Summer Lovin’

Let’s have a blast!

Summer’s hot. There are mosquitos and sticky humidity and crowds that think the combination makes for the perfect time to visit Disney World.

But summer is also magical. Lightening bugs and dips in the springs and long days followed by longer nights with nowhere to be except wherever you want to be. Doesn’t it sound wonderful? It is and this is the type of summer we offer at the Magnolia Plantation.

Here in Gainesville we have easy access to Florida’s most alluring feature-the natural springs. Beaches are nice and all but they come with sand and groups that think 30 people belting out Summer of 69 underneath a tent is cool. Instead come float along the beatiful blue waters of Florida’s springs. It’s an adventure that can’t be matched.

There’s the Ichetucknee- https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Ichetucknee-Springs 

The enchanting Gennie Springs- http://www.ginniespringsoutdoors.com 

The actually not depressing Poe Springs- http://www.floridasprings.org/visit/map/poe%20springs/ 

Or Silver Springs-  http://www.silversprings.com 

Then there’s always diving at Devils Den!- http://www.devilsden.com 

No matter where you want to go, Magnolia Plantation is centrally located for an easy drive and good nights rest to tons of North Central Florida springs. 

VACATION RENTALS MAKE FOR THE PERFECT DEAL

To help kick off this awesome summer that we’re helping you plan, we’ll be offering a special Vacation Rental deal during the month of June

First let’s review what a Vacation Rental is normally. (This is what it will return to in July) 

  • $125 a night 
  • 3 night minimum 
  • $125 rate based on 2 people. Additional person is $25 a head. 
  • No food & minimal service 
  • During VR time, regular Bed & Breakfast is not offered 

But two good things are even better together right? Ice cream is good; fudge is good; put them together and you’ve got a party. So in that same token, during the month of June we will be offering both full B&B service along with a special Vacation Rental. 

You can book any type of stay as a regular Bed & Breakfast guest—OR you can stay as a Vacation Rental guest at $150 a night with no 3 night minimum. You can stay 1 or 2 nights as a VR at this price. Although after 2 nights we’re pretty sure our charming disposition, bubbling personality and abundance of wine will have you kicking your shoes back off to stay a bit longer. 

If you would like to stay as a Vacation Rental guest at this special rate during the month of June please call us and we will book your reservation over the phone. 

352-375-6653…ask for Cindy 

Or if you wish to receive the full Bed & Breakfast experience, then do so at a discount. Book your reservation online during the month of June and you can receive 10% of your entire stay. Simply use the code MP10 for the special discount. 

We can’t wait to see you soon. Bring your swimsuits, spend an afternoon at the springs and we’ll have a bottle of wine waiting for you upon your return. Wine and some mosquito spray-it is summer after all.  

Is The House Haunted? 

Welcome back to this crazy story that we somehow made come true in our lives. If you recall we left off having bit the bullet and bought the house. 

The banks then proceeded to laugh at us when we told them what we were doing. The city of Gainesville bailed us out with a temporary loan and that’s where the “fun” really begins…yes these are the ghost stories. Since the city was not used to loaning money for constructions projects, the draw system was a bit unusual. Basically they would not give us any money until they saw something accomplished. Enter Cindy’s mom (Beth). She was our temporary bank. She would give us money to work with, the city inspectors would come in and see progress, they would give us money and we would give money back to Beth…until the next time. It was a vicious cycle.

We finished off a bedroom inside the gutted attic and lived on the 3rd floor of the main house during this time (and have yet to leave it 26 years later). The rest of the attic was where we would store our purchases for the Inn. 

One day I was up in the attic when I heard a voice say, “I like your taste in books”. I looked down at the book I had dug out of a box and the title was “A Scarlett Letter”. I threw the book back in the box and ran downstairs. Joe was just walking up the stairs at the time and saw the look on my face. I had that whole fish out of water experience going on but when he got me calmed down a bit I was able to explain to him what had just happened to me in the Attic. Joe, the engineer, very calmly told me that he too felt something going on in the house. GREAT—just GREAT. We have a @#$^&$ haunted house. And not even with a cool ghost who could be fun like Casper, but one who just wanted to sit around and read a wordy book about a loose woman. I was terrified and would not go anywhere in the house alone. 

