Happy New Year!!
Just a few more stops in Oregon! This past summer my husband and I spent twelve days traveling the state and I’ve been sharing the experience with you. I’ve been telling you about the attractions we visited, the meals we ate and where we stayed. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit Oregon, too. Today, we’ll visit the Restful Nest on the Rogue.
If you’re a blogger, you’ll know what I mean when I say I started writing this blog when I first spoke on the phone with the hostess of the Restful Nest on the Rogue Bed & Breakfast Inn. Bloggers are always thinking about how they’ll present something in their blog. Especially when it relates directly to their blog subject.
So I was talking to this hostess and realized that some people just have the gift of hospitality and you can feel it – even over the phone. I knew I was going to love her inn as much as I loved her and I’d write a glowing review she’d be proud to hang on her wall. But that’s not exactly how it turned out.
I can assure you that you’ll love the hostess, but one thing about people who have the gift of hospitality, some of them should get a refresher course on basic housekeeping and maintenance. It’s one thing to be a free spirit who opens your door wide to guests without worrying whether absolutely every detail is in perfect order. It’s another to be oblivious to the condition of your home, especially if other people are going to pay money to spend the night there.
The pictures on her website show a charming edifice with inviting gardens, but they were taken about ten years ago. The place doesn’t look like that anymore. It would be one thing if she’d redecorated and things had a different theme or color, but that’s not the case. Ten years ago I’m sure it was amazing. it’s not now.
She’s asked us to call her after our boat ride and let her know we were on our way – just in case she’d gotten tied up at her real job. When we did, she gave us a few last minute instructions about entering her property and announced a new resident had been hatched at the Restful Nest just that morning – a duckling.
So we found the address and the gate looked just like she’d described. Along with the ducks, the Restful Nest also has dogs and cats, so the visitors have to risk their lives on the edge of the road dickering with the gate so the dogs won’t get out. OK, I have a dog and it’s at least as important to me as the people who visit me, but I don’t run a bed & breakfast.
Our hostess was waiting in the front yard for us (maybe she should have been at the gate). She couldn’t wait to introduce her to baby duckling. So the first thing we did was go to the barn. Do you know how bad poultry scat smells? May you never have to find out.
Then we toured the gardens. Whoever had taken her photos for the website is to be commended. What had appeared to be a large water feature was instead a minuscule fountain on the side of a hill on the other side of a concrete block retaining wall. Even if it had been as lovely as I’d hoped, the musty smelling chaise lounge made me envision mold spores rather than an idyllic snooze al fresco.
Once we entered the home we could see the collection of antiques the hostess mentions on the website and she had some really nice pieces, but she had entirely too many of them. I bet when she opened ten years ago, her antique collection complimented the decor. Now the antique collection is the decor and if it covers every available surface in the house – well, the antique collection thinks that’s only right.
We climbed the narrow stairway to the upper story to a second living area with a large attached patio and two doorways leading to two bedrooms. One was our Garden Room and the other was being occupied by a more permanent tenant. During slow seasons, the hostess took in boarders. It must have been slow for a long time, because the one time I saw the boarder she glared at me as if I were an intruder, rather than a paying guest.
But I’m not through. After having dinner at Applebee’s, we came home to a delicious homemade dessert and our hostess was eager to visit with us. I must confess she broke my heart. I knew she was a nice lady from the moment I first spoke to her over the phone. She wasn’t a model housekeeper and everything about the property needed work, but she was genuinely nice – however, she’s also very lonely and the bed & breakfast business is not going so well.
If she had griped and moaned and complained to us, I think we’d have just laughed at her and moved on. But that’s not how it was. She was charming and hopeful and optimistic, in the midst of a crumbling empire. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say, “Run! Let the bank repossess the property, change your name and start over somewhere else.” Instead, I ate more of the delicious dessert than I should have and wished that there were something I could do to make things better for this poor lady.
I didn’t sleep well in the Garden Room. I had the creepy feeling the boarder on the other side of the wall was listening to every creak and sigh. When we got up, Bill wanted to get the hell out of dodge and not have to deal with our hostess. I hissed at him to behave himself, “She’s lonely and going bankrupt. The least we can do is be kind.”
We struggled through a delicious breakfast. She’s a remarkable cook and it was easy to imagine a tableful of happy guests enjoying a delightful breakfast, but instead, we shared the table with a pile of junk mail that she’d never gotten around to sorting through. Bill couldn’t wait to leave, but she wanted us to see the duckling one more time.
I really wish I could tell everyone to go stay at the Restful Nest, because I loved the hostess and recognized what a precarious position she’s in, but I can’t do that with a clear conscience. There’s just too many red flags. By the same token, maybe travel puts you in a generous mood and you’d like to help this poor lady out a bit. Then by all means, go! I wish a miracle would occur and ten years of decay could be lifted off the property. You’ll never find a nicer hostess than the Restful Nest’s and she’s an amazing cook. But if you want a good night’s sleep on a well-maintained property, maybe it’s not the right place.