If you think innkeepers simply keep inns, you're "inn" for a surprise! Wearing many hats is a phrase innkeepers redefine every day. Running an inn, bed and breakfast, or small boutique hotel is a full-time job with many different responsibilities. Unlike large chain hotels, these smaller properties operate with fewer staff members. Thus, the unique lodging experiences they provide guests is made possible by a small number of dedicated staff.
1. Toilet Paper Stamper
Innkeepers go to great lengths to personalize your stay. Monogrammed toilet paper is no exception. Lynnette Scofield, owner and innkeeper of the William Henry Miller Inn in Ithaca, New York, started monogramming the inn's toilet paper when she opened back in 1999. Guests love the stamped toilet paper; oftentimes, Scofield finds the monogrammed piece left (unused) on the nightstand!
Subtle, yet personalized details, like the stamped toilet paper, are what enables the William Henry Miller Inn to live up to its primary goal: providing a wonderful experience for every guest.
2. Mind Reader
Innkeepers have the pleasure of hosting all different types of guests. Some guests want to be left alone while others seek more interaction. It's up to the innkeepers to figure out which type of guest you are so they can personalize your stay to suit your particular needs.
"If you are a successful innkeeper you can sense if they are looking for a private getaway and just want to be left alone," says Debbie McCord, from the Shellmont Inn Bed & Breakfast in Atlanta, Georgia.
If you've never stayed at a bed and breakfast, click here to read what not to do at a B&B.
3. Wedding Planner
Due to their smaller, more intimate setting, inns are a perfect place to host your destination wedding! With over 18 years of wedding experience, innkeeper Ruth McLaughlin of Blair Hill Inn at Moosehead in Greenville, Maine, plays an integral part in all of the inn's destination weddings. Initially, she provides brides with a list of wedding resources like local photographers, florists, hair stylists, and more.
McLaughlin also assists brides with the menu planning and pricing, since Blair Hill Inn at Moosehead provides all of the food and beverages for their destination weddings. Prior to the ceremony, she works one-on-one with the bride to plan the flow of the day. When the special day comes, McLaughlin acts as the day of wedding coordinator, cueing the music for the bride to walk down the aisle and making sure everything goes as planned. Brides come from all over the United States to get married on this stunning property; some of them don't even meet McLaughlin in person until the weekend of the wedding!
Pictured above is the majestic hillside, which makes a magical backdrop for wedding photos. This is just one of the property's scenic photography spots, which earned Blair Hill Inn at Moosehead a spot on North America's Top 5 most visually stunning wedding locations by Outside Magazine.
4. Garden Junkie
Linda Corwin Wurtzburger of the Oaks Victorian Inn Bed & Breakfast in Christiansburg, Virginia, is not just any gardener; she calls herself a garden junkie. She has always had a passion for growing beautiful flowers so she naturally took on this role when she and her husband bought the B&B in 2010. The property sits on 1.2 acres with multiple gardens. In the Spring and Fall, Wurtzburger plants colorful annuals. Throughout the year, she plants perennials in addition to performing routine maintenance like weeding, edging, and enhancing the existing gardens.
The gardens at the Oaks Victorian Inn Bed & Breakfast didn't always flourish like they do now. When Wurtzburger and her husband first bought the B&B, the gardens needed a lot of work. She spent many hours cleaning up the flower beds and discovered several hidden treasures along the way like bleeding hearts and azaleas.
From early spring until late autumn, colorful flowers abound the Oaks Victorian Inn Bed & Breakfast's many gardens. Here are some of the brilliant blooms you'll find.
The Oaks Victorian Inn Bed & Breakfast even has its own secret gardens in the back, which feature black-eyed Susans, hydrangeas, irises, daffodils, oriental lilies, azaleas, rhododendrons, butterfly bushes, trumpet vines, Japanese anemones, several Japanese maples, lots of garden art, and over 30 varieties of daylilies! Wurtzburger also maintains herbs to use for breakfast.
When she's not tending to the Oaks Victorian Inn Bed & Breakfast's lush gardens, Wurtzburger serves as the inn's cook and the Chief Financial Officer. As for her husband Bernie, he tells guests (with a perfectly straight face) he is the eye candy. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it!
5. Resident Culinary Extraordinaire
Some innkeepers double as the resident culinary extraordinaire! This is true for Jaime Lopez, owner and innkeeper of the Inn by the Bandstand in Exeter, New Hampshire. Lopez developed a passion for cooking as a child, growing up in Mexico. His mother and grandmother were always making delicious food; Lopez consequently fell in love with the entire experience of cooking: the savory tastes, the mouthwatering smells, and the way it brought his family and friends together.
Some of Lopez's signature dishes include Blueberry Crumb Cake and Summer Corn Fritters. Armed with a top secret ingredient (he wouldn't share), he claims to make the best Blueberry Crumb Cake. Lopez only serves his Summer Corn Fritters in the warmer months when he can find fresh, delicious corn. The fritters are plated with a crispy piece of thick cut bacon and fresh maple syrup; no doubt a guest favorite!
6. Master Sommelier
Erik Lindblom, owner and innkeeper of Captain Jefferds Inn Bed & Breakfast in Kennebunkport, Maine is responsible for picking out the B&B's wines. Because this bed and breakfast does not serve dinner, Lindblom isn't as concerned with wine pairings. Instead, he searches for timeless wines that are 'drinkable' by themselves.
Timeless wines are also easier to find year round. Lindblom does not order the popular, limited edition wines because they will run out quickly. So, he picks out high-quality wines that will be available to order year after year so that he can always serve his guests a variety of wine they'll love. As for himself, Lindblom prefers a red Pinot Noir.
7. Trip Concierge
Innkeepers are a great resource of the best places to eat and activities to do in their area. Some of them go beyond offering suggestions and will actually plan your getaway for you. With over 20 years of experience in hospitality, Katherine Lemay Brown, innkeeper and owner of Bloomsbury Inn Bed & Breakfast in Camden, South Carolina, will do just that! Brown graduated from the Protocol School of Washington®, the first business to provide professional training and certification in etiquette and protocol.
She offers guests a JUST FOR YOU package, where she works with you to determine what you're looking for in your next vacation. Brown then puts together a full, personalized agenda for you, including all reservations, maps, and reference materials.
Did any of these jobs surprise you? Comment below and let us know which one was the most unexpected.
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Select Registry is a portfolio of more than 300 quality-assured premier bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels throughout North America. Each of our member bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels has passed an unannounced, rigorous, 200-point quality assurance inspection to earn and maintain its Select Registry membership, and to ensure it provides travelers with guaranteed quality, exceptional service, and an unforgettable lodging experience.