Hello From Nova Scotia – The Lunenburg Inn – One Couple’s Unique (Pre) Retirement Story – Bed Breakfast Inns

The day had started great: a hearty and healthy breakfast at the Lunenburg Inn was excellent preparation for a full day of discovery. During the bright and sunny morning I headed out and went on a walking tour through Lunenburg, a quaint and scenic town on Nova Scotia’s southern coast whose unique architectural heritage has garnered it the coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. I capped off my local explorations with a visit to the famous Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, a renowned museum that celebrates the maritime heritage of Nova Scotia.I had big plans for today: a scenic drive along the Lighthouse Trail through scenic communities such as Mahone Bay and Peggy’s Cove to my final destination for today: Halifax, Nova Scotia’s capital. But before saying goodbye to this charming town I wanted to find out a little bit more about the hospitality entrepreneurs running the Lunenburg Inn. I am always interested in the people behind the destinations, because the people are really the key factor in any hospitality experience.So with my suitcase packed and stashed safely in the car, I sat down with Don and Gail Wallace, owners of the Lunenburg Inn, to find out more about their personal story. Don started off by telling me that he had spent 33 years with a Toronto-based company in the warehousing and transportation business, holding the title of Vice President towards the end of his tenure. He felt it was time to make a significant change in his life, so he and Gail sat down to discuss what options they might have. They talked about downsizing their house and looking at a second career that they could start together. They also wanted to relocate away from the Toronto area and find a place where they would be able to retire. So they started looking further afield.One day in February of 1995 they noticed an advertisement in the Financial Post for a place called the “Lunenburg Inn”. This struck a chord because both of them had been dreaming of retiring near the ocean. So Don picked up the phone and got in touch with the real estate broker. On a Sunday morning in February he flew to Halifax and fell in love with Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Don adds that Lunenburg was not as pretty as it is today, but even then he recognized the potential of this town. He really liked the property a lot, although it would need a lot of work. So he phoned Gail to share his positive impressions and suggested that they both travel to Lunenburg the following weekend to see the inn. All the necessary professional contacts were initiated: the mortgage officer at the bank, the building inspector, the real estate agent and the lawyer who would handle the transaction. Don and his wife talked the idea over with their grown-up children. The following Sunday afternoon there was a meeting with the building inspector, after which Don prepared the offer. On Monday morning the mortgage was approved and shortly after lunch Don handed the realtor a cheque as the down payment for their retirement plan: the Lunenburg Inn. Shortly after his arrival back in Toronto he received a call from his realtor that they would now be the proud owners of an inn as of May 1, 1995.Ironically, the day that this real estate transaction was completed Don had to go on a business trip to Vancouver, and he and his colleague went out after work and celebrated with a bottle of wine. It was not until months later that his coworker found out that Don had a real reason to celebrate on this very day: the beginning of his second career.Back in Toronto Don wrote a letter of resignation to his company’s president who was very surprised since he and most people in the company had assumed that Don was a “lifer”, i.e. that he would spend the rest of his working life at this company. Don gave 6 months notice and would leave his position as Vice-President by the end of August. This gave the couple sufficient time to organize garage sales to get rid of unwanted furniture in Toronto. On April 28 their van left at 5 am, packed up their goods and arrived in Lunenburg on April 30. Don had booked two weeks of vacation and his son came along to spend his summer in Lunenburg – a perfect arrangement since Don still had to wrap up his last few months with his company in Toronto.So from May onwards Gail and their son Drew started to operate the bed and breakfast. Their daughter came to join them in July, she had just finished her last year of high school and was starting a degree at Wilfred Laurier University in September. Don was able to leave his position early since by the end of July a replacement had been hired. So on August 1 the entire family was united in Lunenburg.The Lunenburg Inn was furnished when Don and Gail purchased it but the owners had taken personal pieces that had been used in the inn. The living room was very sparse and some rooms were missing chairs and tables. So for the first few weeks, Gail and her son Drew embarked on a nightly routine of furniture moving: they needed to provide a full compliment to those rooms rented for the night with the remaining furniture decorating the living room for that night. That meant that furniture pieces continuously had to be moved around from one room to another. They had decided to leave their Toronto-area house