Checking out? Have you left anything behind?

Unmade bed

Have you ever left something behind at a hotel or bed & breakfast?  As an innkeeper who has cleaned a lot of guest rooms, I’d guess it was a charger cord, an article of clothing, or a toiletry item. Fortunately, few guests leave things behind, and of those who do, very few follow up in order to retrieve the lost article.

Like most B&Bs, if we locate an item that was left behind at the Troy-Bumpas Inn, we will mail it back to the guest if that guest requests it. We keep items left behind for at least a month. If they are unclaimed, we donate them. If a guests asks that we send the item back to them, we charge the cost of shipping to the guest’s credit card.  The relatively high cost of shipping probably explains why so few guests follow up about a lost item. It usually isn’t worth the expense.

How can you avoid leaving something behind during your next trip? Here are easy tips to follow as you pack up to leave your room:

  • First, collect all your charger cords, computer mice, flash drives, ear buds, etc. These are the most commonly left items, so put them first on your list of things to round up.
  • Check the shower. That’s where many people forget toiletry items. Of course, if you don’t intend to take them home, just toss them in the bathroom waste can.
  • Things hide in a messy bed. Pull up the bed linens and quickly smooth them. If you’ve left something in the bed, you’ll probably notice a lump. Please note: I’m not suggesting you make the bed! That is not necessary!
  • Lastly, take a quick peek under the bed and into any closets or drawers you may have used.

If you follow these easy steps, there’s a good chance you’ll never leave anything behind in your guest room again! And that makes travel less stressful and more fun.

Etiquette at a Bed & Breakfast

Place setting

First-time guests staying at a B&B sometimes are a little unsure what is considered proper. My best advice: Use your common sense. If you’re still unsure, ask the innkeeper. Even if you’re afraid you may be asking a silly question, this is the time to remember that there are no dumb questions and ASK! Chances are good someone else previously has asked the innkeeper the same question.

This video is a helpful guide to B&B etiquette. It gives good tips about booking and ensuring that your dietary needs are met. The video also discusses noise concerns.

At the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast, we are fortunate that none of our guest rooms share common walls. And, since the house was built in 1847, the walls are quite thick. That typically translates to quiet rooms, even when we have a full house.  It’s one of thing many of our guests appreciate and comment on. They like not hearing a bunch of party goers laughing and giggling as they stroll down the hallway outside their hotel room at the wee hours of the night. If you happen to be a night owl and are likely to return to your B&B guest room late or simply like to stay up into the early hours, I recommend asking the innkeeper if you have concerns about noise. Depending upon the date of your stay, you may learn that not all the guest rooms are occupied, thus reducing the likelihood of disturbing others.

Enjoy the video. I’ll discuss more considerations about staying at a B&B in future blog posts. Please stay tuned!

Is a B&B Right for You?

B&B Sign

If you have never stayed at a Bed & Breakfast, you might wonder if a B&B is right for you. If so, you may find this independently produced video helpful in making your decision.

The two most valuable tips in this video are to:
1) Book your room once your travel plans are stable, and
2) Contact the B&B with any questions you may have prior to booking.

Before phoning the innkeeper, check the inn’s website. Good websites have an abundance of information including photos of the guest rooms and clearly stated policies. You can usually determine if an inn accepts children and/or pets in a matter of minutes by checking their website. If the website doesn’t answer all your questions, pick up the phone. Innkeepers are happy to provide details about their guest rooms, describe the inn in general, and clarify any policy concerns.  They also can give you advice about nearby restaurants and attractions.

One observation I would add about this video: The dining room shots are taken at extremely large inns. Many B&Bs throughout the United States have five or fewer guest rooms.  At the Troy-Bumpas Inn, we have three guest rooms, so the largest number of guests you’ll ever see in our dining room is eight! The video remarks that the prospect of meeting fellow travelers is a benefit of staying at a B&B. It’s a great way to meet other people and find out what sights they have seen. But don’t let the prospect of a communal breakfast table stop you from booking! Most B&Bs, including the Troy-Bumpas Inn, can easily seat guests at separate tables if they wish to dine on their own.  Guests need only ask!

