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 ‘full service inns for sale’

Flint Hills of Kansas-Lure of a Magical Land

May 13th, 2016 by Janet Wolf

Flint Hills of Kansas

Flint Hills of Kansas-Tallgrass Prairie                               Photograph by Jim Richardson

In the Flint Hills of Kansas rests the last great swath of tallgrass prairie in the nation, and many claim in the world. In a 2006 article about bringing tourism to Kansas, a consultant wrote: “It is your incredible, special, singular natural landscape that helps define you. This is where you can get a sense of what it must have been like if you were a Plains Indian or one of your great-great-great-great-grandparents.”

This is a magical land where there is abundant natural beauty plus a lure that attracted our nation’s pioneering past. And today you’ll find an active community of third and fourth generation ranchers. Historic farmsteads still in operation also dot the land. Worth a visit, you bet.

Flint Hills of Kansas

Flint Hills-Open Sky-Endless Horizons                Photograph by Kenneth G. West Jr.

The natural beauty consists of open sky and an endless horizon. Many folks think (as I did), that the Kansas landscape is flat. Not so in the Flint Hills. It consists of gently rolling hills dotted with crevices where streams flow and trees grow. And yes there is a reason why prairies are described as a ‘sea of grass’. In the fall when the tallgrass is at its tallest the grass resembles endless waves. The diversity and subtlety of the tallgrass landscape is also described as soothing and very peaceful. A touch of Zen in Kansas!

Flint Hills of Kansas

Flint Hills of Kansas-National Scenic Byway

For tourists there are many ways to experience the Flint Hills. 2016 is the National Park Service Centennial and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is in the heart of the Flint Hills, Kansas’ only National Park. “The preserve protects a nationally significant remnant of the once vast tallgrass prairie and its cultural resources.” Rangers give bus tours, there are back country hiking trails, fishing, education programs and cell phone tours.

The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway, Route 177, travels above the hills for panoramic views and through towns with names like Council Grove, Cottonwood Falls and Strong City. Travel slowly and stop often.

Flint Hills of Kansas

Grand Central Hotel-Flint Hills Kansas

In Cottonwood Falls you’ll find the landmark Grand Central Hotel circa 1884. In 1995 the current owner took the structure “down to brick and dirt” and voila the present day hotel and restaurant was created. An expansion to the building was added and now houses 10 oversized guest rooms, an outdoor dining courtyard and a warm and inviting dining room with fireplace and down home western charm. The décor in the entire inn reflects Kansas  history. Fun stuff like spur doorknockers and tooled bootjack doorstops. Historic photos line the brick walls as well as local landscape art. All this gives the Grand Central Hotel a strong sense of place.

The Hotel’s restaurant has a well-established reputation and attracts diners from far afield. American fare is served with Great Plains Beef featured of course. The B&B Team is pleased to offer this historic property for sale. The Grand Central Hotel is the premier lodging option for sale in the area, yet has great unrealized potential for future owners. A wonderful business opportunity in the heart of this magical land.

I want to end with a Kansas motto I found in my research. ‘Kansas doesn’t take your breath away, it makes you breathe.’ Yet after reading about the Flint Hills of Kansas and viewing some spectacular prairie photos I believe experiencing the Flint Hills would take my breath away.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Full Service Inns – Time for a Renaissance

May 16th, 2013 by Janet Wolf


Food Glorious Food at Restaurant Verterra, The Inn at Weathersfield, Vermont

Picture a beautiful pristine Inn, beautiful surroundings with comfortable first class lodging then…add a dining component to this picture and what do you get? What we call in our industry, a full service Inn. Urban or country, food and lodging have always gone hand in hand. After indulging in a meal featuring locally sourced food that reflects the culture of the Inn’s location what could be more inviting than to retreat to a cozy guest room just steps away. Today’s traveler is often seeking a culinary experience along with their lodging. It completes the package.

The culinary travel trend is exploding. Full service Inns need to capitalize on this explosion, big time.

