Monday, May 31, 2010

Confessions of an Innkeeper

With all our windows open, my alarm clock is the song of birds. I love that we only breathe fresh air in our home and live in a quaint mountain town that boasts of being air conditioned by nature.

I deliver the morning papers to our guest rooms and smell freshly brewed coffee all they way up to the 3rd floor. I tip toe on the original hardwood floors purposefully stepping over the boards I know that creek.

I turn on the oven and begin making breakfast, everything home made of course. Jake, our precious black lab, watches wistfully hoping something, anything, will drop to the floor.

Preparing food in the kitchen I listen to my husband (Ricky) hold court in the dining room or back deck entertaining our guests with his quick wit and funny stories. As always, he sits on his director’s chair proud of his directorial debut of The Dixie Swim Club, our community theater’s winter play. I still laugh, even though I have heard most all his jokes a million times.

I help people plan their days: Where to hike, where to dine, where to have a picnic. I have maps, make reservations, and share my personal experiences of 14 magical years living in, hiking in, and loving Highlands.

I pick flowers from our gardens for vases, then herbs to cook with. I walk through the halls and smell the Peonies and feel the wind blow through the windows bringing in all of the sounds and sweet fragrances of nature. I smile at the melody of our wind chimes on the wrap around porch.

I dust the antiques and remember the stories each ancestor of this 100 year old home has shared with us.

I admire the original art work, fine bedding, and fresh flowers lovingly placed in each of our guest rooms. I read our room journals, grateful for the shared appreciation our guests have of our efforts, beautiful home, and Highlands.

I bake cookies, and place them in the basket on the stairway newel, knowing how heavenly the smell will be upon entering the Inn, and how it permeates the rooms and hallways.

I make our appetizer for evening wine and hors d’oeuvres, then decide where it should go: the decks; wrap around porch; or parlor.

Ricky and I sit with our guests swapping lies, debating politics, and listening how ordinary people lead heroic lives and end my day inspired. If we are on the porch, we watch the mother birds feed their babies in our hanging ferns.

As I fall asleep in the evening, I feel the cool breezes moving around the room under the quiet motion of our ceiling fan and listen to the night sounds of frogs, cicadas, owls. I hear the winds rustle through tree branches thanking whatever powers that be I live in Highlands and this is my life.

I wake up the next day, and it all starts over again. Some days I walk to town to shop or dine. Some days I lie on our hammock. Some days I just watch the birds, mesmerized.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t love my life, and love sharing it.

So when you are trying to decide where to stay, I hope you remember these confessions of an innkeeper hopelessly in love with what she does, where she lives, and how she runs her business. We are a value on many levels, not just price. Everything is made with love, and is personal.

It is true for Ricky too. Our gardens are a reflection of his passion, skill, and taste. He loves to serve and entertain. He too gains strength and inspiration from our guests.

This is why we are not a hotel or inn. We are the quintessential B&B. With 10 rooms, we are large enough to not be too close, but small enough to be intimate. Our decks, porches, and common areas give our guests plenty of room to spread out and find as much privacy as they need.

Our gardens heal, and offer respites for mediation and reflection. There is not at thing within normal boundaries that Ricky and I would not do for our guests, which is why many of them have been coming back for 14 years and we remain #1 on Trip Adviser out of 11 B&B’s and Inns.

We are not for everyone, but if you are looking for a B&B, we are for you. Try us.
Posted by 4 1/2 Street Inn Blog at 4:01 PM

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  1. For years we have visited Highlands and fell in love with it the first time we were there. Our friends, the owners of Colonial Pines Inn-across the street- invited us up from Atlanta to the Inn 20+ yrs ago and we were hooked! But, the year that we decided to come back to Highlands and couldn't get a room at the Pines, we went to another inn and loved being able to stay at a different B&B. We enjoyed the variety! We have continued to enjoy different Inns but I have always had my eye on the 4-1/2 Street Inn as one I definitely wanted to "try". This may be the year to do just that! Trip Advisor has sold me on it with their 5 star rating-sounds divine!

  2. My wife and I have been staying at the 4 1/2 Street Inn for approx 16 years and it is always like going home. We love the decor and comfortable surroundings. The breafasts are to die for!
    We love going to our home in the mountains and seeing our friends Helene and Rick!

  3. I am so looking forward to our very first night in the Highlands at your B&B this weekend!