Harrison House Bed & Breakfast News http://www.harrisonhousebb.comhttps://www.harrisonhousebb.com/modules/news.htm?rssfeed=1 Sun, 23 Feb 2020 05:59:44 +0100 FeedCreator 1.7.2 What to Expect from the Guests at a Bed and Breakfast http://www.harrisonhousebb.comhttps://www.harrisonhousebb.com/modules/news.htm?newsId=9047 <div style="text-align: left;">If you&rsquo;ve never stayed at a traditional bed &amp; breakfast, but you&rsquo;re thinking about trying one out on your next vacation or maybe finding a nearby bed and breakfast for a weekend getaway or to celebrate a special occasion, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect. At the top of that list is most likely, what kind of guests stay at bed &amp; breakfasts? Who will I be eating breakfast with? Do I have to sit and talk with the other guests? Will it be weird?<br /><br /></div> <div style="text-align: left;">As I mentioned in a previous blog post, before we bought Harrison House, my husband and I had never stayed at a B&amp;B. We had a rough idea of what it would be like, but we didn&rsquo;t truly get what makes it so special and unique until after our first few days running a bed and breakfast.<br /><br /></div> <div style="text-align: left;"><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/guests3.jpg" alt="guests at a b&amp;B" width="810" height="611" align="" /></div> <div style="text-align: left;"><br />The first night we had a couple celebrating a birthday, someone in town for a funeral, and a few business travelers. The first weekend we hosted friends meeting up for a girls weekend, a mother and daughter in town for a ghost tour, honeymooners, a couple celebrating an anniversary, and someone just passing through town on an Amtrak.<br /><br /></div> <div style="text-align: left;">Over the past couple of months we&rsquo;ve welcomed quite a few business travelers who prefer the comfort and safety of a cozy home in a residential neighborhood with a host who knows them by name. We&rsquo;ve hosted sisters, friends, and mothers/daughters enjoying girls weekends. Lots of couples celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, or just a B&amp;B weekend getaway. Some guests are in town to visit friends and family, sometimes to attend weddings or funerals. One night we welcomed a grieving couple who needed to get away from home on the anniversary of their daughter&rsquo;s death.<br /><br /></div> <div><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/guests1.jpg" alt="bed and breakfast guests" width="810" height="404" align="" /></div> <div style="text-align: left;"><br />As you can probably imagine, breakfast conversation is as varied as our guests and their reasons for staying. Most guests enjoy dining together and getting to know each other, but some guests prefer to sit at a table for two, and that&rsquo;s perfectly acceptable &ndash; no one questions it or thinks it&rsquo;s strange.<br /><br /></div> <div style="text-align: left;">What I&rsquo;ve noticed that pretty much all of our guests have in common is an openness, respect for each other&rsquo;s boundaries, and an interest in others (and often an interest in old vintage homes). Some are looking for more interaction than others, and they&rsquo;ll sometimes include me in their breakfast conversation or invite me to sit with them, but regardless of how much or how little social interaction they desire during breakfast, they have all been friendly and very pleasant.</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><br /><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/guests2b.jpg" alt="bed and breakfast guests" width="810" height="608" /></div> <div style="text-align: left;"><br />Now I can&rsquo;t guarantee that if you&rsquo;re looking for a unique weekend getaway and you visit a boutique bed and breakfast you&rsquo;re going to hit it off with the other guests, but I think you&rsquo;ll most likely be pleasantly surprised at what a great experience it is, and if you&rsquo;ve never stayed at a B&amp;B before, you&rsquo;ll probably wonder what took you so long to discover this unique lodging option!</div> Winter Weekend Getaway Idea for Couples or Families near Chicago http://www.harrisonhousebb.comhttps://www.harrisonhousebb.com/modules/news.htm?newsId=9043 <p><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/restaurant_week.jpg" alt="Naperville Restaurant Week" width="875" height="358" align="" /></p> <br />We&rsquo;ve had a pretty mild winter in the Midwest so far this year, but typically winters in the Chicagoland area are rough.&nbsp; January and February are the worst!&nbsp; If you&rsquo;re stuck in Chicago for the winter, and you&rsquo;re looking for staycation ideas or winter weekend getaways in the Midwest, look no further than Naperville, Illinois &ndash; it&rsquo;s just a 30 minute drive from Chicago or a quick train ride on the Metra.<br /><br />Between Downtown Naperville, North Central College, Morton Arboretum, Cantigny Park, the Naperville Park District, and the DuPage County Forest Preserve there is always plenty to do for couples or families.