Are You A B&B Virgin?

Are You A B&B Virgin?

Have you been wanting to do it, but just haven’t gotten up the courage?  You’ve been doing your research, reading magazines, looking at pictures on the internet, and now you think you’re ready to take the plunge, but you’re still not sure.  We finally tried it ourselves ten years ago and fell in love with it.  Now we do it as often as we can!

I’m talking about staying at a B&B — a Bed & Breakfast.

Staying in a B&B is different from a motel.  This might seem like a “duh” comment, but it is the uncertainty of those differences that often keeps people from trying it.  Here’s a short list to help point out some differences:

Things you (usually) don’t find at a B&B:

  • A swimming  pool.
  • Other people’s kids.
  • Rewards points.
  • Cold cereal.
  • Another one just like it.

Things you (usually) do find at a B&B:

  • Fluffy robes.
  • A fresh, home-cooked breakfast that doesn’t involve you rotating a waffle iron.
  • They actually prefer you write them a check.
  • Trust.
  • Privacy.
  • History.
  • Innkeepers who are knowledgable about the surrounding area.
  • Good conversation when you want it, but not when you don’t.

Sometimes the innkeepers will hug you when you leave.  This happened to us when we stayed in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.   The Innkeepers were a gracious couple that we really connected with.  On the way home we were looking for a place to stay near Galena, Illinois, and stopped to check on a new lodge-type chain motel.  It was pretty cool, but the price was almost double what we had just paid for the B&B.  I told Roy, “For that price, they better hug us when we leave!”

Be a little adventurous.  Have breakfast with the person who will wash your sheets.  Stay at a B&B.

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The MapReader’s Tools

My dad taught me that a pessimist is someone who wears suspenders and a belt.  But sometimes you just need more than one accessory to get the job done.

Using a combination of manual and electronic tools is part of the joy of traveling the back roads.  In our 1930 Model A street rod, we have a vintage AAA compass attached to the dash, right above the Garmin GPS.  I also use paper AAA maps.  I fold them and refold them, write on them, highlight our route, and generally use ’em up!  (Don’t worry — I recycle them into jewelry and other craft items, so nothing goes to waste!)  My favorite way to use the Garmin is to just have it on with no intended destination.  Remember — the journey is the destination!

Being a good navigator means knowing when to use what tools — when to glance at the compass and verify that you are indeed going east, or when to zoom out on the Garmin and see that you have a while before you get to the next town, or just leisurely fold and refold your paper map, looking for the next turn right you’ll need to make.

Learning to stay calm and utilize a variety of map reading tools will get you to your destination.  You will discover that being an active participant in the journey is worth the trip.  And I am optimistic about that!