Take the example of The Inn at Weatherfield in Vermont. This property had a flourishing and successful restaurant and Inn business thanks to the former owners Jane and Dave Sandelman and Chef Jason Tostrup. The B&B Team recently transferred the Inn to new owners Richard and Marilee Spanjian. They have taken an already successful Inn to another level and the view looks great! I had the privilege to interview Marilee and ask what’s new and cookin’ at the Inn.

Private Dining in The Inn at Weatherfield's Wine Cellar

Private Dining in The Inn at Weathersfield’s Wine Cellar

Question: “New England’s Premier Culinary Inn” is your new brand modifier. This is a very gutsy goal, has this been your goal from the beginning?

Answer: We didn’t just want to say ‘Culinary Inn ’and our goal is for Weathersfield to be New England’s Premier Culinary Inn, so why not go for it.

Question: Your new specials are very cleaver. Especially ‘The Guinea Pig Club’, Chef’s Choice-$8 plates keep coming until you say ‘Uncle’. How has the response been?

Answer: The name is intriguing and it is really starting to catch on. Chef Jason and the kitchen staff really love it too. They can be creative, it really thumps their energy. We chose Thursdays for this special because we found the diners on that day tend to be really adventuresome.

Question: I also was intrigued by your ‘Vitality Fix’, tell me more about this concept.

Answer: Chef Jason came up with the idea. This menu option covers all the bases. It is vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free! More people are commenting how they like the fresh way of cooking and the way it makes them feel after their meal.

Question: What are some of your future plans?


Pasta Cooking Class with Chef Jason

Answer: Our new cooking school will be called ‘Hidden Kitchen’. This is named in memory of my late mother’s restaurant in California. They will not be your typical cooking classes. Chef Jason will teach about sustainability, eating fresh, how to prepare the fresh food and create your own dish and not rely on a recipe. We also will have a two day hands on cooking adventure package that includes visiting our local farms with Chef Jason. An outdoor kitchen set right by our vegetable and herb gardens is also in our plans.

Thank you Marilee. She sounded so excited and energized while I was talking with her. Love the enthusiasm.



Chef Max Mattes knows where some of the vegetables come from at Pilgrim’s Inn, right in their own back yard


Seared local scallops and a crisp Pinot Grigio at Pilgrim’s Inn, what a way to end the day

The Pilgrim’s Inn in Deer Isle Maine is a true country Inn with true local flavor. Culinary travelers like to know where they are as well as where the food is coming from. With the Whale’s Rib Tavern’s rustic historic post and beam dining room and a very warm inviting pub, you know where you are, the coast of Maine! Deer Isle, on the eastern edge of Penobscot Bay. Lobster is caught just off the rocky coastline as well as clams, mussels and oysters, oh my! And, the folks that bring in the catch may be sitting in the pub next to you enjoying one of the Tavern’s popular house ground burgers! True local flavor.


A True Country Full Service Inn

Owners Tina and Tony have just posted a blog about their ‘Farm to Table’ approach and the challenges it presents. Take a moment to read this blog, great information on the area and farming community. And what a great coastal community it is, natural beauty with countless coves and inlets with lots of privacy, a great place to own a business and call home. The B&B Team is privileged to offer this true and spectacular country Inn for Sale.

The B&B Team believes a successful full service Inn should focus their business on both the lodging and food equally. Neither business should take the back seat. Both of the full service country Inns featured in this post have spectacular guest rooms and top notch amenities. It completes the package. Stayed tuned for my next blog where I reveal the author of this quote.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf


Is Fine Dining Dead?

March 5th, 2013 by Janet Wolf


Executive Chef Jonathan Cartwright
The White Barn Inn

The fine dining experience, is it dead, should it die? This question comes up often when we talk to innkeepers, chefs and restaurateurs. An article written in 2009 by food and travel writer Anya von Bremza asked a similar question, Should Fine Dining Die? This article is five years old but the question is still relevant and worth the debate. Are the white tablecloth restaurants an endangered species? In the past number of years we have seen many fine dining restaurants diversify. Take the example of The White Barn Inn Restaurant in Kennebunk, Maine, AAA Five Diamond, Forbes 5 Star Dining, the list goes on. Described on their website as;”candle lit crisp white linen tables and classic views, your romantic gourmet retreat for that special celebration.” They are the ultimate in a fine dining experience, jackets for men required. But just this winter they started offering their ‘Winter Bistro’. They describe the experience as follows: ‘The Winter Bistro features the culinary excellence experienced time and again by our guests, but provides them with a lovely alternative to our legendary prix fixe menu.  Guests can choose to dine from our al a carte bistro menu, in our picturesque Bistro dining room.”