&nbsp; My favorite highlight of winter in Naperville is <a href="https://www.dinenaperville.com/participating-restaurants" target="_blank">Restaurant Week</a>, taking place January 24 &ndash; February 8, 2020.<br /><br />My family tends to get into a rut, going to the same restaurants all the time. I look forward to Restaurant Week because it&rsquo;s a great opportunity to try out new restaurants, and sometimes we try menu items that we wouldn&rsquo;t normally order because of the prix fixe options.<br /><br />Last year we went to 3 or 4 restaurants during Restaurant Week, and my family&rsquo;s favorite was Catch 35. They offered a prix fixe lunch and two prix fixe dinners, and they&rsquo;re doing the same thing again this year &ndash; I can&rsquo;t wait!&nbsp; The prix fixe lunch is $24 per person, which adds up to over $100 for a family of four, but it&rsquo;s usually the only time we take our kids to Catch 35 all year, so it&rsquo;s a fun and memorable outing in addition to an amazing meal.<br /><br />I don&rsquo;t think all of the specials have been announced yet, but so far my other top picks for this year are Empire Burger Bar (prix fixe lunch for $12, prix fixe dinner for $14), Fiamme Pizzeria Napoletana ($10 margherita pizza, $5 bruschetta), and Lou Malnati&rsquo;s Pizzeria (free dessert with any purchase of $20 or more).<br /><br />So if you're a foodie, or even if you're not, as you&rsquo;re putting together your Chicago staycation itinerary, here&rsquo;s my recommendation: if you can visit Naperville between January 24 &ndash; February 8, book a room at Harrison House Bed &amp; Breakfast for one or two nights, check out the <a href="https://www.dinenaperville.com/participating-restaurants" target="_blank">participating restaurant list</a>, make your lunch and dinner reservations, and we&rsquo;ll provide an amazing breakfast for you each morning!<br /><br />Photo credit: Dine Naperville Chicago Suburb Staycation / Weekend Getaway Ideas http://www.harrisonhousebb.comhttps://www.harrisonhousebb.com/modules/news.htm?newsId=9039 <div><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/emma_naperville1.jpg" alt="downtown Naperville, Illinois" width="1080" height="718" align="" /></div> <br />My husband and I lived in Chicago for three years after we graduated from college. The first year we loved it and couldn&rsquo;t imagine ever living anywhere else. We lived on Michigan Avenue, just north of what is now Millennium Park. We each had a 10-minute walk to work and all kinds of free time to go for walks along Lake Michigan, walk to movies and restaurants, or take a quick cab ride to Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears games. We went to plays, musicals, and the symphony.<br /><br />But each year we loved it less and less. We would often take a Metra commuter train to Naperville to visit my sister at North Central College or rent a car and spend the day visiting friends and family in the suburbs and shopping at places like Target. We would often remark on how quiet and peaceful the suburbs were, how friendly everyone seemed, and how easy it was to find a parking spot.<br /><br />One day we were walking from the train station to my sister&rsquo;s dorm, and we stopped in front of a house that was for rent. The realtor was coming out of the house and offered to show it to us. Once we toured the two-story house with a garage and backyard that we could rent for the same price we were paying for our 1-bedroom apartment in Chicago, it wasn&rsquo;t long before we moved to Naperville.<br /><br />We&rsquo;ve been living in Naperville for almost 20 years now, and we love it!<br /><br />We had a couple from Chicago come to Harrison House Bed &amp; Breakfast for a staycation recently. They told us they had originally planned on going somewhere further away, but ended up only being able to fit a quick overnight trip into their busy schedules, and it was just what they needed. I started thinking about what a great destination Naperville is for people who live in Chicago and want to get away from the hustle and bustle for a couple of days or just have a change of scenery.<br /><br />If you&rsquo;re planning a weekend getaway near Chicago and you have a car, Naperville is an easy 30-minute drive (assuming you&rsquo;re not leaving during rush hour). If you&rsquo;re thinking about taking the train for your Chicago suburb staycation, it&rsquo;s typically only a 30-45 minute train ride, and then an 8-minute walk from the Naperville Metra/Amtrak train station to Harrison House Bed &amp; Breakfast.<br /><br />Not everyone will be looking to stay at a Bed and Breakfast during their weekend trip. Naperville certainly offers other options, like Hotel Indigo on the Riverwalk in downtown Naperville or less expensive hotels further away from downtown. But if you haven&rsquo;t stayed at a Bed &amp; Breakfast before, I&rsquo;d strongly encourage you to give it a try.