Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | August 3, 2015

Why we hate bed and breakfasts

Mark and I spent a weekend away, an annual tradition with the kids gone at camp (I know! I haven’t posted anything about them yet). Against our better judgment, we stayed in a B&B. It looked really cute from the exterior picture on the B&B site, and it turns out that if the owner kept the foliage from overgrowing, it would probably still look very pretty from the outside. In fact it was so overgrown we had a hard time finding the numbers, which are on the on the ground with weeds growing between them (and on the sign, obscured by the trees).

It's called landscaping.

It’s called landscaping and trimming.

When we checked in, the divorced male owner was someone out of a horror movie. He didn’t introduce himself (even after we introduced ourselves), even though he was expecting us. We weren’t sure if he was stoned. We asked him about our room, which he took us up to – all the way up the third floor. I think we got the worst room in the place. More on that later. We asked him what else we needed to know, like about breakfast. “Oh. Breakfast. It’s served between 8 and 11 in the morning,” he said. “What time do you like to eat breakfast?” We said on the earlier side, maybe 8:30 or 9. He nodded. We thought this meant we would eat around 8:30 or 9. Ha ha!

As for our room, it had too much furniture, and a TV that either didn’t work or the remote didn’t work (he told us). Good thing we didn’t plan on watching TV. The TV looked to be as old as much of the furniture.

Mark relaxes on the spare bed, near the antique television.

Mark relaxes on the spare bed, near the antique television. That random chair by the TV was in that position when we entered the room. The lamp is beaded on the bottom.

We had our own bathroom, complete with peeling walls. The room was the opposite of charming. Our closet (which was closed with a flowered sheet) held a mini fridge inside, which was helpful to store our dinner from Saturday night since we ordered too much and I wanted it for lunch the next day. Mark stored some beer from our brewery tasting.

The ceiling peeled too.

The ceiling peeled too.

The good news is that the bed was comfortable, as were the sheets. I did check for bedbugs, and fortunately didn’t find any. It was easy to check because the bed had no skirt on it and wasn’t very close to the headboard.

Look Mom! No bed skirt!

Look Mom! No bed skirt!

The decorating philosophy seemed to be “random, throw in anything you can find.” This explained the mishmash of carpets on the floor.

The more carpets, the better.

The more rugs, the better. The far rug is covering actual carpeting.

The bedside table had an unhung clock inside of it, along with a newspaper that’s 2 months old. Next to the dresser, we saw bathtub fixtures attached to some wood. We couldn’t figure out where the bathtub would go, since there’s an old radiator on the other side of the dresser, which is also next to another side table and chair. There’s actually not room for a tub. The actual bathroom didn’t have a tub, but a stall shower. Shockingly, the toiletries were full size bottles and rather high end. The towels were plush Cynthia Rowley, but the toilet paper was so thin and rough that Mark said he’d have trouble going into the Dead Sea after using it.

bath fixture anyone?

bath fixture anyone?

Our hallway outside our room had a bookshelf of VHS tapes, and there were long shelves of VHS tapes on another floor as well. The carpeting on our floor was vintage 1970s, with a rolled up roll of another carpet or sheets or drapes or something, as well. You can see that the railing is vintage 1970s as well.

the hallway outside our room

the hallway outside our room

The glass curiosities case the next floor down was almost empty, save this hand-stitched stuffed dog decoration.



We chatted with the owner one afternoon, and asked him how long he’d run the place. He said he got it right after getting divorced and moving from NYC. “Don’t ever buy something when you’re stressed out,” he said. It was clear that he didn’t love being a B&B owner, which I could understand. I wouldn’t want to do that either. He said if we wanted any water, we could find some in the hallway, and he pointed. It took a minute for me to look below the settee, covered with old art, to find shrink wrapped bottles of water shoved beneath. Such hospitality!

Water anyone?

Water anyone?

While I didn’t take a picture, the bathroom on the main level had no top for the toilet tank and no towel to dry your hands. Then again, making your way down that hallway was an exercise in dodging framed and unframed pieces of art, and stacks of crap everywhere. The back staircase was filled with jars and vases.

The hallway I tried to avoid.

The hallway I tried to avoid.

Mark and I were very glad on Saturday morning to find that we weren’t murdered in our sleep. Of course I awoke with a migraine, so partly I was hoping someone would kill me. Two Advil didn’t work, so I moved on to the Excedrin Migraine, which usually do the trick. Nope. Fortunately I had some prescription samples of migraine meds that expired in 2008 in my bag. It worked. While Mark went in search of coffee in town (and to read on the cluttered porch), I let the medication do its trick before showering in the stall.

