Archive for the ‘Innkeepers Insights’ Category

Three Things Your Innkeeper Wants to Know

March 6th, 2014 by Judy Horn

Questions

A bed & breakfast is a more personal setting than a hotel, so don’t be surprised if the innkeeper asks you a few questions that a hotel doesn’t ask. Guests who provide a little information about their trip make it possible for their innkeeper to better anticipate and serve their needs.

Here are three things your innkeeper wants to know:

1. The reason you’re in town – Are you in town for a relaxing, schedule-free getaway? Or, are you seeing a play, speaking at a conference, shopping for furniture, meeting business clients, or attending a wedding? If you are in town for a specific event, you’ll probably be adhering to a schedule, possibly needing breakfast at a specific time. Remember, too, that innkeepers love sharing tips about their city, so give them a chance! Tell them where you’re headed and they can probably recommend good restaurants nearby or offer tips about parking at the venue you will be visiting.

2. How you will be arriving – Here in Greensboro, it’s possible you might fly into one of several regional airports. If you mention which airport you’re using, your innkeeper will be able to give you a realistic drive time and may also share tips on available ground transportation options. Greensboro’s Piedmont Triad Airport is just 15 minutes from the Troy-Bumpas Inn B&B. Raleigh-Durham International Airport is 1 hour, 15 minutes away; Charlotte’s Douglas International Airport is 1 hour, 30 minutes away.  Arriving at our inn by taxi? We’ll be sure to tell you to inform the driver to take the driveway to our guest entrance in the back. That way you won’t have to drag your luggage up our long front sidewalk!

3. Food allergies and preferences – If you or a traveling companion cannot eat certain foods, are on a special diet, or know of foods that you’d prefer not to see on your breakfast plate, mention these in advance. Don’t be shy about expressing your wishes. Innkeepers work very hard to ensure that the breakfasts they serve are delicious and appealing. They often are very willing to accommodate a variety of special diets, but doing so may require a little advance research and shopping. Giving the innkeeper advance notice of your preferences helps him or her best serve your needs.

How can we make your stay at the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast more enjoyable? Don’t hesitate to tell us!

What’s a “Piedmont?”

February 27th, 2014 by Judy Horn

piedmontmap

The piedmont (shaded area) extends along the eastern U.S.

You can’t be in the Greensboro area long before you hear and see the word “piedmont.” Pronounced “peed-mont,” you’ll hear it on every local TV weather report and see it as part of the names of many local businesses. Greensboro is in the heart of the piedmont, North Carolina’s most densely populated section. The “Piedmont Triad” (or simply the Triad) refers to the three city area of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point.

The word was new to me when I arrived in central North Carolina. “Piedmont” must have been one of those geographic words that they didn’t dwell on back in Missouri, where I grew up. My teachers must have been discussing the Mississippi River basin while North Carolinians were pondering the piedmont.

Here’s what I have since learned: The piedmont is a plateau region located in the eastern United States between the Atlantic coastal plain and the main Appalachian Mountains. It’s not exclusive to North Carolina but stretches from New Jersey to central Alabama. Geographically, the piedmont has gently rolling terrain often broken by hills or low mountain ridges. There are a few low mountain ranges and peaks found in the North Carolina piedmont, such as Pilot Mountain near the town of Mt. Airy.

The piedmont occupies about 35 percent of North Carolina. (To the east, taking up about 45 percent of the state, is the coastal plain. To the west, occupying the remaining 20 percent, are the foothills and mountains.)

Of the three regions, the mountains are the coldest part of the state with the greatest snow accumulations and mildest summers. The coastal plain has the mildest weather with its climate influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean has less influence on the piedmont, which has hotter summers and colder winters than the coast.

You now have a working understanding of the piedmont! To learn more about all the things to see, do and enjoy about the North Carolina piedmont, visit http://www.visitnc.com/piedmont. Better yet, come visit. You’ll find the best in piedmont hospitality at the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast in Greensboro, NC.

Checking out? Have you left anything behind?

January 31st, 2014 by Judy Horn

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

January 23rd, 2014 by Judy Horn

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?

January 15th, 2014 by Judy Horn

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 the Civil War Came to the Troy-Bumpas Inn

March 4th, 2012 by Judy Horn

One of the marvelous things about living and visiting the Troy-Bumpas Inn bed and breakfast is that you can stand in rooms that were briefly inhabited by Union officers who were in Greensboro in spring 1865 at the conclusion of the Civil War. Talk about bringing history to life!

We know that Union officers stayed at the Bumpass home and used a second floor room as an office in May and June 1865. And, although the Troy-Bumpas Inn has been renovated several times since being built in 1847, we have layouts of what the original house was like, so we can be fairly precise in determining where a small chapter of Civil War history took place.

The following excerpt from the book Women of Guilford County, North Carolina; A Study of Women’s Contributions 1740-1979 describes an interesting interaction between an officer under the command of General Jacob D. Cox and Frances Webb Bumpass and her children Eugenia, Duella, and Robah. The parlor described is the present-day living room; the officers were staying in the present-day Allah guest room.

