Archive for June, 2010

TheInnkeeper.com On Location: Gulfport, Fl

June 28th, 2010 by Mariah

TheInnkeeper.com On Location…

The City: Gulfport, Fl

The quaint City of Gulfport was established in 1910 and is located on the Boca Ciega Bay in central west coast of Florida. With a population of 13,000 residents, Gulfport is home to 1,500 licensed businesses, services, entrepenuers, inns, artisans, boutiques, restaurants and shops.

Gulfport is home to a wide array of eclectic shops and dining experiences from formal to flip flop fare. Lively downtown pubs provide nightly entertainment and weekends are always bustling. The First Friday and Third Saturday of each month there is an ArtWalk. Shops are open late and there are a large number of interesting and unique street-side vendors who set up just for the events. You’re likely to find a diverse mix of live musical entertainment and other performers that is distinctly “Gulfport Bohemian” in nature. It’s a unique experience that’s hard to find anywhere else. Large crowds stroll the streets, enjoy cocktails and diner at one of the local eateries and special artsy treasurers.


Hands down our favorite place in Gulfport is O’Maddy’s. Judging by the turnout there, day and night, the locals feel the same way. We went to O’Maddy’s for lunch on Lori’s recommendation. Very impressed! James had the special of the day, which was Meatball and Mozzarella on Kaiser Roll. In one word: Fabulous. I had the Buffalo Shrimp Appetizer which was also wonderful. The shrimp were the biggest I have eaten, no lie. Prices were great as well! Lunches average $7 to $10, and worth every penny. Drink specials were even better. $2 bottles of Bud Light Lime and ocean front views… we were in heaven. We even returned for dinner that night. When you find something you like you have to stick with it:) For dinner James had the Vegas Hot Chicken Tenders, and I had a House Salad with Blue Cheese. Again, biggest salad I have ever seen. I think they are going for some sort of record. By the way, their hottest hot sauce is called “Vegas” because no one can handle it! Karaoke starts at 10… and was well worth waiting up for. Even on a Wednesday Night the place was packed. You can’t beat O’Maddy’s for value, taste, and entertainment!


Gulfport is a hidden Gem, with a personality like no other. Best of all… NO OIL! There is something for everyone and we can’t wait to return.


TheInnkeeper.com On Location: The SeaBreeze Manor

June 25th, 2010 by Mariah

TheInnkeeper.com On Location…

The Property: Seabreeze Manor in Gulfport, FL.

The Seabreeze Manor in Gulfport is one of the most charming B&B’s I have had the pleasure of visiting. Even before entering the house you are swept away by it’s “Old Florida” charm.

We rang the doorbell and were promptly greeted by Lori, who was bubbly and informative. She put together a packet of information for us on Gulfport, gave us some recommendations on where and where not to eat, and escorted us to our room.

We stayed in the Key Largo room, which was beautiful cottage separate from the main house. Double glass doors open to a sitting room with a large wicker couch and TV. A fabulous King Size Bed awaits past the sitting area, complete with platform so as not to have an obstructed view of the Bay. Even though the Bay is across the street, you truly feel ocean front. A very large bathroom, complete with bath tub and shower, also boasts a beautiful antique sink. Each room is equipped with its own air conditioning unit, which was very welcome being it is the dead of summer in South West Florida.

In the main house, guests will enjoy Soda, Port, Sherry and snacks at their own leisure. The Inn also has an impressive collection of VCR tapes for use of the guests. I can’t say enough about breakfast! We were up and around at about 8:30 and were cooked breakfast by Linda…who did a fabulous job! Breakfast included:

  • Choice of Eggs

  • Southwest Hashbrowns

  • Fresh Melon

  • Spinach Pie

  • Rye Toast

  • Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

  • Coffee

We were completely stuffed!

My favorite part about staying at the Seabreeze, along with the ocean front views, was the fact that everything we needed was within walking distance! Great restaurants, shops, bars and entertainment are just a 5 minute walk away. We are very much looking forward to returning to the Seabreeze Manor in the near future, and with Lori and the rest of the staff a great summer!

Denee and James

TheInnkeeper.com On Location

Gulfport, FL

Coming Soon:

TheInnkeeper.com On Location

The City: Gulfport

A review of the quirky town of Gulfport and the attractions it has to offer.


Jimmy Buffett To Play Free Gulf Coast Gig

June 22nd, 2010 by Mariah

“Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett has announced a free concert next week to show his support for the Gulf Coast and to boost the mood of residents.

Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band will perform a free show on the beach at Gulf Shores on the Alabama coast on July 1, he announced on his website on the weekend.

Other performers slated to join the Margaritaville singer onstage so far include Allen Toussaint, the Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney, Sonny Landreth and Jesse Winchester.

According to the statement on Buffett’s site, the concert is meant to “demonstrate support for the people, businesses and culture of the Gulf Coast.”

The free show will also be broadcast live on CMT.

Alabama tourism officials have also pledged support for the concert, which is being held the same day Buffett’s Margaritaville Beach Hotel is scheduled to open on Pensacola Beach, Fla.

Other fundraising events have been held to support relief efforts for victims of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, including the late-May benefit concert Gulf Aid, which saw Lenny Kravitz, Mos Def, Toussaint and Dr. John take the stage in New Orleans.”

Brought to you by CBC News.

ATTN GULF COAST INNKEEPERS

June 21st, 2010 by Mariah

Dear Gulf Coast Innkeepers,

As a business owner operating along the Gulf, you are no doubt concerned about what will become of the beaches following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. And you are not the only one, millions of travelers are wondering the same thing. On top of everything else, now you also have to worry about how it will potentially affect near future bookings. Here at TheInnkeeper.com we would like to reach out and offer a helping hand to those in our Gulf Coast regions. We are very excited to announce a brand new way for Innkeepers in these areas promote their properties during the coming months.

