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Monday, December 18, 2006

Good to know if you aspire to innkeeping...

It is a dream job...most days! But you should get into innkeeping and running a bed and breakfast with your eyes open or be prepared for a possibly rude I have all the dreaming out of my system :)

Read, read and read some more....

Visit for some books on innkeeping, aspiring innkeeping and running a bed and breakfast. And ask us questions...we are happy to share our experiences owning and operating an inn.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ask the Innkeeper

Don't forget, we would love to answer any questions about being innkeepers and what our day-to-day life is like. Life as an innkeeper is never dull and the pros outweight the cons.

Albert Shafsky House B&B to participate in Professional California B&B Industry Conference

Albert Shafsky House B&B to participate in Professional California B&B Industry Conference
Intensive Seminars Focus on Hospitality Trends, Better Business Practices

Placerville, CA - Dec 15, 2006 Innkeepers Rita Timewell and Stephanie Carlson of the Albert Shafsky House B&B will attend the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) annual InnSpire professional development conference January 28 – 30 in Orange County. This year marks the 4th year that the Albert Shafsky House B&B has participated in the conference tailored specifically to California B&B owners and operators. During the three-day conference, Rita and Stephanie will attend seminars and workshops designed to help innkeepers run an efficient business and provide guests with exceptional B&B accommodations and service. Each session is led by hospitality and lodging industry experts.
CABBI is the only statewide professional association of certified B&Bs. CABBI has been organizing the annual InnSpire conference for 15 years. In addition to the general sessions designed for seasoned veterans, InnSpire also includes a two-day seminar for people who are new to the B&B industry or considering opening their own inn. Innkeeping as a Profession features a full itinerary of workshops that delve into the basics of buying, owning, and operating a successful B&B in California. InnSpire registration is open to anyone interested in learning more about the B&B industry and fine tuning their business skills. For more information on CABBI, InnSpire 2007, or Innkeeping as a Profession, visit
More about the Albert Shafsky HouseThe 1902 Queen Anne Victorian bed and breakfast in the Placerville Historic District provides a wonderful taste of rich heritage, both inside and out. They are a romantic, comfortable bed and breakfast in El Dorado County, just an hour from Lake Tahoe or Sacramento, California.
Our 1902 Queen Anne Victorian bed and breakfast in the Placerville Historic District provides a wonderful taste of rich heritage, both inside and out. We are a romantic, comfortable bed and breakfast in El Dorado County, just an hour from Lake Tahoe or Sacramento, California. Inside the Placerville bed and breakfast they offer three deluxe guest rooms, each with its own theme and private bath, wine & cheese upon arrival, and a hearty breakfast each morning. To make the most of your bed and breakfast experience they have many fine amenities: Cypress Robes, Deneen pottery mugs, Gilcrest & Soames soaps and lotions. They also offer high-speed wireless connection from all of the rooms in the bed and breakfast so you can stay in touch, during work or play while you visit Placerville.
Venturing out, you can stroll to shops and restaurants on Historic Main Street, enjoy a visit to Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park - where gold was discovered in California, Apple Hill, and local wineries, or take a day trip to Lake Tahoe. With our bed and breakfast so close to Sacramento or South Lake Tahoe, they offer a great base to explore El Dorado County.
Learn more...About Shafsky House B&B
Located at 2942 Coloma St in Placerville, CA 530-642-2776 Open as an inn for ten years, Rita and Stephanie have been the owners since 2002

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Innkeeper Tips

Innkeepers need to have a wide variety of skills and interests. That is why the job is so great for more than one person. A team can help each other out and complement each other's skills.

A few traits that are good to have as an innkeeper
  • be good with people,
  • have community contacts at their fingertips
  • be helpful with dinner and other recommendations
  • like to make new friends, be good listeners (helpful to know how to anticipate needs)
  • not mind when people ask the same question over and over
  • love to share stories and listen to others
  • not mind staying up late for late arrivals
  • a basic knowledge of cooking, gardening, plumbing, marketing (and more)

There are many more that will help you be a great innkeeper.

Remember, if you have any questions, please comment on our bed and breakfast blog and we will get right back to you!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Aspiring Innkeepers and Bed and Breakfast Owners

The latest version of the workshops at the CABBI conference in Irvine.

First Aspiring for those of you who want to be innkeepers:

Saturday - January 27, 2007
8:00 - 9:00am
Registration - Coffee & Pastries
9:00 - 9:05am
Introduction and Welcome, Francois Leclair, Facilitator
9:05 - 10:45am
The Reality of Being An InnkeeperA panel of innkeepers will discuss operating choices: solo, spouse, partner, investor or friend. What are the emotional demands? What does it take to be a good innkeeper? What is it like to work with your spouse/partner 24 hours a day, seven days a week? How will being an innkeeper affect your lifestyle? It takes special people and genuine commitment to integrate personal, social, physical, health, financial and family needs with that of the innkeeping business. This is your chance to ask the people who have first-hand experience.
10:45 - 11:00am
Questions and Answers
11:00 - 11:15am
11:15am - 12:15pm
Finding the Right Inn: The ProcessAcquiring your inn starts with a search to identify the right inn for you. A professional lodging broker will explain how aspiring innkeepers should approach the purchase decision and the steps of the transaction. Learn about market valuation, financing, and operation of inns that will provide valuable insights into this process. Using examples of actual sales, you will learn how inns are valued as businesses and how to prepare a thorough pre-opening and post-opening marketing plan.
12:15 - 1:30pm
Lunch with Saturday Panel Speakers
1:45 - 2:45pm
The Tax Consequences of Inn Ownership: A SurveyRight from the start, a prospective innkeeper is confronted with a myriad of decisions that can have long range and substantial tax implications: how to hold title; what type of entity to use (corporation, partnership, proprietorship, etc.); and how to allocate the assets of the inn. These choices can make a big difference at startup, during operations, and as you plan an exit strategy. We will discuss hot button IRS topics as well as a wide range of tax issues that you can take home with you to discuss with your tax professional to see how it impacts your particular tax situation.
2:45 - 3:45pm
Money & FinancingFinancing the inn of your dreams is the challenge. You have gone through the process of finding a viable inn and now all you need is the money! Financing options are varied: Conventional Bank financing, SBA financing and Seller financing. Learn what is required of you and the property you are planning to purchase.
3:45 - 4:00pm
4:00 - 4:30pm
Question & Answers with Broker, CPA and Financial Advisors
4:30 - 5:30pm
Reception with Speakers and Innkeepers
Sunday - January 28, 2007
8:00 - 8:15am
Continental Breakfast and Networking Time
8:15 - 10:00am
Running Your InnWhat does it take to get organized? Stephanie will share her secrets on what supplies and services you will need to prepare for opening day. Then, with all that in place, it's time to run your inn. You will learn all about scheduling staff, staying legal (food codes, ABC license, liability issues, etc.), menu planning, forms and procedures and more!
Stephanie McCaffrey, McCaffrey House
10:00 - 10:15am
10:15am - 12:00pm
Marketing Your Bed & Breakfast InnBuying or building a great property is the first step. Now, how do prospective guests find you? This fun and informative session will include business development opportunities through the internet as well as more traditional marketing. Discover secrets to your immediate success and learn how to avoid the costly, time-wasting mistakes made by innkeepers over the years. Online marketing, website development and search engine optimization will be covered as well as samples of effective website design. In additional, conventional marketing techniques such as print advertising, brochures, seasonal packages and specials play a critical role in your marketing plan.
12:15 - 12:30pm
Questions and Answers with Stephanie and Bill
12:30 - 2:00pm
Annual CABBI Membership Meeting & Lunch
2:15 - 3:00pm
Total Media MarketingIn order to make your business successful, you must be creative and market your inn on many different levels. You want to let as many potential guests as possible know about your inn, and since people search out information in many different ways, it's important to utilize all media that are available. Learn how directories, press releases and newspaper coverage can widen your exposure to the traveling public.
3:15 - 4:30pm
Developing Your B&B Marketing PlanThis session is designed to assist the potential B&B owner on how to develop an actionable marketing plan for a future property. You will learn to develop a market planning model as well as the thinking process needed to transform your property into a market-driven business designed to increase revenues.
Carl Ribaudo, Strategic Marketing Group/Corporate Events
4:30 - 7:30pm
InnSpire 2007 Innkeepers Conference & Trade Show ReceptionVisit with innkeepers and shop with a wide variety of exhibitors at the InnSpire Opening Reception. This reception will include tasty appetizers and wine pouring sponsored by Matanzas Creek Winery.