<br /><br />Harrison House Bed and Breakfast is located on a quiet residential street in the heart of downtown Naperville, just steps away from 60+ restaurants and 100+ shops.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a short walk to the Riverwalk, Naper Settlement, Centennial Beach, North Central College, Wentz Concert Hall, and many other area attractions.<br /><br />Harrison House has five guest rooms - each with its own private bathroom. In the morning, you can spend some time in the dining room, parlor, or on the large front porch with a cup of coffee or tea while enjoying the aroma of your homemade breakfast being freshly prepared for you as you watch Naperville wake up to a beautiful new day.<br /><br />We're happy to make reservations for you, cater to your dietary needs, provide a bit of local history, and do all that we can to ensure you have an amazing visit. Naperville is a great destination for a weekend getaway, but if you can take some time off during the week, you&rsquo;ll save some money on your accommodations, and you&rsquo;ll find that the restaurants and shops are less crowded.<br /><br />If you have any questions while you&rsquo;re planning your Chicago staycation itinerary, please give us a call at 630-768-8552. We&rsquo;re happy to help you make your plans, and during your stay we&rsquo;ll do everything we can to ensure you have an extraordinary vacation and leave recharged and ready to go back to the city (or perhaps we&rsquo;ll convince you to move to the burbs!). The Perfect Gift: a Momcation http://www.harrisonhousebb.comhttps://www.harrisonhousebb.com/modules/news.htm?newsId=9028 <div><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/momcation.jpg" alt="relaxing momcation" width="914" height="552" align="" /></div> <br />My sister, Kim, has three young children. A few weeks ago, when her birthday was coming up, she shared with me that her husband had asked her what she wanted for her birthday, and all she could think of was, &ldquo;A night off!&rdquo;<br /><br />This reminded me of how much I used to crave time to myself when my kids were little. As much as I loved them and was grateful that I was able to stay at home with them, I pretty much spent all day, every day, taking care of them and being at their beck and call.<br /><br />During those early years of motherhood, an uninterrupted hour or two during a long naptime or an evening when the kids went to bed early and I still had enough energy to do something for myself was so precious, but almost never enough to fully recharge me.<br /><br />My two kids were born 19 months apart, and those first few years were tough! There were so many times that I dreamed of an entire day or an entire weekend all to myself. So when my sister mentioned wanting a night off, it brought back those memories, and I started thinking that Harrison House is a perfect place for a &ldquo;momcation&rdquo;!<br /><br />I think the perfect gift for a mom of young children, whether you&rsquo;re buying a gift certificate for your wife, daughter, sister, or friend, is a night or two at a lovely bed &amp; breakfast. It doesn&rsquo;t have to be far away. If you live in the Chicago area, Harrison House is perfect for a staycation, and we&rsquo;re more than happy to cater to moms!<br /><br />If she only has one night, she can check in around 3pm, and depending on the weather and how much alone time she&rsquo;s craving, either hunker down in her room or go for a walk around downtown Naperville and the Riverwalk, spend some time on the front porch watching the neighbors stroll by, have some dinner delivered, and then really dig in to some good magazines, read a book, or binge watch her favorite shows on Hulu. I&rsquo;d recommend booking a room with a Jacuzzi tub for a nice long soak before bed. The next morning she can sleep in as long as she&rsquo;d like and even enjoy breakfast in bed.<br /><br />If she has two nights (a really amazing luxury!), she could spend the next day in downtown Naperville, shopping and indulging in spa services or salon services (or both!). Then enjoy one more night of peace and quiet, alone in her very own cozy guest room and one more homemade breakfast prepared just for her before she heads home, relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to jump back into all of the joys and challenges of motherhood! Has it always been your dream to run a bed and breakfast? http://www.harrisonhousebb.comhttps://www.harrisonhousebb.com/modules/news.htm?newsId=9023 <div><img class="img-responsive" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/bed_and_breakfast_sign.jpg" alt="bed and breakfast" width="864" height="521" align="" /></div> <br />One of the questions that I get asked most often by guests when I tell them that my husband, Mike, and I bought Harrison House Bed &amp; Breakfast two months ago is, &ldquo;Has it always been your dream to own a bed and breakfast?