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Friday, December 28, 2007

A friend of the Albert Shafsky House B&B in Placerville comes up with a great idea to help seniors

From yesterday's Mountain Democrat

Serving up joy and with each senior meal
By Rosemary Revell Democrat staff writer December 26, 2007 16:54
Photo by John Zachry THERESA ZACHRY organizes a program to create placemats for seniors. The placemats brighten the meals the seniors receive from the Home Delivered Meals service. One day in mid-December, placemats were spread out everywhere - 195 of them to be exact, all representing the art work of students in kindergarten through sixth grade at Gold Trail and Sutters Mill Schools.

The placemats were arranged like a sea of many colors, shining due to lamination, and they were all over the floor of the front lobby of Minuteman Press in Placerville. As well as having many colors, they also presented a variety of form and subject matter.

Since the placemats were destined for holiday, many had a Christmas theme while others were snowscapes or winterscapes, and some were smiley faces guaranteed to warm the heart of any senior recipient. Some placemats bore the name of the artist while others were inscribed with messages such as 'Hi, I hope you have a nice day.'

The placemats are the brain child of Theresa Zachry, 10, of Placerville, daughter of John and Carolyn Zachry. Theresa generated the idea as a project for the Girl Scouts of America Bronze Award, so she arranged for the art work and raised the funds that paid for laminating. She then engaged in distributing the placemats to seniors as a Christmas gift from the kids of El Dorado County.

Hot idea

The idea for Christmas placemats began one very hot July day.

'Over the summer, I was doing Home Delivered Meals with Rita Timewell (co-innkeeper of the Albert Shafsky House), and on one of the very hot days I made snowflakes to keep the seniors cool,' Theresa explained.

In a cooler time of year, Theresa was faced with the challenge of coming up with a project of worth.

'My mom and I were talking about what I needed to do to earn my Bronze Award for Girl Scouts. For the Bronze Award, you have to have a certain amount of badges in (specific) areas and then a project that spans 48 hours. Then we thought of placemats for seniors.'

The placemat project entailed quite a number of executive tasks for the Gold Trail School fifth grader. Theresa's first task was to arrange for the art work and placemats.

'I talked to the principals of Gold Trail and Sutters Mill, and they thought it was a wonderful idea,' said Theresa.

The principals talked to their teachers, and the teachers arranged for their students to draw or make a picture on placemat sized art paper.

'Most of the kids in the schools except for the 7th-and 8th-graders made a placemat,' Theresa said.

After acquiring the mats, Theresa's next task was to raise money to defray the cost of materials and labor for lamination.

'I raised money from Kiwanis, Network El Dorado and the Community Foundation - Steve Healy. I got $800 all together. I collected the placemats and my dad had them laminated,' Theresa said.

'I charged her for it, though. It took one employee all day,' said John Zachry, 50, owner/operator of Minuteman Press.

Theresa's remaining task for the Bronze Award was to make sure the placemats reach the target recipients.

'Everyone who does Home Delivered Meals is take some placemats, and my mom and I are passing them out at senior centers,' she said. 'The project took a long time. It was pretty hard.'

'Theresa already has a sense of community. My wife and I have been volunteers and on boards of directors, so she has seen that in her parents. She thinks of others first,' said John.

Zachry also said Theresa has natural entrepreneurial instincts as well as artistic tendencies.

'Whenever she spends time at Minuteman Press, she does artwork and sells it to customers. She's a rather persuasive little salesperson,' he said.

Theresa's art specialty is making refrigerator art for adults who do not have kids or grandchildren to make it for them.

'The ultimate goal of this Bronze Award project is to lighten up the day of a senior at one of the senior centers or the folks who receive Home Delivered Meals. The placemats are for them to keep and to remind them that our kids today really do care,' John said.

The Bronze Award is the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can earn. It requires her to learn the leadership and planning skills necessary to follow through on a project that makes a positive impact on her community.

