Monthly Archives: August 2014

Groundhog Day B&B

Bed and Breakfast Blogging previously focused on Cedar Cove, a Hallmark TV show starring Andie MacDowell, that has a fictional bed and breakfast called The Thyme and Tide.  Did you know that Andie was also in a big screen movie with scenes from a bed and breakfast? The name of this classic comedy was Groundhog Day.

The movie co-starred Bill Murray who played the role of weatherman Phil Connors who goes to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day Festival. In reality, the movie was filmed an hour northwest of Chicago in the town of Woodstock, Illinois on 344 Fremont Street.

Bill Murray’s weatherman character, Phil, kept waking up to repeat the same day morning after morning in a bed and breakfast.

Groundhog Day (movie poster).jpg

Groundhog Day Movie stills (40)

In the movie, at first his character Phil does not like his producer, Rita (played by Andie MacDowell), but he falls in love with her as he gets to know her.  It is reported that, while they were acting, Andie thought Bill Murray was so funny that she could not stop laughing during the filming of several of their scenes.

Andie MacDowell and Bill Murray in Groundhog Day

The name of the B&B in the Groundhog Day movie is the “Cherry Street Inn”. Interestingly enough, the home was not a bed and breakfast during the time the movie was made. The movie producers built the interior set on a sound stage in a nearby warehouse. Just steps from the bed and breakfast, Woodstock Square was also used as a setting in the film. Filming took place for about a month in 1992 and the movie was in theaters in 1993.

 

The most recent owners of the property, Everton G. Martin and Karla Stewart-Martin, grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, moved around the country (since Everton was active duty Navy), moved back to Milwaukee when he got out of the military, raised their kids there and decided while planning for early retirement that they would like to move to a warmer climate. After looking in several states, they heard about the house here in Woodstock.

Real house from Groundhog Day movie (4)

The house visually was what Karla and Everton were looking for (a historic home with lots of character, wraparound porch, pillars, beautiful perennial gardens, etc). It had been sitting empty for over two years when they came to see it.  They decided it was the perfect venue for a bed & breakfast.  The Martins purchased the property in March 2008 and opened for business June 1, 2010. They are still open and operating the profitable Bed & Breakfast.

Karla recalls receiving many suggestions about what to name their B&B.  They ranged from renaming it “Cherry Street Inn” (its name in the movie) to “Groundhog Day Bed and Breakfast” and more. When the Martins bought the house, it was about 114 years old and they were determined to restore it to the regal, stately home it once was by giving it lots of TLC. Karla and Everton wanted to broaden their guest base to include those who had never seen the movie, but loved restoration of old homes and to those who love the B&B experience.

They named their place the Royal Victorian Manor Bed and Breakfast. They added the subtitle “Groundhog Day” to their signage and advertising. Karla and Everton think it is amazing that fans of the movie only see “Groundhog Day” Bed & Breakfast in their signage and those that have not seen the movie see “Royal Victorian Manor Bed & Breakfast.” From their website, it says that the inn “evolved to offer the perfect combination of modern amenities while maintaining its original majestic qualities.”

Welcome to Royal Victorian Manor Bed & Breakfast, Woodstock. IL.

Renovations were extensive, and their first concern converting the house to a bed & breakfast without compromising the character of this historic home. Karla and Everton initially started with the landscaping on the outside. The fence on the front of the property that you see in the movie was gone. The arch was left but was in disrepair. They installed a new fence and arch, moved some trees around and manicured the perennial beds and added some interesting areas in the gardens.

Inside the house, they overhauled the electrical and plumbing, updated the HVAC (added air conditioning), gutted and updated the kitchen, parlor and dining room, added bathrooms so that the five bedrooms have en suites. Skylights were added to the soaring (10 feet tall or higher) ceilings, master suite, en suite, sitting room, laundry room, and full kitchen.

The Martin’s most favorite transformation was “hands down” the gourmet kitchen.  Once gutted, they added French doors from the dining room into the kitchen, a center island, and hutches with butcher block and off white distressed cabinets and high tech, high efficient stainless steel appliances. It is a lot of fun for them to have it as a place for cooking.

Karla and Everton have a living space they enjoy because it is both functional and comfortable for them. They took over the turret on the third floor. They converted the open attic space to an apartment that is independent of the rest of the house. In keeping with the character of the house, they were able to add inside stairs to the attic (their living space) on the side and back of the house. They converted the attic space on the top floor to a self-contained living area with its own kitchen and laundry.