Then for innkeepers who already own a bed and breakfast--or aspiring innkeepers....
Sunday - January 28, 2007
9:00am - 6:00pm
Innkeeper's Registration
11:30am - 12:15pm
New Member / First-time Attendee Orientation
12:30 - 2:00pm
Annual Membership Town Hall & Lunch
2:15 - 3:15pm
Concurrent Workshops
Build a Better Website, Part I
Small Property Idea Fair
3:30 - 4:30pm
Concurrent Workshops
Build a Better Website, Part II
Create Your Own Marketing Plan
4:30 - 7:30pm
Trade Show Opening Reception with ExhibitorsCyber Café Open
Monday - January 29, 2007
8:00 - 9:00am
Concurrent Workshops
Healthy and Easy Breakfasts
Website Revenue Tracking & Conversion Rates
Use Your Inn as a Special Events Venue
9:00 - 10:30am
Exhibit Hall Opens - Coffee with Vendors
10:45 - 11:45am
Keynote Address, Caroline Beteta, Executive DirectorCalifornia Travel and Tourism CommissionMarketing California as a Premier Travel Destination
12:00 - 2:00pm
Buffet Lunch and Shopping Time with Exhibitors
2:15 - 3:15pm
Concurrent Workshops
Create Elegant Centerpieces
How to Build an Online Relationship
Tool Time From A-Z
3:30 - 4:30pm
Exhibitor Teatime, Innkeeper Shopping, Vendor Drawing
4:45 - 5:45pm
Concurrent Workshops
Introduction to Wine, Sponsored by Cambria Winery(class limited to 35)
Technology on the Cutting Edge
Niche Marketing & Value-Added Packages
7:30 - 11:00pm
Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration Dinner Party and Silent Auction
Tuesday - January 30, 2007
8:00am - 12:00pm
InnTouch One-On-One Appointments
9:00 - 10:00am
Concurrent Workshops
Protect Your Investment, Part I
Yield Management 101
Attract Travel Writers to Boost Your Inn's Visibility
10:15 - 11:15am
Concurrent Workshops
Protect Your Investment, Part II
Repeat Guest Marketing
Provide Internet Access For Your Guests
11:30am - 12:45pm
Lunch & Special Guest Speaker, Patricia Griffin, President & Founder,Green Hotels AssociationSave Money, Save the Environment - Think Green!
1:00 - 2:15pm
General Session, Jim Abrams, President & CEOCalifornia Hotel & Lodging AssociationRights & Responsibilities of Innkeepers
2:30 - 4:00pm
Guest Management Software Training / User Groups
On December 3rd will be the 29th Annual Christmas Parade in old Hangtown, just steps from our bed and breakfast inn. This big parade takes place rain or shine and starts at the Mountain Democrat parking lot on upper Broadway in Placerville and continues down Main Street. Begins at 1:00 p.m. Broadway and Historic Main Street, Placerville. Free to the public.

December 10th will bring the Christmas in Coloma event, an annual old-fashioned Christmas, with period crafts, strolling musicians, historic trade demonstrations, 19th century children's games, and wreath making. A visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus is a colorful highlight of the day. Vendors offer hand-crafts aswell as a variety of foods. Snow is guaranteed! 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, 8 miles north on Highway 49 from Placerville in Coloma. The admittance fee is only $7.00 per vehicle, everything else is free (except $3.00 cost of photo with Santa). Children can visit Santa for free without a photo. For more information contact: Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, call the events line (530) 295-2162

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

With the bed and breakfast inns tour just a week away, we are finishing the touches on our inn to delight tour-goers and guests. Downtown Placerville lit the tree at the Court House last night, so the town is ready for the holidays too!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Events in Placerville for the holiday Season

Festival of Lights on Nov 24th
The old-fashioned festivities will close Historic Main Street. There will be music, entertainment, Santa, stagecoach rides. Holly Jolly Trolley rides (to outlying parking lots). 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Tree-lighting around 6:00 p.m. Historic Main Street, Placerville Free to the public. For more information contact: Placerville Downtown Association (530) 672-3436

Merchants Open House on Nov 24 & 25
Historic Main Street merchants welcome visitors with coffee, cider and seasonal goodies. Enjoy hometown holiday shopping and hospitality in one convenient setting. Free parking, entertainment, stagecoach rides and visits with Santa. Extended Hours. Call each store for more details about their hours. Historic Main Street, Placerville. Free parking. For more information contact: Placerville Downtown Association (530) 672-3436

Learn to be an Innkeeper in California at bed and breakfast conference

So you think you want to be an innkeeper of a California Bed and Breakfast? Come to InnSpire and meet a whole bunch of California Bed and Breakfast owners who are living the dream. Come to Irvine, CA and learn the art of innkeeping!

Schedule subject to change
Sunday - January 28, 2007

9:00am - 6:00pm Innkeeper's Registration
11:30am - 12:15pm New Member / First-time Attendee Orientation Great chance to meet new folks
12:30 - 2:00pm Welcome to InnSpire 2007 - Annual Membership Town Hall & Lunch Hear what is going on with the State Association!
2:15 - 4:30pm Concurrent Workshops I get great ideas everytime!
4:30 - 7:30pm Opening Reception with Exhibitors
4:30 - 7:30pm Cyber Café Open

Monday - January 29, 2007

8:00 - 9:00am Concurrent Workshops
9:00 - 10:30am Exhibit Hall Opens ñ Coffee with Vendor
9:00am - 4:30pm Cyber Café Open
10:45 - 11:45am Keynote Address
12:00 - 2:00pm Shopping & Box Lunch with Exhibitors
2:15 - 3:15pm Concurrent Workshops
3:30 - 4:30pm Exhibitor Teatime, Innkeeper Shopping, Vendor Drawing
4:45pm Trade Show Closes
4:45 - 5:45pm Concurrent Workshops
7:30 - 11:00pm Celebration Party! Lots of fun and gives the innkeepers a chance to relax and mingle.
Cocktail Reception, Silent Auction, Dinner and Dancing

Tuesday - January 30, 2007

8:00am - 12:00pm InnTouch One-On-One Appointments
8:00am - 12:00pm Cyber Café Open
9:00 - 10:15am Concurrent Workshops
10:30 - 11:45am Concurrent Workshops
12:00 - 1:45pm Lunch & General Session
2:00 - 4:00pm Seminars and Training
Guest Management Software Training / User Groups

Friday, November 10, 2006

11th Annual Self-Guided Holiday Memories Tour including our Placerville Bed and Breakfast

Holiday Memories Tour in December...Tickets available now.
11th Annual Self-Guided Holiday Memories Tour of the Inns
Celebrate the season with us December 2 & 3 from noon-5 p.m.
El Dorado County, CA The Bed and Breakfast Inns of El Dorado County welcome you to our 11th annual holiday tour. New decorations and holiday treats await.
Please join us in celebrating this special season as we open our home to your for these two afternoons each year, December 2 & 3 from noon til 5 pm. Elegant Victorians, quaint cottages and rustic lodges are all dressed up for the holidays--warm and inviting on a cold winter's day.
Tickets are $15 per person and are valid for both days (allowing you to visit all the inns one time), with a portion of sales going to support the Kiwanis Family House. You may begin the tour at any of our inns.
Note: The Black Bear Inn will be open at 11:00 a.m. for your convenience.
Make it a weekend to remember and stay at one of the decorated inns.Peek into our guest rooms and see wonderful collections of vintage clothing and quilts, original artwork,and antique furnishings. Each inn has its own special and unique personality with beautiful gardens, tall trees, small trees, crystals and snowflakes, teddy bears and antique glass. Santa Claus and his reindeer and families of snow people to delight young and old.
For more information...
Bed and Breakfast Inns of El Dorado County
Rita Timewell
President, BBI of EDC
phone: 1-877-262-4667

Saturday, October 28, 2006

More on Bed and Breakfast InnSpire

Hello, my name is Steph Carlson and I am writing from the Albert Shafsky House B&B in Placerville on behalf of CABBI, the California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns. I am a Board member of the State Association.
§ I would like to invite you to attend the InnSpire 2007 Conference and Trade Show in Irvine (Orange County), visit and Conference page for details and to sign up. It is always a great place for discounts, information about our profession and trade show specials—plus you can meet other innkeepers and share best practices.

§ I would like to offer you an early registration non-member discount for conference. $400 for single$755 for double attendance if paid by 11-10-06

§ I would also like to invite you to the Town Hall in San Clemente (info in the newsletter you should have received in the mail).

§ Interested in membership and the member rate at conference?
Membership details are on our website at to the following web pages for the New Member Packet:
Membership Benefits –, click “Member Benefits” in left sidebar
Criteria & Certification Form –, click “Join” in bottom footer, click “Regular Membership (Inn)”, click “Click Here to Apply for Membership”, click “Membership Criteria & Certification Form”
Membership Application, & Pro-rated Fees – (same page as above), click “Join” in bottom footer, click “Regular Membership (Inn)”, click “Click Here to Apply for Membership”, click “Application Form”
§ The office will also be happy to mail out membership information!
§ Key Points to Remember!!!CABBI Certified for QualityHighly regarded family of professional California innkeepers who meets association standards and lets the traveling public know they can trust the CABBI brand. CABBI Website Traffic
Inclusion on that receives 400,000+ annual visitors and ability for our members to post specials, availability (through Webervations), Book Now Button to inn's web reservation page, and Bike promotion on
Discounts on Services & Programs from our Associate Members
Some discount programs include Credit Card Processing and Insurance.CABBI’s Presence on State Tourism Website
Exposure on the California Travel & Tourism Commission (CTTC) website,, which receives 5.5 million hits each month. (CABBI has direct link Bed & Breakfast Inns.)
CABBI Travel Guides
Inclusion in 100,000 CABBI Travel Guides with distribution in major CVBs, chambers, airports, gift shops and wineries throughout the state as well as distribution by CABBI member inns. CABBI Gift Certificate Program

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

InnSpire Annual Conference & Trade Show 2007

Sunday–Tuesday, January 28–30, 2007
Irvine Marriott, Orange County, CA

Please join us for InnSpire 2007, the California
Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (CABBI)
15th Annual Conference and Trade Show.