Shortly after I was asleep one night and had a dream. I was in the tower part of the house and a woman was standing there. I asked her name and we had a complete conversation. I woke up with a start and kept repeating her name over and over and then fell back asleep. When I woke up in the morning I had forgotten her name but remembered it was an odd first name and her last name was 2 syllables.

GREAT—just GREAT. We have a @#$^&$ haunted house.

Since we were restoring a historic building we discovered we were entitled to historic tax credits. We hired local historian Melanie Barr to do a house history and apply for tax credits. As we were reading through the history I remembered my dream. The original owners were Dudley and MELINZA WILLLIAMS. Melinza Williams was the name from my dream. As soon as I heard her name, it all came back to me. I could actually describe the person I saw in my dream. 

A few weeks later, one of the college kids who had lived in the house stopped by to check on our progress. During his visit he asked if we ever heard things that went bump in the night. I asked him what he was talking about. He told me a story about a woman he saw going up to the third floor one day. She turned around and nodded to him but kept going up the stairs. She had her hair tied in a bun and it was gray. She had on a black mid calf dress with old lady shoes. She also had a string of pearls around her neck. He had just described the lady who was in my dream. 

Over the next few months other people would ask me if I had noticed the woman who wandered around at all hours. One of my painters saw her at 4:00AM walking down the stairs. The odd thing about seeing her is it did not seem unusual at the time to see an older woman walking around. It was hours or days later that the person who saw her would suddenly have a “what the heck was that” moment.

During the frenzy of getting the Inn open, we pretty much just accepted her presence until about a month after we started having guests. Joe and I both realized that we had not felt, heard or had any run in’s with her. Our theory is that when we started tearing the walls down, she got concerned. After she realized that we were actually saving the house, she felt she could leave the house in our hands and we would take care of it for her. 

Inspectors, you have to love them because it’s illegal to lock them up in the freezer.

Next up: Inspectors, you have to love them because it’s illegal to lock them up in the freezer. We were almost thrown out of our living space by an inspector. We have a handicap accessible bathroom door….on our third floor. The fire escape that almost wrapped around the house and more funny stories.

How We Began; Part 3-Coming Home

Let’s pick up where we left off.

If you recall, our last installment had us calling the Historic Preservation Officer in Gainesville because the house we wanted, the one that River Phoenix’s girlfriend lived in, fell through.  We already had our minds and hearts set on moving to Gainesville. Luckily Thad Crowe, the Preservation Officer had a house in mind.  It had been taken off the market but he promised he would make some calls.

Thad set up a meeting for us to look at the Baird Mansion (its historic name) on Easter Sunday.  We dragged Joe’s mom and dad with us hoping they would be the voice of reason.  Jane Myer, the realtor met us at the house.  As we drove up, Joe said “this is the one” and I said “are you out of your mind”.

Joe and his parents saw what this mess could be-1174x794

Joe and his parents saw what this mess could be.

We were obviously looking at two different houses.  Joe saw this stately three story Victorian with a central tower.  I saw a house with a couch on the roof of the porch, screens hanging off the windows and 1/3 of the windows.  Turns out, the inside was not much better.  As soon as we walked in the back door there was a lovely pile of something the dog left.  It appeared the floor had not been swept in years and there was spaghetti stuck to the walls.  As Joe’s mom and I were walking around she notices a container of starter plants on the window seat.  She said “these kids can’t be all bad.  Look they’re growing tomatoes”.  As I took a closer look I realized they were, well, not tomatoes.  Was this day going to get any worse? 

