Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our Continuing Story of An Aspiring Innkeeper


It's now been 8 weeks since Annette, our aspiring innkeeper intern has been with us. I thought for all you folks who have met Annette or have ever said "I would love to have a B&B when I retire" it's time to catch up with her experiences so far.

This time, I'm going to ask Annette a few questions...here goes!

Q: What is the biggest surprise or misconception you had about what the life of an innkeeper is like?

A: The amount of time spent to cook, serve, and clean for a "full-house" is quite time consuming. I did not think it would take almost all day. We start early in the morning and we finish by around 2:00 p.m. and then we need to prepare with the "check-in" starting at 3:00 p.m. and the "prep" for the breakfast. Somewhere along the way, we need to bake cookies, prepare the special granola we make in-house, go shopping, do the paper work and collapse.

Q: So what time does your day actually finish?

A: I am usually done by around 7:00 p.m., but there are questions and/or issues; phone calls taking reservations; that can keep Diane and Ron busy past 8:00 or 9:00 p.m., especially if there are late arrivals (after 6:00 p.m.).

Q: Now tell us about the parts of your day you enjoy the most and why after all this work you still want to be an innkeeper?

A: I enjoy baking, cooking and communicating with the guests. The interaction is very interesting since we get people from all over, both young and mature. I have developed a good relationship with Diane and Ron and we laugh and have fun together. It would be very difficult to have this kind of schedule if they were just watching me and letting me do all the work and just criticizing. We work together!

Q: Do you have a favorite moments/interaction/experience with a guest?

A: I appreciate the thank-yous we get, particularly if the breakfast was primarily my making.

Q: Any pet peeves that might help future B&B guests?

A: We would like our guests to be comfortable, relaxed and enjoy the pampering. However, we want them to treat our suites with care and consideration and follow our simple instructions.

Q: I know that you've now looked at a couple B&Bs for sale and other properties that might be turned into a B&B. I don't think the general public is aware of how much it actually takes to get into the B&B industry. Since you've now done a lot of research, speaking generally, how much money do you think people would need to have to purchase either an existing B&B or start their own?

A: The commitment to buying or building a B&B was also a surprise to me. The cost is higher than I expected, especially at this time of recession. It is not easy to sell a B&B, so some owners choose to revert to a "house for sale" rather than a "business for sale". I cannot specify the cost since it varies by location, size, whether business (turnkey) or home, and the area of the country. I would say that a range of $1 million to $2 million would be needed for an existing 5 unit place, plus money to convert, add or change to the new owner's liking. In addition, a cushion of $100,000 to be in business for 6 months without worrying about income. Building from scratch will always be much more expensive and the style will not be as eclectic as most people expect in a B&B.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Chippy" The Wonder Squirrel

This summer our guests have had quite an amusing time watching both the chipmunks and squirrels feast on what is supposed to be bird food! We have bird feeders in numerous trees and posts which the chipmunks and squirrels scamper up, fill their cheeks to the bursting point then run the terrifying task of bringing it back to their home without our dog Sandy laying a trap for them.

Today, a very persistent squirrel was sitting at our back door waiting for an invitation to come into the kitchen. Needless to say we shooed him off, but it reminds me of a story which happened last year.

Ron was sitting at the computer in our little office area of the kitchen, when he heard a noise. He looked up and to his surprise there was a squirrel poking his head up and over from the inside edge of one of our food buckets! He was inside the bucket of about 10 pounds of chocolate chips! I think Ron was just as startled as the little squirrel. Ron said "What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be in here....get outta here!" Well, he listened to Ron and the little guy jumped out of the bucket and ran out the back door where the screen was a little loose! We couldn't believe it....he had actually eaten his way through the thick top lid of the bucket (one of those Tillamook Ice Cream buckets you get at the cheese factory) and was eating all the chocolate chips stored inside. Now, I've heard of chocolate cravings, but this guy was hooked!

The story doesn't end here. The next day I was sitting at the same computer when I heard an unusual sound. I got up and looked at the back door and guess who was trying to get back in for another chocolate chip party! Yup, the same squirrel, but this time all he found was a tight screen that was fixed. He was scratching, trying to get in. I shooed him away and I thought it was all over. No such chance...this little guy needs a 12 step program for his chocolate addiction. About an hour later, you guessed it, I was sitting at that same computer and this time I heard a very strange noise coming from the main entry room of the inn. I got up to check, and this addicted squirrel was on his hind legs scratching at the glass on the front door!!! He wanted his chocolate and somehow figured out both doors. Well, I really chased him away and threatened him with letting Sandy catch him and we didn't see him again after that.

So...what do you think the chances are that the squirrel that appeared at our back door today was the same one from a year ago? I know it's a long shot, but sure makes for some good speculation. Personally, I'm going to name him "Chippy"!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cape Kiwanda Longboard Classic

Surf's Up for the 10th Annual Cape Kiwanda Longboard Classic August 2nd & 3rd!

Whether you're a surfer or just looking for the nostalgia of days gone by, you'll want to hit the sand on August 2nd & 3rd at Cape Kiwanda.

Longboards are surfboards that are 9 feet or longer. This family event will have about 120 participants competing. Contestants will be judged on 3 criteria: size and quality of wave, length of ride and maneuvers the rider can complete.

If you're not a surfer, just come and join the fun. It's time for a beach party!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pacific City honors it's Dory fleet with the 49th Annual Dory Days Festival July 18-20

The Dory Fleet fishermen use this small flat-bottomed boat to crash through the surf headed for the plentiful waters of the Pacific. At day’s end, they ride the waves back to shore and slide onto the beach. The original design of the dory allows it to launch from and land on the shore.

There will be Dory rides, food vendors and arts & craft vendors.

To learn more about the Dory boats and the Dory Fleet, check out this terrific article in Northwest Magazine