Guests often ask us to name our favorite thing about running a B&B. I can name many: sharing our home with our guests … getting to know a little about them … assessing their interests and making recommendations … and watching people fall in love with Bentonville. (A bit less exciting — yet the majority of a small-time innkeeper’s life — is housekeeping. Dishes, room cleaning, maintenance, laundry, laundry and more laundry. Did I mention laundry? I can fold fitted sheets in my sleep.)
But of all the activities I love the best, I’d have to say playing host at the breakfast table is my favorite. To us it’s more than serving a memorable meal. It’s our time to get to know our guests. So we put a lot of time, effort, and planning into breakfast each morning.
Every day we get the pleasure of waking up the house to comforting smells of locally roasted coffee, bacon, cinnamon-y baked breads and fresh-cut fruits. Delicious scents vary by day, of course, and (hint, hint) depend on any dietary restrictions or food allergies that we’ve been made aware of the day before ;-).
When the doors open and our guests emerge, it’s show-time.
Cheerful morning greetings. Bottomless coffee. Juice and fresh-cut fruit. The homemade entree du jour — could be Don’s Savory Waffles Benedict or Jenny’s Orange Ricotta Pancakes, or perhaps it’s Open-Faced Breakfast Quesadillas or Banana-Stuffed French Toast. Whatever the dish, it was made with love and served with much anticipation.
Once everyone has been served and they’ve made themselves comfortable, the real conversations start. The topics are endless.
We’ve learned a little bit about: What it was like to grow up in the Bachman-Wilson house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright … The process for shipping entire painting exhibits to other countries … All about working with Ansel Adams … What goes through one’s head when restoring a gown from Gone with the Wind … The coolest places to see on travels from Stuttgart, Germany, to Stuttgart, Arkansas … Walking the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain … Building a home in a Quonset hut … Hundreds of stories about grandchildren … Blowing glass marbles and the unbelievable collectors’ market for them …
You never know where the conversation may be headed next.
And you never know just who you may meet. We’ve had people from all walks of life chat with us over breakfast at our table. Broadway actors, philanthropists, artists, police officers, novelists, chicken farmers, textile conservators, biographers, World War II widows, librarians, bridal parties, neuroscientists, doctors, college professors, train conductors, real estate developers, Walmart suppliers, IRS collectors, doctors, newlyweds, retirees from a hundred different professions. They come from Paris, TX and Paris, France; Miami, FL and Miami, OK; Ontario, CA and Ontario, CN.
Tonight we have guests from St. Louis, Little Rock and Jackson, TN. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s breakfast discussions will reveal. I can smell the bread baking in the oven right now. The anticipation is sweet.
Until next time …