After we saw almost the whole house I saw THAT look in Joe’s eyes and knew….it was over.  I was doomed to buy this house.  All I had was Joe’s mom and dad and the fact that they were reasonable people.

Oh no, they had that same look.

Even Jane, the realtor was swept up in the frenzy.

Jane explained that the owners, Jean and Terry had purchased the house 5 years earlier with the idea of renovating it into apartments.  Their contractor, Mike, was a young guy who Jean and Terry fell in love with.  They kept buying houses for him to restore.  They watched him graduate from college, fall in love, get married and have 2 little babies.  Shortly after he began working on the Baird Mansion he developed melanoma and died.  Jean and Terry were devastated and basically walked away from the house.

Their son was about to enter the University of Florida so they told him he could move into the house and take on roommates.  Their only house rule was not to paint the woodwork.  Their son had graduated by the time we entered and new boys had moved in.  They were semi college students.  Taking just enough classes to get mom and dad to pay for them to live but not really taking enough classes to ever get a degree.  We nick named them “Granola”.  There was one room in the house that we could not get into.  Phillip kept 3 dead bolts on his bedroom door and we could not get him to open the door.  The owners sat on the stairs for hours waiting for Phillip to come out of his room.  When he did, they called their carpenter who took the door off the hinges and then they called us and we drove up from Orlando to look at the room.

A few years after we had restored the house, Phillip came back and brought his parents.  He wanted to show them where he lived for 3 years.  When he came down from showing his parents around he asked us how we were able to put the fireplace in his old bedroom.  Joe explained that the fireplace was original to the house.  Phillip said that he had lived in that room for 3 years and there was not a fireplace in the room when he lived there.  Do you remember the pot plants that Joe’s mom and I found?  Sounds like Phillip was sampling a bit of his product.



Phillip wasn't really interested in the historic aspects of the room during his time living there-3264x2448

 

We had no idea what to offer for the price of the house.  The realtor made it very easy.  It seems the owners just wanted out of the house.  They went to their lawyer and asked him to figure out a sales price so they could walk away from closing with nothing.  They ended up selling the house to us for $35,000 less than what they purchased it for 5 years earlier.

Joe and I decided we would both quit our jobs.  Joe figured he would be able to find a job in Gainesville and I was going to concentrate on restoring the house.   When Joe tried to quit his job the owner of the company said that he had been thinking of opening a branch office.  Gainesville was not his first choice but he did not want to lose Joe as an employee.   So while we were tearing down walls and stripping woodwork, Joe was also opening a branch office.

When we first closed on the house, we did not really think through the logistics of where we would live.  Jane, our realtor refused to allow us to move into the house in the shape it was in; plus the Granola boys were very slow at moving out and we didn’t really want them as roommates.  She was leaving on vacation and invited us to live in her house for 3 weeks while we worked on getting the house empty.

Jane, our realtor, was one of many angels who made this possible-1186x797

Jane, our realtor, was one of many angels who made this possible.

Thad, the Preservation Officer, led us to the Baird Mansion-1053x794

Thad, the Preservation Officer, led us to the Baird Mansion.

At the same time we were visiting banks trying to get some financing.  We went to 5 banks in town and they all turned us down.  One bank agreed to loan us the money we needed but only if we tore the house down.  Another told us they would loan us the money but not if we were going to turn the house into a “boarding house”.  Frustration did not even cover our feelings.  We called the City and they referred us to the Economic Development Officer, David.  David was very sympathetic to our issues with the banks and discovered that the City of Gainesville was given Grant money for certain projects.  Until the projects started, the money just sat in the bank.  He somehow, magically got the City to agree to loan us the money until the project was due to start. We could not interfere with the project the money was granted for. Also, someone out there in finance world needed to agree to hold the permanent financing and pay off the construction loan. Sounds good right? Not so much. The project the money was slated for was due to begin construction in 120 days. That means we had 4 short months to completely gut 5,400 square feet of 100 + year old house, hair plaster, rewire, add a fire sprinkler system, install 6 bathrooms, sand & refinish floors and strip blackened woodwork. To say espresso and I became besties is an understatement.