furnished while Don still lived there and to improve the chances of selling it. It was sold only in late July (with a mid-August closing) and Don had the moving company pack everything up in the last week of July. The furniture arrived in Lunenburg in mid-August and after its arrival they finally had a fully furnished living room without the nightly furniture move.The Lunenburg Inn had been an abandoned building, so it needed a lot of work. From 1924 to 1979 it had been the “Hillside Hotel”, a 13-room hotel (with one bathroom!) next to the town’s train station. In the meantime the train service to Lunenburg has been discontinued for many years. The property was abandoned for a number of weeks just prior to being purchased by the previous owners in 1988. When Don and Gail purchased the property in 1995 the building was very tired and in need of a complete redecoration and upgrading, including furnishings, to bring it up to a 4 1/2 star property.During their first winter of 1995 Gail stripped every piece of furniture and diligently refinished it. All the couches and armchairs were re-upholstered. Don himself learned how to fix the plasterwork in this historic building, and in the dining room the couple removed nine layers of wallpaper and four layers of paint, all accumulated over the years since the building’s construction in 1893. Carpets were torn out and replaced, floors were refinished. So far in the last 11 years, all the rooms have been redecorated at least three times. Don feels very strongly that a bed and breakfast should never look tired. His goal was to make the Lunenburg Inn a warm, comfortable place with upscale features.Now the Lunenburg Inn is in its 12th season and it is still holding up well. Don and Gail meanwhile are ready to start their real retirement. Don informed me that about 40% of bed and breakfast owners do not reopen after their third season, another 40% of B&B owners discontinue their business after 6 years. Only 5% of B&B owners make it to the 10-year mark. Don adds that running the Lunenburg Inn was “his second and final career”, and he and Gail had committed to 10 years. Now 11 years later, they are ready to move on into a well-deserved retirement.But this industrious couple did not stop at being B&B owners: from 1997 to late 2002 they also owned an M&M Meat Shop franchise which meant that Gail managed the retail operation while Don together with some hired help ran the bed and breakfast. Gail would be at the store every day from 9 am to 6 pm, and Don would handle the ordering and the accounting for the meat shop in addition to his duties at the inn.Today, the couple is focusing on the Lunenburg Inn only. Their day starts at 6 am when fresh muffins are baked for up to 19 breakfast guests. Guests can come to breakfast whenever it suits their schedule. Don and Gail put a lot of effort into preparing a healthy, filling and attractively prepared breakfast that always includes a lot of fresh fruit. They work with a 7-day rotation for the breakfast so none of the guests will get bored of having the same dishes served twice in a row.Breakfast takes place form 8 to 9:30 am and a helper in the kitchen handles the plate layout, coffee and toast. Two housekeepers help with the maintenance and cleaning chores, and all the laundry for the inn is handled in-house. The Lunenburg Inn opens from the beginning of May until late October. Don and Gail have made a commitment that one of them will always sleep in the house when the B&B is in operation. The guests may always have potential needs, and it is important to have a competent contact person on site.Don and Gail are proud of the fact that the Lunenburg Inn was the first 4.5 star property in Lunenburg, a property that combines the “warmth of home” with Victorian charm. 75% of their business stems from repeat customers and referrals, evidence of their commitment to an outstanding hospitality experience.Personally, they live in a separate private apartment on the lower level of the inn, and during the winter season they like to spend time with their children and go to South Carolina for a couple of weeks. There is always stuff to be done around the inn, and winter is the perfect time for redecorating or upgrades. Don also likes to go curling about four to five mornings in the week during the winter.The Lunenburg Inn is currently listed for sale. Neither Don nor Gail are in a rush to sell the property, and they realize that it is going to take a special buyer who is going to be interested in running this inn. Sometimes it could take as much as three to five years to sell a property like this. Don and Gail indicated that once the inn sells, they will stay in Lunenburg, and buy a simple family home. They enjoy the weather here: summers are less hot and humid than in Ontario, and there is less snow and rain. Gail adds that during the first four years in Lunenburg she did not even need winter boots. And falls are simply gorgeous in this quaint community.I realized that here was a couple who had made some very strategic, well thought-out decisions about their retirement. They knew exactly where they were going and what their next step was going to be. Few of us are so lucky as to have such a clear idea of where life is going to take us. With these thoughts in mind I thanked Don and Gail for their warm hospitality, and set off to continue my journey along the Lighthouse Trail to Halifax.

