Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Say no to B&B's

Here’s the reason I’m a huge fan of hotels, as opposed to B&B’s.   Let me also point out that, seriously, everything in this story actually happened.   Every. Single. Thing.  You can't make this stuff up.  If anything, I have left some stuff OUT.  But it's a long story, either way.
Last year my husband and I decided to use a free gift to stay at a local B&B, as a special getaway.  We had looked at the online brochure for this place, and it looked perfect.  In my head, I pictured us sitting on the porch of our private cabin in the morning mist, sipping coffee while looking out at the mountain meadow, listening to the birds, possibly seeing deer grazing past…you know, kind of like those old Folgers coffee commercials, cozy sweaters and all.

I made reservations.  This process in itself was several years in the making, since, for some reason the B&B was always booked for any and every date we called them about, until I quit telling them up front that we were using a 'free' stay.  On like my fifth attempt, I just said I wanted to book a night, then sprang the 'free' part on them after they said they had a night open.  Sneaky, but it worked…

We drove out for our getaway, talking about how great it would be to have our own private cabin, a coffee maker, a night without kids, and a nice home-cooked breakfast tomorrow.  That was about as close as we got to the dream actually coming true.
We arrived after driving down what seemed like a reallllly long gravel road, and then a realllly long dirt driveway.  We could see the cabins and the surrounding pastures and hills, just like the brochure.  The hosts had called and said that they’d be out in the pastures feeding animals or fixing fences or something farmish like that, but that they’d left a note inside for us.  There were a couple of kids sitting around a fire outside, toasting marshmallows, and they told us to let ourselves in the main house.