I’ll discuss other considerations of staying at a B&B in future blog posts. Please stay tuned!

When is a Toboggan Not a Toboggan?

tobogganWhen is a toboggan not a toboggan? When it’s on your head. If that sounds confusing, let me explain.

To me, the word “toboggan” has always meant “sled.” If you search Google Images for “toboggan,” you’ll see what I mean. Pictures of long, narrow wooden sleds used for coasting downhill over the snow will appear. Toboggans typically curve upward and backward at the front.

So you can imagine my confusion as a transplant to North Carolina when I started hearing the word “toboggan” used to refer to a knit pull-on hat. I’m not alone. One of our recent guests at the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast (who had also recently moved to the region) described her utter bewilderment when teachers at her child’s school said that all students going on an upcoming field trip should be sure to pack a toboggan. How, she wondered, were dozens of wooden toboggans going to fit onto the bus?

I’m told you’re most likely to hear “toboggan” used to describe a knit cap in North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The origin of this usage is uncertain, but it seems likely that knit hats worn while tobogganing were “toboggan caps.” At some point the word cap was dropped… and the rest is history.

So, the next time you head out into the cold, think of us here in North Carolina and grab your toboggan – it will keep you warm.


The Greensboro Coliseum

Coliseum Complex

Greensboro’s largest entertainment complex is the Coliseum, a multi-building complex that offers a range of activities including athletic events, cultural arts, concerts, theater, educational activities, fairs, exhibits, conventions, and trade and consumer shows.

The Coliseum is just two miles from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast, so we frequently have guests who are in Greensboro for a Coliseum event. In recent months, guests have attended a major convention, participated in a regional diving competition, checked out RVs at a large exhibition, and attended concerts staring Rascal Flats and George Strait. Upcoming guests will be attending the Taylor Swift, Rod Stewart and Bonnie Raitt concerts and plays presented as part of the 2013-2014 Triad Best of Broadway series.

I was surprised to learn that this modern complex is 54 years old. Greensboro voters approved a bond for the project in 1956. Ground was broken in 1958 and the original complex opened in 1959 with a capacity of 7,100 seats, making it then one of the largest arenas in the East Coast.

Numerous expansions and updates later, today’s Coliseum complex includes a 23,500-seat arena, the 2,400-seat War Memorial Auditorium, the Greensboro Aquatic Center, the White Oak Amphitheater, the 300-seat Odeon Theatre, a 167,000-square foot special events center with three exhibition halls, a 4,500-seat mini arena and the 30,000-square-foot Pavilion.

The list of celebrities and performers who have appeared at the Coliseum during the past 56 years is too long for a single blog! The Coliseum has played host to Barack Obama, Mikhail Gorbachev and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Jackson Five played the Coliseum in 1970, and Elvis performed there in 1972. The Rolling Stones were there in 1975 and the Grateful Dead in 1991. American Idol came in 2005.

For many of our “Coliseum guests,” staying at the Troy-Bumpas Inn B&B helps make the event especially memorable and convenient. After the event is over, it takes just a few minutes to drive back to the inn to relax and reflect. To learn more about the Coliseum and upcoming scheduled events, visit their official website.

Triad Farmers Market — Food, Plants and Fun

Tons of Tomatoes

If you love farmers markets, a visit to the triad area of North Carolina is not complete without a stop at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. Located near Greensboro off Highway I-40 at the Sandy Ridge Road exit, the market draws thousands of shoppers each week. They come to buy produce, plants, meat and cheese from North Carolina farmers. As their website says, “here you can talk to the individuals who grew it and you can buy any quantity you wish.” The market is a great place to buy interesting plants; choose your own fresh and locally grown produce; and enjoy loads of people watching.

The Triad Market is one of four Farmers Markets owned by the State of North Carolina and operated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service. The market has two enormous permanent farmers buildings plus a retail building open year-round that offers locally grown foods including baked goods, candies, jams, jellies, honey, eggs, cheese, meats, nuts, ice cream and wine.  A separate garden center is complete with a greenhouse.