But this is only the beginning…

How We Began; Part 2-Spreading Our Wings

So after 2 weeks of sleeping on an AERO bed, Joe decided we needed to start looking for a house that we could operate a ligament Bed and Breakfast out of. At this point we still naïvely assumed we would continue working our jobs and somehow work the guests into the mix. I was a real estate paralegal and Joe was working for an engineering company.

There was a historic house that had been for sale for at least 3 years and it was still in our downtown historic neighborhood. We made an appointment with a realtor to see the property. At that time Orlando had restrictions on how many square feet you could operate as a business in your home. We figured we would be able to get 3 guest rooms with what the codes allowed but felt sure that at some point the restrictions would relax and we could add at least 2 more rooms. We made an offer and waited by the phone as the realtor presented our contract. She called us at 6:30PM and told us that 30 minutes earlier someone else had made an offer and it was accepted. Now remember this house had been on the market for 3 years. This happened to us at least 4 other times on our search. We would make an offer and for one reason or another someone always beat us to the finish line. It became laughable.

 

Every weekend we drove around looking for suitable houses. Our search kept getting farther from our desired neighborhood but we still held on to the hope of being able to continue working. I think we still believed the Bed and Breakfast was more of a hobby than a vocation. Make sure you write your dreams in pencil…

We found a house in Claremont and it really was perfect. It was completely original with a large piece of land surrounding the house, basically a blank slate. As we were walking through the house I was envisioning beautiful weddings with the bride coming down the grand staircase and the house lit with candles and soft music playing.   Then we walked into the kitchen/dining area and something happened. Joe and I looked at each other and could not get out of the house fast enough. The kitchen was outdated but other than that, there was nothing that should have made us skedaddle. When we got outside, the realtor asked us what was wrong and we both had no explanation. Side Note: In October 1991, 3 months after we had finished restoring the Magnolia Plantation and probably 2 years after we had our unexplained experience at the Claremont house, we were watching a TV show on haunted houses and Joe paused the TV long enough for me to really look at the house they were talking about. It was the house we had looked at in Claremont.   It seems John Harden was living in the house with his second wife and their newborn. He woke up and smelled smoke. He went through the kitchen and saw his truck on fire. Someone shot and killed him and his murder has never been solved.

Check out the ghost story for yourself here.

But back to the story of our search; it continued and one Sunday we found ourselves at Leonardo’s 706 in Gainesville. We picked up a paper and found a Victorian for sale in the Duck Pond neighborhood. After calling the phone number listed and leaving a message, we took a drive by the house and immediately fell in love. The owner called us back the next day and that next weekend we took another drive up to Gainesville.

Gainesville has always been important to us. Joe was just starting his senior year at The University of Florida when I moved from Cleveland to be with him. We got married in Gainesville and started our lives together so we knew the student area of town but had no idea Gainesville had so much history.

We got to the house and met with the owner. While the house still had much of its original woodwork, it had been cut up into mini apartments. I kind of liked the idea of leaving it alone so every guest would have a suite.

The B&B that almost was. River Phoenix's girlfriend had other ideas-480x360

The B&B that almost was. River Phoenix’s girlfriend had other ideas.

We met a young lady who was living at the house and she was very curious about what we were planning on doing if we bought the house. Later that night we called the owner and told him we wanted to make an offer. We were planning on offering him his asking price and the only contingency would be us selling our house in Orlando. That’s how bad we wanted this house. I worked up the contract and sent the owner his copy for his signature. Nothing…a week went by and still…nothing. Finally Joe called the owner and he apologized for not getting back to us but he decided not to accept our offer. Seems the young lady who asked us so many questions was the girlfriend of River Phoenix, the actor, and she did not want to move so he offered to buy the house from the owner.   River never bought the house but the young lady got to finish out her education living in the house that she loved.

Despite suffering another loss, we had decided by then that we really wanted to be in Gainesville so Joe called the City of Gainesville, and told them of our dream. He got transferred to the Economic Development officer, Thad, who told him of a historic house that had been for sale for a few years but was no longer on the market. He told us he would do some checking to see if it could be bought or if there were any other houses that would fit our needs.

Joe got a call the next day from Thad telling us the house could be bought and a realtor would be happy to show it to us on the following Sunday, which just happened to be Easter Sunday.

How We Began; Part 1-Moving Out

Every story has a beginning. This is ours.

 

After 25 years of running the Magnolia Plantation Bed and Breakfast, we have quite the repertoire of interesting stories. Some exaggerated; some that we wish were exaggerated but are unfortunately true; guest that made us laugh; guest that made us cry; guest that made us want to run down the street; the daily roller coaster ride that comes with maintaining a house over a century old—we could have our own sitcom for sure.

With new arrivals, we often will find ourselves sharing some of these tales. This inevitably leads to the question that we ourselves are still asking—why open a B&B in the first place?

We usually answer with “insanity runs in both our families”, which is true, but, as Walter Cronkrite would say, here’s the rest of the story….

In the early 1980’s Joe and I took our first non-camping vacation. I had done some research on Bed and Breakfast and while there were not near as many as there are now, it was an up and coming trend. We were taking a road trip to Maine and I found a B&B in Bar Harbor, Maine that looked interesting. I booked the Inn for 3 days and as Joe was packing the car to check out on the last day, he found me sitting in one of the Adirondack Chairs in the yard contemplating life. He recognized the look on my face and was justifiably concerned. He sat down in the chair next to mine and asked “The question”…What are you thinking about sweetheart. And so the dream began. “Joe”, I said, “I can do this. I can run an Inn, I want to run an Inn, and I need to run an Inn.” Poor guy, I bet he wished he had just waited in the car for me.

We had just bought a historic house in Orlando. It was a small 2 bedroom, 1.5 baths but it had great potential. We contacted an architect and designed an addition. Our master space was at one end of the house and the other two bedrooms were at the other end. After the renovation was completed I signed us up with a reservation service. Much like the current Vacation Rental by Owner sites, people would call a service and she would call her list of people to see who could accommodate guests. The agency took almost 60% of what I made but I was experimenting to see how we would feel with people in our home. Our first guest was AJ. He lived in New England and traveled around the country building playgrounds from used tires. Since he traveled so much and stayed for over 3 months, he was looking for something homier. He wanted to prepare his own meals since he didn’t know what his schedule was going to be. Joe and I both worked within walking distance from where we lived and would come home most nights to find AJ sitting on the couch watching the news with a cat stretched out on the couch behind his neck and the dog laying at his feet. AJ is the one who introduced us to Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. B&J is what got us through the restoration of The Magnolia Plantation.

One day Joe came home from work and found our suitcases at the front door. I had booked us out of our bedroom for 2 weeks. We had some friends who had just moved and were waiting to close on their house. It was currently empty and without furniture. We slept on an air mattress for 2 weeks. Joe, being the patient guy he is, decided that I must be serious about this B&B thing. Thus began our search for the perfect Inn to call our own.

 

 

 

We Love Valentines Day and Our Guest

Valentines Day

Love it or hate it, the calendar still says it’s coming. Here at the Magnolia Plantation Bed and Breakfast, we choose to embrace it…mostly because we have a property full of romantic settings.

We hope that as you make your Valentines Day plans, that you choose to spend it here at the Plantation where we have everything you need to make it a perfect weekend. From the setting to the gifts to the small touches that make a big impact, you can find the full package at the Magnolia Plantation.

In the Main House, we have numerous Victorian inspired rooms. They’ll sweep you and your special someone away with fireplaces, claw foot tubs and an attention detail that bespeaks of a time when romance wasn’t interrupted by cellphones.

Our cottages are private and cozy, providing a secret getaway where only the two of you exist. And with each cottage having a kitchen, porch/courtyard and sitting area, these cottages are ideal for those who want to stretch their Valentine celebration as long as possible—maybe even an entire weekend!

This Valentines Day, we want to show you that we love you just as much as you love your special someone, so come spend the weekend with us and allows us to play a little Cupid.

The best way to guarantee every bit of the weekend is special, is to spend it at the Magnolia Plantation!

With your reservation, you will be choosing a gift of your choosing that will be waiting for you at check in. Since Valentines Day is on a Sunday, this offer will last for stays on the night of the 12th, 13th or 14th. Please review the following.

  1. A bottle of wine and flowers.
  2. A bottle of wine and Magnolia Plantation chocolate special *
  3. Flowers and Magnolia Plantation chocolate special*

*The Magnolia Plantation loves to tinker with chocolate candies in the kitchen. You can choose a chocolate special from below.

  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Chocolate macaroons
  • Cracker candy; can also have coconut added
  • Chocolate covered raisins
Cracker Candy, wine, flowers and fire set the scene for a perfect Valentines Day at the Magnolia Plantation.

Cracker Candy, wine, flowers and fire set the scene for a perfect Valentines Day at the Magnolia Plantation.

If booking a reservation online, please put your preference in the special preferences and notes. If booking a reservation over the phone, simply give your preference to the innkeeper.

As we draw closer to this lovely weekend, come back to our blog here for more ideas on how to make Valentines Day special.

So don’t stress over your Valentines Day plans. We already have everything ready for you here. The best way to guarantee every bit of the weekend is special, is to spend it at the Magnolia Plantation!

Book online at www.magnoliabnb.com or call 352-375-6653. Hurry, as rooms are booking fast for the weekend! 

Go Gators Special

There are a few truths around the Magnolia Plantation that never change.

There’s no such thing as too much wine.

Breakfast should always be served with a side of a good story.

And the Florida Gators will always be close to our hearts.

It’s near impossible to be in Gainesville and not feel the blessed Gator presence woven into everything this town is about. During football season, the heartbeat of the city beats to the time of the game clock.

But there’s a secret that only few realize and one we want to help others discover; Gainesville is even more charming during the spring. Flowers are in their full glory, art shows pop up all over the place and you better see the eclectic nature of this Central Florida gem.

The best part though? There are still TONS of Gators sports to immerse yourself in.

Book online and then show us your ticket to the sporting event when paying for your stay and you will receive a 10% discount! Keep reading for details!

Basketball, baseball, softball, gymnastics, tennis, the list goes on and one.

The Gators softball team is coming off back-to-back National Championships and with their sights set on a third.

The Gators gymnastics team? Yea they’ve already gotten their third straight championship and are about to start their search for the quadruple whammy.

The Gators baseball team was just recently named the preseason No. 1 team in the country and by visiting Gainesville, you can watch them start their journey at home on the road to Omaha.

Yes, there are so many options for Gainesville in the spring, and we hope you get to experience many of them. As a way of enticing you to our beloved city and just blatant homerism, we’re offing a “Go Gators Special” for the duration of winter and spring.

Attend any Gator sporting event during the week* (Sunday night through Thursday night) and save by staying at the Magnolia Plantation! Book online and then show us your ticket to the sporting event when paying for your stay and you will receive a 10% discount!

   *This does not apply to stays on Friday or Saturday night. If you stay on a Friday or Saturday night and attend a sporting event, show us the ticket and we will make sure to apply the 10% discount to any future weekday stay. 

We love our Gators and we love our guest, so let’s combine the two!

And seriously, who doesn’t want to come see this?

 

 

 

Book Your Holiday Detox Vacation Rental

The New Year is upon us which means the holidays have just ended; before we can truly get 2016 started though, we need to take the necessary break from the holidays. All that merriment and in-laws can be tiring. Not properly recovering is what causes us to lose steam and break all of our New Year’s Resolutions. I’m pretty sure that’s scientific.

