Arthur Frommer, the legendary travel guidebook author known for his iconic “Europe on $5 a Day” guide, offered some sage advice on how to travel intelligently and economically in a recent interview in AARP magazine.
“Experience new ideas,” he says. “Stay in a bed-and-breakfast. Meet the owners, and guests from other countries. You’ll save money and have a better vacation.”
Music to my ears.
In the 15 years we have been innkeeping, we have witnessed thousands of interactions among guests of varying cultures, ethnicities, economic status, and sexual preference. Winter, spring, summer or fall, guests gather around our breakfast table, out on the deck, or in front of the fire to eat and drink, share stories of their travels and offer opinions on everything from the best seafood restaurants to the most remote beaches.
We have seen friendships form among strangers and have forged fast friendships ourselves with guests we may never have encountered had it not been for the commonality of our Inn.
Apart from the obvious creature comforts offered–a comfortable bed, private bath, home-cooked breakfast–a stay at a bed and breakfast inn is an opportunity. An opportunity to engage your hosts and elicit insider information on the area your visiting. An opportunity to expand your horizons by interacting with guests from foreign lands. An opportunity to share insights and exchange ideas with visitors young and old, world-travelers and neophytes alike.
It’s inspirational when I see guests sharing email addresses for future contact with people they’ve just met. And when handshakes turn into hugs and goodbyes leave the promise of hellos I know that my guests have experienced a phenomena that has added significant value to their stay…a chance encounter with a kindred spirit. And it happened at a bed and breakfast inn.