Rita and I have attended the conference the last several years and this year is now exception. We are looking forward to all the events and will be leaving the inn open while we are gone in the hands of a capable innsitter. But we enjoy seeing old friends and making new ones too much to miss this event.

InnSpire 2007: Fifteen Years of Firsts marks the 15th anniversary year of CABBI’s standing as the country’s foremost bed and breakfast association. Attend InnSpire 2007 to learn how to operate your business more efficiently and create a can’t-wait-to-come-back atmosphere for your guests. We'll make sure you have the information, tools, and a network of professionals to make the most of 2007 and beyond. InnSpire 2007 blends education, inspiration, entertainment, and networking. Take a look at CABBI’s Fifteen Years of Firsts!

InnSpired Activities! Go shopping at the InnSpire Trade Show. See the amenities that will help your guests enjoy that special time at your inn. Meet the people who provide the products and services that you need. From tea and chocolates; insurance and finance; Internet marketing and more!

Learn from a wealth of workshop speakers and hands-on-workshops about the newest techniques in marketing, technology, and operations. Let your creativity flow at the hands-on floral demonstration workshop, learn simple ways to serve tasty treats, plus get tips on how to use your inn as a special events venue!

Engage in an "InnTouch" appointment (one-on-one time with technology experts) that will give you information to soar above the competition!

Network with statewide innkeepers, industry vendors, and the CABBI Board of Directors and Administration.

Wine & Dine during our opening Sunday Town Hall Luncheon, the Sunday night wine reception, Monday lunch and teatime with exhibitors, Monday’s 15th anniversary dinner party, and Tuesday’s General session lunch.

Relax into the luxurious accommodations of the Irvine Marriott - just waiting to pamper you with rejuvenating care.

For more information about this bed and breakfast conference, please visit

Monday, October 23, 2006

Want to be an innkeeper? This is the best bed and breakfast seminar.

INNKEEPING AS A PROFESSION (IAP) is a two-day seminar designed to provide you with a behind-the-scenes look into the innkeeping lifestyle. It's a weekend that could launch you into a new life!
Saturday and Sunday, January 27 & 28, 2007 at the Irvine Marriott in Orange County, CA

Spend two days immersed in the bed and breakfast industry
This informative and inspirational seminar is a rare chance to step behind the scenes and hear what it's really like to run a quality bed & breakfast inn. Innkeepers from all over the state come to give you their perspectives on this growing business and to help you learn from their experience.

Learn from a wide range of perspectives
The bed & breakfast business is as individual as the inns themselves. This is a rare chance to hear the stories of inns that are large and small, urban and rural, upscale and down-home.

Come prepared! Have in mind your most pressing questions
There is lots of time scheduled for questions and answers and one-on-one discussion. You'll hear innkeepers' views during structured panel discussions and then you can continue the conversation over lunch.

Do all your research in one place
We do the legwork and bring the most direct source of bed & breakfast information to you in one place. The innkeepers themselves provide an invaluable resource for you on subjects including making the transition to the bed & breakfast industry: financing, laws and regulations, marketing and daily operations, decorating and guest relations. Why settle for one opinion when you can get several?
At the conclusion of your workshop

Join us at the Innkeepers' Reception
- Shop with industry suppliers
- Enjoy hors d'oeuvres and wine at InnSpire 2007 Trade Show!
- Lunch with speakers is included both Saturday and Sunday.

Previous participants said:

The workshop was very helpful. We really enjoyed networking with the innkeepers.
Very friendly, we are grateful for the encouragement we received.
Great workshop. Kept my attention, a must for anyone thinking about this profession.
An excellent introduction to the B&B industry for someone like me who wants a career change and thinks this might be it!
This has been a wonderful workshop, worth every penny and more.
An excellent opportunity to hear the tales of the veteran innkeepers and professionals in the industry. Visit CABBI's website to register for the event.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Many events in Nov close to our Placerville bed and breakfast

November 10 & 11 brings us two great events: Festival of Trees
Elaborately decorated Christmas Trees, wreaths and centerpieces on display and auctioned off to benefit local service clubs. Local school and church choir, dance companies, theater groups performances. Wine tasting, food, more! Dinner auction on Friday, Nov 10 from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Friday, 11/10 10:00 - 5:00; Sat - 10:00 to 5:00 p.m. El Dorado County Fairgrounds, 100 Placerville Drive, Placerville
For more information contact: (530) 621-5860 AND on Nov 11th the
El Dorado County Veterans Monument Dedication
Dedication of the largest Veterans Monument west of the Mississippi. The 114 monument structure, plaza, walk and circle of honor take up most of the 2 acre site. !! Flag poles honoring each branch of our armed forces, veterans groups & POW/MIA. A flight of F-16s will announce the beginning of the ceremony at !:00 p.m. sharp 1:00 p.m. Corner of Fair Lane and Ray Lawyer Drive, at the EDC government center No cost
For more information contact: Richard W. Buchanan, Founder (530) 626-7762 followed by 13th Annual Taste of Late Harvest on the 12th of Nov
This is a special day .because we have samples for you to taste, mulled wine and music to listen to while you are tasting. 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mother Lode Orchards, 4341 North Canyon Road, Camino For more information contact: Mother Lode Orchards, 4341 North Canyon Road, Camino (530) 644-8200

Downtown Placerville Spooktacular

It is that time of year: Trick or Treat 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Main street which will be closed to all vehicles. Main Street merchants will be open late handing out candy to children while supplies last. Then a Rockin' Pumpkin Lighting and contest at the Bell Tower starting at 6:00.Then at 7:00 p.m. the Placerville Lions Club invites children 10 and under, along with their parents to attend a FREE Halloween carnival at Town Hall (549 Main Street). Enjoy treats, games and prizes 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Main Street Merchants, 6:00 Costume Contest, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Town Hall Downtown Placerville, Main Street, Bell Tower and Town Hall Free For more information contact: For more information, please call City of Placerville Recreation and Parks Department (530) 642-5232
This should be a fun event for all ages to get out and show off costumes and see the window displays of the merchants downtown.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Improve your bed and breakfast business

Improve your bed and breakfast business by Reuben O'connell
Increasingly, we are using the internet to buy products, book accommodation and find information. If you run a bed and breakfast, the chances are you've already started to use either your own website, or others, to advertise your business.
According to a MORI Poll, 35% of the 23 million Britons who have used the internet used it to make purchases. Of these purchases, the most popular were for flights and hotel bookings.
Deciding which website to advertise with, or how to promote your own site, can be difficult, given the amount of options available. With regards to the latter, finding a website you would consider booking accommodation on yourself and is well promoted, with good customer service gives you a good basis to work with. Look for clear, well designed pages that provide clear and comprehensive information on each accommodation provider and compare prices for listings across a selection of sites.
With your own website, creating pages that are easy to navigate, have great images and describe your location, accommodation and facilities well is a good start. Making it easy for people to find your prices and booking information sounds obvious, but it is surprising how many website designers forget the basics. Promoting your website in the search engines is a daunting task considering the amount of competition in this field. Having a well designed website with precise html code that has outgoing and, more importantly, incoming links of a high quality, are just some of the things you need to consider. There are so many bed and breakfasts across the country, making yours stand out from the crowd is important.
So once you've received your bookings and your customers arrive, how do you get them coming back for more and to recommend you to other people. Simple things make all the difference. As well as having a homely, welcoming, environment with areas for guests to relax in, extra touches can make all the difference.
Flowers in guest rooms needn't be time consuming - rather than a full vase, use a small single stem vase with just one or two flowers to make your guests feel at home. Other extras you could consider are dressing gowns and electric blankets in the winter months, an empty jam jar with homemade shortbread next to their tea and coffee making facilities and a complimentary magazine or newspaper of the day in each room. Touches like these only take a little extra time, thought and money to achieve, but can greatly increase your chances of repeat bookings from returning customers and recommendations.
In a communal area, provide good tourist information in a folder, or something similar, with up to date leaflets. Personalise this information by adding your own recommendations of things to see and do in the area and add basic accommodation information to keep your guests informed e.g. breakfast times, house rules. Also take the opportunity to advertise any extras you offer like evening meals and winter break offers. Make books and magazines available in your guest lounge and perhaps put on some music to create a welcoming, homely environment.
Put a couple of business cards in your guest rooms for them to pass on to others, or keep in their wallet or purse until they need to use you again. Perhaps offer a small discount for returning guests as that extra enticement for them to return.
The possibilities of improving your business are endless. Everyone should strive to improve their bed and breakfast and making small changes can make big differences.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bed and breakfast inns

What is different about bed and breakfast inns than more traditional lodging establishments? Many times, the owner of a bed and breakfast is also the innkeeper, cook, gardener, plumber, laundry person and reservation taker and marketing guru.

If staying at a bed & breakfast is romantic and wonderful, that is because the innkeeper works hard to make it so. While running a bed and breakfast can seem like a dream job, there is much work that goes on behind "the curtain".