A group of Junior Girl Scouts themselves actually instituted the Bronze Award in 2001 in Savannah, Ga.

The four requirements to be eligible for the Bronze Award are: to earn two badges related to the project; to complete one of the Girl Scout Signs found in the 'Junior Girl Scout Handbook;' to earn the Junior Aide Award or the Junior Girl Scout Leadership Award or two other awards; and to complete a project specifically for the Bronze Award.

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Lovely gifts for celebrating women!

Here’s To Good Women! This site is all about celebrating women and encouraging women to celebrate themselves. They provide ideas and inspiration along with a variety of gift items to help you celebrate, relax or just bring out your inner “girly girl”. We especially loved their Social Light decorative lighter. Use the promotion code ALBERT at checkout and you will get a 15% discount anytime you like, on any item.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ed Dorado County Winery Passport weekend

If you are coming for Passport weekend, where wineries open their doors and special deals are available, tasting is plentiful and food abounds, look no further than a stay with us at the Albert Shafsky House B&B as we have rooms open for the first time! Only on the first weekend of the event, but we still have rooms and can probably get you tickets for the event too! This memorable event has limited tixs and sells out every year in just one day. So come to the foothills for the last weekend in March and get your "Passport" stamped by the wonderful wineries in the foothills.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

California B&B Annual Conference& Trade Show 2008

It is that time of year again....the annual B&B conference for California bed and breakfast inns will be January 27-29 2008 and Rita and I will be in attendance once again. This is a great chance to learn about innkeeping, from experts in their field and network with innkeepers from around the state. We hope to see you there!

