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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 :)