Thursday, April 22, 2010

Love is in the air




April 17 and 18 we had two wonderful and totally different weddings here at the Inn. One traditional with all the bells and whistles, and one free-flowing, more like a party than a wedding. Both were thoroughly enjoyed by the guests, and the innkeeper! We have a break, about 30 days, until the next wedding, but you never know, one could pop up at the last minute.

For every wedding day, there are thousands of Anniversaries on that same day. That is where B&B’s and particularly the Walnut Street Inn, serve the most need. Every weekend this time of year we are full of couples celebrating Anniversaries from year one up to year 50 or 60. I love Anniversary guests. They come expecting to have a good time, are in a good mood, and are (for the most part) happy to be with their spouse. And strangely enough, you can often tell the stages in the marriage by the requests they make.

Anniversary couples, from 1-10 years, want privacy; a room in the Cottage or Carriage House, breakfast in bed. Or they may choose our little hide-away, the Wilder Room, on the third floor of the main house because of the private balcony and the lower price. We see them at check-in, when we deliver breakfast (late as possible, 10 am for us), and again at check out. They are often getting some time away from their little kids, and every moment away is dear to them. It may be the first night Mom is away from the new baby. In those cases, she not only has a cell phone, she carries the phone in her hand, like holding a connection to the baby. They often want Champagne or wine in there room if she is not pregnant, and don’t want the TV tuned to the cartoon network for any reason. As they get closer to the 10th anniversary, they usually order our Romance Package (Champagne, chocolate truffles, turndown service with rose petals across the bed, 15 candles around the room, romantic CD playing.) They want and need to rekindle their relationship in 24 hours, then it is back to work and the kids!

Anniversary couples from 11 to 20 years often want to be more social. It seems by this time, they have had many special nights with their spouse and the fun of the breakfast table conversation may be a bigger draw than breakfast in bed. They may even come with other couples, bring an older child, or dine with friends or family on their special night. They will stay in the Main House, Carriage House or Cottage Inn. The room location is not important to their night. They order our Romance Package or Anniversary Package for the evening to make it memorable, but most come down for breakfast (at 9 am) in the dining room with the other guests.

After 20 years, Anniversaries are a family celebration and a reason to party. Children are often part of the event. The kids may even make the reservation and plan the evening and help “Mom and Dad” get away from other commitments. They usually want to stay in the main house so they can conveniently sit in the parlors or porches and talk to other guests or the innkeepers. Or they may move from room to room, trying out all 12 rooms through the years, before settling on their favorite room. They often have local family or friends join them for breakfast (at 8 or 9 am) in the dining room. They order Champagne or our Anniversary Package on “the big ones,’ 20, 25, 30, but usually not after 30 years. Some couples will bring their own favorite beverage (think scotch) and ask for ice.

The 50th Anniversary stay is a very special time and is almost always booked for them by their adult children. The stay may include a family party that night in our parlors. The couple may have never been to a B&B before and they are anxious about the stay and may call ahead to learn all the details and arrange special needs. They are more concerned with which floor the room is on; the higher the room, the more resistant the guests. They always come to the dining room for breakfast as early as possible and often arrive early. Family will join them for breakfast and the conversation often last throughout the morning, spilling into the parlors and porches.

These are all stereotypes, but based on 15 years of experience. There are exceptions to the pattern and that keeps us on our toes, making sure we give them the experience they wish. Any time the Walnut Street Inn can be part of this special night, on any year, we are excited to do so. This is the reason we are in the “hospitality” business, to serve folks like our Anniversary couples. If you don’t get excited about Anniversary stays, you are in the wrong industry.

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away. ~Dinah Craik


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

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring blooms at the Walnut Street Inn


We had a beautiful wedding here the last weekend in March, and we have two next weekend, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday (April 17 & 18). If you are thinking about having a wedding here, drop by either day at 12:30 pm and you can see how the “WSI Chappell” looks when it is all set up! There are over 100 photos of weddings and parties at the in posted at: http://picasaweb.google.com/garyfromwsi/WeddingsAndSpecialOccasionsAtTheWalnutStreetInn#
Click on the Slideshow button in the upper left and it will walk you through them quickly. That is a great way to see many different weddings and how the Inn looks when transformed into a Wedding Chappell.
Speaking of Spring, our Star Magnolia in the back yard put on a show this year. Every year is different, but this year, it was very happy and every bloom was a double bloom. That is it in the picture with this blog.
I am outside now every moment possible, so if I don't answer the door, walk around to the back porch. I'll probably be there!

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

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday


I wrote this last Easter, so I thought I'd post it again. The feeling is still there, even with Cat being almost 19 now.
Happy Easter to all.


Happy Easter! Happy Easter! When I hear that, I immediately think of my daughter's Easter basket when she was a little less than two years old. Paula made one for when she was one, but not very elaborate, for she wouldn't understand much at 10 months old, but her second Easter was different. Paula made her a wonderfully intricate basket, with ribbons and lace, bunny ears and pink everywhere, that we still have, and will pass on to her child if she wishes. That year, at 20 months, Cat could hunt eggs, eat the ears of the chocolate bunnies, and oooh and aaah at the toys, and ask for more. One of the things we found for her basket was a little stuffed bunny, that when you squeezed the tummy, said "Happy Easter!" in a perky little voice that made her giggle. Somewhere in the Catherine archives, we have a movie of her squeezing and giggling, squeezing and giggling, squeezing and giggling....oh to be that pure, that simple again.
Each year, Paula would get out the Easter basket, refresh it with yellow peeps, new pez dispensers, wind up toys, jump ropes, and the "Happy Easter" bunny. Year after year, squeeze and giggle, squeeze and giggle.
Through the years it continued to work, and never got tired. That little voice was just as excited about Easter as the first time. Each time we got it out of storage, the feeling was, surly it wouldn't work this year. But one little squeeze and "Happy Easter!, Happy Easter!" I can still hear her giggle, and see her two fat little thumbs, pushing so deliberately on the bunny's tummy, and waiting for her reward.
This year Cat is 17, and we didn't get around to putting together that Easter basket for the first time in her life. I thought of it in the Easter service this morning...no basket for Cat, no "Happy Easter" bunny, and started to cry.
What is it about my daughter becoming a woman, and not still my little girl, that, while I am so proud, hurts so much? It must be the passage of time, and my own mortality.
Slow down, slow down, slow down time. Give me one more year of those little thumbs pushing on the bunny's tummy, and waiting for her reward; Happy Easter! Happy Easter!
Happy Easter to you and all those you love.

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

The Walnut Street Inn

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

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