Announcing: “TheInnkeeper.com Gives Back”…to the Gulf Coast Bed and Breakfasts that have been or will be directly affected by the 2010 Oil Spill. We want to personally come stay at your Bed and Breakfast, and help directly promote your Inn! In exchange for a one night stay by a member of our “On Location” staff, properties involved will receive the following:

  • An In-Depth “TheInnkeeper.com On Location” Feature on our Homepage: complete with photos of our stay, detailed listing of your amenities, Innkeeper interview, and a spotlight on your area and the attractions that have not been affected by the oil. In total, each property will receive THREE blogs featuring their property.
  • 3 Months Free With 2010/2011 Renewal
  • Free Photo Gallery to promote up to date photos of your “Inn and Surrounding Area”
  • Links to your Property and Blog on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Please email us at Denee@TheInnkeeper.com or call us at the number below to set up a date for us to come visit your Inn. If there is more then one Inn that applies in your city, we will be choosing one or two to visit, however all applicants will be featured. Our main focus is to keep as much positive attention and publicity focused on the Gulf Coast during this trying time, and we look forward to working with you directly in making sure your property continues to receive the Spotlight it deserves.

Most Sincerely,

Denee MacDonald

Customer Service Manager

941-416-1796

www.TheInnkeeper.com

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

June 21st, 2010 by Mariah

The Innkeeper.com would like to announce our newest member…

Sea Breeze Manor Bed and Breakfast in Gulfport, Fl!

Sea Breeze Manor Bed and Breakfast is situated across the street from the quiet and relaxing Gulfport Beach on Boca Ciega Bay.

Watch the Snowy Egrets or Great Blue Herons catch fish, meditate while the sun rises, take in the fresh air and tranquil surroundings, or do any of so many other things that we Gulfport locals enjoy year ’round on scenic Boca Ciega Bay.

Sea Breeze Manor Bed and Breakfast
“A Bed & Breakfast”
5701 Shore Boulevard
Gulfport, FL. 33707
USA

Innkeepers:
Lori

Rates: $155-$180 USD
Rooms: 6

Phone: 1-888-343-4445
Toll Free: 727-343-4445
Fax: 727-343-4447

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

June 18th, 2010 by Mariah

TheInnkeeper.com would like to announce our newest member…

Cinnamon Stays in New Delhi, India!

Cinnamon is a cosy Bed & Breakfast on Sohna road Gurgaon (25 min from New Delhi International Airport). It’s convenient if you are planning a trip to Jaipur, Jodhpur or Udaipur. We have five spacious AC rooms* with distinct themes – Puraani Jeans, Green Room, Unwind, � Doodle Room & Grand Room (on single and twin sharing basis) Facilites – Attached balcony / lawn with every room – Open kitchen with large dining area – Healthy breakfast spread – 24 hrs power backup – Hot & cold water supply – Free Wi-Fi internet access – 24×7 courteous staff -TV with DTH in each room – Club facility with gym and swimming pool – Car rentals – Prompt laundry services – Hair dryer, iron & ironing board – Home cooked food in less oil (upon request) – DVD & MP3 facility ( upon request) – Beauty & spa services ( upon request) – Yoga & Meditation ( upon request)

Cinnamon Stays
“A Bed & Breakfast”
MD 39, Eldeco Mansionz, Opp. Omaxe City Centre, Off Sohna Road, Gurgaon India 122002
New Delhi, India. 122002

Innkeepers:
Shilpi Singh

Rates: $55-$75 USD
Rooms: 5

Phone: +919560550015

Summer Vacationers, Think Of Winter!

June 17th, 2010 by Mariah

Looking for a change of pace for your Summer Getaway this year? You might try thinking outside the box, and check out what your favorite Winter Getaway areas offer in the summertime. You may be pleasantly surprised. Case and point: Utah. Below is a great article taken from Travel Weekly about some of the great summer activities Utah has to offer. If you are an Innkeeper that owns a property in a “Winter Getaway Area”, email us at Denee@TheInnkeeper.com and let us know what great activities or events your B&B has going on this summer!

Travel Weekly – June 10, 2010

“The line between winter and summer season is blurred in Utah, where diehards ski and snowboard enthusiasts can still hit the slopes at the Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort (set to remain open until Father’s Day, weather permitting).

For most of us, however, snorkel gear has replaced ski goggles as we plan our warm weather getaways.

That said, the state with the self-proclaimed “greatest snow on earth” is no slouch when it comes to summer fun, and while we’re fans of hiking and biking in the Utah mountains, you don’t have to be an iron man triathlon athlete to take part in some of the more laid-back activities and festivals that occur throughout the state.

At Alta Ski Area, for example, visitors can time their visit to coincide with the Wasatch Wildflower Festival July 16 to 18. Beaver Mountain, which rents it ski lodge accommodations all summer, will host two music festivals, set for July 17 and Aug. 14.

The Canyons are alive with the sound of music all summer, thanks to a summer concert series that visitors can pair with a gondola ride and lunch at Red Pine Cafe.

