Inn Consultants and Brokers Since 1993

Rick Wolf and Peter Scherman (that’s Rick on the left and Peter on the right) are both experienced speakers who have presented on a range of innkeeping related topics at the state, regional, and national level. They gather and analyze research for the Innkeeping industry and welcome the opportunity to share it with others. Contact Us

The B&B Team

Posts Tagged ‘Bed & Breakfast’

Ten Ways to See the New River Gorge West Virginia

August 4th, 2015 by Janet Wolf

New River Gorge Bridge

The New River Gorge West Virginia is one of those amazing destinations that will, frankly and simply, amaze you. Once I started digging into this area I realized that there are a variety of ways to experience the gorge. If you like soft or extreme adventure, this is the place. Or maybe you like a more relaxed excursion into this part of the Appalachian hills of West Virginia. Let’s take a virtual trip and count the ways.

1. ‘A river runs through it’. Not just any river but this old man river, the New River, is one the oldest rivers on the continent. Paddlers are drawn to the river. Kayaking, canoeing or white water rafting through the gorge has been described as traveling through a mini version of the Grand Canyon. In fact it is often called ‘The Grand Canyon of the East’.

endless wall trail

2. Happy trails. One of the most popular hiking trails in the east is called the Endless Wall Trail. They call it Endless Wall because the line of cliffs goes on for quite some distance. The views are spectacular and you can often hear the whitewater rafters from 1,000 feet below.

3. On the road again. A one hundred year old road of hairpin turns leads you to the bottom of the gorge. View remnants of abandoned coal mining communities. Learn the history of the mining industry among ghost towns rapidly being taken over by nature. As a bonus, a few ghosts may hitch a ride with you on your way back up the gorge.


New River Gorge mining tow

Nature reclaiming the remnants of a lost industry

4. By rail. A day long train excursion traverses the former Chesapeake & Ohio mainline from Huntington, WV to Hinton, WV. The New River Train Excursions suggest fall as the best time to ride and view some of the most spectacular fall scenery as well as the many towns and cities they pass through.

5. Horseback. Equestrian Adventure has over 20 years of experience and access to over 6,000 acres of the trails along the rim of the New River Gorge National Park.

6. Vertical. Rock climbers are also drawn to the area. The abundance of climbs (1,400) and the views (30-120 feet in height) as well as the hard sandstone are a plus for experienced climbers.


New River Gorge rock climbing

Vertical View

7. On a higher note. See the gorge from Treetop Zip Line and Gravity Canopy Tours. The tours are a combination of zip lines, cable bridges and stationary tree platforms. They tout it as a great adrenaline rush. I would not doubt that.

8. On an even higher note. Wild Blue Adventures will take you up in an open cockpit WWII biplane. Cool.

8. Go underground. Caving in the New Gorge is big. Less adrenaline but those who like stalactites, stalagmites and helicites may argue with me. The Stratosphere Cave is the most popular.

10. A view from the bridge. Built in 1980 on U.S. Route 19 near Fayetteville, West Virginia, the New River Gorge Bridge is an architectural icon and one of the most famous bridges in the country.


New River Gorge B&B

Morris Harvey House Bed & Breakfast

After all this adventure where does one hang their hat and rest their weary bones? The Morris Harvey House Bed & Breakfast of course. A lovely respite located in the middle of the New River Gorge recreation area. A stroll into the historic town of Fayetteville is a must. The town is described as an eclectic community of outdoor enthusiast, artists, and native West Virginians. Sounds like a place to hang an ‘open for business sign’ as well as your hat, permanently.

The B&B Team represents The Morris Harvey House for sale. The occupancies average around 50%, a remarkable achievement for any inn in a small town setting, which is testament to the strength of the draw that the Gorge has. Topping off the attractiveness of the Morris Harvey House is the detached adjacent owner’s cottage with 2 bedrooms and full bath, kitchen, and living/dining room, affording space to relax and get away from the business while being immediately convenient. It is a beautiful property with so much more to offer than at first glance. Just like the New River Gorge, new adventures await new owners.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Where Is This Bed & Breakfast?