Right inside we found a note.  Ahh, we thought, here are directions to our cabin, and there’s no one here, so it’s nice and quiet already! Yes! Peace!  The note said “Hi guys! Welcome! Please make yourselves at home.  We’ll be back shortly.  Your room is down at the end of the first hall to your left, and the bathroom in the hall is yours.” (eyebrow up—the hall inSIDE the main house..??)  We thought, OK…wow, this is not what we had in mind, but whatever, I’m sure it’s fine.  Maybe we have, like, our own wing or something.  We walked down the long tiled hallway, past a laundry room (with laundry running, in the evening) and a bathroom, to the end of the hall, where we found:  Our Room.
The room was solid wood.  I mean, floor to ceiling.  Wood walls, wood floor, wood trim, wood ceiling--decorated like a granny’s bedroom, with just a single rocking chair, the bed, an antique tiny dresser with a mirror, and that’s..IT. (No wait, there was also a window).  No closet and thus, nowhere to hang clothes.  No TV.  Not even a radio.  There was a large box fan on the floor, which we wondered at…but ok.  We set our bags down (because, that’s all you could do with them), and sat on the bed (which immediately said “squeeeeeeeaaaaaaakkkkkkk”).  Maybe it was Granny's bedroom, who knows?
We decided to check out the hallway bathroom, which seemed very nice—hey look, a giant round jetted tub (score!) AND a double-headed shower (yay!).  We started the tub, and the jets, and got in.  It wasn’t *quite* big enough for us both, so he had to sit with the faucet sort of jabbing him in the back, but we pretended not to notice.  Unfortunately we had added some bubbles, which were now multiplying at an alarming rate, until they had billowed up around us and over us.  Pretty soon we couldn’t see each other at all.  Now we’re covered in soap suds, so we’re like, “Hey, no problem--we can just hop across into the 2-man shower (and it was huge), and rinse this stuff off." 
We stood up to get out and realized there were two towels for us, but nothing on the highly polished tile floor to keep us from falling and killing ourselves while getting out, covered in soap bubbles.  We laid the hand towel on the floor between the tub and shower and carefully stepped out and across to the shower to rinse off the soap.  Everything was all still pretty much OK at this point.
I turned on the shower head on one side, and we’re like, yeah, this will work.  Since there’s two heads, (how cool is that?) my husband turned on the other shower head for himself, which immediately sucked all the hot water from the shower on my side (and possibly the whole house) into THAT head, leaving me under a stream of freezing cold water.  “AAAAieee!! Eek! Yikes! Shut it off! OFF! OFFOFFFOFF!!” 
We managed to get rinsed off, shared a towel getting out, stepped back out onto the single hand towel ‘island’ in the middle of the shiny, super slick tile floor, and tip-toed back to the bedroom to sit on the bed (“squeeeeeaaaaakkk”).  On the way out of the bathroom, I also noticed that if we were thirsty that night, we appeared to be limited to the tiniest Dixie cups imaginable, next to the sink.  Ok…
We decided, well, the communal living room's not our thing, so we may as well try to sleep.  We got in the bed, which appeared to have been short-sheeted by the Housekeeper from Hell, so we spent the night yanking and tugging on the blankets and sheets.  The pillows also appeared to have been constructed by taking three feather pillows and combining them inside one pillowcase, so they were HUGE and caused us to have our necks bent at almost a 90-degree angle when lying down.  Awesome.
We immediately noticed it was too warm to sleep.  It was August, but the room (or the house) appeared to have no cooling or heating system that we could discover.  Then we remembered the box fan under the window, ahah!--so I opened the window and turned on the fan to ‘low’.  It sounded like a 747 was coming through the bedroom, but at least there was air movement.  We left it on as long as we could stand the sound, but we eventually felt it could be a fire hazard at the rpm it was approaching, so we turned it off and tried to relax, still tugging at the bedding.
At some point, we realized we were thirsty, but we also realized there was no nightlight in the hallway OR the bathroom, so we had to either turn on all the lights or creep through the dark on the tile to get to the Dixie cups in the bathroom for our 2-ounce-at-a-time shots of water.  Ahhh, that’s refreshing!
Then the family appeared to have come in, with their kids.  Or a basketball team.  It was hard to tell from the AMOUNT OF NOISE COMING FROM DIRECTLY OVER OUR BEDROOM.  It sounded like they were getting about a dozen 9-year-olds ready for bed.  From the amount of yelling and thumping around, I thought they were possibly having a tumbling meet and/or playing full-court basketball upstairs.  We waited for what seemed like FOREVER, and they finally settled down.  But seriously, right above us??  We had to be quiet, (shh, you'll wake up the hosts), so we were reviewing the night in totally annoyed whispers, which made everything freaking hilarious, and trying to do 'silent' laughter just made the bed squeak. By now it just felt like we were trying to sleep at some strangers' house.  They weren't even like family enough for us to yell at them to "Hey, shut UP ALREADY, we're trying to sleep!" Absolutely unbelievable.
So, house quiet (still hot), window open, fan off, necks at 90 degree angles, we tried to sleep.  We must have dozed off, because at about dawn I realized the temp outside had dropped, and now we were freezing under the short-sheeted bed covers.  What actually woke us UP, though, was the wolves.  Yes, wolves.  Howling.  Outside.  Not coyotes.  I’ve lived here a long time, and I know coyotes.  These were definitely not coyotes.  What the--??  We shut the window and yanked the sheets further up.
Ahhh, morning.  Breakfast sounds were going on, and we got up and dressed, put on our coats (because it was like 50 degrees, INside) and went down the hall into the main area, where three couples were already sitting at the dining room table (only one table, and it’s full, sorry) lingering over the end of their breakfast.  The hosts greeted us, looked oddly at our wearing coats, offered coffee, and said the table would be free anytime now, and then they’d be happy to serve us breakfast.  We nodded and held out cups for coffee, went to the small couch and sat down to read a magazine and wait.  We waited and read.  And waited and read.  Refilled the coffee.  Finished the magazines,
The couples from Seattle made no attempt to finish and leave but sat loudly discussing all their traveling (can you name drop any MORE?? We don’t CARE where you’ve been, we just want to eat and leave!) Then they started in on how cool their homeschooling was going.  Next they moved on to the issue of our local theme park and how the safety on the rides was in question, and how could the park discriminate like that, by making people move around on a ride, based on weight.  Isn’t that discriminatory? Someone should really make a complaint...It’s really nothing like the park at Blah Blah Blah and our trip to Blah Blah Blah, and on and on.  And on.  It was too cold to even sit on the porch with our coffee, so we were trapped there, in our coats, listening to them.
Occasionally one of the hosts would say “Can we get you anything while you wait?” and we’d say loudly, “No, three cups of coffee will do.  (glancing at table and then at the clock) We’ll just WAIT.”  Pointedly.   The super-cool folks finally decided that they’d loudly talked about everysingletraveldestination that no one else in the room had probably been to, so they put on their L.L. Bean jackets and left.
We got up and moved to the table.  The host said finally, “All-righty folks, now, what sounds good for breakfast?” I’m thinking “Yeah!! Breakfast!” so I said, “Oh, I’d love an omelet and some bacon.”  He's all, “I don’t make omelets.”  ???  Excuse me—what??  So I said “What DO you make?” He said he made really great scrambled eggs, and I was pretty sure that scrambled was ALL they offered at that point, so I said, sure the scrambled eggs would be great.  After the amount of time it takes to chase a chicken down, teach it to lay eggs, and then fly to France and learn how to make cheese for the eggs, he finally emerged from the kitchen with my eggs.  Not, however, two plates.  Just mine, in a bowl.  My husband looked at them and said, “Wow, that looks really good…”  The host looked at him and said (I swear I’m not making this up) “Oh, did YOU want some too?” Seriously????  Long pause while he made another bowl and we ate what was left of the fresh fruit from the cool Seattle folks. 
We sat there in our coats and ate our eggs, while the host and his wife kept hovering around trying to make small talk with us.  Finally I just said, “I’m really not much of a morning person; I just like to sit and stare, in the morning.”  So the wife disappeared, and we didn’t see her again.  I guess I have that kind of get lost voice, in the morning… 
We managed to smile and thank them for the stay and their hospitality, but we drove home alternating between hysterical laughter and stunned silence.  No, I'm definitely not a B&B fan. 


  1. OMg! This had me in hysterics! I can see it, just like I was there, you have a way with words!

  2. Anna--I can remember every minute of this stay, to this day. It's why I still can't bear to book a night at a B&B, ever again, no matter how cute they are. I don't want to have to socialize with the owners, or feel like they're sleeping right above us, going, "Geez, they sure are noisy/quiet/weird/sleeping in late," etc. I just want a ROOM, ok?