Spectators are welcome at the second annual Monster Energy Powder Mountain Motocross, scheduled Aug. 19 to 22, while visitors looking for a mellower experience can stop for barbecue and live music every Sunday afternoon in Wildflower Meadow at Snowbasin. “

Travel Industry Catering To Families This Summer

June 16th, 2010 by Mariah

Travel Industry Catering To Families This Summer

Below is a great article taken from the USA Today regarding the efforts by hotels to cater to families this summer season. Innkeepers can get some great ideas from this article, such as making kid goody bags, kid-friendly dining options, and offering gaming systems. Parents may be reluctant to bring their youngsters to a B&B, so if you have anything that caters to kids make sure you ADVERTISE it.

“Hotels try harder to woo travelers on vacation with kids.”
By Roger Yu, USA TODAY

Hotels are stepping up their efforts to woo vacationers and families.
They’re introducing leisure and kid-friendly amenities to deal with a new industry reality that leisure travelers are more important than ever.

Leisure travelers — which include vacationers, honeymooners and wedding attendants — surpassed business travelers as the primary hotel customer segment in the U.S. in 2004. By 2009, leisure traveler volume had risen to 476 million, or 54% of the total, from 399 million in 2000, says D.K. Shifflet & Associates, a travel research and consulting firm. The nights business travelers filled rooms fell during the nine-year period to 411 million.

“Business travel has been slowly declining, says Douglas Shifflet of D.K. Shifflet. And, he says, “It’s not going back.”

Travelers have also gotten younger. Gen X travelers — in their late 20s to early 40s — are replacing Baby Boomers. Gen Xers are more reluctant to travel for business but are showing greater willingness to go on vacations with their families, Shifflet says. “They’re having kids now,” he says. “They try to balance their lives more.”

Among the new leisure traveler enticements:

Family. More kid-friendly programs are offered. Marriott International has started distributing toddler care items, such as fitted slip covers for cribs, squirting bath toys, baby lotion and shampoo and nightlights, at 2,500 hotels throughout most of its brands. “Things people might forget. We’re making sure hotels have these items,” says Peggy Fang Roe of Marriott, adding that the effort is partly to help change its reputation as a business hotel company.

In July, Marriott-operated hotels will begin distributing free activity books and silicone bracelets featuring Nickelodeon characters. For $10, customers can buy a SpongeBob backpack containing a splash ball, paper doll and sunglasses. Customers at full-service hotels — Marriott and JW Marriott brands — can pay $20 for the backpack and a SpongeBob book and pillow cases. Marriott’s partnership with Nickelodeon also features costumed characters and live shows at some of its resorts.

Omni Hotels gives away free bags of goodies for kids (with Twizzlers, flashlight, cup, mini-drum and bookmark), as well as milk and cookies.

Value. With budgets tight, families are looking for deals. Homewood Suites by Hilton says its revamped free meal program has helped draw more leisure travelers in the last year.

TheInnkeeper.com On Location – Key West

June 15th, 2010 by Mariah

The Southernmost Hotel, Key West

I had the pleasure of staying at The Southernmost Hotel June 7-9, as part of a Sex and the City 2 inspired Girlfriend Getaway. This was my third trip to Key West, and as usual I was not disappointed. We took the ferry out of Ft. Myers, which was wonderful as always. The ferry dock is on the North end of Duval, so being that the hotel was on the opposite end we took a taxi to avoid a mile long walk in 95 degree heat. The southern end of Duval is much quieter and upscale, if there is such a thing in Key West.

Upon arriving we were promptly greeted by a very nice gentleman named Edgar who helped us with our bags (and would continue to help us throughout our stay). My first impression of the hotel was a good one: clean, friendly staff, and beautiful grounds. We arrived early due to the ferry and our room was not yet available, however they did offer to secure our luggage while we went for lunch.

After lunch we were escorted by Edgar to our room, which honestly exceeded my expectations. The room was very large with two double beds, a flat screen TV, and a gigantic bathroom with walk in shower. In my experience even hotel rooms that claim they fit four adults, usually do so uncomfortably. That was definitely not the case at The Southernmost. The four of us fit comfortably… with room to spare.

There were two pool areas in the immediate vicinity, with a beach and another pool available for use right across the street at the sister property “Southernmost On The Beach”, which is available for all guests at the Southernmost Hotel to use. There was also a darling Bar and Grill right on the beach – and the food was excellent.

Two new places we found on this trip to Key West that I want to highlight are Dante’s and The Afterdeck at Louie’s Backyard. First off Dante’s… you could not get much better value for your money in Key West. Dante’s is an outside Restaurant and Bar that sits on the edge of a giant pool and waterfall. The pool is for guests of the Marina and Restaurant, with a $50 minimum at the tables near the pool. I cannot stress enough how much fun we had here. And yes, you can eat…and drink in the pool. We actually ended up spending two of our three days here as it was a great way to stay cool and still have a great time. Prices were cheaper then average for Key West, the salads range from $6.99 – $10.99, and were among the biggest I have ever seen. A special thanks to our waiters John and Paul, who could not have been any more accommodating. Their stories kept us entertained for hours, and their bar tending skills kept our glasses full. You guys rock!

The Afterdeck at Louie’s Backyard was one of the most romantic, enchanting places I have ever seen. Not just in Key West, but anywhere. Louie’s Backyard is a beautiful historic home that has been turned into an extremely upscale restaurant. Ask any of the locals about it and they all tell you the same thing…it’s over priced and overrated. The Bar out back however, now that’s another story. The Afterdeck is, as the name gives away, a deck on the back of the house. Oceanfront would be a huge understatement as this bar is actually Oceantop. That’s right, it sits right on top of the ocean. Add the beautiful water views with the fact that there are no real lights, just tabletop candles and clear rope lighting… and you have my new favorite place in Key West. It will truly take your breath away.