Annual Conference& Trade Show 2008
Innkeeping AsA Profession
Take a Look BackAnd be InnSpired!
Sunday - Tuesday, January 27-29
Hyatt Vineyard Creek - Santa Rosa, California
Innspire 2008
Please join us for InnSpire 2008, California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns' (CABBI) annual Conference & Trade Show as we celebrate 16 years of growing stronger together in this year of partnering with the California Hotel and Lodging Association.
Don't miss out! This is the ONE industry conference that every innkeeper should attend.
In these competitive times, it is vital that innkeepers stay informed about all aspects of the hospitality and tourism industry, from business strategies to culinary skills, from Internet marketing to property improvements.
Combining educational workshops, networking with other innkeepers and industry professionals, plus social and relaxing activities, this 3-day experience will rekindle your passion for innkeeping.
Register Now Online or Download a Registration Form (PDF)
Our popular annual Trade Show is the place to meet over 40 vendors who supply you with products and services for your business. See, smell and touch the amenities that make your guests feel so special. Talk to the bankers, loan officers and realtors who work in the B&B industry.
Concurrent Workshops - Learn about the latest Internet marketing tools, laws that apply to B&Bs and consumer trends from workshop leaders, industry professionals and seasoned innkeepers. Let your creativity flow at the hands-on gardening workshop, and get fresh ideas from a gourmet chef, plus tips on chic and thrifty decorating! Click on Event Schedule for more details.
Innkeeping as a Profession (IAP) Workshop Sunday & Monday, January 27-28, 2008
CABBI offers a two-day workshop for Aspiring Innkeepers. "Education is key to success when people are thinking about purchasing a bed and breakfast inn," explains IAP facilitator Teri Mattson. "We provide a comprehensive insider's look at the industry.and the support aspiring innkeepers need to pursue their dream."
InnTouch Appointments - Schedule one-on-one appointments with the tech experts who can tell you how all the new technology can help you with your operations and demonstrate just how it all works to better your business.
Guest Management Software User GroupsInvite your staff to attend the User Group to learn the latest in guest management software and about other tech products. You will reap the rewards with a well-trained staff and your staff will appreciate the education and knowledge.Network & Mingle with Friends and ColleaguesNetwork with California innkeepers, industry vendors and professionals, and CABBI and CH&LA staff. Stay over in Santa Rosa and explore nearby Napa and Sonoma counties' beautiful wine country, quaint shops and countless attractions. And have FUN!Wine, Dine & RelaxWe have plenty of opportunities planned for you to enjoy yourself! Don't miss out on our opening Wine Country Reception, Teatime with exhibitors, delicious breakfasts and lunches, and CABBI's 16th Anniversary Dinner Dance. These will be perfect times to catch up with old friends and make some new ones!***For some additional relaxation, the Hyatt has extended a 20% discount to conference attendees, on spa treatments offered at the hotel*** Click here for information on treatments at the Vineyard Creek Spa.
Visit Santa Rosa and enjoy its unique shopping, local culture, the Charles Schulz Memorial Park and Historic Railroad Square, all just minutes from the hotel.
"InnSpire was a marvelous introduction into the world of innkeeping. As a new innkeeper it was THE PERFECT industry crash course. Informative and diverse seminars, quality networking and real advice from genuine B&B professionals. InnSpire offered comprehensive insight into my new venture and delivered tools that allowed me to evolve my diverse skills into a fulfilling lifestyle." Marjorie Woodbridge, Casa Tropicana, San Clemente, California
After the CABBI ShowBookingCenter is sponsoring a Green Packaging Tour of Sonoma County on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 from 4:40-7:40 pm. This is a FREE tour, limited to 35 registrants.Join us for this fun and educational tour on Green Packaging from leaders in the industry. Learn about the EcoRing, a unique green packaging model in Sonoma County, and bring ideas back home to your local community.We'll stroll through the redwoods at Armstrong Redwoods and learn about packaging environmental tours to promote greater appreciation and preservation of the natural and cultural resources in your area. Next we'll visit Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, a green spa with beautiful gardens and learn first hand about green business practices and packaging spas with B&Bs and Inns. Local, premium wine will be provided by MAS Wine Company.BookingCenter will provide round-trip bus service from the Hyatt Vineyard Creek in Santa Rosa. Register online or call 707-874-3922 x 204 to register.
Hotel Room Reservations
Contact the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa directly for your hotel reservations at 800-233-1234, and ask for the CABBI Conference rate of $129 sgl/dbl. The Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa is located in Northern California's wine country, at 170 Railroad Street in Santa Rosa, within walking distance from the Historic Railroad Square District. Reserve your room with the hotel directly before the CABBI special rate ends on January 11, 2008.
A new transportation option to attend the conference is now available. Horizon Air recently introduced several daily flights to Santa Rosa from San Diego and Los Angeles. For information on fares and availability, click here.
For ground transportation from San Francisco or Oakland International Airports, contact Sonoma County Airport Express, 707-837-8700 or

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dec. 8 & 9 was the holiday tour

Last weekend our Placerville bed and breakfast participated in the 12th Annual Holiday of the bed and breakfast inns of El Dorado County. We had a number of folks thru on the tour and a good time was had by all.
Here are some photos for those who missed the tour, or missed our inn.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blogs and travel (and bed and breakfasts)

In this months issue of Lodging Magazine there is an article titled "Hot Blogs: Tracking the influence of the Internet on travel planning" which states that "Two thirds of active travelers now go exclusively to the Internet to obtain information when planning vacations, and four out of 10 now report "regularly reading" visitor critiques and opinions online", which is why it is so important to spend time each day keeping an eye on your website and elsewhere that you might be mentioned.

As an innkeeper who loves marketing, I enjoy posting on our bed and breakfast blog, but also surfing the web to find interesting places to list our B&B or just read comments about other inns and what they are up to. I also try and keep track of some favorite sites on the Internet like,,,,,,,, and

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Finds in the foothills....our Placerville bed and breakfast makes the news.

Surfing this morning brings this gem from Business News ....about our Placerville area and our bed and breakfast.

“There’s Gold in Them Thar Bed & Breakfasts!”

