My New Life as an Innkeeper

Before we moved into our newly purchased Bed and Breakfast, I was worried because I knew that the first few weeks would be beyond hectic. We had two young kids in school, two crazy dogs, a ridiculous amount of things needing to be moved into our new place. There were plenty of things needing to be cleaned out and organized, not to mention the millions of other tasks tied to starting a new business. I knew I wouldn’t get much sleep and that my body would be put through the ringer. But like most things in life, you let the adrenaline and excitement help guide your way item by item, step by step.

We scheduled a team of movers to help us unload our furniture and boxes. When they were finished bringing them up stairs to our owner’s unit, I was in total overwhelm as I scanned our huge space that now felt so small packed with towering boxes. How did all of this fit in our tiny little house back in Oakland?

It felt so ludicrous unpacking that first inconsequential box. I had to start somewhere but pulling out random items like a candle or a decorative pillow gave me so much anxiety. Do I put them on the floor and possibly trip over them for the next several weeks? Do I leave them on the kitchen counter leaving us no space to create a meal? Should I just put it back in the box and save it for another day?

Each box that I opened was filled with items like this. Looking around my house now, these items finally did make their way to carefully arranged shelves which I love and are what give our place that cozy feeling. But when you first start climbing that mountain, it can be so very daunting.

Lucky for me, on the other side of the wall inside the B&B, everything was already organized. It was a completely different world where all items had a rightful place, a label and was just so utterly wonderful to see. We even had guest rooms to choose from where beds were already made up with fresh linens, soap and shampoo in the bathrooms, clean towels hung and we didn’t need to do a thing. We didn’t even need to worry about locating the cutlery or dinnerware from our boxes upstairs. Those items and so much more was already in place in our beautiful commercial kitchen so that we could whip up a meal with total ease. Having all of that made our lives so much easier.

All I needed to do was find the balance between spending part of the day for new business development while also slowly chipping away at the tedious chore of unpacking. Then, when the kids were back from school, we could prepare dinner and sleep in a guest room and actually get some good rest. The luxury linens and comfortable mattresses helped out a lot. Having all of that was really the only way we could’ve worked through those first few crazy weeks so easily. It didn’t really feel like work. I guess that was what I had hoped for. My wish was to find work in something that didn’t feel like work. And for me, it was all very fun and exciting.

During the second week, I decided that we needed to start gearing up for first guests. I wanted everything to be perfect so I spent more hours in the day working on having new systems in place, building a menu of breakfast options and making sure we had all the ingredients necessary. When our first guests arrived I was so excited. It was a young couple from Canada who drove down just for a couple of nights. I served them appetizers and a couple of drinks. We chatted for a bit and then they were off to dinner.

I couldn’t wait to serve them breakfast and see what they thought of the place. But we never got the chance to ask them because the husband ended up getting food poisoning from the restaurant they ate at that night. They ended up leaving to head back to Canada that next morning and had to cut their stay short. I felt bad for them and was disappointed. That wasn’t really what I had imagined for my first guest experience in my very first B&B.

Another couple came to stay just one day later and I anxiously awaited for their check in. Upon arrival I greeted them, gave them a quick tour and then served appetizers and drinks. We had a nice twenty minute chat and they said they needed to head out to check on a house they were building in town.

They came down for breakfast the next day and ate every bite. They seemed like the best guests an innkeeper could ask for. They were pleasant and gracious. They seemed to love everything. I had trouble with one of our tricky fireplaces getting it started and it took me like an hour and still I couldn’t get it lit. The guests tried to help me out and acted like it was no big deal. They spent a few days at our B&B and it was just really great! We thought that if this is inn keeping then we were in heaven! It really is that much fun cooking and getting to know people. When the guests are really nice, you just get the warm and fuzzies throughout your body.

By the next week, I decided we needed to spend the next couple of slow weeks on some of the rooms that desperately needed some help. We were about to rent out the entire nine room Inn to a family who would be staying for eight nights. I knew they had children and I thought if they ended up in some of the rooms that hadn’t been given much attention in a while, that they might be a little disappointed. So the staff and I worked really hard for several days changing out shower curtains, swapping furniture, adding artwork, throw blankets and pillows. One room was missing a bed so we splurged and bought a beautiful rustic wood bed along with a dresser and some other items. The room instantly looked upscale. Ryan, my husband, even took on the job of handyman and installed seven bathrooms with new towel bars, robe hooks, toilet paper holders and bathroom shelving. We repainted walls that needed patching which was a little unexpected and extended our timelines to longer than I would’ve liked. But in the end, the rooms looked warm, inviting and just a little more up to date than they had looked. I was thrilled!

When the family came to stay they each had a decent room to sleep in and I felt so amazing knowing that we could not only provide a warm comfortable lodge to serve them amazing breakfast in but that such care and detail went into their unique experience. Being on vacation is such a special time in one’s life. Its usually some of our best memories. I want our B&B to be one of the most magical places a person can stay. Good Medicine Lodge was already an amazing place before we arrived, but with our little touches here and there we hope to exceed all expectations.

Our B&B is a big rustic canvas with so much potential and I have been given an amazing opportunity to create. I am the luckiest person in the world! I often feel like I need to pinch myself and wake up.

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