I always look forward to our next trip to Key West. If you have any gems or hideaways in Key West that you have found in your travels, please email me at Denee@TheInnkeeper.com so we can make sure to try them out on our next trip down south.

Denee MacDonald

TheInnkeeper.com On Location

The Southernmost Hotel

Key West, Fl

June 7-9, 2010


Must Read For First Time Bed and Breakfast Guests

June 14th, 2010 by Mariah

Guests that have never stayed at a Bed and Breakfast really don’t have any idea what they are missing out on. Americans especially have a wide array of lodgings to choose from when they take a vacation: high-rise hotels, rustic resorts, motels by the bay. Yet more and more people are flocking to bed-and-breakfast inns, the most old-fashioned homes away from home. Just 20 years ago, there were only 1,000 B&B’s scattered throughout the USA. Today there are more than 28,000 serving more than 50 million guests each year.

 

Satisfaction ratings for B&B’s are much higher then that of most hotel/motel experiences. Customers were for the most part satisfied with their most recent B&B experience, with 80 percent giving the experience an “excellent” rating and another 17 percent calling it “good.” Over 90 percent would both consider a return visit and recommend the B&B to friends and family.

 

If you are FINALLY planning on booking your first…of many, were sure… Bed and Breakfast Vacations, below is 10 great tips on how to make the most of this amazing experience. Make sure you email us at Denee@TheInnkeeper.com and tell us how wonderful your first stay was!

 

 

 

1. Ask Questions: B&Bs are different from cookie cutter hotels, every inn is unique, and this is what makes them special. Some are historic and others are modern, some are quaint and rustic and others are elegant and gourmet. Be sure you are selecting a B&B tailored to your taste & needs.

2. Mention Dietary Needs: Since breakfast is a highlight of most B&B stays, mention any special dietary need when booking an inn. Just keep in mind that “allergies” – things which will kill you — and “diets” – things you can’t eat to loose weight – are very different. Guests should be careful not to confuse the two as it is unfair to the Innkeepers, who work very hard to provide a memorable dinning experience. Don’t forget… Innkeepers are usually happy to share their signature recipes with you to make at home.

3. Private Baths: Although most inns offer private baths, verify with the innkeepers if the bathroom is shared or private. A private bath is usually in your room, however sometimes it is in the hall exclusively for your use (innkeepers often provide robes if the bathroom is outside your room).

4. Personalized Reservations: Take advantage of the personal service B&Bs want to offer you and ask about amenities, the inn and the area when making your reservation. B&Bs do not have 24-hour reservation offices. If you are making your reservation by phone, call during hours that you wouldn’t mind being called yourself and be mindful of time zone differences.

5. Inquire About Handicapped Accessibility: If you or anyone in your party requires an inn that’s fully handicapped accessible, check with the Innkeeper beforehand.

6. Ask About Policies Before You Book: Smoking, Children and Pet Polices are different at each inn, so verify them by phone before you make your reservation. Policies not only vary between inns but even at the same inn there may be some rooms that are appropriate for children while the rest of the inn is not child friendly. For all policies, don’t assume – ASK.

7. Deposits and Cancellations: Ask about deposit and cancellation policies before you book. Your deposit means you are committing to the inn and they are committing to have your room for you. Since cancellations affect a small inn greatly, they will often result in a forfeiture of your deposit if the room cannot be re-rented.

8. Check In /Check Out Times: Ask about check in and check out times and try and arrive within them. Innkeepers can usually be flexible if you need special arrangements. Since innkeepers are expecting you and want to be there to greet you, be courteous and let them know if your arrival time changes.

9. Reserve Early: Although some inns welcome “walk-ins,” all inns prefer an advance reservation and deposit. Since most B&Bs are small, rooms might not be available when you want to visit. If the inn is booked, innkeepers usually will suggest alternate dates or suggest other inns in the area.

10. Make Your Self At Home: Innkeepers are hospitality experts so relax and enjoy your stay! Treat your room with the care you would your own home. You’ll know you’ve picked the right B&B if you feel like a treasured guest and long to return. The greatest compliment you can give an innkeeper is to refer them to a friend.

Man Believed To Be On Drugs Mistakes Home For Bed & Breakfast

June 14th, 2010 by Mariah

Man Believed To Be On Drugs Mistakes Home For Bed & Breakfast

State Police said a man who appeared to be on drugs allegedly mistook a home for a Bed & Breakfast. The couple living at a home on Foot Hills Road, who said they did not want to be identified, were in their front yard spending time with relatives. One of the relatives went inside the home and said she found a credit card on the stairs.

 

State Police identified the owner of the credit card as Walker Bruce, 45, of Middletown. Bruce was in the bedroom of the house. Bruce said a taxi dropped him off at the home, which he believed was a Bed & Breakfast, police said. Bruce told State Police he left his credit card on the stairs for payment.

 

The residents at the home said Bruce was polite, but appeared very disoriented. Police said they suspected Bruce may have been under the influence of drugs. He was arrested, charged with third degree burglary, and taken to Middlesex Clinic, Essex, to be examined.

 

Police said there was no sign of forced entry, and nothing was taken from the home.

June 13, 2010

By NICK CAITO & JENN BERNSTEIN, The Hartford Courant & Fox CT

 

Lets be thankful this “guest” didn’t find his way into any of our homes. Do you have a priceless story about an unusual guest? Email them to Denee@TheInnkeeper.com for a chance to have your story and property featured on our blog!