How do folks who want to make the jump into innkeeping manage it? Some take classes, some stay at bed & breakfasts to ask the innkeeper questions, and some read books about the subject. Others come from hotel backgrounds and are interested in running their own show now. We used a combination of ways before embarking on our journey in Placerville at the bed and breakfast.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What is a bed & breakfast and country inn?

Some folks have asked us the difference between an inn and and bed and breakfast. A
bed and breakast or B&B or bed and breakfast inn is usually owner occupied with 1-15 guest rooms. The owners are often in residence on site, as we are at the Albert Shafsky House B&B in Placerville, CA. Located in a legally zoned area, bed and breakfast inns normally meet all local tax, fire, building and health requirements. Some B&B inns also host weddings and business meetings. All of the bed and breakfast inns in Placerville are this kind of B&B.

A country inn on the other hand is an owner-operated establishment providing lodging and meals (generally breakfast and dinner). Some provide dinners to overnight guests only, others have full-service restaurants open to the public. Typically 10 or more guest rooms.

As always, ask the innkeeper!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Gold bug park in Placerville

Hangtown's Gold Bug Park is California's only public park where you can take a captivating underground tour of a real gold mine, hike along two miles of interpretive trails, and actually pan for gold! Guided group tours offered year round - Monday thru Friday ... visit the Gold Bug Mine, Stamp Mill, Streambed and Panning ... Tour is 30-40 minutes for each site. Advance reservations required (530) 642-5238.

Located in the heart of Placerville, the park is on the eastern side of the famous Mother Lode Vein and was once dotted with over 250 mines within it’s boundaries. There are a number of hiking trails within the park that will introduce you to the flora and fauna of the area. Hike along Big Canyon Creek, or hike along the Vulture Claim trail and see the exploratory diggings called “coyote holes” that were left by the miners as they searched out pockets of gold bearing quartz. Big Canyon Creek, a tributary of the American River runs through the park. This creek was first placer mined by Chileans in 1848.

The Joshua Hendy Stamp Mill is an eight stamp mill and was built on the property in the late 1920’s. The stamp mill still stands on its original site.

Two hard rock mines are still open and available for the public to tour. The Priest Mine is the oldest Hard Rock mine in the park and dates back to the 1850’s. This mine is only available for special guided tours. (see Guided Tours)The Hattie Mine (now called Gold Bug) is dated as being started in 1888. This mine is available for self guided tours as well as special guided tours. The Hattie Museum offers displays of mining equipment and drawings explaining many of the various mining techniques that were used and are being used.

The Hattie Gift Shop offers a variety of books, photographs, gold samples as well as other items to remember this famous site. You can also rent a gold pan and pan for real gold in the gold troughs located adjacent to Big Canyon Creek. Gold Bug Park and Mine is a designated State Point of Historic Interest and is part of the National Register of Historic Sites.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Also on Sept 30th - A season of quilts

Gold Bug Quilters presents 2006 "A Season of Quilts"Gold Bug Quilters welcomes you to their Eighth Biennial Quilt Show. They have created a cornucopia of beautiful and varied works of art to share in this year's quilt show. Opportunity quilts, quilts, wearables, vendors, boutique, food, door prizes.Featured artist Lyn Mann will display her quilts & sign books for visitors. Quilt-related demonstrations will be on-going throughout the day. Saturday 10 - 5 El Dorado County Fair Grounds, Main Building and Organ Room, 100 Placerville Drive, Main Exhibit Building, Placerville $6admission. For more information contact: Joan (530) 644-5511

Thursday, September 07, 2006

2006 Boeger Winery Harvest Tours! Sept 30th

Come to Placerville on Saturday, Sept. 30th and visit Boeger Winery! Ever wonder what goes into a wine harvest? Well this year youcan find out! Join us during the heart of harvest time as wepick, crush, press and ferment the 2006 crops. Take a fun andeducational tour featuring hands-on activities, harvest samples,
tastes of the "new wine" and demonstrations by the winery staff. Experience Boeger Winery's Fall bounty first hand. Afteryour tour please enjoy a tasting our newly released wines and a sampling of our newest tasty treats on sale in the tasting room. Tour Schedule: 11:00AM, 12:00PM, 1:00PM & 2:00PMno reservations required. Still have questions? Call Tara at Boeger Winery 530-622-8094 x18

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fall in the Foothills

Fall in the foothills! Warm days for sampling Apple Hill goodies and cool evenings to stroll historic Main Street. Do some shopping, or just relax in Gold Country with us.
Sequoia Restaurant presents their Comedy Showcase featuring Chas Elsner September 6th (Wednesday) 8:00 p.m. in the ballroom. Chas Elsner calls his stand-up act "comedy without a net." His themes generally concern frustrating day-to-day stuff, such as too many remote controls. He has appeared on numerous comedy TV shows on networks including Fox, Showtime, VH1, and MTV. For reservations to the show, dinner and a night at our inn, call us (530) 642-2776.

Marbel Valley Center for the Arts presents the Annual Butterfly Concert on Sept 10th. This year’s theme, “Wings across the USA, Songs of America,” takes a musical trip of toe-tapping songs highlighting regions and cities across our nation. (We still have one room left for Sunday night.)

Finally, our buddies at Wofford Acres Vineyards are having their 3rd Anniversary party on October 1- munchies from the Old Town Grill served 1pm-4pm. Be the first to enjoy new releases 03 Syrah and 03 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Plus, taste the winning blend from the Apple Hill Wine Fest Winemaker’s Competition!

Tanks Alot
We are saying "Tanks alot" in September and October. All guests booking with us for Sun-Thurs nights in September & October who present their gas reciept dated the day of check-in will get $20 off their stay, just in time to take advantage of all the sites of Apple Hill. New bookings only, not valid with gift certificates or other offers. Remember to mention it during booking.
Book your stay now

Apple Hill is Here! Calling all apple lovers!
Apple cider, apple fritters, apple pie, apples, apples, apples everywhere. Time to visit and sample all the baked goodies you can! Mid-week is the perfect answer because there are fewer folks out and about. The Albert Shafsky House is about 10 minutes to the first of many orchards that are now open to serve your apple cravings.
More under attractions...

December 2 & 3 is the 11th Holiday Tour

"The Bed and Breakfast Inns of El Dorado County" open their doors for the season. Come up and take a peek inside the inns, meet innkeepers, sample goodies and maybe pick up a decorating idea or two for the holidays. Celebrate with the innkeepers and purchase a gift certificate for giving (or yourself). As always a portion of the tour proceeds benefits Snowline Hospice.
Tickets are just $15.00 per person and are valid for both days. Tour hours are 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. For tickets call 1-877-262-4667 or visit the website

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Apple Hill time from the Mountain Democrat, Placeville newspaper

"Labor Day weekend is the official end of summer no matter what the weather says - and the official beginning of the 42nd Apple Hill season.Bartlett pears, Gala, Macintosh, Jonathan, Jonagold, Winesap and Prime Red apples are being harvested at the orchards and kept cold for the visitors who will be coming in droves for the next three and a half months. More than 50 ranches offer a variety of fruit, pumpkins, pies, wines, entertainment, crafts and food.Visitors bring their families, appetites and cameras - and they all leave satisfied. Anywhere one chooses to stop and sample the offerings in Apple Hill is sure to please, but each year, with more than 50 ranches, there is something that even long-time annual visitors may not have tried yet.Bodhaine Ranch, for example, on Cable Road, offers organic apples and scrumptious pies, including their award winning Blackberry Sour Cream Apple pie. Last year owners Jong and Phoebe Hong decided to offer something a little different. Taking a cue from the pasties that Cornish miners carried in lunch buckets years ago, Phoebe Hong began making pasties, chicken pot pies and spicy beef espanitas in addition to the traditional barbecue and hot dogs.“They are easy to hold and eat while people walk around and look at things,” said Phoebe. Repeat customers have already surfaced and are eager to try this year's offerings. In the 2007 season, Bodhaine's plans to offer a pear pie in honor of the orchard's original fruit.Goyette's North Canyon Ranch doesn't offer pies or crafts, because long ago the Goyettes decided that they wanted to remain a small ranch offering apples and pumpkins and an opportunity for visitors to pick their own. If you've never picked your own apples, it's a great way to get a feel for how an orchard works."

Bed and breakfast inns are located just a few minutes from Apple Hill. Make it a weekend to remember. Apple Hill is open every day and is less crowded during the week.

Antique shopping from our bed and breakfast in Placerville

The Annual Antique Street Faire is set for Sept. 24 from 8AM to 3PM in Historic Downtown Placerville, just steps from our bed and breakfast. - The 18th Annual Antique Street Faire closes Main Street Placerville to host over 100 antiques & collectibles peddlers for this huge event. Food, refreshments, and more. Admission and parking are free. Sponsored by the Placerville Downtown Association. For more info call (530) 672-3436.
This is a wonderful chance to shop and wander down the middle of Main Street without fear of traffice. Get some great deals on antiques and goodies, while enjoying the sunshine and historic buildings of Placerville. Spend the weekend in Placerville at a bed and breakfast and then get up early to shop the antique faire!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Albert Shafsky in Placerville, CA

On May 24, 1873, Aaron Yara Shafsky was born in Kishinev, Moldavia, near Odessa above the Black Sea. He arrived in California in 1889 with his brothers and changed his name to Albert Shafsky. Together, they started a dry goods business in Fort Bragg, California, first selling their merchandise to the men at the nearby lumber camps, and then establishing their first store in Fort Bragg in 1892.
For more infomation about the Shafsky family see his history.