The three fireplaces on the first floor have the original wood mantel and surrounds. The Martins appreciate that they were able to keep the wood ornamental detail throughout that was original on the staircases and other parts of the house.  The house has all the original hardwood floors, oak trim, stained-glass windows, and an updated gourmet kitchen.

The home has a grand wrap-around porch which overlooks a big fenced yard.  Some of their favorite areas include the wraparound porch, the vegetable garden, the turret, and the kitchen.

The property has 5,815 square feet with eight bedrooms, eight and one-half baths, and is three stories tall. Each bedroom has its own name as well as charm and character.  The Royal Suite has a window that has the view that is as close to the view in the movie of Bill Murray looking down the street.  The home features 5 guest suites with private baths:

  • Captain’s State Room
  • Garden Suite
  • Manor Suite
  • Royal Suite
  • Victorian Suite

They are able to host small and intimate events and special occasions such as:

Their favorite part of operating the B&B, without a doubt, is the many guests that visit the Martins, including those from all over the world.  Guests come from various walks of life, a variety of hobbies, interests, and jobs that bring them here through Woodstock.  Guests enjoy plenty of relaxation when they come to visit.

The couple has been running a successful B&B operation ever since they opened. Since the Martins would like to move closer to family, Karla and Everton have decided to sell their B&B. They plan to continue to operate the B&B until it sells, so it is business as usual for them. According to Karla, “No plans on what our next adventure will be!”

 

Their realtor, Rick Bellairs of Berkshire Hathaway, can be reached by phone at 815-382-8400 or by email at bellairsric@gmail.com. Visit their website for more information.

Since purchasing the house, the community has shared many stories with them about the making of the movie here in town and some have provided some photos.  Being an avid and passionate quilter, Karla added a groundhog wall quilt hanging in the foyer.

Every February 2 in their town of Woodstock, Illinois, the town celebrates with their annual Groundhog Day Festival.  On that day, the movie Groundhog Day is screened at the local cinema. Guided walking tours are available that weekend.  Visitors can hear the stories provided by people who were part of the film making process.  They can see the plaque that commemorates the time Bill Murray repeatedly stepped in a puddle for this reoccurring scene in the movie.

A huge fan of this movie has the opportunity to purchase this celebrity movie house for sale. Perhaps even an experienced innkeeper will take on this new business opportunity.  The Martins feel that keeping it a bed and breakfast would be a great asset to the community. Whatever happens, this bed and breakfast will always have its fame from the movie Groundhog Day.  We thank the Martins for their generosity in responding to our questions and kindness to let us show some of their pictures.  We wish them an even brighter future.

B&B 344 Fremont Woodstock IL

Labor Day Weekend Road Trip

Labor-Day-weekend-road-trip

Some of your bed and breakfast guests will be traveling by car and we hope they have a lovely Labor Day weekend road trip.  First, some fun facts about how the Labor Day holiday got started in the United States.  Did you know the United States workers’ unions chose the first Monday in September because it was halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving? The first Labor Day was observed on September 5th, 1882.  

Labor Day was created to rally for the adoption of eight hour work days and other more suitable working conditions.  Labor Day now carries less significance as a celebration of working people and more as a great way to finish the summer. Schools, government offices, and businesses are closed on Labor Day so people can get in one last road trip to the beach or have one last cookout before the weather starts to turn colder.

AAA is a company known in the lodging industry for their AAA diamond rating approval system. Guests can be reassured that those properties have been selected on the basis of merit alone.   Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney explained, “With Labor Day symbolizing the American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country, it’s only fitting that millions are choosing to celebrate this positive direction with an all-American road trip.”

AAA offers a Fuel Cost Calculator on their website.  Drivers can select, from about 125 different locations in the United States, the closest starting city and destination location. They can indicate their vehicle’s make, year, and model.  Drivers can select “one-way” or “round trip.” The Fuel Cost Calculator will show you the miles, gallons used, and fuel cost.  The fuel price data is provided by Oil Price Information Service.  You can put a link to this Fuel Cost Calculator from your own website.