&rdquo;<br /><br />They are always surprised when I tell them, &ldquo;No, in fact we&rsquo;ve never even stayed at a bed &amp; breakfast!&rdquo;<br /><br />On Saturday, July 27th, out of mild curiosity, Mike and I attended a few open houses, including 26 N. Eagle Street, a 115-year-old house in downtown Naperville that had been operating as a bed &amp; breakfast for the past 33 years. I overheard the listing agent talking with another couple about the sale of the business, and I started thinking it might be fun to run a bed &amp; breakfast &ndash; something that had never entered my mind before.<br /><br />The next day we took another look at the property (which I absolutely loved), and later that day we met with the owners. It was surreal sitting in the parlor with them, having a serious discussion about purchasing the B&amp;B, when the concept was something that had only popped into my mind a day earlier.<br /><br />At one point during our conversation (I can&rsquo;t remember why), I said, &ldquo;I always have big ideas but never follow through on them!&rdquo; Later my husband laughed with me at what a ridiculous thing that was to say to the sellers! (But it&rsquo;s completely true.)<br /><br />As I spent the next couple of weeks pursuing financing and trying to figure out how we could make this purchase happen, my 14-year-old-daughter often asked me, &ldquo;Are you actually going to do this? What do you think the odds are that this will happen? Do you even know anything about running a bed &amp; breakfast?&rdquo;<br /><br />There were a lot of obstacles that we had to overcome and days when it looked like it wouldn&rsquo;t happen. I remember having a conversation with some other moms about figuring out what our &ldquo;second act&rdquo; will be once our kids are in college. The more I thought about that concept, the more I wanted the B&amp;B to be my second act.&nbsp; In fact, on the days when it looked like it really wouldn&rsquo;t happen, I spent time Googling &ldquo;second act ideas&rdquo; and &ldquo;second act careers&rdquo;. Quite often I would scroll through a long list of ideas, and the only one that would be appealing to me was &ldquo;Run a bed &amp; breakfast!&rdquo;<br /><br />Finally, a lender who we had worked with in the past put us in touch with a local, family-owned bank that was willing to get creative in putting together financing for us. Over the next several weeks everything eventually fell into place (negotiating terms with the sellers, getting loan approval, completing the house inspection, and getting the appraisal), and we set a closing date of October 15th.<br /><br />The story of how we ended up with all five guestrooms booked on the night of the closing and how we managed to get through that first crazy week is a story for another day... Bridal Photos http://www.harrisonhousebb.comhttps://www.harrisonhousebb.com/modules/news.htm?newsId=8874 <a href="https://caitlinandluke.com/" target="_blank">Caitlin &amp; Luke</a>&nbsp;recently shared the most beautiful photos of a bridal party that they photographed at Harrison House.<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/caitlinandluke_07.jpg" alt="bridesmaids" width="1440" height="960" align="" /><br /><br />The Victorian Room makes the perfect backdrop!<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/caitlinandluke_trio2.jpg" alt="" width="1464" height="720" align="" /><br /><br />It was a beautiful day to take advantage of the wraparound porch!<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/caitlinandluke_03.jpg" alt="" width="1440" height="960" align="" /><br /><br />Thank you&nbsp;<a href="https://caitlinandluke.com/" target="_blank">Caitlin &amp; Luke</a> for sharing these gorgeous photos!<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/caitlinandluke_01.jpg" alt="" width="1440" height="960" align="" /><br /><br /> Greetings from the new owners of Harrison House Bed & Breakfast! http://www.harrisonhousebb.comhttps://www.harrisonhousebb.com/modules/news.htm?newsId=8835 <img class="img-responsive" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/2019_10_06.jpg" alt="" width="648" height="449" align="" /><br /><br />We&rsquo;re so excited to be introducing ourselves as the new owners and innkeepers of Harrison House Bed &amp; Breakfast in Naperville, Illinois!<br /><br />Debbie and Mark Browning have asked us to pass along their heartfelt goodbye and let you know that they have considered you not only their guests but also their friends. They have immensely enjoyed serving you over the last few years.