More about innkeeping and our Placerville bed and breakfast

Read about the innkeeping experience from a bed and breakfast news site, Deb Freakbast. This site also lists bed and breakfast inns that are for sale in case you get bit by the innkeeping bug and want to try your hand at being an innkeeper.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Madronna Winery and Peace & Justice

Grapes in El Dorado County
Originally uploaded by Steph2472.
Yesterday was a nice gathering of folks at Madrona Winery for the Peace & Justice community. Free flowing music, wine and picnics were the order of the day. Several of our bed and breakfast friends and neighbors attended from Placerville, Shingle Springs and Camino.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Historic Main Street Placerville, California

Just steps from our bed and breakfast is the city of Placerville and the historic Main Street section with specialty shops and restaurants to enjoy. Every third Saturday night the galleries on Main Street stay open late (til 9) and show off their exhibits and offer refreshments. It is a great time to stroll along, and work off dinner at one of the many fine places to eat.

According to the Visitor's Authority website: The City of Placerville is centrally located between Sacramento, the State Capital, and South Lake Tahoe, world-famous recreation center. Situated above the fog line and below the snow line, Placerville boasts an ideal climate with four distinct seasons. Accessibility to Placerville is via State Highway 49 and U.S. Highway 50, along one of the most traveled corridors in California. Placerville’s treasured heritage is reflected in the historical, nineteenth century architecture of it’s downtown core. In addition, Placerville is the County seat and the center of financial, commercial, civic, and Government activity.

Serving as a "hub" for many nearby destinations and activities, Placerville is well situated. Premier wineries, Apple Hill Ranches, Historic Coloma, the American River, and the El Dorado National Forest are all located within minutes of downtown Placerville. The future of Placerville’s business economy will continue to be strengthened and infused by these established and newly developing areas of opportunity surrounding the hub.

Within the hub, local merchants, property owners, and Government officials are striving to insure economic vitality for Placerville. These groups are working together on business improvement and revitalization projects to preserve, promote, and enhance the quality of life for all in the community. Location, climate, a rich heritage, and a high level of commitment and pride has allowed Placerville to emerge as "the destination" in El Dorado County. (The Shafsky Department store is now Bennett Gallery and Crystal's Department store, but the outside still resembles the old photo we have hanging in the living room at the Albert Shafsky House Bed and Breakfast.)

The history of Placerville began with the "rush for gold" to California in the 1840’s. The highly publicized discovery of gold in the tailrace section at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma (only 10 miles from Placerville) in 1848 resulted in the migration of thousands of fortune-seekers to Northern California in the mid 1800’s. The town of Placerville was named after the placer deposits found in the river bed between Spanish Ravine and the town plaza. During the gold rush, Placerville became an important supply center for the surrounding mining camps.

Placerville was also known as "Hangtown" in its’ early days. Although many stories exist on how this name was acquired, the most famous story involved a colorful event that occurred in January of 1849. A gambler named Lopez gained a lot of attention for his big winnings at a local saloon. After he retired for the evening, several men tried to overpower him. Lopez fought back, and with the help of others, the robbers were captured. During their "flogging", three of the robbers were also accused of being wanted for a murder and robbery that occurred at a gold camp on the Stanislaus River.

Throughout history, several famous entrepreneurs have conducted business on Main Street. Phillip Armour (meat packer), Mark Hopkins (railroad financier), John Studebaker (auto maker), and Snowshoe Thompson (mail-carrier through the Sierras) were among the well-known shopkeepers on Main Street.

An important historic landmark that still remains on Main Street is the Bell Tower, standing as a monument to the city’s volunteer firemen. The Bell, placed in the tower in the plaza in 1865, was used as an alarm system to call out the firefighters. This tower has watched most of Placerville's history pass beneath it for well over 100 years. It has been remodeled, relocated, and most recently, renovated. Today it proudly stands as a monument to honor our city's volunteer firemen. The history of the Bell Tower began back in l856. Three fires that year in April, July and August, claimed most of Placerville's business section. The need for an alarm system to call the volunteer fire department was obvious, and a bell was ordered from England. Cast in 1860, the bell arrived in Placerville in 1865. The city gave it's approval to place the bell in a tower in the plaza. All this was done at a cost of $380.00. Today, the Bell Tower serves as a gathering place for parades, celebrations, and other Historic Main Street events, many sponsored by the Placerville Downtown Association.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Blog your bed and breakfast as a marketing tool

Just as we have started up a blog for our Placerville bed and breakfast, here is an article from Blizzard Internet Marketing taking about the virtues of having a blog for your inn or bed and breakfast property. Part of the article is below, click on the link to read the full text.

"Blogging is the name of the game in today’s internet world. In general, the hospitality industry has been found guilty of allotting their forces to this new niche. Why? Because blogs are quickly gaining significance in the eyes of the search engines and they are making it easier for prospective clients to express thoughts, opinions, share feedback, and for owners to promote services."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

28th Annual Butterfly Concert Celebration Sep 10th, 2006

Here is a wonderful chance to enjoy the outdoors in Placerville and hear some great music, while supporting the arts in El Dorado County. Marble Valley Center for the Arts has a vision to build a showcase for various art forms in the Sierra Foothills.

28th Annual Butterfly Concert Celebration will be led by Henrik Jul Hansen conducting the Sierra Symphony, “Wings Across the USA, Songs of America,” takes a musical trip of songs highlighting regions and cities across our nation. Other performances include choral music by Cantare, Highway 49 barbershopquartet, dance and vocal performances by El Dorado Musical Theater, and other special guests. Picnicking, strolling musicians and children's activities including petting zoo and bounce house. Gates open at 4:00 pm and Concert starts at 6:00 pm. On the grass at El Dorado County Fairgrounds, 100 Placerville Drive. Tickets: lawn seating - adults in advance $15 at the gate $18, students $8. Table and umbrella with 6 tickets $150. Family packages available. For more information/tickets contact: Marble Valley Center for the Arts (530) 642-2431

Saturday, August 19, 2006

So, you think you want to be an innkeeper too?

Rita and I have had so many guests ask us about opening their own inn we decided to post some links to help aspiring innkeepers. Several of these we used as reference in "deciding to leap off the cliff" ourselves.
Find some books on opening your own bed and breakfast here thru

Opening a Bed and Breakfast

So You Wanna Be An Innkeeper

Innkeeping for Dummies

Start and Run a Bed & Breakfast

Another great resource is the CABBI, California State Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns. They offer an aspiring innkeeping class in January during their annual conference.

We have learned much from listening to other innkeepers, reading books and staying at bed and breakfast inns. Of course, much of it we learned by doing since we have had the inn for over 4 years now. Running a bed and breakfast is one of those "dream jobs" that many folks think they would like to try. If you are really interested in running a bed and breakfast, stay at several inns and ask questions. And if you are really committed to the idea of being an innkeeper, ask a bed and breakfast owner if they will allow you to intern at their bed and breakfast to see how you like it.

Of course you may also ask bed and breakfast questions right here too.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Why choose to stay in a bed and breakfast?

There are a number of advantages to staying at a bed and breakfast over a more traditional hotel/motel. Guests who stay in bed & breakfast inns get to know the area from someone who actually lives in the same town, and a bed and breakfast offers all the comforts of home--only you don't have to do the dishes!

Bed and breakfast owners are going to know and share the best places for dining, shopping and what sights should not be missed in their town and the surrounding areas. In addition to offering a place to sleep, bed and breakfasts offer you a chance to make new friends, try local wines (subject to licences), and usually all the amenities are included in the price of the room and breakfast too! Each inn is also different, by location, style of home and innkeeper personality.

Many bed and breakfast inns are able to provide their guests with private baths, fine soaps and lotions, free parking, free wireless, evening turn-down service, free local phones calls, today's local newspaper, evening wine & cheese, cookies, CD players, DVD players, dinner reservations--in short everything you would expect at a hotel, but would in many cases pay extra for.

Bed and breakfast owners are passionate about what they do--innkeepers for the most part--are innkeepers because they love to entertain, love the area they live in and want the "innkeeper lifestyle".

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Apple Hill starts in just two weeks--what is it?

Apple Hill is located in Camino, CA, and was once an association of 16 original ranches. Today it boasts more than 50 ranches including Christmas tree growers, wineries, a micro brewery, Spa and vineyards. Come to Apple Hill and find a day filled with old-fashioned fun. Just a few minutes from Placerville, you can have a picnic on the lush land that surrounds these exciting ranches. Here is a list of the ranches and other businesses in the area and what the ranches offer as far as fruits. A map of the area will help you plan your journey to everything apple!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Albert Shafsky House Bed & Breakfast Placerville turns 100

This link is to an article about our Placerville bed and breakfast turning 100 back in 2002 by the oldest newspaper in California, the Mountain Democrat. Also information about how we got started innkeeping and some history of the Shafsky family.