Beach Getaway Checklist

June 13th, 2010 by Mariah

Monday June 21 marks the offical first day of summer. In many places however, the summer heat is already very much upon us. Chances are no matter where you live, you will be hitting the beach at some point this summer season. We have put together a few lists of the must-have’s for your beach getaway. Don’t forget that many of our B&B properties are beach front and are the perfect way to extended your summer vacation.

Beach Vacation Must Have’s

The Basics:

Sarong/ Pareo
Flip Flops/ Sandals/ Crocs
Beach Bag/ Dry Bag
Lots of swimsuits
Waterproof hair accessories
Quick Dry Shorts
Anklets/ Toe Rings

Essential Beach Bag Booty:

A sheet/ Beach blanket/ Large towel
Cover-ups/ Loose, light weight shirts
Wide brimmed hats
Sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen
Small amount of cash
Disposable waterproof camera
Small spray bottle of white vinegar
Water
Bandana
Sunglasses

Extra Beach Bag Booty:

Mask and snorkel (fins optional)
Bug spray (depending on the area)
Inflatable or pop-up playthings
Picnic lunch
Swiss army knife or Leatherman tool
Folding lightweight beach chairs
Boogie board or similar
Aqua shoes
Umbrella or portable pop-up cabana

Beach Bag Booty For The Kids:

A pail and shovel
Beach ball, water wings, other inflatable toys
Snacks like fresh or dried fruit
Portable kid sized tents

Share Your Favorite Beach With Other Beach Lovers

Of all the beaches you’ve visited which do you think is the Best Beach in the World? Tell us where it is and what you love about it. Is it a great walking or tanning beach? Has something special happened to you on YOUR beach? A proposal, a wedding, maybe you met a special person. Write to us and tell us all about, and make sure to include you favorite Bed and Breakfast near your beach!

Do Not Let The Oil Spill Affect Your Bookings!

June 12th, 2010 by Mariah

If you own a Bed and Breakfast or Boutique Hotel along the Gulf Coast, you are probably a little concerned about what will become of your beaches following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. And you are not the only ones, millions of travelers are wondering the same thing. On top of everything else, now you also have to worry about this summer’s bookings.

But fear not: the fate of your summer bookings has not yet been sealed. According to a survey commissioned by the Beaches of South Walton, there is still hope for Gulf Coast owners. When we got our hands on this data it really gave us hope, so we wanted to share the info with you.

  • Most repeat Gulf Coast visitors have not discarded their plans of returning this summer. Of the travelers who visited the Gulf Coast in 2009, 62% plan to return again this year. And perhaps even more reassuringly, only 5% excluded the beaches of South Walton explicitly because of the oil spill.
  • As for the first timers, well they might just be waiting a little bit longer before booking – and this should be no surprise. Last-minute bookings have been a trend in travel for quite some time now. About 46% of the travelers planning to come to the area have not yet made their reservations.
  • Let’s say the worst case scenario happens and the oil does reach the beaches. Approximately 30-40% of the Gulf Coast travelers still plan to visit even if the beaches are affected.

Based on the results of this survey, your odds of filling your calendar this summer are still pretty good. Still, you need to take a proactive approach in securing bookings.
 

 

Here’s how:

Post current photographs of your beaches. Although we typically do not advocate date stamps on the photos for your listings, now might be the time. Prove to travelers that the beaches are still as pristine as ever.Promote the surrounding area. The beach may be a huge attraction (and likely half the reason you bought your Inn), but think about all the other fun things to do in your area. When you receive an inquiry, be sure to talk up the restaurants, shopping, your community pool, amusement parks, and any other activities available to your guests. This information should also be prominently displayed in your listing.Solicit reviews. If you have guest staying in your Bed and Breakfast now, it’s more important than ever to get reviews from actual guests who can attest to the condition of the beaches and all of the other entertainment options in the area. Offer specials. While we’re always advocates of holding out for the best price, now is the time to really consider offering incentives to your prospective guests. The last-minute nature of these bookings may make the market more competitive. While you don’t have to give away the farm, offering extras like beach service, 7th night free or discount attraction tickets can make the difference to an on-the-fence traveler. Perhaps you already offer these types of specials but haven’t updated your listing to reflect it. It’s your job to make your property and the area as appealing as possible. If you would like to take advantage of our “Specials and Events” Add-On, please contact us at Denee@TheInnkeeper.com, and we will set that option up for your listing today!Your best approach is to stay proactive. Reach out to past guests, update your listings, and be thorough with your communications to possible guests. Although you can’t control the results of the oil spill, there are plenty of ways to take control of your bookings this summer.

NEWSLETTER FROM THE SHERWOOD FOREST B&B

June 11th, 2010 by Mariah

News from The Forest

Memorial Day has come and gone, and for us that heralds the beginning of our summer season. It’s been an awesome May with warm temperatures, and yes, you can swim in Lake Michigan. Our hip and groovy pool is heated and ready for a dip—our friendly secret agent pool painter (Mr. Art) touched up the mural and it’s beautiful. The days are getting longer as we head toward the summer solstice, so we hope you’ll be able to make it for a visit soon to enjoy this delightful time of year. We had a bit of fun this week, the local NPR station out of Grand Rapids…WGVU interviewed us on Shelly Irwin’s Morning Show. One of her venues called”View From the Dunes”. We were interviewed by Jon Helmrich about the B & B, talked about current events we catalogue in our monthly newsletter, recipes and well about how fun and relaxing it is to own and operate a bed and breakfast. We had a great conversation…Thanks Jon and Shelly! 