Looking For a Romantic Place to Elope? Try a Bed & Breakfast! – Bed Breakfast Inns

Bed and breakfast establishments provide a romantic backdrop to an elopement wedding. They are quaint, cozy and best of all – stress free! A Bed & Breakfast is an ideal location for couples who are on their second marriage, or even first timers who simply want to avoid all the chaos associated with a traditional wedding. From upstate New York, to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and wine country Napa Valley California, there are hundreds of B&B’s that offer wonderful elopement wedding packages throughout the United States.Southern States:The south has a particular appeal that attracts couples who want to experience an intimate ceremony with a bit of southern charm and hospitality. Some of the most popular southern state B&B elopement destinations are in New Orleans, Savannah,and Virginia. Magnolia Mansion, selected as one of the top 10 romantic inns within the United States is located in Beautiful New Orleans. This popular location also specializes in both small and large weddings and provide the perfect plantation style ceremony. The Azalea Inn and Gardens in Savannah Georgia is breathtakingly beautiful. For under $1000 you will receive a two night stay in the room of your choice, a minister to perform the ceremony, floral arrangements, small cake, and several other wedding day perks.North East States:For simplicity’s sake, we will consider the states from Maine and down through Delaware as the North East states. The North East offers a wide range of appeal from the cottage feel found in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to the quaint, charming ambiance of the New England states. The Westbrook Inn of Connecticut, The Edward Harris House of Rochester New York, Angels Watch Inn located in Connecticut and White Rocks Inn located in Vermont all offer great elopement package deals.West Coast:You would be hard pressed to not be able to find a super romantic Bed and Breakfast elopement packages on the west coast. The area between northern Washington state and down into southern California is simply ripe with established B&B’s. For less than $600, you can elope at the Swantown Inn located in Olympia, Washington. The package includes your officiant, witnesses if you do not have any and an overnight stay for the newlyweds. You can also opt to rent the entire house to accommodate up to six guests for a fairly low price as well. California’s Napa Valley is known for it’s Tuscan Style charm and has become a very popular elopement destination. The Bed & Breakfast establishments are perfect for thirty something couples, those on their second marriages or older couples.

Gatlinburg Hotels – Clarion Inn and Suites – Bed Breakfast Inns

Clarion Inn & Suites of Gatlinburg offers many amenities. The suites are generously sized and nicely decorated. All the standard deluxe rooms include private baths and have two double beds. The deluxe rooms are equipped with microwaves and refrigerators and private balconies. The suites come equipped with microwaves, refrigerators, a full kitchen area and a separate living area with a gas fireplace. The suites also come equipped with two-person Jacuzzis. The suites are ideal for family gatherings or romantic weekends and provide the perfect backdrop for your trip to beautiful Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The Penthouse suites at the Clarion offer breathtaking mountain views and have two bedrooms, separate living and dining areas and all the amenities that are available in the regular suites. The Penthouse suites offer twelve to fifteen hundred square feet of living areas and are the perfect size for the average family while staying in Gatlinburg.The Clarion Inn & Suites offer a full breakfast buffet free of charge to its guests. There is an indoor pool and Jacuzzi, a dining room, a conference room and a business center. This Gatlinburg hotel offers affordable luxury in the heart of Gatlinburg TN. The Clarion is centrally located to all the attractions that have come to make Gatlinburg one of the most popular destinations for families in the area. Fine dining, family fun, shopping and museums are all in walking distance of the Clarion. There are many things to do and see in both Gatlinburg and nearby Pigeon Forge TN. Don’t overlook Dollywood when you are in Gatlinburg – you’re just a few minutes away from this theme park that features dozens of thrill rides and great fun for the family – all inspired by the country music legend, Dolly Parton.A romantic getaway is a great idea to spend some time with that special someone. The Great Smokey Mountains is a breathtaking and ideal location for a romantic getaway. The Clarion Inn & Suites is located in downtown Gatlinburg with the Great Smokey Mountain National Park as its backyard. The central location means that great dinning and shopping is close by and so is the natural environment of the mountain range. Couples can spend the evening soaking in the Jacuzzi then nibble some snacks by the fire place after a great meal at one of the Gatlinburg restaurants. The restaurants range in fare from the grab and go eateries that are so popular on vacation to fine dining establishments that require formal attire and reservations. The Dixie Stampede in nearby Pigeon Forge is a great dinner show that is sure to be enjoyed, not just by couples but by everyone in the family.For a day of family fun, the Clarion is only a few steps away from the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, where there are hiking trails, picnic areas, horseback riding and guided tours. This is a fantastic way to steep the family in a day of fun outdoor activities. There are amusement arcades within walking distance as well. Ripley’s Aquarium is also close by, and there are various museums and indoor action parks that are all easily accessible from the Clarion Inn & Suites. This is also one of the most affordable Gatlinburg hotels – so you won’t need to spend the biggest bulk of your vacation budget on lodging – leaving you more money to spend on attractions.