If all this shopping makes you hungry, you don’t need to go far. The Moose Café Restaurant on the market grounds is open daily and serves delicious meals family style. Farm-fresh vegetables right from the market make the food fresh and delicious.

The market has plenty of free parking and is free and open to the public daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (The Moose Café Restaurant is open until 8 p.m.) To learn more, visit the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market website. Located at 2914 Sandy Ridge Road in Colfax, NC, the market is a short 20 minute drive from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. It’s the Inn’s go-to place for locally grown and produced foods and wonderful garden plants.

Great Fun — The Greensboro Grasshoppers

Greensboro Grasshoppers TM

Baseball has a long history in North Carolina. In 1862, captured Union soldiers played baseball while in a prisoner of war camp in Salisbury, NC. Trivia buffs may recall that Babe Ruth hit his first homerun at an exhibition game in Fayetteville, NC, in 1914. And present day North Carolina is home to eight minor league baseball teams.

Thanks to the movie Bull Durham, possibly the best known of North Carolina’s farm teams is the Durham Bulls, a Triple A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The names of the other NC minor league teams may not be as familiar, but they certainly are colorful: the Ashville Tourists, the Burlington Royals, the Carolina Mudcats, the Hickory Crawdads, the Kannapolis Intimidators, and the Winston-Salem Dash. Here in Greensboro, the home team is the Greensboro Grasshoppers, a class A affiliate of the Miami Marlins and part of the South Atlantic League.

The Grasshoppers play their games at NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade St. Greensboro, a beautiful, modern stadium within walking distance of the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. The ballpark opened in 2005 and cost $21.5 million to build. The red brick stadium seats up to 7,499 including 5,300 chair-back seats. Parking is available immediately around the stadium.

Greensboro Grasshopper games are among the best attended in the minors. Minor league baseball games have all the excitement of major league games, but with added fun and at a much lower ticket cost than the majors. Tickets, available online and at the stadium, typically are $6 to $9 each. Pre-game autographs are encouraged. There’s a kid-safe play area for children, private grandstand box seating, plenty of concessions, lawn seating and picnic areas, and special promotions like Thirsty Thursdays (when beer is bargain priced), Family Fundays, Money Off Mondays, and Bingo nights. Every Friday and Saturday when the team is in town, a spectacular fireworks show signals the end of the game.  (A common question at the Troy-Bumpas Inn’s breakfast table on weekends during the baseball season is about what all the booms were about!)

If you’ve never been to a minor league baseball game, add this as another reason to visit Greensboro. We’ll be sure to provide great accommodations at the Troy-Bumpas Inn B&B. To learn more about the Greensboro Grasshoppers, visit their official website.

Free Things to Do in Greensboro

Greene StatueVisitors to Greensboro have a wide variety of FREE attractions to visit. Three of my favorite free history-related sites are listed below. A visit to these historical sites transports you to the time of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Both the Historical Museum and Walkway of History are within walking distance (or a very short car ride) of the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. The Guilford Courthouse National Military Park is a 15-minute drive from the inn.

Greensboro Historical Museum  Located in a former church that once served as a Confederate hospital, the Greensboro Historical Museum lets you discover Greensboro history through a wide variety of diverse exhibits. You can follow a timeline of Greensboro history in the Welcome to the Gate City exhibit; learn all about pottery produced in North Carolina at the Jugtown Pottery exhibit, and see one of largest collections of Civil War firearms at the Murphy Confederate firearms collection. The new 8,000 sq. ft. Voices of a City exhibit tells the story of Greensboro from the voices of its residents. The museum shop has a variety of items including children’s items, cookbooks, history books, tee shirts and much more.
Museum Hours: Tuesday to Saturday. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.;  Sunday,  2-5 p.m.
130 Summit Ave.

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park  Explore more than 220 acres of historic ground and 28 monuments honoring one of the most pivotal battles of the Revolutionary War where British General Cornwalis fought against Colonial forces led by Natanial Greene, for whom the city of Greensboro is named. Be sure to watch the movie at the visitors center to get a good understanding of the importance of the battle as well as how it was fought. The museum shop has, among other things, a large collection of history books.
Open daily, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2332 New Garden Road.

