Monday, February 28, 2011

The House at Royal Oak: A Review

The House at Royal Oak

Starting Over & Rebuilding a Life One Room at a Time

A Memoir

by Carol Eron Rizzoli. Black Dog & Levinthal Publishers. 2010.

When innkeepers get together to share stories, often someone says "You should write a book!" This spring starts the 9th year in business for innkeepers Carol and Hugo Rizzoli who purchased a deteriorating Victorian house on Maryland's Eastern Shore in 2001. This story is about the transformation of a house and the lives of a married couple. Both have to undergo this transformation if a bed and breakfast is to be successful.

Early on in the book I had to cringe at their choice of a house with a sagging foundation, boarded up windows, dying trees and rubbish in the yard. They admit that their project took four times as long and cost six times as much as they had originally estimated.

Ms Rizzoli does a good job of portraying the scepticism of family and friends towards their new endeavor. She uses short vignettes about breakfast anxieties, good guests and bad, and laundry to dispel the myth that innkeepers are creatures of leisure. Just as the B&B is ready to host the first guests, there is a death in the family, followed within a matter of weeks by Hugo's life threatening illness. Yet, "The show must go on."

This book should be required reading for anyone who is thinking about running a bed and breakfast. The last chapter is written with aspiring innkeepers in mind. It is also valuable to give a "behind the kitchen door" glimpse for travelers who stay at B&B's.

Many innkeepers take on the challenges of running a bed and breakfast as a second career. Carol Rizzoli's first career was writing and editing, which has equipped her to tell this story. Although much of the story is familiar to innkeepers, every bed and breakfast has its own unique story. As the dust jacket flap says, "Part inspirational account of reinventing yourself at midlife, part love story about what matters most in a relationship..."

Michigan Innkeepers Debunk Myths

Innkeepers Debunk First of Five Myths About Bed and Breakfast Inns
Day 223
Fresh flowers, delicious home-made breakfasts, no pop tarts here!
Here in Michigan, bed and breakfast innkeepers have taken on the task of debunking five misconceptions people have about B&Bs. 

The first myth is that B&B decor is cookie-cutter, limited to lace doilies, paisley wallpaper, antiques and patchwork quilts. 
It sounds lovely to me.  But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Read the entire article here

Find a bed and breakfast in Michigan search here
Explore Michigan search here

Come out and see why Bed and Breakfast Inns are "A BETTER WAY TO STAY!"

Article shared by Shellie at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount, Virginia

Sunday Drive - Visit Staunton Virginia

Sunday Drive

Route Previews and recent travels

Staunton, VA and Inn at Old Virginia

Walk through downtown Staunton and it soon hits you that there is something different about this small Shenandoah Valley town. 

Not only is the skyline devoid of the visual jumble of cell phone towers and overhead power lines, but nearly every lovingly-preserved building looks like it was built well over 100 years ago. Turns out, they were. 

Staunton (pronounced STAN-ten) has the unique distinction among Virginia cities of being one of the few towns in the valley to have escaped the Civil War without a scratch.

Inn at Old Virginia in Staunton VA

Read the entire article and see the Sunday Drive Route here.

Don't Forget Bed and Breakfasts, during your travels, today's inns are 

This articles shared by Shellie at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount, Virginia.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Got Pigg?

WE DO! The Pigg River Ramble May 13-15, 2011 in Franklin County Virginia - In the Shadow of The Blue Ridge

Shellie your Innkeeper slices over "The Ledge"
Canoe or Kayak, skilled or unskilled, the Pigg River Ramble is fun for the whole family. 

Berry Banana Smoothie from Two Peas and Their Pod

Berry Banana Smoothie Recipe

This smoothie is very berrylicious! Make it for breakfast, a snack, or even enjoy it for dessert.

Article shared from Shellie at The Claiborne House B&B in Rocky Mount, Virginia.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Professional Innkeeping

 Is being a professional Innkeeper different when you own your Bed and Breakfast or Inn? Can you become a professional Innkeeper if you never owned a Bed and Breakfast? This is a question that many people ponder about this wonderful profession that seems to be one of many that you kind of "acquire" experience as you go along. We are Innkeepers for hire, this is a concept that some people that are in the industry seem to think is "second class", but its a necessity nonetheless for both the owner of the Inn and the Innkeeper for hire.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How to get $200 added value on your next getaway

There is a better way to stay!
How to get $200 added value on your next getaway
Afternoon Tea in Bluephoto © 2011 Karen Booth | more info (via: Wylio)

Continue reading on - click here for full article

Read this article, with amenity comparisons from an Inn to a Resort and you will agree that "There is a Better Way to Stay!"

