A Boatel?!


Boatel??? What is that? Is it a boat or is it a hotel? Well, it is both!

Are you ready to try for a different experience? I happened to come across an interesting option for those who “have been there and done that”. Out in Ventura, California, there is a chance to bed and breakfast aboard two kinds of boats depending on the experience you are looking for.

There are two boats with two different themes to pick from. One is a boat called the Villita that once was owned by a film star back in the 30’s and the other is an authentic Hong Kong Chinese Pirate Junk. Both are anchored dockside at the Ventura Harbor Village. You can stroll the boardwalk if you wish to visit some of the 6 pubs for a glass of rum. And don’t be surprised if you  see  some PIRATES!!!!

The claim is that both offer all the amenities of an upscale hotel (maid service to turn down your bed with the options of breakfast for an extra fee and a complementary evening beverage); coupled with the cozy ambiance of a nautical adventure.

They cater to special occasions such as anniversaries, honeymoons and birthdays, family or romantic – for anyone who wants to try something different.

Contact for information or reservations at (805) 235-2208 or for a fun slideshow of the boatels, check them out at www.boatelonthewater.com.



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High Tea at the Governor’s House

When I was a little girl, my friends and I would often play out make believe scenarios, some of them trying out what in our minds fancy ladies did – like having tea. What we’d always heard was that these ladies would dress up and sit at little tables laden with tea pots and fancy little sandwiches. It seemed quite glamorous. And, if I am to admit it, when I get the chance even now and want to feel really pampered and special, I still enjoy going to or having a tea.

My trip to Hyde Park took an interesting turn when we found just minutes from Jenn and Roberto’s home a former Governor’s Mansion turned Bed and Breakfast where we enjoyed a full English afternoon tea. It was just perfect. The table was set in the library and we were the only guests in the mansion at the time. What a stroke of luck that was for us. We got the royal treatment, too.

The hostess, who owns and runs the whole household herself, served us her own special blend of teas in fine china cups on a white linen topped table. It was quite refined and we found ourselves acting just a little more polite, complete with Roberto’s little pinkie held out when he lifted his tiny cup to sip. It was a riot!

Along with the tea, we were given assorted fancy sandwiches, scones with cream and strawberry jam, pound cake and sweets that she baked that day special for us after we called in our reservation. There was more than we could eat. Imagine taking a doggie bag home from a tea. Okay, that part wasn’t too fancy, but we couldn’t resist and we had a great breakfast next day.

I asked for permission to look into the other downstairs rooms, and we were graciously rewarded with a tour of the entire mansion. It was such a wonderful afternoon. I would enthusiastically recommend this venue for high tea or a romantic getaway weekend in the event you find yourself in this part of Vermont.

Check the website for special events and room packages.

The Governor’s House in Hyde Park

100 Main Street

Hyde Park, Vermont




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Tip of the Week – Bed and Breakfasts

                                                                         Photo by IvyLodge

Since I just did a post on a B&B, I think I will stick with this theme this week.

For the longest time one of my own dreams was to have my own Bed and Breakfast. I imagined all of these different scenarios of where it would be, what it would look like and who would do all of the various tasks associated with it – the decorating of it, the paperwork of it, the cleaning and the cooking, even having a little organic garden of veggies and herbs. In my minds eye it was really fun and things ran seemingly flawlessly. I realized with having that dream that owning a bed and breakfast was a really personal extension of what I would consider my home that I would be opening to invite guests to share with me.

Well, that never happened and that dream will just remain a dream. But when I think about the reality of owning and running a successful Bed and Breakfast, I realize what a lot of work it must be for those who do own one. For that reason, I have decided to give some of what I think are things to think about first for the traveler going to a bed and breakfast, and then for us also to remember what could be important to the owners. Each, the guest and the innkeeper, have certain responsibilities to the other.

We would expect good, prompt service that lives up to the advertising to be sure. Bed and Breakfasts are not all the same though. If you are after a gourmet breakfast, be sure that the one you select advertises that. Some just have a continental type breakfast – maybe homemade muffins and jams set out as a serve yourself. Same goes if you are expecting afternoon tea or sherry. Or antiques and fine linens. Make sure you do a little research so that you won’t be disappointed. While most times these days reservations can be made on the internet, I would suggest a call to the innkeeper just to have some personal contact. Just remember that if you do call, the owner would likely be tied up in the morning with breakfast. While you are at it, in discussing your particular needs, you could ask if you need to bring a specific item or if it will be supplied. And you may as well find out what local events or activities are in the area.

Many times the innkeeper may be able to accommodate a special request.I have heard of a bride who  bookied a whole B&B for her family. Or if you have a very small child, an advance call could help you find out if there is an age minimum. If they do allow babies, a call will help them get ready for your visit to make it perfect for you. Most would likely go all out to make your stay memorable.

Which brings us to the other part. Unlike hotels, these are usually privately owned homes. Those antiques you sit on or sleep on and the china you eat your gourmet breakfast on are special to the owners. So in return for allowing us to share them, we have the responsibility being good stewards of their B&B and to treat it and its furnishings gently.



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The Washington House Inn


                                                                     Photo from website

For some reason I have a little soft spot for staying in a bed and breakfast. Something so cozy and homey about them that I so enjoy. Probably this is a romanticized view on my part that just the words Bed and Breakfast can evoke that response :)

I remember the very first one I visited some years years ago that started it all. It was winter, during the holiday season and my daughter Jenn and I, as we traditionally did at that time of year, always found one special thing to do just for us that was fun and festive. That particular year we decided to spend the night in a bed and breakfast. It just screamed pampering and indulgence to us. Being a single mom, we always seemed to have to watch how we spent our money. So, to us, going to a B&B seemed to be really a big deal.

We were living in Maryland at the time and wanted to find a nice place close by that we could drive to. We found just what we were looking for in the sleepy little town of Charles Town, West Virginia. Even though this is a place of historic note with battlefields of the Civil War all around, there was nothing of particular of interest that drew us there. We went solely to experience a bed and breakfast.

The one we selected was called The Washington House Inn on  It was all decked out for Christmas which made it even more spectacular to us. A big sleigh on the porch filled with wrapped gifts hinted at the surprises within and made an eye popping first impression.

I remember our room at the time with it brass and trundle beds, rose and vine wallpaper, terry robes in the old fashioned bathroom, our own fireplace. It was very girlie. There was this little landing filled with antiques outside our room and the main floor salon had a Christmas tree where we sat and had cookies.

Photo from website

That evening we bundled up and took a walk. There was this town hall or some such that had a candlelight tour that we did and that was about it as I recall. But we had a great time IN the B&B which was just what we set out to do.

Photo from website

The breakfast was wonderfully presented. We were served a big home cooked breakfast in the dining room. I can’t recall what we ate any longer, but I still remember the presentation -the lace tablecloth, the holiday china. I even remember the little springs of pine on our plates. And the delightful hostess served in her long period dress, apron and cap. It was such fun. We felt very well taken care of by the owners there.

I have been to a few more since then. Different amenities and locals. But to me this is the one that still stands out in my memory.



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