Sherwood Forest B&B

Phone: (800) 838-1246

Toll Free: 269-857-1246

938 Center Street

Saugatuck, MI. 49453

USA

   

 

Specials and Events…

 

Sherwood Forest Cottage (pet friendly)

Our Cottage is getting booked up for the summer, but here’s what we have left: June 9-11 ($165 a night, 3-night minimum), and August 14-20 & 21-27. It goes for $1250 for the week and sleeps up to 5 people, has a full kitchen, washer/dryer, pool privileges, and is only 1/2 block from Lake Michigan and the public beach. And of course, there is still nightly availability for this spring and fall, and yes it’s pet friendly.

Sherwood Forest Picnic Baskets

Venture forth from Sherwood Forest with your own basket of goodies this summer. The picnic includes a fine selection of Italian meats, cheeses, and baguettes, along with fresh fruit and sweets to make your afternoon rendezvous complete. To wet your whistle, choose from spritzers or bottled water (vegetarian selection also available). Price: $55 for two.

Melt Your Stress Away

Upon arrival, you’ll find a beautiful wine and cheese basket with a bouquet of fresh flowers. During your visit, you’ll each experience a soothing massage in a style suited just for you and a $30 voucher good toward a romantic dinner at a fine restaurant. Upon your departure (which we’re sure you’ll want to delay as long as possible before returning to the real world), a gift from us: a compact disc of relaxing music and an illustrated guide to massage. The cost for this R&R is $165 with one massage; $235 with two massages (does not include room rate).

Shopping Specials

We’ve teamed up with 10 retail stores to offer you some great discounts and promotions in Saugatuck/Douglas, including clothing, food/drink, and art–what a great way to explore some of the distinctive shops this area has to offer.

Gift Certificates

Give the most amazing gift on the planet. Imagine receiving a gift certificate from Sherwood Forest B&B! After the recipient jumps up and down and hugs that special someone, he or she will rush to the phone to book a room at Sherwood Forest (just gotta have that fireplace/Jacuzzi suite).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what’s happening in and around the area…

 

 

Bed & Breakfast and Brewery

Looking for a weekend getaway involving brewing your own batch of beer? Sherwood Forest is offering a unique weekend package that includes a 2-night stay plus access to Saugatuck Brewing Company’s brew-on-site facilities. SBC will provide the recipes, from light to dark, with more than 70 different recipes available. They’ll also provide the ingredients and professional brewing equipment as well as the expertise to take you through the brewing process. You’ll brew at least 11 gallons of beer (sixty 22oz. bottles). If 11 gallons of beer is more than you need, bring a friend or two and split the batch. It takes 3-4 hours to brew your batch and you return in 2 weeks to bottle and sample your beer, which takes about 2 hours, or you can have them bottle it and pick it up later (an extra $20). The cost runs from $512 to $695 depending on the time of year and the room. For more info, call Keith or Sue at 800-838-1246.

Bed & Breakfast, Dinner, and Off-Broadway Theater

Sherwood Forest has this to offer: 2 nights at Sherwood Forest B&B, dinner for two at either Chequers in Saugatuck, a British-style pub offering English favorites, or Restaurant Toulouse, a French-American restaurant with warm French provincial ambiance, and 2 tickets to the Mason Street Warehouse, where you’ll experience professional off-Broadway theater. The line up for this season is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (June 25-July 18), Dixie’s Tupperware Party (July 21-August 1), The Marvelous Wonderettes (August 6-22), and The Nuclear Family (August 25-29). Package prices range from $249 to $569. To book this, call Keith or Sue at 800-838-1246.

Bed & Breakfast and Charter Boat Fishing

Looking for the ultimate experience in Saugatuck fishing charters? Sherwood Forest B&B is offering an extraordinary package that includes some awesome lodging plus some great fishing with Best Chance Charters, Saugatuck, Michigan’s premiere fishing experts. For years, the Saugatuck port has provided some of the best salmon, trout, perch, and walleye fishing within the Great Lakes region. Whether you’re a novice who wants special attention or an experienced angler who is looking for more of a hands-on trip, their professional staff is prepared to help make your Saugatuck fishing charter experience a highlight of your visit. Here are the details: you’ll get 1 or 2 nights at Sherwood Forest B&B plus a fishing trip on Lake Michigan and some awesome bragging rights when you return home. The cost runs from $608 to $985, depending on the time of year and the room. For more info or to book this package, call Keith or Sue at 800-838-1246.

Bed and Breakfast and Arnold Palmer Golf

Spend a couple of nights at Sherwood Forest, and we’ll arrange for you to play at The Ravines, an Arnold Palmer signature championship golf course, a sweeping, 18-stanza epic, where nature meets sport in ways you simply must witness to believe. Here’s what you get: a 2-night stay at Sherwood Forest, 18 holes of golf for two (with a cart) with a guaranteed tee time at The Ravines, and some great dinner recommendations so you don’t have to do the hit and miss thing (cost ranges from $404-$645). To book this package, call us at 800-838-1246.

Waterfront Film Festival

From June 10-13, head to Saugatuck for the coolest event of the year: the Waterfront Film Festival. With close to 60 films (ranging from shorts, documentaries, comedies, and dramas), seminars, and panel discussions with experienced film industry veterans, it promises to be a great event. The annual free flick is on June 10 and starts with a street party at 7 p.m. on Water Street, followed at dusk with an outdoor screening of a soon-to-be-named film. For more info, call 269-857-8351.

More Movies

It’s Thursdays at 7 p.m. at the Saugatuck Douglas District Library in Douglas. On June 3: It Should Happen To You with Jack Lemmon and Judy Holiday; June 17: The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLean; and July 1: Moonstruck with Cher and Nicolas Cage.