Article shared by Shellie at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount, Virginia

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Whet your whistle…

Your innkeepers at Innteractive Inns would like to share some of their local breweries to whet your whistle!  As always drinking sensibly and responsibly is #1!

The craft beer industry is hewn into the bedrock of our national culture and heritage and its recent up sweep in interest and popularity seems to bespeak a trend back to that level of quality and craftsmanship. We'd like to bring together the best regional breweries nearby the Inns on this blog, all showcasing their finest flavors - from ales to porters, pilsners to stouts - for your road trip planning to your tasting and learning pleasure. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How To Be Popular (Recipe: Raspberry Ripple Tea Cake)

Don't believe a recipe can make you more popular with family and friends? Think again...

Article reblogged by Shellie at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast, she says we all oughta be popular thanks to this Raspberry Ripple Tea Cake!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You might be a bad guest if...

Agness says:

You might be a bad guest if...
You think eating peanuts in the shell in the bed is a good idea

You might be a bad guest if...
You think pickin' your banjo on the front porch is romantic

You might be a bad guest if...
You think packing 6 people into a room with one double bed is acceptable

Friday, February 18, 2011

Make romance a priority every day

Quick, rank these in order of importance: Dinner. Laundry. Dishes. Work. Kids' sports. Romance. Bill paying. Groceries. Housework.

Western Suburbs Rugby League Football Club players leave for New Zealand, 19 September 1934 / Sam Hoodphoto © 2009 State Library of New South Wales | more info(via: Wylio)

Now let's have a show of hands: How many people ranked romance first? Or even in the top five? If you're like most couples, romance is an after-thought, a "we'll get to it when the kids are older/work settles down/there's more money." That's too bad - and not just for you and your significant other.

Read more here...

Article by Kelly Roberson Des Moines

Bed and Breakfasts "A Better Way to Stay"
article reblogged by Shellie at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast, Rocky Mount VA

Bluegrass Gospel Sing in Rocky Mount Virginia

O Brother Where Art They Now?
  • Dry Hill Draggers (Old timey Mountain Music)
  • Harwell Grice Band (Young bucks of Bluegrass)
  • Haw Patch Mountain Boys (Old fashioned Bluegrass Gospel)

Saturday Feb 26th, 2011 7-9PM at Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount, VA.  
Franklin County High is just 3 blocks from The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast...stay with us and walk to this show.  Rocky Mount is the start of The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail where you can toss a rock in any direction and hit a musician!

If this ain't sinful I don't know what is!

Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownie Bars

Be warned, these are highly addictive!

Shared by Shellie at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount, VA

Ironing Board an Innkeeper's Best Friend

Listen up! 
Well folks this is what we continually go through to make your stay with us enjoyable, softly pressed is a life or death act to get them that way! Ask any innkeeper, or golly just watch this video...

I hope you enjoy this little take on the ironing board.  As for our own wrinkles, just remember kittens: Your wrinkles either show that you're nasty, cranky, and senile, or that you're always smiling. agness

Bed and Breakfasts "A Better Way to Stay"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm living your Dream Life: The Story of a Northwoods Resort Owner

I'm living your Dream Life: The Story of a Northwoods Resort Owner 
Written by Michele Vanort Cozzens

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Walk in the Footsteps of History in Central Virginia

This is from the Virginia State Parks Blog – pretty interesting!!  Appomattox is about 1 hour 30 from The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia. Remember more battles were fought in Virginia than any other state.   
High Bridge Trail State Park. Norfolk Southern Railway donated the abandoned railroad right aways for these trails. The High Bridge itself played a key role in the end of the Civil War. 
The High Bridge - an historic photo
The bridge's renovations are the last piece of the development 
of the newest Virginia State Park - High Bridge Trail State Park

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Those Wonderful Electric Candles

After a friend's B&B was damaged badly by a fire started by an unattended candle in a guests room, I decided to remove candles from all non public rooms for the safely of everyone at my inn. I went to other innkeepers and inquired about the best kind of electric candles and where to buy them.

