Last Friday, I left work around noon and headed out of town to spend the weekend writing my novel at a 120 year old Victorian bed and breakfast. I love restored old houses.
This one, however, could use some TLC; wood flooring in need of refinishing, threadbare carpets, dilapidated and non-functional windows, peeling ceiling paint, and torn or missing wallpaper patches are just some of the issues in need of attention.
The hostess was delightfully quirky, but what I call an "interrupter" - the person she's speaking to never gets to finish a sentence.
Additionally, the weekend helped me put together this list of eight questions you should ask prior to booking a room at a bed and breakfast:
1. Do you have a public Facebook event planned for the first night of my stay that will start at 6 pm and go until 1:30 am?
I did not ask this question. I didn't know it was a necessary question to ask until 5:45 pm, after getting into a great writing groove in the "saloon" area of the house when people started arriving with food and drinks.
The hostess planned a public Facebook BOYB and potluck open house, but never informed me of such until I was unpacked.
The upside of this event was that I got a free meal and free Pinot Noir. The downside was the front door banging open and closed directly beneath my room until 1:30 am.
2. Exactly how close to the main highway and the freight train tracks are you?
While in my room at 10:30 pm trying to drown out the loud, drunk people on the first floor, I realized just how close the bed and breakfast is to the really, really busy and outrageously noisy main highway.
Of course, this cacophonous symphony of sounds was all harmonized by the freight train horns blasting blocks away.
3. Does my room LOCK when I am not in it?
Don't take locked doors for granted! After I had unloaded my laptop, my iPad and all my personal items into my room, I discovered there was no way to lock the room when I wasn't in it.
I also should have asked if they ever locked the entire house, because the answer to that question would be "rarely".
4. Do you have a desk, or table, or some friggin thing I can use to sit at and write?
I told her I was a writer. I ask if there was a desk or table I could work at. She responded with "You have found the right place!"
Uh... not really. No desks, no tables, nothing near an outlet for my laptop. Thank goodness I'd packed my lap table.
After some manipulation of furniture, I was able to create a place to write, but it was not what I was hoping for.
5. Do you serve coffee that will make me feel at though I've been issued the cinnamon challenge?
Saturday morning, the cinnamon coffee was manageable; Sunday, I thought she was trying to kill me.
All I wanted was a cup of black coffee. I even brought my own K-cups, creamer and sugar to make my coffee just the way I like it. The hostess is an environmentalist to the extreme, so there was no Keurig. I was stuck drinking what she made; yuck.
6. Do you have a temperature setting in the house for something other than "tropical"?
The house was way too warm - sitting in a chair typing and sweating warm.
I was constantly opening doors and windows to cool things down. I'd have packed shorts, shaved my legs and painted my toenails if I thought I was going to be that close to the Equator all weekend.
7. Do you have ice cubes smaller than my hand that will actually fit in my refillable cup?
The house was too warm, remember? Ice water helps. Unfortunately, she makes the biggest ice cubes I've ever seen. The cubes barely fit in my refillable, insulated cup. Hrrrmph.
8. Is there some way to reach the window shades in my room so that I can have some privacy when I change and keep the sun out in the morning?
My windows, all five of them, faced the apartments next door, or the street out front.
The ceilings are very high, therefore the windows are very tall. I am not tall. I am a short girl, so I could not reach the shades in my room.
Fortunately, the window in the bathroom was smaller. I was able to close the blinds in there, but the rest of the windows were wide open.
I felt like I was in a fishbowl. No step stool. No pull chords. Just lots and lots of sunshine really early in the morning, and some potentially embarrassing moments of indecent exposure when I forgot about the open shades.
Despite the challenges, I did complete a couple of chapters. I also learned to ask a few more questions before booking my next weekend in a bed and breakfast.
Hebrews 13:2 (NKJV)
2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.
Leviticus 19:34 (NKJV)
34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
From your own experiences (good and bad), what other questions would you add to this list?
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