Bed and breakfast guide rankings...a great tool for bed and breakfast owners.

This is an excerpt from's report about where bed and breakfast inns can be listed and which of the bed and breakfast guides performed well. It is a very valuable tool for innkeepers, not only as to which ones "work best", but also a good starting point for listing your bed and breakfast if you are just starting out as an innkeeper. I frequently refer to this list and try an ensure we are listed on as many of the bed and breakfast sites as possible, keeping in mind that they all have a cost and time involved in setting up.

The full report can be found from the link.

California Bed and Breakfast Lodging Guide Shootout Ranking Results
In January of 2005, the leaders of CABBI asked me to present the findings from our National Bed and Breakfast Lodging Guide Shootout at their upcoming conference. Following our research and ranking of the national lodging guides, we were curious to see which guides performed best at the state level. To answer this question we completed the California Bed and Breakfast Lodging Guide Shootout and presented the ranking report included below. The slide show for the presentation can be viewed by clicking here.
For a complete explanation of why we ranked the lodging guides, please click here for our original article and also some follow-up notes.

How we ranked the California Bed and Breakfast Lodging Guides
We tested the rankings of 185 web sites all of which were Bed and Breakfast Lodging Guides.
Each of these guides was checked in Google, Yahoo and MSN's new search engine which are the top three search engines currently.
We used a total of 465 search terms including generic California terms such as "california bed and breakfast" and terms for 221 California cities such as "santa barbara bed and breakfast." To ensure we did not simply give higher scores to the guide with the greatest number of listings we only scored a limited number of listings and also compared these scores to average aggregate scores
All of the above constitutes the objective score each guide received. A bonus subjective score was then applied to each guide based on a variety of complex factors. These two scores combined established our rankings and final scores. In the end, 137 lodging guides scored well enough to be included in this report.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What a view! Wofford Acres Vineyard

What a view!
Originally uploaded by Steph2472.
Yes, this is the view you see from the tasting room at Woffard Acres. Our pal Ann can usually be found in the tasting room and will be happy to tell you about the winery. Located in Camino, this delightful winery has been open since 2003. They specialize in white and red wines from El Dorado County in the Sierra Nevada foothills. if you are in the area, stop by and raise a glass! Visit their website for directions and more information.

Cornell Issues Comprehensive Marketing Guide For B&B Inns

10 August 2006

Cornell Issues Comprehensive Marketing Guide For B&B Inns

Ithaca, NY -- Accompanied by a handy checklist, a comprehensive new marketing guide offers dozens of suggestions for promoting bed and breakfast inns. The checklist, “A Comprehensive Guide to Merchandising Bed and Breakfast Inns,” was developed by William Carroll, Ph.D., of Cornell University, three Cornell students, and Pamela Lanier, director of Bed & Breakfasts Inns & Guesthouses International, publisher of numerous guides and books for B&Bs, and host of and The guide is the newest publication in the CHR Tools for Industry series. The guide and checklist are available at no charge from the Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research.

“Our goal is to make sure that innkeepers have a comprehensive list of both the traditional methods of promoting B&Bs, as well as the expanding methods for using the internet,” said Carroll, who is a senior lecturer at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. “We know that innkeepers won’t need every idea that we offer, but we want to make sure that nothing is overlooked.”

In addition to listing the promotion ideas, the guide explains how each promotion idea can be used in different circumstances. “Promoting a B&B is different from marketing a hotel, because of the personal touch,” Lanier explained. “Even though it’s important for an inn to have strong internet presence, for example, many customers still prefer to telephone the innkeeper for reservations. That means the innkeeper has to promote the B&B through both traditional and electronic means.”

As examples of traditional methods for promoting a B&B, the inn can be listed in guidebooks, become a venue for special events, and send out direct-mail pieces by various means. Electronic promotion hinges on offering an attractive website, but that’s just the beginning, since that site must feature keywords that search engines will notice and handle guests’ requests for rates and availability. It is important that the inn’s name comes up strongly in search engines, which is often achieved by joining inn and B&B directories that themselves come up well in organic and ppc-sponsored searches. Along that line, email contact is a logical way for innkeepers to remain in touch with guests and potential guests.

The report is free to users of the site, but you do need to register with them for free.

Monday, August 14, 2006

How about a bed and breakfast in San Antonio

In contrast to the article in the Wall Street Journal, here is a news story our of San Antonio TX.

Ready to make the big leap? Some historic B&Bs are up for grabs

Web Posted: 08/12/2006 07:24 PM CDT

Rachel Stone
Express-News Business Writer

For anyone daydreaming about fixing up a quaint little bed-and-breakfast, or longing to nurture his or her inner Martha Stewart, here's an opportunity.
At least four San Antonio bed-and-breakfasts are on the market. Ranging from $477,000 to $1.4 million, they come with Web sites, brands, built-in clientele and, in most cases, furnishings.

Inn keeping is not a profession to jump into willy-nilly, however.

Too many people have little more than a romantic notion about inn keeping before taking the plunge, said Pam Horovitz, president and CEO of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.

"They fly into it, and then they move on almost instantaneously," she said from her office in Haddon Heights, N.J. "We try to make sure that doesn't happen."

For sale: Bed & breakfast
Castle exudes 'wonderful spirit'
Romantic trappings everywhere
Antiques galore, and a cottage too
Longleaf pine can't be replicated

Many innkeepers — even those who did their homework and went into the business with eyes wide open — move on after seven years, Horovitz said. "They think, 'You know that signature dish of ours? I just don't know if I can make it one more time,'" Horovitz said. "We find that if they can do something to get their juices flowing again, then they're good."

If they make it over "the seven-year hump," they tend to stay on for 20 years or more, she said.

If you would like to know more about the ups and downs of running a bed-and-breakfast, the Historic Accommodations of Texas group is offering a seminar for aspiring innkeepers as part of its annual meeting in San Antonio Aug. 20. For more information, call the association at (512) 371-9884.

Online at:

Why a bed and breakfast in Placerville, CA?

Good question....Rita had always dreamed of opening a bed and breakfast and one day while surfing the web, I came across the Shafsky House Bed and Breakfast. I am not sure if it was on or, but I am pretty sure it was one of them. They both have sections for innkeepers to list their bed and breakfast as "For Sale".

So, we went from looking at the B&B on the web to coming up and staying nearby to actually do a walkthru of the inn. We pretty much decided on the spot that it was time to live the dream of running our own bed and breakfast and we made a offer fairly soon after our first visit.

Of course buying a bed and breakfast is not like buying a house and we still had many hurdles before the bed and breakfast was finally ours in June of 2002.

Friday, August 11, 2006

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about Bed and Breakfast Inns

In today's Wall Street Journal they talk about how property values in California and elsewhere having been driving innkeepers to sell as single family homes, rather than continue to have guests. We know this first hand as the inn 5 houses away from us just sold as a residence! While that may be good for us as we may now get some of their previous clientle, there are now 4 fewer rooms to be had in Placerville.

We also have an association of innkeepers in El Dorado County, and now we have less members, which means possibly fewer ideas being generated and less income to do collaborative marketing.

Here is the article from the Wall Street Journal from August 11, 2006

The Endangered B&B

Inns Turn Into Private Homes,
As Pinched Owners Cash Out;
Rumsfeld Checks In for Good
August 11, 2006; Page W1

Bed and breakfasts have thrived for decades by promising to make guests feel like family. Now, a number of B&Bs are being taken over by families who have no intention of leaving.

In a side effect of the real-estate boom, scores of traditional bed and breakfasts are closing down as new buyers turn them back into private residences. Behind the vanishing inns is a simple equation: Many B&Bs are worth more as properties than as businesses. And with the real-estate market showing signs of softening, innkeepers now have an immediate incentive to sell out and reap a windfall. Rising interest rates have also made it more difficult for innkeepers to pay the monthly mortgage and still turn a profit by renting rooms to weekenders.

The Sardy House, Aspen, Colo., Renovated and ready, private buyers welcome. Asking price: $20 million.
As a result, many operators have served their last apple pancake. In Lenox, Mass., tree-lined Cliffwood Street has one B&B, down from three in the late 1990s. In Cape May, N.J., the owner of the Columns by the Sea turned her beachfront B&B into separate condominiums she's selling for up to $1.5 million. In Aspen, Colo., the owners of the Sardy House converted the inn into a six-bedroom single-family home, now on the market for $20 million. (The property also comes with a townhouse and an eight-bedroom carriage house.) In late 2003, the owners of Mount Misery Bed & Breakfast in St. Michaels, Md., decided it wouldn't be much use wooing would-be innkeepers, so they marketed it as a private home. It sold, for $1.5 million, to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The dynamic is playing out across the country. The California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns says seven of its members sold their properties last year -- each to buyers planning to convert them into private homes. Overall, the Professional Association of Innkeepers International says the number of rooms in B&Bs and country inns decreased 11 percent in 2004 compared with 2002, to 148,000, the latest data available. (The PAII uses "inn" and "bed and breakfast" interchangeably for small lodgings that serve breakfast, with places that also serve dinner labeled "country inns.") The innkeeper association has seen the transformation firsthand: Since 2000, three of its seven board members sold their own inns as private homes.


