Category Archives: Fun

Do You Know What “Hygge” Really Means?

Flag of Denmark, The Hygge Game, colorful buildings in Denmark

 

Do you know what “hygge” really means? “Hygge” is a Scandinavian (specifically Danish) word for enjoying the good things in life. It evokes an atmosphere of coziness accompanied by a feeling of contentment and well-being. There is nothing more “hygge” than spending quality time with the people you love.

 

The board game Hygge has over 300 thought-provoking questions designed to spark meaningful discussions. Cozy conversation in pleasant company.

Responses will allow the others to better get to know each participant’s:

  • character
  • desires
  • emotions
  • interests
  • motivations
  • opinions
  • personality traits
  • values

25 of my favorite questions:

  • How would you define intelligence?
  • In what ways to you make other people’s lives better?
  • If you could be guaranteed an honest answer, what would you ask and to whom?
  • If you could have one million of anything (except money), what would you choose?
  • If you could live anywhere, where would you live and why?
  • If you had enough money to retire tomorrow, what would you do with the rest of your life?
  • If you had the whole world’s attention for thirty seconds, what would you say or do?
  • Name one thing most people don’t know about you?
  • Should students get to grade their teachers?
  • What actor/actress would play you in the movie version of your life?
  • What book changed your life?
  • What can we learn from children?
  • What compliment have you received and never forgotten?
  • What does the world need more of?
  • What do you do differently than most people?
  • What is the best song ever written?
  • What is the best television show of all time?
  • What is the most meaningful gift you ever received?
  • What is the one key trait that makes people successful?
  • What is your greatest wish for the upcoming year?
  • What kind of people do you most admire?
  • What movie do you wish they would make a sequel to?
  • What personal quality do people appreciate about you?
  • What quality do you appreciate the most in a friend?
  • What would you do if you won the lottery?

What board games, if any, do your guests play during their stay with you? Do you offer them a library of books to read during their stay? Guests appreciate the extras, such as access to games and books, that you offer them during their stay.

On a personal note, my daughter participated in a high school student exchange program a few years back. We hosted a Dane (someone from Denmark) and then she stayed with another Danish student during her time in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was her first international trip and it was a very memorable experience. She understands what hygge really means.

You are welcome you to share related comments about any of the following below:

  • The name of the most popular board game your guests play
  • A meaningful experience hosting guests from Denmark
  • If you are an innkeeper of a B&B or guest house in Denmark

 

Did You See Bed and Breakfast the Movie?

Bed and Breakfast The Movie cover

 

Bed and Breakfast the Movie (available on Amazon Prime at the time of this writing) had mixed reviews when it was released in 2015. However, I wanted to watch it from the perspective of observing what to do (and what not to do) when you are a hospitality provider.

 

Both Dean Cain’s character (Jake) inherits a bed and breakfast, but wait so did Brazilian Ana (played by Juliana Paes). Bill Engvall plays Jake’s brother (a police officer that likes to drink beer when he is off the clock). This is a romantic comedy. While the plot line is not realistic, I did observe some things:

  • While the sign changes three times in the movie, it is an important reminder of how essential is to have a visible sign to welcome guests.
  • The maid takes the picture of Jake and makes the valid point that guests need to see that they can trust you (the innkeeper) if you are asking them to come to your house (however not all inns share pictures of the innkeepers).
  • The Certificate by the California State Commission gets put up a couple and made straight a few times, a reminder that innkeepers should proudly display their licenses as well as awards and honors.
  • There was a mess everywhere since they were not supposed to open for week (somehow an ad showed an earlier date) this demonstrates the importance of being on top of your advertising and promotions (it is good to have a press kit).
  • The maid could not cook (it is a necessity for at least one person on staff to be skilled in cooking) and the maid snooped into Ana’s luggage (a major violation of guest privacy) to discover that Ana was not who she said she was.
  • When a guest pointed out that there was “a hole in the floor where the toilet should be” Jake tells them to take a wine tour (at his expense) and when they return everything will be fixed (the inn would never be authorized to open unless inspection standards were met) but that was quick thinking on his part (which innkeepers often have to do but not for missing a toilet).
  • When asked how it “got in such awful shape”, Jake admitted, “It was left for a long time and obviously I’m still fixing it.” There are situations when an inn is open for business as it is being restored, but there could be a better way to word that improvements are still going on.
  • The couple that was on their honeymoon was making loud noises which annoyed the other guests (at breakfast time Jake suggested that they eat breakfast in bed to avoid their public display of affection).
  • It was only several days later that their landline phone worked (it was not realistic that calls were not being received on Jake’s cell phone). Yet guests were coming because of the wine festival in town.
  • Jake’s legal dispute with Ana was mediated by a retired judge who was meditating when they arrived and he led the meeting (from his cramped trailer home) more like a couples therapy session. No lawyers were present which would not have been the case in real life.
  • When Jake learns that the most famous reviewer in the state of California is staying with them, he and Ana work together to see if “his dream would have worked” and they throw a very successful couples dinner party.
  • They picked fresh produce from their garden and Jake found two bottles of fine wine. Towards the end of the evening, they asked the reviewer (played by actor Eric Roberts) what he thought.
  • The reviewer said, “You put together the perfect blend of both the exotic (being the most risky or risque) and the familia (being the most comfortable). Keep it up and you’re bound to go far. And to think if there would have been a room anywhere else, I might have missed the best meal of my life. I guess that’s what you call serendipity.” (It was not realistic for the “best reviewer in the state” to not have a place to stay.)
  • Being from Brazil, Ana did not know what the word serendipity meant (nor how to pronounce it correctly), and Jake explained that it is when something pleasant happens unexpectedly. It is known as a “happy accident.”

I won’t spoil the ending for you (in case you want to watch the movie). If you have seen the movie (or you do end up watching it), please feel free to share your comments about it.

Bed and Breakfast Indoor Fun

bookcase filled with books and a few board games

 

 

Wonder what to do at a bed and breakfast? While getting extra rest (and more affection) can be incredible, there is other bed and breakfast indoor fun to experience.  I also will highlight some of the benefits of having fun.

 

Bed and breakfast inns may offer luxurious indoor amenities and places such as:

  • Gift shop
  • Hot tub
  • Libraries
  • Pool
  • Pool table
  • Restaurant
  • Sauna
  • Screening room
  • Spa

Innkeepers often have common rooms for B&B guests that include the following:

  • Artwork on display
  • Board games
  • Books
  • Coloring books (adult coloring books are now quite popular)
  • Decks of cards
  • Magazines
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Newspapers
  • Television

Most bed and breakfasts offer free wi-fi internet access in your guest room and in common rooms. This means that guests can go online for fun (or if you really must, for business).

Some bed and breakfasts offer indoor activities such as:

  • Birthday and anniversary celebrations
  • Book discussion club
  • Cooking classes
  • Scrap-booking retreat
  • Tea time
  • Quilting circle
  • Wine tastings

Some bed and breakfasts have entertainers come to their inn to perform for the guests on special occasions.  Sometimes it is the innkeepers that perform music for the guests. Other times, it is the guests who are encouraged to play the musical instruments at the inn (such as piano or guitar).

I have the kind of personality where I feel guilty if I am not working. Some of us really need to give ourselves “permission” to relax.  Here are just some of the important benefits we can all receive from unwinding and having fun:

  • Better perspective on what is really important in life
  • Increase in our overall productivity
  • Less stress and more peace of mind
  • More creativity to solve problems and/or earn income
  • Prevention of boredom (which can affect the ability to focus)
  • Replenishment of energy and motivation
  • Reward to yourself (and others) for having achieved specific goals

Regardless of the reason you would like to stay inside (such as the weather), bed and breakfast guests can find pleasant things to do.  Innkeepers are also more than happy to make suggestions for indoor activities.  Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you ask.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Groundhog Day B&B

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 B&B

groundhog day B&B

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.

groundhog day B&B

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.

groundhog day B&B

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.”

groundhog day B&B

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.

groundhog day B&B

groundhog day B&B

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.

groundhog day B&B

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:

  • weddings
  • bridal parties
  • renewal ceremonies
  • baby showers
  • business meetings
  • fundraisers
  • birthday parties
  • anniversaries
  • honeymoons
  • murder mysteries
  • variety of retreats

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.

groundhog day B&B

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.

groundhog day B&B

Disclaimer: The links to the Groundhog Day movie are affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I will earn a commission from Amazon. I only recommend what I know and love.

Cedar Cove’s Thyme and Tide B&B

thyme and tidethyme and tide

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.

thyme and tide

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!