We have tremendous respect for innkeepers who consistently get great online reviews from previous guests for their hospitality.  Remember you can team up with complimentary local businesses to set up packages for your guests.  Innkeepers, while entertaining guests:

Remember, when hosting, it is the little details that make a big difference.  Your phone communication is a great way to start the process of building relationships with your guests so that they become repeat guests and refer their friends and family to stay at your B&B. You may even often a frequent stay and referral program to help you gain more business and rewards your guests for returning and referring.

Innkeepers, we know you stay busy.  For those of you who want to focus on innkeeping and give the blogging and social media responsibilities to a knowledgeable and dedicated company, think of Bed and Breakfast Blogging as a great solution.  We can provide fresh blog content the search engines reward with higher rankings as well as an active and positive social media presence so you stay top of mind to potential and returning guests.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Cedar Cove’s Thyme and Tide B&B

Read the books (with beautiful Andie MacDowell on the cover!)  that inspired the brand new primetime #CedarCoveTV series!Bruce Boxleitner & Barbara Niven co-star as "Bob & Peggy Beldon" owners of the local B in "Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove." SO CUTE!

The fictional Thyme and Tide Bed and Breakfast is featured in Cedar Cove, the #1 rated Prime time drama of 2013.  This television show airs at Saturdays at 8 pm EST on Hallmark Channel USA.  Season 2 premiered July 19 of 2014.

This program starring Andie MacDowell as “Judge Olivia Lockhart” is based on the Cedar Cove books written by bestselling author Debbie Macomber. Bruce Boxleitner & Barbara Niven co-star as “Bob & Peggy Beldon” the innkeepers of the Thyme and Tide B&B.

Season two of your favorite Hallmark Channel USA summer series, Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove TV premieres SATURDAY JULY 19 8/7C! Sometimes the smaller the town, the bigger the heart.

Cedar Cove is a small town with endearing characters and a beautiful bed and breakfast.  When Peggy responded to Bob’s question about what was on the menu and detailed for Bob all that she was cooking for their guests, he lovingly spoke into her ear, “this is why you make is so hard for people to go home” as he hugged her. Bob and Peggy Beldon exemplify the many positive traits of innkeepers:

    • Warm, friendly, and showing hospitality
    • Attentive to the needs of their guests
    • Excellent cooks (Peggy grows her own spices)
    • Caretakers of the property (Bob is the handyman)

This popular television program will remind people that bed and breakfasts have the comforts of home and the amenities of hotels. If you are not watching Cedar Cove already, I highly recommend it. You can even have Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove books on your book shelves for your guests to read!

For those of you who have see this television show, what do you think of it?  I would love to read your comments!

Healthy Breakfasts: Berries

healthy-breakfast-berries
Healthy breakfasts: berries may be small in size, but blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries are big on taste as well as rich in three areas: antioxidants, fiber, and folate. Eating berries can help improve your health, wellness, and weight. Better yet, berries can be enjoyed all year long.

All fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, but nutrient-rich berries are some of the absolute best choices. There are powerful antioxidants found in berries, including Vitamin C, may help:

  • Prevent and manage arthritis
  • Slow age-related memory-loss
  • Decrease inflammation in joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration
  • Make skin more radiant
  • Make hair more healthy
  • Berries also contain fiber and folate. Fiber aids in weight loss and helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Folate may protect against cardiovascular disease and age-related memory loss, and since folate contributes to the production of serotonin, it may also help avoid depression and improve one’s mood.

    In addition to antioxidants, fiber, and folate, berries are “juicy foods,” which means they contain mostly water. Juicy foods are great for losing weight because they fill people up quickly, since their high water content bumps up the volume while driving down the calories.

    Remember, if fresh berries cannot be found, frozen (unsweetened) berries are a great substitute during the off-season months — and just as nutritious! Delicious serving ideas include:

  • Adding berries to a bowl of warm oatmeal during breakfast.
  • Putting berries on top of pancake batter as it cooks for berry delicious pancakes.
  • Drizzling chocolate to cover strawberries as a romantic snack for couples.
  • Stirring fresh raspberries into Greek yogurt to amplify its deliciousness.
  • Combining frozen berries with bananas and low-fat milk to make an afternoon smoothie for guests.
  • Offering berries to your guests is a healthy and delicious way to fuel their bodies. Guests love the taste of berries and innkeepers love their smiles and return visits!   Be sure to put pictures of your breakfasts on social media! People can “like” your posts on Facebook, “re-tweet” your tweets on Twitter, and pin your pictures on Pinterest!

     

    Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography