If you lived in 1906, Teddy Roosevelt would be your President. You may, or may not, have voted for him. But, you probably used his famous line, “Bully for you.” For all I know, you might even have used the popular slang of the day and spouted off, “23 skiddoo”, in addition to “bully for you.”
If you wanted to make a real impression you’d think beyond your command of popular slang. You’d show off your wealth by placing a 3-minute long distance phone call across the country. A call, such as this, cost eleven dollars. Not cheap when you consider the average wage earner made 22-cents an hour. Also, shampoo must have been a huge expense because most women in 1906 washed their hair only once a month with egg yolks or borax. Even though they knew they were “worth it,” they didn’t splurge on shampoo when eggs were the less expensive choice. Coffee costs 15 cents a pound and no one had heard of Starbucks or a four-dollar pumpkin spice latte. The speed limit stood at 10 mph in most cities. Can you imagine the horror of some speed demon blowing past you at 15 mph in a rickety Ford buggy car! But there weren’t as many people back then to fear for their lives from speeding buggy cars. A little drink-water town known as Las Vegas claimed a population of just 30 in 1906. It’s true. What happened in Vegas really did stay in Vegas. Unless one of the 30 residents had flappin’ loose lips and traveled out of town to tell the world what you did while in Vegas. Oh my! They did whaaaatt? In Vegas, you say?
All this to say, 1906 happened in a different world than we live in today.
This week, Jerry and I had the fun of stepping back into that long-ago, turn-of-the-century world. We didn’t speed at 15 mph or wash our hair with eggs. No thank you. Instead, we checked into the Pleasant Street Inn Bed and Breakfast in Prescott, Arizona. The beautiful lime green Victorian home, built in 1906, has all the charm of a Thomas Kinkade painting. We had a cozy fire in the fireplace, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 wafting merrily throughout and a friendly hostess who warmly greeted us.
However, other than the Victorian architecture and furniture and quaint creaky sounds in the wood floor, our stay came with the modern amenities of 2015. We had shampoo in our room, thank goodness. We also had a bathtub. (Only 14 percent of households in the U.S. had a bathtub in 1906.)
I’ve come up with some really good reasons to visit a bed and breakfast, in the event you are considering whether a visit to one is for you. Here they are.
Good Reason 1. You can have a warm home away from your warm home.
The Pleasant Street Inn welcomed us with a toasty warm feel. We noticed this right off because Prescott, Arizona snowed on the day of our visit. You can be very warm in Phoenix whether inside or outside most of the year. Then drive to Prescott, a two and half hour drive from your home in the desert, and you’re in a cold, winter wonderland-like setting. The idea of being warm suddenly seems like a good idea. Brrr. Jerry and I hurried to the Pleasant Street Inn. When we stepped inside, we thought, “Ahh, this feels so nice and warm like Phoenix.” It doesn’t make a lot of sense. We could have stayed home in the desert and said, “Ahh, this feels so nice and warm.” But why? It’s more fun to travel to a cold snowy town in the mountains, where you shiver and hope you get inside to warm up.
Good Reason 2. You get treats.
At a B&B, the hostess will set out a plate of chocolate truffles for an evening treat. The truffles look all luscious and dark chocolaty, calling to you to come over to their fancy china plate and indulge. “Come over here and savor one or two or five of us,” they whisper seductively. But for some odd reason, it’s too inviting and you want to practice restraint. You resist the temptation. “Be quiet evil truffles,” you say, realizing you’re talking to candy. This is another oddity I can’t fully explain. Not odd at all that you talk to candy, but odd that you exercise more willpower at a bed and breakfast than you would at home. I can only say the reason for this is because you make a deal with yourself, I will forgo the truffles and wait for breakfast. Then I’ll stuff myself.
Good Reason 3. You don’t have to do any cleaning or dusting at a B&B.
At least not the ones I’ve visited. You can just kick back and relax in the beautiful historic home, enjoying the cozy Norman Rockwell setting. You appreciate the joy of no responsibilities while unwinding by the fire in the fireplace and ignoring the evil truffles calling to you from their fancy plate on the counter. You don’t have to think about anything other than, I wonder if we’ll have Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream at breakfast. At home, when you try to relax and rest in your favorite armchair~you notice dust on your coffee table, and you realize you won’t be at peace until you get up and dust. Or if the cat cries for dinner, you get up and get the cat food out of the cupboard and as you do, you see dishes in the sink that need to be put in the dishwasher. You never get back to your armchair. You never rest. But at a B&B, like the Pleasant Street Inn, you don’t have the cats with you and don’t notice dust on the furniture because there isn’t any. Even if there were, you wouldn’t ask the hostess for a feather duster so you could dust away. I know I wouldn’t. I’d just sit back, stare at the dust, and dream of waffles.