The White Barn Inn Restaurant

And guess what, jackets not required! They have set aside an area in their dining room that is less formal yet still creates the same ambiance and the same great service. They are not  devaluing their brand in any way, they are offering a choice. The trend towards  less formality and lets’ face it, lower pricing has created a demand. According to author Anya many people today …”would rather go to their local gastro pub and order heritage pork belly.” I recently talked with Executive Chef of The White Barn Inn, Jonathan Cartwright. He says the Winter Bistro has been well received by locals as well as inn guests. I asked him if he sees an increased demand for simpler food in a more relaxed atmosphere. He says that the dining public has evolved and we are now a nation of true foodies. He pointed out that The White Barn will always keep the tradition of a special occasion dining choice. He also pointed out that it is always a challenge to keep current, even in our small towns of Kennebunk/Kennebunkport the choices for dining have increased tremendously just in the last few years. Locals and visitors have more choices now.  I agree, even if we choose the less formal restaurant in town or the Winter Bistro alternative we still want great food, great service, great atmosphere, in short, that total dining experience without the ‘fine’ attached to it.


Luke Iannuzzi’s Dinnerware


The Comman Man Restaurant, Sugarbush Vermont

Recently Rick and I had a really great dining experience with incredible food and service at The Common Man Restaurant in Sugerbush Vermont. The dinnerware they use is unique, custom hand thrown pottery made by a local potter and innkeeper Luke Iannuzzi at the Wilder Farm Inn. Everything else offered at the restaurant is also locally sourced. Chef-owner Adam Longworth stopped by our table and talked with us and the other guests about their dining experience and answered questions about his background and vision for the restaurant. If delivering that crucial sense of emotional authenticity is the haute cuisine and fine dining experience of the future, Chef Longworth has perfected it .

I have quoted restaurateur Danny Meyer in past blogs because he is at the top when it comes to high standards in hospitality. In a recent article in Business Insider by Max Nisen, the author spoke with Danny about his view on the fine dining experience. Danny Meyer “built his empire by focusing intensely on the diner’s experience and hospitality. For example, stiff formality is not particularly enjoyable, Meyer found. So even his fine dining restaurants are about the food and being hospitable, not decor or grandiosity. That friendly experience is just as intensely managed and thought out as a stiff and choreographed classic service might be.”

I will end with another example from a personal experience Rick and I recently had. We visited a full service country inn that has offered fine dining successfully for the past 20 plus years, but recently their dining room business has been declining, especially mid week. We made a suggestion that they may want to consider offering  alternate menu choices in a more relaxed atmosphere in one of their dining rooms. We suggested that this may bring in more locals, especially midweek. This is exactly what the White Barn is trying in their ‘Winter Bistro’. Remember I said that the White Barn Restaurant was not devaluing their brand by offering an alternative dining choice. But one way of devaluing your brand is letting your business get behind the times, not keeping up with the trends. Change is a scary thing sometimes but may be necessary to keep up with the demand of today’s fickle foodie. Oh I like that…great name for a restaurant?


North Carolina Coastal Inn with Gourmet Restaurant

The B&B Team has a number of full service inns for sale. If you are an aspiring innkeeper who is considering a career in innkeeping with a full service dining component we have some great properties. Check them out.

Is fine dining dead? Those restaurants of old with flaming desserts and tuxedoed waiters may be decreasing but they are not dead or should they die!  The new fine dining is more about choice. Yes we do want to dress up occasionally for that  special occasion with the linen, crystal and silverware for every course…or not. Give us the choice. So whether it is white cloth or white butcher paper, we want great, innovative and authentic food. And make it fresh, local, visually appealing and presented with style and service extraordinaire. All that is ‘fine’ with me.

Thanks for Listening

Janet Wolf