The other part of the patio

The other part of the patio

By now it was 8:30. Breakfast time! I went outside to join Mark on the patio, The photo above is the side of the patio that we couldn’t use. There’s a drum set on the other side of that post. The owner did have coffee ready by now in the cluttered kitchen (no photo, sorry), and while he had some fresh fruit out, breakfast was not in sight. We had a “Farm to Glass” tour scheduled and had to leave at 10:15, with warnings we should have full tummies (“glass” as in alcohol). Another guest joined us outside as we waited for breakfast. He was a singe gentleman in his 60s, a jewelry and fine arts designer unhappily living in Staten Island and now spending his days as executor for someone’s estate. He collects antiques, and was visiting an elderly woman whose house he would eventually inherit. Engaged in conversation, we weren’t able to read at all.

The living room was shabby, though filled with fresh flowers and fruit.

The living room was shabby chic, or rather just shabby, though filled with fresh flowers and fruit.

Mark peeked into the kitchen a few times, and breakfast was finally getting close to being ready around 9:45. The table was filling up. We learned that it doesn’t matter what time you want to have breakfast, you have it when the owner is ready to serve it. In the meantime, we chatted with two retired couples, both were going to the local folk music weekend festival. We felt really young and realized we really needed to do a better job choosing our lodging next time.

One couple came in from Ohio – and looked they walked out of A Mighty Wind. The man could pass for Bob Balaban’s partly blind, partly senile older brother, with reddened cheeks and nose, and glasses only halfway up his nose, seemingly straining to see. His wife’s breasts and pudgy face were what you noticed about her (though Mark really tried hard to avoid looking at the woman’s ample chest – it was not a pretty sight).

corn waffle

corn waffle

This was the highlight of our B&B experience. The corn waffle (with actual corn kernals) topped with powdered sugar and maple syrup, was divine. Truly delicious. It was served with a warm blueberry compote and fresh, sauteed peach half. It was served at 9:55, so we had to gobble it down so we could leave on time for our tour. We were shocked at how good it was.

The next morning we hung out on the porch until we could see that breakfast was almost ready. We didn’t want to wait at the table with the folk festival couples, making conversation for too long. We heard about which folk music groups were new this year, which groups changed names, how many people were smoking pot at the festival, and folk festival rules (if someone leaves their blanket or chairs to go elsewhere, you can squat in their spot, enjoying the seating area they set out, until they return).

Turns out that the other couple gong to the folk festival actually live in our area and own a company we know of. And they’re Jewish. So we had some additional things to talk about there.



Breakfast that second morning was also stellar. This omelet had sauteed spinach, garlic chunks, a sliced tomato and Parmesan cheese. Delightful.

We were not sad to say goodbye to our B&B, nor will we review it on TripAdvisor or any other site. It wasn’t awful. It was just memorable. And not in a good way.

more overgrowth

more overgrowth


  1. Hi

    Looks like you had an interesting experience. You probably could have escaped using that ladder leading from the top floor the the 2nd floor. And, Debbie, bedskirts allowed you to hide food in your room. At least the breakfast ws good.

    Hopefully you got my e.mails with the info you requested.

    We are planning to go to flagstaff again next weekend [having some work done]

    Love you Mom

  2. All that was missing was Lurch the butler…YOU RANG?

  3. Looks like the Bates Motel. I give you credit. I would never have slept there. He should be a chef instead as the Inn is clearly missing a woman’s touch…or a man’s with flair…did you read reviews before making reservations? You would have had better luck staying at your kid’s camp for the night

    • Janet – oh but we did read reviews. Glowing. Glowing. Charming, “warm and lovely host,” “friendly, chatty and helpful,” “sort of funky, like staying at your once-wealthy old aunt’s, if you know what I mean.” Yeah, now we know what they mean!

  4. I am sure the reason you were stashed on the third floor is because your “host” felt the old, alta cocker guests couldn’t walk up 3 flights of steps and you could. Since the tv didn’t work, I hope you both found other enjoyable things to do youknowwhere before you went to sleep? Maybe that is why you got your migraine? There is something to be said about a messy and cluttered house/B&B. I am sure this was quite an experience for both of you. Somewhere in your comments I believe you alluded to the B&B we stayed at in PA during your UP school break. Do you remember that all the furniture was nailed or screwed to the floor, including the magazines and the toilet paper? Ah yes; how we remember all the wonderful places we have stayed at over the years. This is why your mother LOVES B&Bs. By the way, did your folk festival friiends offer you any pot??? That would have gotten rid of your headache. love, Dad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: