Posts Tagged ‘Glen Arbor B&B’

3 tips on B&B location for aspiring innkeepers and 3 tales of “What were they thinking?”

October 11th, 2016 by Sandy White

For people who dream of owning a bed and breakfast, choosing a B&B location is the critical first choice. Innkeepers can change a lot of things after they select and buy a property, from room configuration to decor to breakfast menu. But they can’t change B&B location.

B&B road sign

Are there signs that some B&B locations won’t be successful? At least one veteran innkeeper says yes.

One #MichBnB innkeeper advised succinctly: “‘Build it and they will come’ only works in the movies.” Even if that’s not the exact quote from “Field of Dreams,” the takeaway for an aspiring innkeeper is: Keep the emotion out of choosing a location. Don’t think how much you want to live way out in the country. Don’t focus on how inexpensive the property might be. Don’t romanticize reviving an old house. Instead, ask:  Will sufficient numbers of guests want to pay to stay in that house in that setting and with the attractions nearby (or not)?

No-nonsense advice on choosing a B&B location will be available from Michigan’s two primary inn real estate agents as just one part of a one-day, informative workshop for aspiring innkeepers in Grand Rapids Sunday, Nov. 13. Click here for more info.

While you’re in click mode, check out the four thriving B&Bs mentioned by name below.

B&B location strategies to consider

Gerry Shields, innkeeper at Saravilla Bed and Breakfast in Alma says: “College towns, particularly those with private colleges, are really good for the inn business. Except for perhaps a few slow summer weeks, colleges and universities are always bringing visitors to campus who need a place to stay, and many come back again and again.”

Shields notes one downside to the college-town B&B location strategy:

Failed log home B&B

This failed B&B location in Northwest Michigan is described as Mistake #1 below.

“Don’t plan on a long Florida vacation in January and February because you’ll be busy.”

Remember, too, that although you are serving breakfast, guests also need other meals. You may want to live in the woods, but, as Mike Venturini of Munro House B&B and Spa in Jonesville says, the availability of “good restaurants nearby is one of the greatest amenities guests enjoy.”

B&B location also could affect an innkeeper’s personal job satisfaction. Sandy Werner, owner of Hexagon House B&B in Pentwater asks: “Do family and friends live near you? With elderly parents, siblings, and grown children, it’s tough to maintain relationships and attend personal functions if your extended family is not in the area of your bed and breakfast. It’s been one of our toughest challenges.”

Three B&Bs doomed from the start, and why

As an owner of the Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast for the past 16 years, Patricia Widmayer often drives between Chicago and Glen Arbor via US 31. Over the years, Widmayer observed the birth and slow deaths of three B&Bs that popped up along that highway in the 60 miles between Ludington and Benzonia.

What primary flaw did all three have in common? Bad location. “I felt so

Nice home that failed as a B&B

Failed B&B location in Northwest Michigan described below as Mistake #2.

sad for these folks who invested hopes and dreams and money,” Widmayer says.

Widmayer took photos of all three in case she ever had the opportunity to advise an aspiring innkeeper.

Mistake #1: A log home built to be a B&B.
Major flaw: Five or six miles west, Ludington offers wonderful Victorian B&Bs with nearby experiences, and places to dine, so why would someone stay in a field along the highway two miles north of the turnoff from US 10, and near to nothing?
Wrong thinking: With all the lovely lakes in Northwest Michigan, did the owners really think the pond behind the house would be a draw?
Kiss of death: The portable, lighted-arrow sign at the road.

Mistake #2: An expensive new structure with stone pillars
Major flaw: A roadside location one mile north of Manistee’s Little River Casino and several miles north of town.
Wrong thinking: Why would travelers prefer this isolated, though lovely,

Failed B&B location.

This ranch house B&B location is described below as Mistake #3.

home over casino resort excitement or the charms of waterfront condos, B&Bs, and other accommodations in Manistee?
Kiss of death: Traffic whizzing by at 60 mph.