Still More Movies

Film Studies at the Red Barn

Local Douglas resident and film concept developer John Hardy will introduce each film and lead a brief discussion afterward during the Red Barn Film Studies. June 1: Lawrence of Arabia–1962 Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn; June 8: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels-1988 Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly; June 15: Casino Royale–David Niven, Ursula Andress, Woody Allen, Peter Sellers and Orson Welles; June 22: Auntie Mame-1958 Rosalind Russell, Peggy Cass, Coral Browne and Pippa Scott; June 29: Rebel Without a Cause–1955 James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo; July 6: Giant-1956- Dinner and a Movie Night at The Red Barn Theater–Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean; July 13: To Be Or Not To Be-1942 Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Carole Lombard; July 20: Kiss Me Kate-1953 Ann Miller, Bob Fosse, Carol Haney; July 27: To Kill a Mockingbird-1962 Gregory Peck, Brock Peters, John Megna, Phillip Alford, Mary Badham, Robert Duvall; August 3: Dr. Zhivago-1965 Dinner and a Movie Night at The Red Barn Theater, Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Alec Guinness, Rod Steiger; August 10: Rock Around the Clock-1956; August 17: Cabaret-1972,Michael York, Liza Minnelli; August 24: Sunset Boulevard-1950 William Holden, Gloria Swanson; August 31: The Lady Vanishes-1938, Margaret Lockwood, Dame Mae Whitty, Michael Redgrave; September 7: Fiddler On The Roof-1971,Dinner and a Movie Night at The Red Barn Theater, Israeli actor Topol, Norma Crane; September 14: High Noon-1952 Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges; September 21: Gypsy-1962,Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood; September 28: Moby Dick -1956,Gregory Peck; All screenings are at 6:30 p.m. For more info, call 269-857-5300.

Farmers’ Market

The Green Market is at the SCA from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. every Friday starting June 11 until October 8. There will also be the Monday Market (July 5-August 30) from 3-7 p.m. where local farmers and growers will bring fresh produce, flowers, and perennials, plus homemade jams, jellies and baked goods to the SCA. For more info, call 269-857-2399.

Wineries

Head out to Fenn Valley Winery on June 26 for their Wine Fest from 1-5 p.m. where once again they’ll kick off the beginning of summer as they open their cellars for wine tasting, ethnic foods, and live music. Then on July 17, enjoy Blues in the Vineyard—bring a picnic basket and your lawn chair and park it for a day of live blues, starts at 2:30 p.m. For more info, call 269-857-2396.

More Theater

Hope Summer Repertory Theatre will present Into The Woods from June 18-July 31 at the DeWitt Theatre in Holland. Stephen Sondheim draws from the classic tales of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Ridinghood, and Rapunzel, weaving their stories together in this intricate grown-up version. Then its I Do! I Do! from June 25-August 10 at the Knickerbocker Theatre in Holland, which follows a young couple from the bliss and uncertainty of the wedding night, through parenthood, mid-life crisis, and growing old together in the early 20th Century. Then The Last Night of Ballyhoo will run from August 2-13 at the Knickerbocker. This comedy is set in Atlanta on the day of the Gone with the Wind premiere in the pre-WWII era. A Year With Frog and Toad will run from August 2-13 at the Knickerbocker. These two well-loved characters from Arnold Lobel’s books will take you on a musical journey through the joy and sharing of the simple pleasures of friendship. For more info, call 616-395-7890.

 

Theatre

The Red Barn Players present Neil Simon’s comedy/mystery Rumors on June 17-20 and July 2-3. Several affluent couples gather in the posh suburban residence of a couple for a dinner party celebrating their host’s 10th anniversary. When they arrive, they discover there are no servants, the hostess is missing, and the host – the deputy mayor of New York City – has shot himself through the earlobe. Comic complications arise when, given everyone’s upper class status, they decide they need to do everything possible to conceal the evening’s events from the local police and the media. Then for one night only on June 25 at 8 p.m. the fantastic Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company visits the historic Red Barn Theater and presents The Tempest by William Shakespeare. The Jewish Theater of Grand Rapids returns to the Red Barn Theater on July 16 and 18 with the musical Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah! Seven angels plays host to a musical revue based on Allan Sherman’s endearing collection of song parodies. For more info, call 269-857- 5300.

10 Summer Travel Tips

June 5th, 2010 by Mariah

To go along with our Summer Specials Blog, here are 10 Summer Travel Tips to help your getaway go smoothly. Even if you have the best of intentions when planning your trip, there are a few major things everyone should remember before heading out on a summer road trip.

 

 

 

1. Tend to your tires. Exchange your winter tires for summer or all-season tires. Winter tires wear out quickly on dry, hot pavement; switching them early will keep them in optimum shape for next year, not to mention improve your car’s handling during the summer months.

Check your tire pressure — and check it often. With every passing month, the average tire loses about a pound of air pressure. Proper tire inflation is critical to achieving the best possible contact between the tire and the road and avoiding blowouts and tread separation. Most cars have a decal mounted in their driver doorjamb that lists the correct tire pressures depending on tire size and vehicle load. Properly inflated tires will also improve fuel economy, particularly important if you’re doing lots of high-speed driving on a long family vacation.