Laguna Beach 12/06/2007 08:00 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)

Almost 160 years after gold was discovered in California you can still explore the original site now called Marshall’s Gold Discovery Historic Park in Coloma as well as tour the Gold Bug Mine, a once rich mother lode, and learn all the fascinating history at the El Dorado County Museum. And yet there is so much more that commands your attention in this magnificent region of California. It remains the land of adventure with white water rafting, hot air ballooning and always a comfortable bed and breakfast with hospitable innkeepers welcoming you at the end of your busy day.

Down the road in the center of historic Placerville is the elegant Albert Shafsky House Bed & Breakfast. Rita and Stephanie have created romantic period rooms with a bit of whimsy plus every modern need, from individual A/C controls to wireless Internet access. After a comfortable night’s sleep head out to explore Placerville which is full of mining lore and of course the site of the famous Hangman’s Tree. Take a ride through the spectacular countryside and visit some of the over 50 wineries in the Sierra Foothills, many offering wine tasting as well as scenic spots for your picnic.

For the full article.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Agency hears bed-and-breakfast debate

Agency hears bed-and-breakfast debate in Hawaii
By Laurie Au

The issue of bed-and-breakfast and transient vacation rentals in residential areas was as clear as yellow and white yesterday.

More than 200 residents swarmed a city Planning Commission hearing, giving heated testimony on proposals to change the city's handling of vacation housing.

Bed-and-breakfast supporters held yellow signs while residents upset with vacation housing held white signs.

The city administration has proposed bills that would require more information be disclosed by vacation-rental owners and allow more units in neighborhoods -- the first changes since 1989.

In a 3 1/2-hour hearing yesterday at the Blaisdell Center Pikake Room, the Planning Commission, an advisory body, heard from dozens of residents on the bills. There was not enough time to hear from all the attendees, and the Planning Commission will schedule another hearing before making a decision.

The City Council, however, has the right to decide which bills it will consider, regardless of the commission's opinion. The Council has proposed its own set of measures on the issue.

The white-sign carriers, mostly residents who live near vacation units, complained about traffic and loud noise from visitors in vacation rentals that turn their neighborhoods into commercial zones.

"I want to live with residents," said Stu Simmons, a Kailua resident for 15 years. "If I wanted to live with tourists, I would live in Waikiki. Vacation rentals deprive us of the neighborhood feeling."
He recalled one Halloween when there were few nearby homes to take his children trick-or-treating because they were vacation homes.

Their opponents, those carrying yellow signs, say they deserve a right to run bed-and-breakfast units and rentals, and they support new city regulations.

"This is our livelihood," said Susie Bryson, of Kailua, who owns several vacation rentals and makes customers sign a contract. "We want regulations so when there is a problem, that rental unit is shut down. Don't let a handful of bad rentals ruin it for all of us."

The bills introduced by the city Department of Planning and Permitting, as instructed by the City Council two years ago, propose that owners of vacation rentals list more information about themselves, including their license number and the address of their units, in all advertisements -- even those online -- to make enforcement easier.

"We have had problems with enforcement," said Henry Eng, planning director. "It would provide additional power. If (owners) list their address, we could do an inspection to find whether they have a permit and issue a violation if they don't. Right now we have to catch them in the act, which is very difficult."

But many owners said it could pose a safety problem since vacation rentals are unattended most of the day and would be targets for criminals. "I think it would expose that particular address to would-be criminals," said Don Maxwell, who owns a vacation rental on the Waianae Coast.

The city also is proposing additional permitting of B&Bs -- which has not been allowed since 1989, raising objections from residents afraid of additional growth.

This weekend Dec. 8 & 9

Christmas in Coloma
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

Annual Historic Country Inn Holiday Tour
Tour 12 inns decked out in seasonal finery, meet the innkeepers and enjoy Inn specialties and refreshments. Weekend tickets available, good for both Saturday and Sunday.Portion of proceeds benefit local charities Each day from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This is a self guided tour going to the Historic Country Inns located throughout El Dorado County. $15 in advance or at the door. Tickets are available at every member inn or or call Historic Country Inns 8772624667