I love this job. I get to meet so many interesting people. Everyone with their own unique story. Although all have a unique story, recently I have noticed a common thread in their stories. Most B&B guests are looking for a little adventure in life. I know this sounds odd that they would look for it at a B&B but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Here we are, a loving family that provides a safe shelter for travelers in Maine – what better backdrop to focus on something new. Stepping out of your comfort zone for a little adventure is hard, and when you have a friendly smile, a great breakfast and smooth comfortable sheets - adventure is much easier.
I will start with Betty:
I received a phone call from a young woman that was looking for a ground floor bedroom with 2 twin beds. I explained that our Coastal Garden room is a nice option. It is ground floor, 2 twin beds, has a TV, air-conditioner and fireplace, private bathroom and shower. The young woman was polite and said she wanted to see what everyone had and would call me back. After calling and looking around town , the young woman called us back and booked the room for 5 nights in July. She could not put a deposit down right away because she had to speak to her grandmother, the woman that would actually be staying in the room with her friend. A few days later she called with her grandmother’s credit card and one month later I got to meet Betty and Gisella. Betty and Gisella showed up beaming and very excited to see their room. They were accompanied by several members of their family. We offered them coffee, tea or juice upon arrival, but they did not want anything, they just wanted to relax before their grandchildren came to take them to dinner.
The next morning, the women, dressed very well, came to the breakfast room and were delighted they had a choice from our menu. They took out their glasses and read the menu to each another. Later that day I spoke to Betty and she said she was having a wonderful time and that she was enjoying the Inn and my family.
The 5 days came and went. Upon check out I said to Betty and Gisella that I hoped I would see them again and Betty said, “well I don’t know about that, I am 91.” She looked marvelous for 91 and I think she still has a good number of years left. After they left, with the help of many family members, I was speaking to Jesse and didn’t realize that he had also had some conversations with the elderly ladies. He told me that he spoke to them and found out that they wanted a little adventure. They normally live in an assisted old age home and wanted to “escape” for a while. They did not want to stay with family, they wanted to be independent again. We are so pleased that the grandchildren listened to their elders, found a comfortable and safe place for them and granted Betty and Gisella their moment of adventure.
Next Adventure: The 50th birthday party
We see many birthday celebrations at the Inn. Sometimes a person will treat themselves and come by themselves, sometimes with a partner and sometimes with a group of friends. This past weekend we had a group of friends that were trying to ease the emotional pain of their one friend that was turning 50. Three couples traveled from NJ to Maine to celebrate. The weather was beautiful and the rooms were so comfortable for them. They sat on the Brass Room deck and drank wine and then walked down to the restaurant for dinner. You could see they enjoyed each others company and were having a great time. You could tell they felt at home. At breakfast I would hear that they stayed out a little too late. One man with them said he was feeling so adventurous while he was out that previous night, he tried the fried twinkie that was offered at Cuzzy’s bar. He said he had heard about them and always wanted to try one. Well, he tried it and loved it. He said he probably would never have one again, but was happy to at least try it. The newly aged 50 year old woman laughed at her husband and looked like she was a school girl again.
Next Adventure: The Bucket List
One day I got a call from a travel agent. Which is pretty common. But this travel agent was asking so many questions. Not just about the rooms and amenities, which are standard questions, but about the quality of the lobster, the pricing and the availability of the places to get lobster dinners. One lobster question after the next. I was delighted to share all my lobster knowledge with the travel agent, and by the end of the conversation, the agent booked a room for 2 nights. I was curious why she was asking all the lobster questions, but I did not ask why. The next month the guests came with an itinerary that I had somewhat dictated to the travel agent about where the best places to eat lobster were. I helped the nice southern couple find the places and they were pleased. At breakfast the gentleman brought down his leftover lobster and asked if we could cook it up in some eggs for him. What a great idea, we did and he enjoyed eating it for breakfast. Upon leaving the inn, the man said, “thank you for helping me take – eating lobster – off my bucket list. ” He never realized that he enjoyed lobster and at the age of 60 he found a new food to enjoy.
Last but not least… the new B&B guest – Adventure
Every year we get a dozen or so first time B&B guests. They always look the same when the come in the front door – scared. They ask lots of questions and walk very slowly. Sometimes I ask if they are first time B&B people, but most of the time, they offer right away that they had never done this before and that they don’t know what to expect. Sometimes they ask to see the room before they pay. Implying that if they don’t like what they see, they are out of here. It is really cute to see the new B&B couples hold each others arms and look to each other for comfort in this new experience. A step out of their comfort zone, something different, a little adventure. We are so happy that we could make the new experience as painless as possible and have seen many non- B&B guests leave saying they will be back.
We recently had a guest that wasn’t a first time B&B guest but a 2nd time B&B guest. The couple came in and you could tell they were nervous. The wife said – “Honey – only pay for one night, in case it is like the last time we were in a B&B”. Jesse tried to get out of them their past B&B experience, but they weren’t talking. After seeing their room, they decided pay and see how things went. The next morning they were all a glow. The guests seemed very comfortable and were willing to share with me at breakfast their last B&B experience. They said that the last time they went to a Bed and Breakfast the Innkeeper was not very friendly. The room was dark and there was only 1 thing for breakfast. They were so happy to see that we had a selection and that they could have whatever they wanted. I was surprised that they experienced such bad hospitality at a B&B. Finally I asked when this experience had happened. The woman said 20 years ago. I almost fell on the floor. This couple wrote off B&B’s for 20 years because of 1 bad experience. They said they were willing to give it another try – they were feeling adventurous and they were happy they found us.
So when you are ready to step out of your comfort zone, need some adventure, look online for a nice couple that own a B&B. Not only will their hospitality make you feel welcome it will open the door to new adventures.