Why Stay at a Bed and Breakfast?
Written by one of our favorite guests and republished from his Travel Blog on GoSpontaneity.com
Often I travel for work to Manhattan, Kansas – a quaint little college town, home of the K-State Wildcats. The town is situated in the flint hills region, a place that probably looks close to what you picture when you think of “Kansas Prairie”. Natural prairies are rare because most of them exist on arable land. That land was long ago converted to farmland causing less than 1% of America’s prairieland to remain in existence today. Initially, the flint hills were not preserved by politics, but by natural geographical features – just inches under the soil is a bed of limestone, making it impossible to plow. The result is a wide open display of rolling hills, often speckled with wild flowers and painted uniquely with each season, trees flowing only through valleys where creeks and rivers have managed to carve their paths.
When looking for lodging for my first trip to the “Little Apple”, I stumbled upon the Anderson Bed and Breakfast. My preconceived opinion of bed and breakfasts was that it was much like staying with a friend, but instead of a friend you were with strangers. My other worry was that the hosts would be busy with their own routine, and not always prepared or welcoming of a guest. Still, though I had never stayed at a bed and breakfast before, it didn’t stop me from booking a room. Often, my curiosity and sense of adventure lead me to great people and great places, and this was no different. Not knowing what to expect, I found myself uncertain when my navigation told me that I had arrived at my destination – I was in a very regular neighborhood, in front of a very regular house. Since then, I have been a guest there roughly ten or so times, every time that I came to Manhattan, and each time I appreciated the stay just a little more.
Phil and Dawn are a retired couple that run the show. They bought the house a few years ago, and as they were renovating it, they made the decision to turn it into a bed and breakfast. The main floor is shared space: a piano room, a screened porch, and a living room complete with free Wi-Fi, all accessible to guests. Upstairs are three rooms available for guest lodging, each its own suite, complete with a bathroom and garnished with all the amenities you would expect at a 4-star hotel (even chocolates). The house is the perfect blend of historic architectural charm combined with a modern splash of vibrant colors, open floorplan, vaulted ceilings, and Dawn’s artsy décor. The exterior is just as charming. A cozy combination of large brick and deep red siding, the house is well lit and very inviting. The backyard has a vegetable garden that often provides fresh produce for breakfast, and there is also a chicken coop, providing cage-free eggs that Phil can cook up any and every way possible. Phil and Dawn occupy the lower level. They run a professional place of hospitality, hold themselves to standards that go beyond any hotel I have stayed in, are always prepared for and welcoming of their guests, and are happy to have a very human conversation with anyone who walks through the door.
Had I not dared to try a bed and breakfast, I would have stayed at the local hotel like the rest of my colleagues, who rolled their eyes and teased about my choice of lodging. Instead of being greeted with a “how have you been?”, I would hear “Your ID and credit card for incidentals, please”. I would not have had many great conversations over breakfast, with the hosts and with other guests. Finding out that I had to work a weekend after a stressful week, I would not have had the pleasure of decompressing on a summer afternoon in a hammock on the porch, listening to Dawn play the piano. The bed and breakfast is a very human lodging experience, and though we are often shy to embrace it, I would highly recommend it to anyone who comes across the opportunity.