Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Geographically Challenged

This was a real phone call earlier this week.

Caller: I saw your inn featured on the Fine Living Network's "Top 10 Vacation Spots"* and thought it was really nice. Do you think you can help me find an inn as nice as yours on Martha's Vineyard?

Me: Let me see if I understand this: You think my inn is really nice but you want to stay somewhere else?

Caller: Well, I only have one day, I'll be in Stamford (CT) on business and it looks like Martha's Vineyard is closer.

Me: It may be closer as the crow flies, but you have to take a ferry to get there.

Caller: I do?

Me: Um, it's an island. It's a 45 minute ferry ride, you have to find the schedule and make a reservation.

Caller: Well, I only have the one day and I didn't want to drive more than about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Me: Where are you calling from?

Caller: Cincinnati, Ohio.

To make a long conversation short, the caller had no idea of the distances involved. Stamford, CT is near the New York border, about an hour from NYC. It's about a 5 hour drive from there to Wellfleet. The closest place she could have picked up a ferry to the Vineyard is New Bedford, about a 4 hour drive. I'm not sure how long the ferry ride is from there, the 45 minute time is from Hyannis. At any rate, the caller finally decided, with a little prodding from me, that her best bet for a quick getaway would be to drive to New London, CT, and take the ferry from there to Montauk, Long Island. It's also a beach resort area, but not as nice as Wellfleet, at least in my opinion :)

*The show on which the caller saw my inn was filmed about six years ago. It still airs at least once a year and has been picked up by local stations in some markets now and then in between. It was one of the best pieces of publicity I ever got, and it was totally free!

Friday, May 23, 2008

How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

From an email exchange between two innkeeper friends:

Innkeeper #1
"Anybody have a way to get rid of the buggers?"

Innkeeper #2
"Our standard is to drink almost all the wine from a bottle, then set the bottle with a little wine in it on the counter near where the fruit flies congregate. They'll go for the wine (smart little buggers) and then can't find the way out of the bottle (dumb little buggers)--but at least they die happy."

Innkeeper #1 (late the next day)
i hav dlunk the wyine, and cnnott see any moorre floot fries. It wroks!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bed Linens: Proof of an Alternate Universe

For those of you who go about your lives buying the occasional set of sheets, a blanket or quilt here or there, perhaps a bed skirt or duvet cover once or twice in your lives, you've probably never really pondered some of the oddities of bed linens. For those of us who buy linens in quantities and make multiple beds each day, there are far more opportunities to discover/question/curse the bizarre inconsistencies and randomness of the bed linen industry.

Here are some of the things I cannot explain:
- 100% cotton sheets. Okay, they feel nice but even if you pull them out of the dryer before it finishes spinning and put them right on the bed, they're still wrinkled. Okay for home, not so much for a B&B. Life is too short to iron sheets.

- Blanket sizing. A queen size mattress is 60" x 80". A queen size blanket is 90" x 90". How, exactly, does one tuck in the blanket at the bottom? I'm on my third batch of blankets, the current ones are "King" size. I can't even imagine using anything smaller.

- Duvets & Duvet Covers. Same issue. My queen size duvet covers have a lot more fabric than a queen size duvet will fill. Last year, as an experiment, I replaced the queen size down comforter on my personal bed with a king size one. Wouldn't you know, it filled the queen size duvet cover perfectly. When I replace the comforters for the inn bedrooms, the new ones will be king size.

It's as if mattresses, sheets and duvet covers come from one planet with one set of standards and blankets & duvets/comforters come from a different planet with a different set of standards.

When we were getting ready to open the inn I made the decision that all our beds would be the same size (queen) and that all of the linens would be the same. I just don't have the patience to match sets of sheets to decor and I wanted to not have to take an entire set of sheets out of service if one piece got stained or torn. I found a sheet that I liked and bought in case quantities. A year or two later, realizing that linens go out of fashion and these would not always be available, I called the manufacturer and purchased most of the rest of the existing stock. They were already discontinued by then, I was lucky to have gotten what I did.

Coming into our 9th year of operation, we really need new sheets. I don't have enough still in service to do a full-house changeover, which is a problem. I've been on the hunt for new sheets for two years and still haven't found one that meets all my requirements. I actually thought I had found sheets I could live with and ordered them but when they arrived they were a totally different color from the swatch I'd been sent and they looked simply awful in the rooms. I sent them back. This week I requested samples of another sheet that I thought might work; the samples arrived and the fabric is SHINY. Not only that, despite being labeled as having a 55% cotton / 45% polyester content, they feel as if they're 100% poly. Ew.

I am in sheet hell.