 

2. Stay on top of your fluids. If you’ve fallen behind on maintenance, get your car’s oil changed before you hit the road. Keep in mind that any of today’s oils, including 5W-30, 10W-30 or 10W-40 grades, are multiviscous, and get a bit thinner the hotter it gets outside, thereby increasing the chance that the engine might not get the proper lubrication (it’s the opposite in winter). Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will list the manufacturer’s oil recommendations for different climates. If you have a dealership or local garage perform the oil change, ask the manager what type and viscosity of oil they are putting into your vehicle. Consider changing it to a compound that’s slightly thicker if you’re going to be driving in extreme temperatures. While the hood is up, check the coolant/antifreeze mixture inside your vehicle’s radiator. The ideal ratio of coolant to water is 50-to-50 for optimal temperature regulation in both cold weather and hot. You can check this with a simple and inexpensive antifreeze tester, which you can find at all auto parts stores.

 

3. Give the rest of your car a once-over. Inspect the belts and hoses. In modern cars, they are designed to last a long time, but still have the potential to fail. Before summer begins, have the belts and hoses inspected by a mechanic. And if your car is at least a couple of years old and you’re not sure when they were last replaced, consider having them changed, especially before setting out on a long road trip.

Inspect the wiper blades. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is just one year, and wipers often get dried out or chewed up during a hard winter. If yours are not making full contact with the windshield, replace them. Also, keep an eye on your windshield washer fluid reservoir, which you can top off in less time than it takes to fill your tank with gas.

Finally, check the battery. Extreme heat and cold put additional strain on an automobile battery, particularly older ones. If yours is more than 3 years old, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility. If you don’t know how old it is, think about replacing it. This may seem like an unnecessary expense — especially for those on tight budgets — but trust us, it’s better than trying to find a replacement battery while you’re stuck on the side of the road with three screaming kids.

 

4. Prepare an emergency kit for your car. Here’s what we recommend carrying in a safe, secure part of your trunk or cargo area:

a. A flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit

b. Jumper cables

c. A mat or blanket to protect your clothing in the event that you need to change a tire or reach debris that might be lodged underneath your vehicle

d. Extra clothes and gloves

e. Paper towels

f. Extra washer fluid

g. Nonperishable food

h. Jug of water

i. Basic tools (wrenches, ratchet/socket set, screwdrivers, pliers or Vise-Grips, etc.)

Many of these items are available (often prepackaged) at auto parts stores or major department stores. Also, keep the phone number for your emergency roadside assistance program, if you have one, in a convenient location.

 

5. Pack smart. Many of us are guilty of taking everything but the bathtub with us on road trips — stuffing our vehicles to the roof with pillows, coolers, suitcases, CDs, etc. — to the detriment of the vehicle’s comfort, handling and outward visibility. Our advice: bring only what’s necessary.

In the days before you leave, then, make a list of what you’ll need on your trip, and pack as many of those things ahead of time as possible instead of throwing everything in the car in a panic at the last minute. Ask yourself: do you have to bring shampoo when it will be provided by your hotel? Can you afford to eat some meals along the way instead of packing up the entire pantry? Do you really need to bring eight pairs of shorts when you’ll have access to Grandma’s washer/dryer?

That said, we do recommend packing a small cooler with bottled water, crackers, cereal bars, fruit, etc., to keep you and your family hydrated and hunger-free. Replenish these supplies at gas stations or rest stops. Try to avoid salty foods and sodas, as they can actually make you thirstier. And don’t stuff yourself when you eat; food comas at 70 miles per hour are not good, to say the least.

 

 

6. Load smart. Once you’ve decided what to bring, don’t pack items so high that they completely block your outward vision. Don’t bury items that you may need to access at a rest stop. If possible, even out your load from side to side, and if you’re hauling something in a pickup or SUV, try to keep the heaviest items as close to the center of the vehicle as possible for optimal handling.

7. Avoid fatigue. Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of highway accidents. There are a few measures you can take to avoid getting tired on the road. Make absolutely sure you get a good night’s rest before spending a long time behind the wheel. Be mindful of caffeine; a short-term coffee buzz will be followed by a lull, and it’s all but impossible to sustain one’s energy for hours on end. Switch drivers every hour or two if you can. If you find yourself getting tired, by all means pull over at a safe spot, switch on your hazard lights and rest for a few minutes. Finally, stop often. Some people complain about having small bladders, but frequent bathroom stops actually help lower the risk of freeway fatigue. Besides, you never know what cool trinkets, local vittles and photo ops may be waiting for you in those random small towns you might otherwise skip over.

 

8. Tow, tow, tow your boat (or any trailer) with safety in mind. Keep it slow, keep it smooth. When towing, everything you do while driving needs to be done at significantly reduced speed when compared to driving without a trailer. Smoothness and caution are paramount to successful trailering, including accelerating, turning, changing lanes and especially braking. Plan all maneuvers well ahead of time and be especially cautious when towing a slab-sided trailer in windy conditions. Also, familiarize yourself with trailering-specific traffic laws and heed reduced speed limits.

 

 

9. Take the scenic route. Life really is about the journey, so for Pete’s sake, have some fun on your trip. If you’re particularly confident in your navigator (or navigation system), consider taking the more picturesque side roads instead of broad, mind-numbing interstates that may be packed with big rigs and holiday travelers. Pad your trip with extra time so that you can stop at historical landmarks, soak in the beauty of natural landmarks or enjoy a picnic.

 

10. Be nice. While the high costs of gasoline may keep some families off the road this year, you’ll probably encounter quite a few fellow road-trippers anyway. But consider this: you’re tired, they’re tired, and highway driving (especially with little ones) can shorten our collective fuses, making road rage all too common on our interstates. Some words to the wise: be nice. Use your signals. Let faster drivers pass. Don’t tailgate. Be patient with trucks and vacationing families in RVs. They have a right to the road, too, and if we all can just learn to get along, the road can be an awfully fun place to spend time.