Mistake #3: A ranch house on a rise
Major flaws: Bleak views of U.S. 31, treeless fields, and a long-abandoned gas station where semis park. Also, to find a restaurant, guests would have to drive a number of miles to Bear Lake or back to Manistee.
Wrong thinking: Who wants to stay at a place reminiscent of a motel, absent any other attraction?

In conclusion, aspiring B&B innkeepers will learn vital, money-saving strategies and tips at the one-day workshop Nov. 13 in Grand Rapids. Click for details. Even more useful, timely information will be available for those who stay an additional day and a half for the annual Michigan Bed & Breakfast Association educational conference. Click on that, too.

If you know someone who dreams of owning a B&B, please share this post and also make sure they also know about this page of Michigan B&Bs for sale.

In addition to the useful, sometimes entertaining news we publish about staying at Michigan B&Bs, we also plan more articles with valuable information for aspiring innkeepers. You don’t want to miss it. Click this icon to get all the updates.

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More of Michigan’s Best B&Bs – Part 5

March 7th, 2014 by linda

Our member B&B’s are among the world’s finest — only better, because they are here in Pure Michigan. At each of them, you’ll experience touches of local color you won’t find anywhere else. Discover At Willow Pond B&B, Glen Arbor B&B and Voyager’s Inn B&B. Each is distinct from the other, yet each is distinctly Michigan.

At Willow Pond, Fenwick (SW)
At Willow Pond horseback

A handful of Michigan inns are worlds unto themselves. Take At Willow Pond B&B, for example, located in Fenwick just outside Greenville. Their hens freshly lay the eggs you’ll enjoy each morning. You can slather Claire’s hot-from-the-oven baked goods with honey from their own bees and jams from their own fruit. There are horses for riding, 25 acres of all-season grounds brimming with wildlife and trails, a stocked fish and swimming pond and a hot tub under the stars. Lest you picture a traditional farmhouse, picture instead a new and contemporary rustic wood-sided home complete with a real wood fireplace that crackles with warmth all winter long, WiFi throughout and satellite TV in four spacious guest rooms with private baths. It’s just an hour from Grand Rapids, Lansing and Mount Pleasant. What are you waiting for?

Glen Arbor B&B, Sleeping Bear Dunes Area, (NW)
Glenn Arbor new exterior

Glen Arbor Google Site MapIf you know Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, you only need to see this snip of Google map to envision the dunes and the water and the wonder that is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore along the Leelanau Peninsula. When you visit this piece of paradise, named last year by “Good Morning America” viewers as the “most beautiful place in the U.S.”, why not make your vacation headquarters an inn that turns special into spectacular – an inn like Glen Arbor B&B? Its spacious rooms, decorated in sunny yellows and summer-sky blues, are designed to accommodate a range of guests from couples to families with older children. Set in the heart of the Village of Glen Arbor, it’s an easy walk to artisan shops, boutiques, galleries, pubs, fine dining, canoe liveries…. So what are you waiting for?

Voyager’s Inn, Three Rivers (SW)
Voyager's Inn music_parlor

With its massive oak and cherry pocket doors, hardwood floors, gingerbread scroll work and a grand staircase, Voyager’s Inn is a showcase of the Victorian era’s finest craftsmanship. Despite its historical roots, its amenities are state-of-the-art from private baths and WiFi throughout to luxury sheets, hypoallergenic bedding, cable TV and central air. Like the finest B&Bs everywhere, Voyager’s Inn serves complimentary hot and cold beverages around the clock as well as sweet treats in the Parlor every evening. (Nope. No extra charge.) Its signature breakfasts are legendary for fresh, local produce, dairy products and meats. Just minutes from Kalamazoo, the B&B is located on a friendly residential street in the small town of Three Rivers, where the St. Joseph River meets its tributaries — the Rocky and Portage rivers.

Have you stayed at one of these B&Bs? Share your experience with us by “rating your stay.”

These are just three of 100 Michigan inns that are quality-inspected members of the Michigan Lake to Lake B&B Association. Discover all the other wonderful places to stay and play on our website. You can count on them to deliver every measure of quality.