is a great gathering point for morning coffee and
afternoon tea (and evening cocktails).
One of the most popular rooms - the Red Oak room with private balcony (pictured below).

 
The White Birch Suite and private sitting area (pictured below).



2 comments:

  1. Looks like a very cozy B&B. We owned a B&B for women for a short while. Dawn Father became ill and we sold and moved in to take care of him. It is a lot of work. We enjoyed it.

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  2. Oh my goodness, how exciting and exhausting! We are adding this to our bucket list! You'll just have to let us know where to park the motorhome! I want some of that stuffed French toast! Will Nancy share the recipe ?

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