We can all learn from history, the good and the bad. The mistakes of the past are best learned and remembered so not to repeat them. We also want to learn from past good deeds and practices, so we can continue a legacy.
It was innkeepers that first bought historic homes and converted them to bed and breakfasts who are our industry’s bed & breakfast pioneers. All of us at The B&B Team often hear innkeepers say that they would love to go back to the simplicity of the ‘good old days’, no internet, OTA’s, online reviews, on and on. But the early bed & breakfast pioneers endured hardships that challenged them as well. Just not ‘cloud’ based, more down to earth.
George and Eleanor Pavloff took possession of an inn on Deer Isle Maine in 1975 after it stood vacant for many years. You can imagine what ‘issues’ they discovered in a 1793 building that lay empty and abandoned. How about “a suspicious gasoline odor that wafted from their faucets and perfumed their showers.” Ah yes, a nearby gas station underground oil tank, leaking. That is a real ‘down to earth’ problem. Time to hook up to town water. From an article in the July 1978 issue of Down East Magazine, ‘So You Want to Open an Inn?’ By Mimi Steadman.
The Pilgrim’s Inn in Deer Isle has housed and fed a few innkeepers since the Pavloffs. Current innkeepers, Nicole and Scott “strive to uphold that tradition of excellence” they have inherited. And as many of you know, with the care of a building over 250 years old, the challenges are ever present. The pride of ownership and knowing they are upholding an honored legacy is their reward. Their guests and the community are thankful for this.
Another pioneer was Marian Burns. In 1980, after many years as an educator, Marian bought a former summer cottage in Bar Harbor Maine, and Mira Monte Inn was created with just three rooms. At her death at age 88, Marian’s creation had grown into 20 rooms. Marian received many community and service awards over her many years of innkeeping. She was in constant motion, her brain never stopped planning a new project for the inn, her community and her guests. As an example, Marian received the Maine Innkeeper’s Association Community Service Award for her work with Hospitality for Habitat. A fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity that is still operating today and has raised over $220,000.
On May 2, 2019, Mira Monte Inn sold to Bruce and Cheryl Ueno. During their transition, they had spent many hours with Marian’s family. Learning about operations, but just as important, about Marian and the legacy she left. The day before closing, Rick and I were out to dinner with Cheryl, Bruce and one of Marian’s sons and his wife who have been managing Mira Monte with other family since Marian’s death. Bruce and Cheryl surprised us all with a photo of a wonderful portrait of Marian that Bruce had commissioned from an artist friend of theirs.
The portrait will hang in Mira Monte Inn along with her many award plaques. Bruce and Cheryl believe her presence belongs there; her legacy will forever be a part of the Inn. As you can imagine, there were a few tears at the dinner table that evening. What a lovely tribute and thoughtful gesture from Cheryl and Bruce.
So next time you are spending hours on your computer with challenging issues from the ‘cloud’, raise a glass of wine to the heavens, give a toast to the bed & breakfast pioneers.
“…the septic is in great shape, thanks, had to put new tile in room 3, it looks great…the chimney you had repaired 25 years ago, well guess what?” Found three layers of wallpaper in room 7, what were you all thinking, yikes. Oh, and by the way, you were right about our guests, they are what keep me going, they are great!” Cheers!
To end my little tribute, here is a true Marianism, (she was known for many). “One may not get everything they want but they can always get some.”
Thanks for Listening,