 Walkway of History  Located in the area of downtown that was home to the start of the civil rights sit-in movement in the 1960s, you can view sidewalk markers that chronicle six chapters in local African-American history. (The nearby International Civil Rights Museum is not free, but does an excellent job of explaining the history of the sit-ins and progress in civil rights both in the U.S. and internationally.) The sidewalk markers are located in downtown Greensboro at South Elm Street at February One Place.

A Dress that has Fueled Imaginations

Dolley Madison's red velvet dress

Dolley Madison’s red velvet dress

This week a scarlet velvet gown that once belonged to former First Lady and Greensboro native Dolley Madison returned to the Greensboro Historical Museum. The gown previously had been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Starting on March 23, 2013, visitors to the Greensboro Historical Museum can view the dress in an exhibit titled “Draped in Legend: a Velvet Dress, a Carriage Trunk and a First Lady.”

So what might make this dress unique among first ladies dresses? Legend has it that the dress might have been made from White House drapes. Here’s the story:

In August 1814 (during the War of 1812) the British invasion of Washington, D.C. and occupation of the White House was imminent.  Determined to save items critical to our young nation, First Lady Dolley Madison helped gather important government documents, George Washington’s portrait and, maybe to cover these items, velvet scarlet curtains that hung in the White House. Fast forward many years later to when a conservator was examining the dress that had come to Greensboro along with other Madison artifacts. He noted the dress seemed to be made from drapery weight fabric. Was Madison’s dress made from the very drapes that were saved as she fled the White House? We may never know, but scientific examinations are continuing, and someday we may have a definite answer. You can read more in the June edition of the online Smithsonian Magazine.

I’m looking forward to seeing the dress so I can decide for myself. The exhibit runs through June 16 when the fragile dress goes back into protective care. The Greensboro Historical Museum, just a mile from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed and Breakfast, is located at 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro, NC 27401. Admission is free and the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m.

Tips for Shopping in the Furniture Capital

Here is Greensboro, we are fortunate to live about 20 minutes from the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World.” The enormous multitude of furniture retailers in and around High Point, NC, makes it easy to find places to buy home furnishings.  (For a great list of High Point area stores, visit the High Point  Convention and Visitors Bureau at

The largest of these stores is Furnitureland South in Jamestown, NC. Famous for the gigantic chest of drawers in front, Furnitureland South has 1.3 million square feet of showrooms spread throughout three buildings. Merchandise from about 1,500 manufacturers is displayed in room settings and also grouped by manufacturer. Because Furnitureland South ships furniture anywhere, people come to this area from all over the country to shop for home furnishings.

To successfully shop for home furnishings when you are miles from home takes a little preparation. The following tips will help you choose furnishing that are right for your home.

  • Bring room layouts noting all room measurements including the size and location of doors and windows. Note how high off the floor windows are placed.
  • Take pictures of the current room so you can discuss things you like about the room and things you would like to improve (such as furniture placement).
  • Take photos and bring measurements of any items you plan to keep in the room. Be sure to include sentimental items that are certain to stay in the room that you might want to spotlight.
  • If available, bring samples of existing carpets and fabrics, such as window treatments and upholstery. Take photos as well. Bring color chips of wall colors, or take photos if chips are not available.
  • Bring the dimensions of hallways, doorways and stairways so you can be sure the furniture you select will actually be able to get into the house.
  • Look online and in magazines for inspiration photos of rooms, styles, artwork and patterns that you like and that make you feel good.

To prevent yourself from quickly becoming overwhelmed in a big showplace, work with one of the store’s design consultants. They will discuss your project and identify your goals and budget. Then they will help you find items that match your style and wallet without a lot of dizzying walking around!

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes! If you get hungry and need a break, Furnitureland South has its own café! And, it makes sense to stay somewhere like the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed and Breakfast where you start the day with a great breakfast and end your long day of shopping with a relaxing whirlpool bath!