Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thoughts from the Innkeeper

Yesterday was my 55th birthday, and I am in my 14th year as Innkeeper of the Walnut Street Inn. I’m seven years past the burn-out stage and still cooking! Small business can consume you. I’ve seen it over and over in my fellow B&B owners over the past years while participating in Bed and Breakfast Inns of Missouri.

Why am I still here? Why am I not burned out? Tough to answer. My staff might tell you I am burned out, but I don’t think so. I don’t feel burned out. The past months have been a trial, business wise, but the opportunity for reward is still here. The guests are still the blessing of the job.

This week we had a wonderful business guest from South Africa, a doctor promoting holistic health on a book tour, candidates interviewing for jobs at the local universities, honeymoons, anniversaries, concert goers, and on the night before the wedding, a room (the Benton) full of bridesmaids. All typical Walnut Street Inn guests, but all atypical with their own unique stories and paths to walk.

I sat down with a fascinating lady on Friday morning and talked for an hour about how her cats had twice saved her life, how natural foods had caused her health to bloom, and how her home had waited for her until she could acquire it. All simple stories, but all so important to her, and when shared with others, they become bigger than just one person. They add to our “universal intelligence” and increase all our lives.

This week was not unique to me or the B&B. It was an example of why I’m still here, greeting guests, and planning Murder Mysteries. It points out our need to slow down and live in the moment. Fascinating stuff is happening all around us every day, if we are only open to it. And at the B&B, the best of society comes calling.

So I guess I’m being a bit reflective on turning 55 years old. Luckily, I have friends who will listen, friends who will share, and plenty of reason to look forward with hope and anticipation to the “second half” of my life.

An Innkeeper’s prayer

Dear Lord, hear my prayer!

Every day I open my home to all walks of life,
and if I’m lucky, they come.

Give me the serving heart needed to
welcome all into my abode.
When a stranger enters, give me the courage
and strength to welcome them with open arms.

With time, they will be friends. With time, they will
be emissaries for the Inn, spreading the word
that friendship, peace, and contentment is found
at our home.

Gary Blankenship 3/5/10

Gary at Walnut Street Inn
900 E Walnut Street
Springfield, MO 65806
Info: 417-864-6346
Reservations: 800-593-6346


  1. I have often wondered, too, why you were not burned out. Can it be that you are not like the rest of us; perhaps you are an android or someone sent here to observe we h.sapiens?
    Great blog!!
    All our best from the road, Tom & Kathy

  2. Ditto Tom & Kathy's comment. After 15 years, it's sometimes difficult for me not to feel burned out. You're a special breed, Gary, with the perfect personality and temperament for innkeeping.

    Your friend in innkeeping, Jeff


The Walnut Street Inn

The Walnut Street Inn
the Inn is made up of three 100+ year old buildings.