Frances Bumpass at midlife“A Sgt. Sweitzer settled his troops in a meadow [also described as the apple orchard] near Frances Webb Bumpass’s home and lodged his officers in a second-story bedroom overlooking the camp. The following morning the Bumpasses had begun their regular morning prayer service when the Yankee officers were heard coming down the stairs to the parlor door. When the officers explained that they too had come from Christian homes, Mrs. Bumpass invited them in, and the family continued their morning services with the army of the occupation standing all around them.”

 

 

Why are North Carolinians Tar Heels?

December 3rd, 2011 by Judy Horn

December is the month for parties, so if you’re looking for some ice-breaker trivia, look no further. When the conversation need a little pick-me-up, you can pose the question: ‘Ever wonder why North Carolinians are called Tar Heels? Then, be a smarty pants and tell ‘em the story:

The origin of the nickname comes from the fact that North Carolina has an abundance of pine forests that for centuries were our country’s chief source of tar, pitch and turpentine used for painting, caulking and preserving the wood and ropes used in navel and merchant vessels. By 1768, North Carolina produced 60 percent of the colonies’ supply of these three products. Production involved heating pine lumber in charcoal beds to extract and collect a black ooze. This was a messy process that often caused the soles of the workers’ shoes to be coated with tar. Popular legend says that after a Civil War battle in Virginia in which the Virginia troops fled while the North Carolinians stuck to their positions, as if held fast by tar, Confederate General Robert E. Lee is said to have exclaimed, “God bless the Tar Heel boys.”  The story goes on to say that Confederate President Jefferson Davis asked jokingly if there was a surplus of tar available from North Carolina for other commanders to use to smear it on the shoes of their soldiers’ heels to help them hold steadfast against the Union attacks.

While it is unproven that Robert E. Lee actually coined the Tar Heel nickname, he certainly popularized the term and gave it a positive meaning. North Carolinians have been proud to be called Tar Heels ever since.

It’s no surprise that the pine is the state tree of North Carolina. There is a spectacularly tall long needle pine tree in the front corner of the yard at the Troy-Bumpas Inn in Greensboro. While the age of the tree is unknown, it towers over the inn, which is three stories tall. This tree has no doubt been witness to a lot of history. Greensboro is a great city for history buffs. Come see for yourself, and we welcome you to stay at the Troy-Bumpas Inn, 114 S. Mendenhall St., Greensboro, NC.
The tall Troy-Bumpas Inn pine tree

This long needle pine tree
has towered over the Troy-Bumpas Inn
for many years.

Greensboro’s Troy-Bumpas Inn Opens its (New and Improved) Door

November 14th, 2011 by Judy Horn

Keeping a B&B in ship shape means there’s always maintenance work. I had recently just begun to repair and paint the interior side of the Troy-Bumpas Inn’s front door, when news came over NPR that Andy Rooney, of CBS’ 60 Minutes fame, had died. Highlights of his obituary included Rooney describing how he had convinced folks at 60 Minutes to allow him to write and read an essay each week. “What would you write about?” he was asked. Looking around the room, he said something like, “Well, anything. I could write about doors.” And indeed doors were the subject of his first essay.

Rooney probably started that essay with, “Did you ever notice that doors…” I thought about that as I studied the door I was sanding. I noticed that it was put together with wooden pegs, making it very likely the original door to the house. If so, the door is now 164 years old. The Rev. Sidney M. Bumpass, who had the house built, must have proudly walked through this door back in 1847.

I thought about all the other people who must have passed through this door in the ensuing years. The Rev. Bumpass only lived in the house a few years before typhoid killed him. His young wife Frances must have rushed out that door to be at her dying husband’s bedside. After his death, Frances Bumpass taught elementary school at the house to make ends meet. Countless children must have come and gone to school through this portal. The house also served as the Western Greensboro Union Headquarters at the end of the Civil War. Did General Jacob D. Cox come and go through this door as he commanded Union forces that occupied post-Civil War Greensboro? Ah, such scope for the imagination!

Would any of the past residents have resented the fact that I was refinishing this original door? I hoped not, but I had little alternative.  Flaking paint (as you can see in the photo) had come to the attention of the health inspector who said we had to fix it. I thought of all those Antiques Road Show episodes where they tell you you’ve cut the value of an antique in half by refinishing it, even if the old item looks worn and weathered. But when the health inspector tells you to do something to your facility, you do it.

Front door in need of repair
The door prior to repairs

As I sanded away the old finish, I realized the door had at one time been a tan color and originally was green. At least I wasn’t the first to repaint the door. I realized the original green echoed the tones in the tiles around the fireplace and decided it would be a perfect color to bring back to the door. Before I could apply the paint, I used wood putty fill in dozens of tiny holes that appeared to be from thumb tacks. Did Frances post notes to the students on the door?  It’s probably more likely those holes dated back to the 1980s when the house was divided into student apartments. Maybe the front door doubled as a bulletin board with “rent due” notices.

Yes. There’s a lot you can notice about a door. We invite you to visit the Troy-Bumpas Inn and see for yourself how nice the front door now looks. (To be honest, my photos don’t do it justice!) And the front door is only the beginning. We’re pretty proud of the whole inn and love sharing it and our historic city with others.

Interior front door, now repainted

A fresh coat of paint on the door