Good Reason 4. You buy souvenirs.
At a B&B, your husband buys one of the coffee cups displayed in the dining room. He wants it because it has the name of the Inn on it. You think to yourself, if that cup didn’t have the Inn’s name on it, Jerry wouldn’t want it. But the bed and breakfast industry has figured this out and done quite the whopping coffee cup sales business by putting the B&B name on the cups.
Good Reason 5. You discover things you never knew about your spouse.
I don’t know why, but B&B’s bring out the peculiarities in people. While in our room at the Pleasant Street Inn, Jerry reminded me that he doesn’t like a lot of pillows. He only wants one pillow and any more than that gives him a disturbed feeling of gastritis. This new information could be enlightening or maddening, however I wanted to look at it. The bed in our Pine View Suite didn’t have nearly the number of pillows that the last hotel room we stayed in had. But the king size bed in our room at the Pleasant Street Inn had about five pillows, plus two fancy ones. Jerry announced with annoyance, “Why are there always so many pillows everywhere we stay?” He then proceeded to fling the pillows off the bed one by one. They sailed off into oblivion. If the window were open, pillows would have flown down the street. Who would have something against innocent pillows? Apparently Jerry. He tried to explain that pillows get in his way when he wants to sit down or sleep. He doesn’t care for things in his way. I guess Jerry wants a smooth transition without any interruptions by pillows. I love pillows, however. The more, the better. I retrieved all the pillows flung off the bed and put them back in the bed with me and smooshed them into a mountain all around me.
Good Reason 6. You meet new people.
A B&B provides the opportunity to meet new people. Jerry and I were the only guests on the Monday night of our stay at the Pleasant Street Inn. The first day we didn’t meet anyone other than a lady with silver hair and glasses walking her dog on the sidewalk in front of the Inn. She wore an overcoat and wool hat to stay warm, and suddenly noticed Jerry in his Phoenix attire of shorts and t-shirt. “Your husband is dressed for summer,” she hollered to me. “Well yes,” I told her, “he wears what feels comfortable to him.” I think she wanted me to make Jerry put on long pants and a jacket, I’m not sure. She and I didn’t chat any longer than that, so I don’t think I can count her as meeting a new person. I didn’t get her name or ask what she likes to do in her spare time other than walk her dog in cold weather and observe the fashion of other people’s husbands. The next morning Jerry and I met Doris, the B&B owner’s delightful mother, who chatted with us as we ate breakfast. She never once made any comments to the way Jerry or I dress. Such a dear lady.
Good Reason 7. You get breakfast.
B&B’s have a surprise breakfast factor which makes for extra fun. You go to bed not knowing what you’ll have for breakfast. Unlike a restaurant, you don’t put in an order. The B&B hostess will surprise you the next morning. Breakfast could be pig’s feet or menudo or pumpkin pancakes, you just never know what. Our hostess served us an omelet and bacon and a delicious yogurt fruit cup decorated with grapes cut into flower shapes. It can’t be easy trying to please so many different palates and likes and needs with countless B&B guests coming through. However, a warning sign stating “waffles with strawberries and whipped cream will not be served in the morning” would have been a nice touch. Just my own personal thought.
Good Reason 8. You get to spend a night in a different atmosphere than your home.
“This house is a work of art,” Jerry told our hostess. And it is. Although 115 years old, it holds a timeless charm of exquisite beauty. I don’t feel like spouting off “bully for you” quite as often in a hotel. It doesn’t give me that urge.
Good Reason 9. You get a new perspective of the world.
In 1906, a person’s life expectancy was 47 years. But the life expectancy of a house has no age limits when cared for with love. A stay in a historic home takes you back in time and you view the world as it once was. Or a B&B in a newer home offers its own delight of staying the night in a beautiful new place, hopefully with a view.
When we returned home, Jerry said to me, “Bronwyn, do you know we have stayed in nine bed and breakfasts so far?” He then named them all to me and I realized that he or I could not remember the hotels we’ve stayed in over the years, but the bed and breakfasts made an impression. After all, at a hotel you never get to eat breakfast with the owner’s mother. And I can’t recall ever having grapes cut into artistic flower shapes at a hotel. And not once did a chocolate truffle whisper to me late in the evening, “Get over here, you hussy, you know you want me.”
the end. ♥