See what some B&Bs are doing to woo guests.That means fewer options for travelers like Linda Myers. For 15 years, the auditor from Hayward, Calif., stayed at the same B&B when she visited Ashland, Ore., for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Ms. Myers liked reading on the home's park-view porch and staying up late to talk Shakespeare with fellow guests over lemonade and cookies, things she couldn't do at a motel. But about a year or so ago she received a form letter saying that the place had been sold. "It was a 'To Whom It May Concern' kind of thing," says Ms. Myers, who has found a new B&B in town. "I was sort of hurt."

'Like Making Beds'

Historically, bed and breakfasts have sold for four to six times a year's gross revenues. Under that model, new owners could afford to buy a home, pay the mortgage and expenses and bank the difference. But because real-estate values have soared so quickly the formula no longer works. Now, such homes are selling at eight times annual revenues, and often much more. Revenues, meanwhile, are up only slightly: The average bed and breakfast room price is $144, up about five percent since 2002, according to PAII.

Deer Creek Inn, Nevada City, Calif., Still a B&B, but owners may sell. They paid about $1 million for it in 2004.
For many operators, rising home and mortgage costs are the final nail in the coffin. Bed and breakfasts have traditionally been low-margin businesses that work best when home payments are small. Rising costs for liability insurance cut further into bottom lines. And these inns run some of the lowest occupancy rates in the hospitality business. Hotel rooms now stand at close to 71 percent occupancy, according to Smith Travel Research. In part because B&Bs depend less on weekday business travel than on seasonal and weekend guests, their occupancy rates are closer to 41 percent, according to PAII.

Running an inn becomes a labor of love, says Bill Carroll, senior lecturer at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. "You had better like making beds," he says. "Unless you're getting some psychic value out it, I have trouble understanding how you can make a business of it."

The math isn't working for Eileen and Ken Strangfeld. In 2004, the couple spent about $1 million on the six-room Deer Creek Inn in Nevada City, Calif. Though they were able to offer $400,000 down, their only willing lender was the Small Business Administration, which offered a commercial loan with variable interest pegged to the prime rate. With rates rising, the couple's debt payment -- which, at about 10 percent currently, is about four points higher than the national average for a residential loan -- has increased to $5,800 a month from $4,300 a month. This eats up about half of the inn's $140,000 revenue, they say. Much of the rest goes to taxes, part-time worker salaries and other overhead.

When they have guests -- who pay $160 to $225 for a room -- the Strangfelds get up at 6:30 a.m. to make breakfasts like mushroom and spinach strata and pancakes topped with yogurt and fresh fruit. They do dishes, wash towels and sheets, stock bathrooms with homemade bubble bath and rake under the yard's century-old cherry tree. While guests sip wine from five to six, Mrs. Strangfeld asks about dietary restrictions before making an evening shopping trip. They answer Web inquiries before hitting bed at 10:30 p.m. They do not draw salaries, they say. Their annual profit is around $5,000.

Angel House, Park City, Utah. No room at the inn: Private buyer paid about $2 million for it in 2004.
None of that is a concern for those who have the cash for a vacation home. A few years ago, Rick Kuhle was staying at the Angel House Bed & Breakfast in Park City, Utah, a century-old, slopeside property just a short walk from Park City's main village. The owners mentioned the place was for sale, but that they hadn't been able to sell it as an inn. Mr. Kuhle, the president of a shopping-center developer in Phoenix, paid about $2 million for the 10-bedroom inn and transformed it into a seven-bedroom home. As soon as others found out what he was up to, he says, they offered him as much as $2.5 million. He hasn't sold. Meanwhile, the house still attracts vistors. "Once in a while people walk up and ask if it's still for rent," he says.

Few of these inns are in move-in condition, however. B&Bs often keep kitchens and living rooms small to leave space for money-making bedrooms. Bathrooms are myriad: Many properties have a dozen or more spread over a few thousand square feet. Plus, while home buyers typically prefer unfurnished space, many B&Bs come with everything from heavy furniture to antique butter dishes.

In Colorado Springs, Colo., the Room at the Inn is for sale for $1.23 million, and owners Dorian and Linda Ciolek say they'd prefer to sell to a prospective innkeeper because they'd like the sale price to include the antique furnishings that came with the place. They figure the collection is worth $250,000, including a nine-foot-tall buffet, hand carved from oak, with glass-front cabinets for crystal wine glasses and silver tea sets. "We probably wouldn't have this in our house," says Mr. Ciolek.

Petting the Cat

The B&B industry is one of the latest to be impacted by this decade's real-estate runup. Golf courses have been razed to make way for home developments and tennis courts have been replaced by shopping centers, while many communities have seen summer camps cash in their land holdings. The inns also represent an old-style approach to traveling at a time when hotels are offering very different sorts of amenities. While new hotels pitch in-room exercise equipment, spa wings and loads of anonymity, the classic B&B experience includes communal breakfasts, small talk with fellow guests and invitations to pet the host's cat.

Pleasure Point Inn, Santa Cruz, Calif. Privacy pays: THe inn has separate entrances for three of its four rooms.
Loosely defined, the B&B is a centuries-old industry, common throughout the United States and Europe. The inns started showing up in many travel guides in the 1960s, and interest grew with the 1980s TV show "Newhart," whose main character traded a career as a New York writer to become the proprietor of a Vermont inn. PAII was formed in 1988, and the trade organization estimates that the country's 20,000 inns generate some $3.4 billion in business. In urban cores and small towns alike, B&B owners have been among the first to kickstart gentrification by renovating dilapidated buildings, underwriting the cost by taking in guests.

As the business model comes under pressure, many newer inns are moving away from the properties' small, communal roots. For example, the Pleasure Point Inn in Santa Cruz, Calif. -- a four-room place that charges $225 to $295 per night -- added private entrances to three of its four rooms a few years ago, and now allows guests to eat breakfast in their rooms. Other operators are opening minihotels with two dozen or more rooms that are built instead of converted, with amenities like gyms or small spas. According to PAII, the proportion of bed and breakfasts that were built from the ground up -- which tend to be bigger than traditional B&Bs -- increased to 17 percent in 2004, up from 13 percent in 1998. This is partly because it is more efficient to operate more rooms, with inns that have 21 rooms or more generating more than $500,000 a year and profit margins of 30 percent or more, according to PAII.

Not everyone is upset at the thought of fewer B&Bs. Scott Hutchison doesn't care for the communal experience, he says, but he has endured three stays because his wife is a fan. The Chicago advertising manager says that if he goes to one, he at least tries to skirt the common areas. "Everytime I've been to one it comes to the dinner hour and there's some old guy with long hair playing acoustic guitar -- just hanging out, wanting you to hang out by the fireplace with him," he says. "I'm just not really into pseudo weekend friends."

Still, many fans remain -- among both guests and innkeepers. The Strangfelds of Nevada City, for one, are thinking of selling their B&B -- and building a new one close to their grandchildren in Oregon. "You get to live in a beautiful home in a beautiful setting," says Mrs. Strangfeld. "And when I have a day off, I'm already in the place that I would vacation at."

Labor Day Weekend ... Apple Hill® season begins!

Those who have left the highway and driven through the orchards, vineyards and forests above Placerville know what Apple Hill is all about... Take the drive... try apple cider, donuts, fritters, pie, etc. This year there is a free Apple Hill Shuttle from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every weekend from Oct 2nd through Oct. 31st. The shuttle will be picking up visitors every 15-30 minutes all day long. The pick up site is Schnell School in Placerville. Located in Camino, CA, Apple Hill was once a fledgling association comprised of 16 original ranches. Today it boasts more than 50 ranches including Christmas tree growers, wineries, and vineyards. Free to the public. For more information either contact us and book a night at our bed and breakfast which is just minutes to all the goodies or call the Apple Hill Growers Association (530) 644-7692 or visit them on the web. We go up several times a season and get treats for us and sometimes for the guests for the next day's breakfast. Yummy!!

It is also a great time to see which Christmas tree farm you might want to visit to cut your own tree.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Looking for some craft items? Visit Placerville, CA

This Sunday, August 13th, Main Street closes to host the 10th Annual Craft Faire with over 100 artisans from all over the West featuring pottery, woodwork, quilted and decorating items, dolls, garden items, soaps, candles, jewelry, food, and much, much more. 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Historic Main Street, Placerville. Admission and parking are free. For more information contact: Placerville Downtown Association (530) 672-3436

It is always a fun time when Placerville closes the street and you can walk around thru the shops and stalls of goodies on Main St. Just be prepared for it to be a bit on the warm side. It seems whenever Craft Fair weekend is, it is always on the hot side!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Photos of the bed and breakfast: Past and present

This is a photo of the inn from early in 1998. Not sure when it was painted but a guess is about 1990. While I am not a fan of the yellow, it is the color reflected in Ann Gladwell's paintings of the Seasons of Placerville.
This photo was probably taken from the middle of Hwy 49, which is where I try and take most of the shots of the inn too.