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s an honor and a privilege for us to follow in Mark and Debbie&rsquo;s footsteps in caring for this beautiful historic home and the guests who stay here. When your travels bring you to the area, we hope that you will return to Harrison House &ndash; we look forward to meeting you and getting to know you over the coming months and years! Blast From the Past! http://www.harrisonhousebb.comhttps://www.harrisonhousebb.com/modules/news.htm?newsId=8810 <p><img class="img-responsive" src="https://bnbwebsites.s3.amazonaws.com/6119/mickenbecker.jpg" alt="" width="495" height="325" align="middle" /><br /><br />Long live the Mickenbecker's descendants! &nbsp;<br /><br />This past summer the descendants of the original owners of the home that is now known as the Harrison House Bed &amp; Breakfast at 26 North Eagle Street, came to stay in a couple of the guest rooms. Which descendants? It was the granddaughter of the original owners, Kathy, and Kathy's daughters April and Chris (the great granddaughters) and Chris' daughter Courtney (the great, great granddaughter). That is sure a lot of greats, isn't it? &nbsp;<br /><br />It was so exciting to learn more about the past history of the beautiful late Victorian house located in the heart of Downtown Naperville. Getting to know the lovely and talented Mickenbecker descendants was even more exciting to me.<br /><br />Henry and Amelia Mickenbecker were engaged in 1904 in Naperville, Illinois. &nbsp;At the start of their engagement, Henry consigned to have the 2-story, post-Victorian house built in downtown Naperville, at the corner of Eagle Street and Franklin Avenue. &nbsp;Once they were married in June 1905, they moved into their newly-constructed house and made it their home. They had and raised 8 children together. &nbsp;<br /><br />To quote Marcus Garvey:<br /><br />"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."<br /><br />Photo: from left to right, Maddie (great, great granddaughter who lives in the area), Chris &amp; Courtney (great granddaughter and great, great, granddaughter), Kathy (granddaughter), and April Leo (great granddaughter).</p> 5 Reasons Why Staying in a Bed and Breakfast is Seriously Cool http://www.harrisonhousebb.comhttps://www.harrisonhousebb.com/modules/news.htm?newsId=6261 <p>Staying in a bed and breakfast is a seriously cool thing to do when you are looking to get away. Whether you're looking for a quick weekend get-away, or a more home-like atmosphere when away from home, bed and breakfast inns are warm, welcoming alternatives to the common hotel/motel.<br /><br />Here are 5 reason to choose to stay at a BnB:<br /><br />1. Most times, the BnB is the innkeeper's home. You are a welcome guest staying in their home. The innkeepers love their inn and care for it with exceptional attention to detail, because they own it. Innkeepers want you to feel as though you are home without the daily duties to tend to. You get to relax and enjoy being pampered by people who are very glad you are visiting.<br /><br />2. Bed and breakfasts are safe-havens for guests who are strangers to each other; you never know who you may meet! There are many reasons guests stay at an inn. For example, one weekend, we had a local writer staying with us to escape the day-to-day distractions at home and work on her novel, an out-of-town couple in town due to an ill loved one who lives in the area, and another couple staying with us as a surprise to the wife as an anniversary present from her husband. When you visit, understand that fellow guests' reasons for staying in the BnB may be very different from yours. If everyone is respectful and courteous, everyone will have a wonderful stay!<br /><br />3. The breakfast at a BnB is one of the most wonderful aspects of the stay. Most inns have lovely dining rooms where all the guests are welcome to come together and "break bread." There is nothing more primal and intimate than sharing a delicious meal with people and learning about them through lively conversation. We've seen some amazing connections made during breakfast; it is the ultimate networking opportunity! Not a people person? Looking for a more private escape? Ask the innkeepers if they offer in-room dining. Most do!<br /><br />4. Many of the BnB's are in older homes. Some inns are as old as a century or more; our inn was built in 1904. These are historic homes that are costly to maintain, so innkeepers subsidize their residence with guests. Guests are welcome to enjoy the beauty and history of these old homes without the responsibility of owning one. Some, like ours, have steam heat, older locks with real keys, high ceilings (some decorated with tin), gorgeous crown moldings and massive, solid wood pocket doors. These touches give the inn character and charm you won't find in modern construction.<br /><br />5. My favorite reason why staying in a BnB is seriously cool is every BnB has its own personality that is influenced by the neighborhood, the age of the house, the house history and the other guests. Every experience will be different; every inn and every stay will be a unique experience. Staying at a BnB is like opening a box of chocolates; it will be chocked full of delicious surprises!<br /><br />So, before booking a room at a hotel, check the area you are visiting for a locally owned and operated bed and breakfast. Once you've experienced the personal TLC of a BnB, you may never want to stay in a hotel again!</p>