June 17th, 2011 by Janet Wolf

Here in Maine we have a great magazine, Down East, which has been the best source for all things Maine for decades.  In every issue they have a feature called ‘Where in Maine?’ Readers can try to identify a place and send in their response and in the next issue the place will be revealed. So I thought it would be fun to create our own mini feature, Where Is This Bed & Breakfast?  The properties chosen in the post may be one of our Inns For Sale or not. They may be an innkeeper colleague and friend or…

Bed & Breakfast # 1:

  • · Their colors are red, turquoise and orange.
  • · The rooms are few with a flighty theme.
  • · The innkeeper femme blogs with insight and knowledge.
  • · The city location is A # 1.

Bed & Breakfast  #2

  • · Location a state where some ‘boys’ come from.
  • · Victorian in style with salt air quite near.
  • · Innkeepers take pride within their select group of inns.
  • · Guests won’t be ‘ board’ with all the thrills close by.

Fire off an email to The B&B Team or post a comment here if you can identify these picturesque bed and breakfasts. Have fun!

Janet Wolf

Guest Room Staging, The Innkeeper’s Art

July 27th, 2010 by Janet Wolf

by Janet Wolf of The B&B Team

We were very fortunate in our innkeeping career to have had wonderful housekeepers who always went above and beyond their job description. One in particular stands out. She once told me that she would stand at the doorway of a room after she was finished cleaning and ‘critique’ her work. If anything was off kilter, a dust ruffle, an area rug, a curtain, she would see it as she scanned the room with her eyes. As an innkeeper, you can also use this same technique to know when it is time to refresh a ‘tired’ room.

Refreshing is a process you can go through when you may not have the time or the funds to completely redecorate a guest or common room. Whether you are preparing an inn for sale or you are a new innkeeper ready to tackle your rooms for the first time, we suggest some helpful tips.

1. The Four Corners and In Between

In your mind’s eye remove all of the furniture from the room and look at the room with a fresh eye. Look at the ceiling, crown molding, fireplace mantel, built-ins, baseboards and floor. Let your eye focus on these architectural details. You may not be able to strip off years of paint but you can repair chipped paint and cracks. These flaws can be easily touched up without repainting an entire room. Paint colors are very easy to match these days. Old wood floors and baseboards take a lot of beating. Giving your wood surfaces a good polish and buffing can often make these surfaces look like they have been refinished. Clean up scuff marks from your painted surfaces with some baking soda or a mild abrasive cleanser. Finally, look at your wallpaper. Gently washing your papered surfaces will remove any dust and grime and brighten up the surfaces, but test a small area first. You will also want to repair any torn or pealing corners and seams.

2. Upholstered Furniture

This is the most difficult and usually most costly to refresh. Cleaning a piece that is dirty but is otherwise in good condition is an obvious solution. But what about those pieces that are simply tired, worn out, or out of date? Reupholstering is expensive and is only recommended for well made hardwood, jointed, and nailed pieces. Slip covers are another way to go, but it can be just as expensive to get good, custom made slipcovers as it is to reupholster the piece. Ready made slip covers are often ill-fitting and look messy after each sitting. Often your best alternative is to replace the piece. You can find inexpensive upholstered furniture that is both comfortable and durable. These pieces may not last a lifetime, but they will fit the bill. Whether you replace, reupholster, or slip cover, we recommend choosing solid and/or textured fabrics in a neutral palette for the larger pieces. Tip: “neutral” doesn’t necessarily mean beige! Your larger upholstered pieces are background pieces. Complicated patterns and bold colors can be utilized more effectively for smaller pieces, accent pillows, coverlets, drapes, and area rugs.

3. Non-upholstered Furniture

These pieces are the working surfaces of a room; end tables, sideboards, coffee tables. The placement of these pieces is important because they are both decorative and functional. Seating should never be more than arm’s length from any of these pieces. Because these items are functional they get a lot of abuse. Vacuum cleaners leave marks on the legs; lack of coaster use leaves rings, and moving furniture for cleaning loosens legs and tops. Simple handyman work can tighten screws, re-nail or re-glue arms and legs. Antique dealers will tell you not to refinish fine pieces because it diminishes their value, but there is a wonderful product that restores wood furniture without messy stripping. It is Restor-a-Finish and is recommended for antiques. This product will eliminate or minimize white rings, water marks, and scratches without removing the existing finish. Check out their website for more information,