So slip away unnoticed for a quick breather. Our popular Vacation Rental deal is going on through Martin Luther King weekend.

Ginger-01

The Ginger cottage is a small efficiency that’s big on charm.

Vacation Rentals mean 2 people can stay in any of our cottages for $115 a night. This is a 3 night minimum with no breakfast and minimal service. If you have extra guest coming at any time or for the entire stay, then an extra bedroom can be rented for $25 a night.

All of our cottages have some sort of kitchen (either a full kitchen or kitchenette) and are private. They range from one bedroom to three with several cottages hosting gas fireplaces as well. All hold televisions and DVD players, along with complimentary wi-fi.

Even if you don’t get to visit us before January 19th, vacation rentals can be negotiated at other times throughout the year.

We understand, sometimes you just need to put on pajamas and spend 3 days falling in love with Mr. Darcy again and unlimited control of the remote.

mr darcy meme

Mr. Darcy would approve of our charming cottages for your vacation rental.

So come to the Magnolia Plantation and let us be your oasis, your home away from home and your place to recharge for the new year. It’s the perfect way to begin a new year for a new you.

Give us a call at 352-375-6653 to make a reservation with our innkeeper; or visit www.magnoliabnb.com to browse pictures of the cottages and make your reservation online.

Inappropriate Reflections

A young couple were spending their honeymoon at the Inn, as do many. One night the young groom woke up in the middle of the night. They had fallen asleep with the fireplace on and so he got out of bed to turn the fireplace off like the a good boy scout. As he looked back to make sure he had not disturbed his bride, he was speechless with the beauty of what he saw. The room was aglow with the light of the fire and it cast a romantic shadow over his sleeping bride. Making sure she was covered, he grabbed his video camera and started scanning the room to add to his continuing chronicle of wedding videos. The next morning as he was walking around taking more pictures, he stopped to show me the beauty of their room the night before. As he was showing me his video, I, as calmly and as straight faced as I could manage, suggested that he check the room for mirrors before he starts filming, or at least put on a pair of PJ’s. The lesson to this story – never use a video camera naked….

A Happy Accident

One of the best things we did as Innkeepers was get our beer and wine license, although it happened by a happy accident. And by accident, I mean we were unknowingly breaking the law.

One random day, two people showed up on our doorstep with guns and badges. However they weren’t here to arrest us or strip for us; they were here because they understood we were serving wine. I told them that I serve wine to anyone including friends and family of my guests and that it was not a part of their room cost.  Obviously that was not the right answer and soon thereafter I found myself with a beer and wine license.  In hindsight, they did me a favor because a world of wholesale wine has been dropped in my lap and those of you who know me realize that makes me very happy.

About 3 months after we had our beer and wine license, Joe and I were in St. Augustine for the day and Blair, my innkeeper, was minding the Inn.  The Alcohol inspector showed up and asked where we were storing our beer and wine.  Blair took them to the cabinet where we had it all stashed.  Unfortunately we also had various bottles of liquor in the cabinet.  We don’t drink much liquor but sometimes guest will buy it for themselves and then just leave it when they head home. I don’t want to waste what they spent money on!  Again, those of you who know me know I would never throw out a bottle of liquor.  Hence all the random bottles that the inspector saw.  She told Blair that I could be fined $1,000 a bottle.  Blair immediately went into the laundry room, grabbed a laundry basket and started putting all the liquor bottles in the basket and then in front of the inspector, put it all in the back of her car.  She called me and asked me what I wanted her to do with all the liquor.  I told her to take it home with her since I really didn’t want it anyhow.  Blair happened to be heading to a Super Bowl party that weekend so it was a win-win.  I didn’t get fined and Blair was the most popular girl at the party….

I feel so relieve that we have inspectors looking out for all of us.  We are all so much safer….