I’ve Always Wanted to Own a B&B.   That sentence has been uttered by more than scores of guests as they arrive.

The truth is, I’d never really mentioned it out loud to anyone but David. I did suggest it on — let’s say — more than one occasion. The idea never really got any traction with him, who was a key ingredient, until we were pretty desperate about what we were going to do. It wasn’t exactly that we’d been run out of Washington as much as it was that we were ready to run out of Washington. I seemed to be the one who had a B&B lurking in her heart, or was it my soul?  

Deedie Runkel, author, Scone by Scone
Deedie Runkel, author, Scone by Scone

One thing that every B&B wannabe seems to have in common is less than a shred of an idea about how to go about doing it beyond the day of the real estate transaction. We fit the bill entirely.

I know there are now workshops you can attend to learn how to be an innkeeper. I’m sure they have break-out sections on how to market your place, run reservation systems, keep financial records and be very sweet and kind to everyone even if you don’t feel like it. And these are just a few of the prerequisites for success.

We availed ourselves of none of that. Instead, we acquired expertise on the job at, among other things, nodding knowledgably whenever a banker or a health inspector or a prospective guest made assumptions that we knew things we didn’t. Sometimes I’d sally forth with an answer to something and David’s elbow would find its way to my rib before I completed the sentence. Elbow/rib/tongue-tie syndrome.

Once we shed our Rookie Innkeeper mantle, our appreciation for what skills the job does demand grew exponentially — the more guests we had.

And we noticed another common phenomenon — all those guests who’d said on the front-end they wanted to own a B&B had changed their minds by the time they checked out. We decided this was high praise.

Just the other day, my under-30 cousin, Elizabeth Beeson, stopped in. She’s about to launch a career in nursing in Baltimore. She’s very excited to read Scone by Scone, because, she said, “I’ve always wanted to own a B&B.”

Deedie and David Runkel