4. Accessories

Often times you see your décor as filled with treasured mementos. A potential buyer or guest might simply see clutter. Do you want a buyer (or your guest) to see fifteen coffee table books stacked on top of your beautiful antique side table? Or do you want them to see the polished and glowing surface of this wonderful piece of furniture with a few well placed accessories? We all know the answer. Realtors call this the ‘staging of a home’. When the home is your inn and your business, the staging is even more important because the staging items, the furniture and accessories, most often will stay with the property. These items need to be properly presented along with all the other aspects of your property. You really need to be brutally honest with yourself when you are critiquing your collections and mementos. You want to focus on a few well placed pieces that add sparkle and interest. Avoid a table full or shelf full of dust gatherers. A helpful process to go through is to strip the room of all accessories, including pillows, wall prints and paintings. Start from scratch. Replace these items in groupings with an empathsis on color and scale. Avoid a lot of small items that cannot be seen from the threshold of the room.

5. Lighting

The lighting in a room is most important in creating mood but it also needs to be functional. There are three lighting areas in a room: above, mid-range and floor. Any light from above is best for spotlighting accent objects and special paintings. Mid-range lighting comes from table and floor lamps. Sit on your chairs and lie on your beds to make sure the lamps are the right size and the right bulb wattage for reading. Floor lighting can add dramatic effect placed behind furniture or plants. Take a good look at your lamp shades. Have they seen better days? You can replace worn out shades fairly inexpensively. For a final touch, add a new top finial. Dimmer switches can be wonderful. Dimmed lighting can add romance to your whirlpool bathrooms and to selected areas in your common rooms.

In closing, with a thoughtful view of the room, elbow grease, and ‘do-it-yourself’ spirit (which all innkeepers have!) your ‘refreshing’ projects will add life and sparkle to your rooms. The end result is an atmosphere that demonstrates to a buyer and to guests that yours is a loved and well maintained inn.

Moonlight in Vermont and New Innkeepers at The Brass Lantern Inn

December 17th, 2009 by Janet Wolf

One of the best songs ever written about Vermont is by John Blackburn.  Mr. Blackburn spent only two years in Vermont, teaching Drama at Bennington College.  He lived the rest of his years in Southern California, as far away as one can get from Vermont, in more ways than just weather!   But he must have loved the place while he was there, just read a sample of these immortal lyrics in which each verse is haiku.

    Ev’nig summer breeze

    Warbling of a meadowlark

    Moonlight in Vermont


 Icy fingers-wave

Ski trails on a mountainside

 Snowlight in Vermont

Written in 1943, the poetic words of this romantic ballad are timeless and describe so well the romantic vision most people have of Vermont.  Native Vermonters and visitors alike to this wonderful state know this and keep it close to their hearts.  

One Vermont location and Inn that met his criteria is The Brass Lantern in Stowe.  The B&B Team is pleased to have been involved with the transfer of the inn on December 16th as Consultants to the Buyers.  Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Mary Anne and George Lewis, new Innkeepers of The Brass Lantern Inn.  The Lewis’s are recent graduates of our Aspiring Innkeeper’s Seminar.  With their knowledge and our commitment to an ongoing relationship with our clients, we feel assured of their future success as Vermont Innkeepers. 

Some very famous natives, at least to the many fans of the Vermont Country Store, are the Orton family.  They are in their 8th generation of ownership!  In the beginning, Vrest and Ellen Orton had a family goal, “sell products that don’t come back to people that do”, and “we take great care to treat you right so that you come back often.”  These values still exist in the running of the store.  You see it everywhere, from their dedication to their product line as ‘Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find’ to the warm and cozy feel of their two stores and the unique format of their catalog that hasn’t changed much in 60 years.  This home grown friendly and practical approach to business is what makes this state’s hospitality so genuine.

Norman Simpson once wrote in one of his Country Inns & Back Roads volumes, that he was always looking for the “lost Vermont”.  His vision was of “Gardens, trees, peace, history, laconic natives, covered bridges, mountains, lakes, antiquing, auctions…a sort of warm feeling of coming home.”

 Lost Vermont”…?…sorry Norman but we don’t believe it has ever been lost.  If you visit Vermont this winter I am certain you will be welcomed with the warmth of an ‘icy-fingered wave’, a road map to the ‘ski trails on a mountainside’ and a beautiful evening view from your guest room window of ‘Moonlight in Vermont.’  The Lewis’s and the Brass Lantern Inn will be happy to be your hospitable guides and hosts.  Oh yes, and while there, do drop in and see the folks at The Vermont Country Store too!


Janet Wolf