Exploring the Uniqueness of a Temecula Bed and Breakfast – Bed Breakfast Inns

Step into the magical allure of a Temecula bed and breakfastand you’d think you’ve died and gone to heaven. The glaring difference between a B&B in Temecula and the typical hotel is an experience only you can see for yourself. As you journey through the ins and outs of such an enlightening adventure, it’s best to prepare yourself with a brief history of B&Bs in order to truly understand the sheer delight of exploring some of the best Temecula bed and breakfasts found in the region.By now, you probably already know that a bed and breakfast is typically referred to as a “B&B”, a private residence or establishment that offers shelter to weary travelers. You will often encounter this type of opportunity situated within a townhouse, single-family home, or condominium.In the beginning, shared bathrooms were commonplace in the bed and breakfasts of yesteryear, yet private bathrooms have become a given in many of the establishments of today. Breakfast is usually served as part of the room rate, which truly illustrates the meaning of a B&B, a warm bed and hearty breakfast at the start of each day. The concept of a bed and breakfast has endured many years of changes over time, as travelers have always needed a place to lay their head for the night. In the past, no one ever thought twice seeking shelter in the comfort of a private dwelling over a room offered at the local inn.What’s quite interesting is that before the 19th century, informal arrangements were made between individuals belonging to the same social rank. For example, a traveling physician may seek accommodations for the night at the home of a fellow doctor or pharmacist.Nowadays, it is quite common to see countless old properties find a new lease on life as they serve as guesthouses showcasing the beauty of antique furnishings that attract travelers with their historical charm. All through the United States, the unique features attached to various establishments paint the picture of what makes a B&B so special. Sometimes, a significant historical past is the attraction or perhaps a well known celebrity or former president spent the night in one of the rooms.One thing to count on, the majority of B&B’s in the U.S. have built a reputation for delivering impressively decorated guestrooms, friendly customer service, and individual room appeal.. Most of all the ‘home cooked breakfasts’ each morning always delivers the perfect push at the start of each day! There is no denying the allure of a Temecula bed and breakfast that knows just how to make the most out of a fascinating blend of an enchanting town setting with unforgettable local uniqueness.To take advantage of what a Temecula bed and breakfast [http://www.best-temecula-guide.com/temecula-bed-and-breakfast.html] has to offer, consider the following establishments offering a comfortable stay in this beautiful Southern California Wine Country region:· The Castle B&B (35925 Rancho California Road): European charm awaits at this Temecula bed and breakfast set in the wine country [http://www.best-temecula-guide.com/temecula-winery.html], which provides accommodations with a touch of Venetian, Medieval, English Tudor, or French Country character.· La Vindemia Bed & Breakfast (33133 Vista del Monte Road): A private villa with luxury accommodations located here highlights the taste and atmosphere of Italy with enchanting flower paths, romantic patio spaces, and a mesmerizing rose garden.· Inn at Churon Winery (33233 Rancho California Rd): To experience the French-style chateau of this bed and breakfast, consider the Merlot suite or a Jacuzzi bathtub for two.· Loma Vista Bed and Breakfast (33350 La Serena Way): Romance lingers about the pathways located outside of rooms called ‘Champagne’ and ‘Zinfandel.’· Fallbrook Bed and Breakfast (2239 Gird Rd, Fallbrook, CA) : Located just 20 minutes outside of Temecula, the town of Fallbrook is home to an 1885-remodeled farmhouse that offers two unique rentals with numerous hidden nooks and crannies to explore.All in all-a Temecula bed and breakfast will assist you in capturing the best of staying at some of the most peaceful escapes about town. When planning a visit to the region or looking for a personal getaway-considering a stay at a Temecula bed and breakfast should become top priority.