I got lots of advice. I decided against the re-chargeables since I could buy and recharge my own batteries for the candles. I also decided against the totally plastic candles because I love the look and feel of wax. Another thing I was warned about was that the candles that had the real looking wicks were a bad idea because people try and light them. (The fake wick is really a black wire that at a glance or in dim light looks just like a burnt wick.

Cutesy Overload?

Nothin' wrong with cutesy
What did a doily ever do to you? I ask ya.

Geez louise, I just read that offensive term in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald "the town of Cambridge is in effect a Boston suburb and has a few good guesthouse options. These include Cambridge Bed and Muffin (267 Putnam Avenue, 576 3166,, which offers rooms with shared bathrooms priced from $US75 — prepare for cutesy overload, though."

The ultimate retreat for couples looking to get away from it all?

Your Innteractive Inns innkeepers want to ask you, do you think this is "the ultimate retreat for couples looking to get away from it all?"  According to it is!
Thisawayphoto © 2006 Brett Lider | more info (via: Wylio)

Did they put this in just to see if anyone really reads their magazine?

50 Best Romantic Getaways 2010
See #14 on an 18 acre "plot" 

Artists’ Retreat: Marfa, Texas

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day from Agness Innkeeper

Just wanted to wish all you kittens a good one and remember, "LOVE THE ONE YOUR WITH!" You're probably stuck with 'em anyhow...agness


Cast away your worries
It's Time for a Digital Sabbatical

Is routine zapping you of energy? Zapping your time with your loved ones? Are you being consumed by technology? Is Facebook and other social media becoming your only hobby?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

You don't want THIS waiting for you...

Back at the Inn!
Agness wants to know "Whereyaben? Whatdyathink yer on holleedays or sumfinq?"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Are we having fun yet?

Your innkeepers at Innteractive Inns want to share with you one unique and fun thing to do when you stay with them, something they hope you won't miss! We hope this helps with your trip planning, inn season and out there is always fun to be had when you stay at a B&B.  Never forget, your innkeepers are the best source for local sites, sounds and gourmand delight.  They are more than happy to share their local knowledge with you to innhance your visit!
Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, Shinnston, West Virginia in Harrison County
Romantic Covered Bridges Tour, Gillum House WV

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Following The Wine Trail Through Our Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains is now a favorite "stomping grounds" for those who love to follow wine trails!
On the Road to Aldie & Middleburg May 2010Virginia has a long history of the grape, but now these Blue Ridge Mountains are producing award winning wines while showcasing breathtaking scenery unique to this region.
photo © 2010 E.D́.W.W. | more info(via: Wylio)

Best Bet Breakfast: Orange-Walnut Brunch Cake

Whether it's breakfast, brunch, tea time or dessert, nothing beats a good coffee cake---and the following recipe is one of the easiest, tastiest and quickest I've found.
Citrus Walnut Coffee Cake 624e
Made using a surprising ingredient---refrigerated biscuits---you won't believe how scrumptious a semi-homemade coffee cake can taste. Read on...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How Do I Love Thee? Let me Count the Antique Valentines

photo © 2007 David Slack | more info (via: Wylio)

Antique Valentines:
by Steve Mills, contributing editor for Heartland Trails

Every year, all around the world, a celebration is carried out in the name of a mysterious figure, named Saint Valentine. Little is known about this man, as there are conflicting histories surrounding St. Valentine, though it would seem that this Saint, who lived sometime in 200 A.D., was most likely made a martyr on February 14th, 269 A.D.

In the early decades of the 1800's, hand-made cards were all the rage. Hard-earned money went into materials such as fancy imported laces, ribbons, and the highest-quality papers. Time was another major investment in hand-made cards, as many hours could be spent assembling and decorating a single Valentine, as well as drawing illustrations, and carefully lettering the card once the romantic verses have been thought up.

More than just a place to lay your head

Being an innformed consumer almost always results inn greater satisfaction. 
Romantic Bed & Breakfast
                            photo © 2008 meg colombo | more info (via: Wylio)