When we purchased the bed and breakfast, the Shafsky House was a light blue color with white trim. On grey, rainy days we thought it sort of vanished into the greyness leading us to paint it in May of 2003.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Guest reviews on

What some guests at our bed and breakfast had to say about breakfast, the inn and Placerville from July 2006. I was a bit surprised to find this posting under a search for Albert Shafsky as I did not know that was posting reviews still. I suppose what they really have is more of a bulletin board to talk about anything relating to bed and breakfast inns and we just happened to get mentioned by some guests. Thank you!!!

That is why as an innkeeper, it is important to remember to always be checking the web and what folks are saying--both good and bad. I try and check the web weekly to see where we are in relation to every other Placerville bed and breakfast and to see what is being said about us on places like Tripadvisor.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rafting in Placerville, CA

The South Fork of the American River is California's most populare whitewater river. Whether you book a trip from Chili Bar or the Gorge Run, you will have a great day rafting with one of the outfitters in El Dorado County. Offering rapids from Class I-III, the river is a great run for all ages!
The South Fork takes you on a memorable journey thru our gold rush history, passing old mines, and current dredges. For more information visit the El Dorado County website about rafting the American River.
Many outfitters work with the Albert Shafsky House bed and breakfast to offer discounts for our bed and breakfast guests when they stay with us in Placerville, just minutes from the American River.
Rita and I have been many times on both parts of the South Fork and have had a great time each time. The trip is always different, even on the same route because the flow is never the same. For photos of one of our trips check here. Yes, that is Rita and I in the front of the boat. And of course that is me, goofing off for the camera. I was just glad I managed to stay in the boat for the photo!!!
Even innkeepers need to get away for a day now and then and what better way than to raft the South Fork of the American River! In fact that is one of the secrets of having a bed and breakfast, get out once in a while and just enjoy the area you are in. The bed and breakfast has managed to still be in Placerville every time we have left it for an hour (or 6) to raft :)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Moonlight in Margaritaville Aug 5th, 2006

Moonlight in Margaritaville features Garratt Wilkin and the Parrotheads - a Celebration of Jimmy Buffett's Music. Enjoy a tropical atmosphere in the foothills with great music, cheeseburgers, margaritas and more. Opening act by El Dorado Musical Theatre. Please, no ice chests, food or beverages brought on the premises. 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. High Hill Ranch $20 in advance; $25 at the door. Children under 12 free w/adult paid. For more information contact: Marble Valley Center for the Arts (530) 642-2431 or visit their website. We have been to see this guy and he really does a wonderful show, and who can resist cheeseburgers in paradise at High Hill Ranch??? Come up have a drink and bring a parrot!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Why did we call one of our guest rooms the Gandy Dancer?

Well, because Steph really likes trains...really. Some of you may know her Jeep plate is STM TRNS--get it? Steam trains....

What is a Gandy Dancer? It has been debated but here is a definition from World Wide Words.

Want to know more about railroading? Visit the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento when you are visiting us. We try to go see the latest exhibits at least once a quarter.

Steph also played with big trains before becoming an innkeeper at places like the Golden Gate Rail Museum in San Francisco and the Niles Canyon Railway in Niles, near Fremont, CA.

Not sure what started the love of trains but we have ridden many. Roaring Camp in Felton, is a favorite run thru the redwoods or to the beach in Santa Cruz. Travel over trestles, through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain as conductors narrate the history of Roaring Camp, the railroad and the forest!

Or the Verde Canyon in Arizona. The Verde Canyon Railroad is the #1 outdoor attraction for visitors coming to Sedona, Arizona and is an easy 25 mile drive southwest on scenic Highway 89A. Of course if you are going to AZ, you might as well take the Grand Canyon train too!

Of course, there are books in the Gandy Dancer about gandy dancers,the Disney Railroad, V&T, SP and the ATSF. Along with photos, models and other books on rail history to get you dreaming of your next trip by rail or building a scale railroad of your own.

The photo above is of the Gandy Dancer at our Placerville bed and breakfast.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ask the Innkeeper

Want to know what it is like to run and bed and breakfast? Just ask us. Here is you chance to experience innkeeping, from an innkeeper. Have a question about innkeeping, or Placerville or our bed and breakfast? Just ask. Looking to run a bed and breakfast and not sure where to start? How about right here. We would be happy to answer any questions about innkeeping, or Placerville in general. Never stayed at an inn before? We would be happy to tell you what it is like. Stay at a bed and breakfast, and experience a room with a different view.

No two inns are alike, just as no two people are alike, but we will do our best to make you feel comfortable before you walk in the door, wherever that bed and breakfast happens to be.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Albert Shafsky House a Placerville bed and breakfast inn

Albert Shafsky House a Placerville bed and breakfast inn

Looking for something to do this weekend...?Apple Hill Summer Wine Fest

Join us here in the foothills as the seven wineries of Apple Hill host an event featuring red wines and barbeque. The first year was a success, so get your tickets today. Limited to 400 tickets per day, it allows you to relax, take your time, and unwind while sampling the amazing variety of red wines the Apple Hill Wineries have to offer. 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Lava Cap Winery, Primus Winery, Boger Winery, Madrona Winery, Coulson Winery, & pals over at Wofford Acres Vineyards. Tickets are $30.00/person; $35.00 after July 1st For more information call: (916) 932-2200

54th Annual Jeepers Jamboree

Calling all Jeeps....

This is a 4-day option that will have 12 meals furnished and 250 vehicles will be involved. For more information about this, event and how to register you can write to or call Jeepers Jamboree, P.O. Box 1660, Georgetown, CA 95634. $295 per person For more information contact: Jeepers Jamboree (530) 333-4771

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hot, hot, hot

It has been a bit on the warm side, thank goodness for air-conditioning!

Apple Hill season is just a few weeks away! And with all this heat the apples should be ripening nicely. Just imaging waking at the Albert Shafsky House to breakfast of apple pancakes and banana muffins, and then heading out for a full day tasting apple everything you can think of..... for more on Apple Hill .

Looking for more reasons to visit, the restored Bee Bennet House, now Sequoia Restaurant has delicious food and comedy nights, winemaker dinners and other special events.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A blog about our Placerville Bed and Breakfast

Why start a blog? It seemed like a great way to truly have two way communication with our guests, even when they are not here and to let you know what was "upcoming" with out you having to go to our website. You can simply subscribe to our feed now and get all the updates about what is going on in Placerville, or at the bed and breakfast or both. We will also include things of note around El Dorado County and the Sacramento area...places you can easily get to from Placerville and our inn.

As your innkeepers in Placerville, we will also try to answer any questions you might have about the area, running a bed and breakfast, innkeeping day-to-day or the best resources we know of to help you if you think you want to be an innkeeper, in Placerville or somewhere else.

So, feel free to start the dialog....

Summer in Placerville, CA at our bed and breakfast

Summer is here in the foothills, but we still have some snow melting and the South Fork is flowing. New wines to taste and new shops on Main Street to visit. Don't forget Apple Hill season is just around the corner. And of course you can find upcoming events on the calendar of events
Some additions to the inn. You may notice a name change to our newsletter...we added Albert to our inn name, so it is now the "Albert Shafsky House Bed & Breakfast". And we placed cd players in all the rooms, so you may bring your favorite relaxing music or listen to our selelctions.
We all scream for ice cream!!! The Albert Shafsky House B&B has partnered with Cold Stone Creamery in Placerville and is happy to offer our guest "buy one, get one" certificates. They will be waiting in your room when you arrive.
And we have added a puppy named Lily Belle to the inn. She is a 14 week old mini-doxie and she loves to say "hi" to the guests and then disappear into the grass.
Your Innkeepers, Rita and Stephanie

Wine Barrels on Parade
This year artists were asked to work with wine barrels and come up with creative ways to promote art and tourism in historic Placerville, California. Wine barrels were chosen as the canvas for this art project due to the lone and rich history of wine- making in El Dorado County. Come and see them for yourselves! Photos in the gallery coming soon.
Read on...

Wanna get wet and wild on the American River?

If you would like to go rafting, just give us a call or visit the website for several companies that we work with to offer you a great day on the river. Yep, that is us rafting last year on the American River. No photos of this year yet, but we are going next week...
Read on...

What guests have said recently.... from Tripadvisor....

"Our son was married at the "Bee Bennett House" and we were fortunate to book our rooms at the Albert Shafsky House just a few blocks away. My family booked the three wonderful rooms (Vineyard, Lighthouse, Garrett) and it was like being in our own home! Everthing in this B&B was impeccable...the food, the furnishings, the hospitality of Rita and Stephanie. We had a few special requests (flowers for my mom, wedding prep) and all were greeted with absolute graciousness and hospitality. We were all wonderfully impressed and we unanimously recommend this location for your visit to Gold Country."
"Thanks for such a wonderful stay! Lovely hospitality, delicious breakfasts & precious puppy!"
"As usual, a fabulous time, fabulous food and above all fabulous company. Congratulations on the new puppy."
"What a fantastic stay. The food was outstanding. the room so very comfortable and the atmosphere very relaxing. We will be sure to tell all of our friends about this great place!"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

InnSide our Placerville bed and Breakfast

We'll be posting regularly to keep you updated with all the fun things happening here at the Albert Shafsky house bed and breakfast, in Placerville, and elsewhere in El Dorado County and the Gold Country area of California.