Is it Myth? Or is it One of the Beauties of a Bed and Breakfast Inn?

Lake to Lake members spent the last two weeks debunking the myth that B&Bs are cookie-cutter fashioned from the same lace doily — and the myth that if you stay at a B&B, you must share a bathroom with strangers.

This week, we’re tackling the “myth” that if you stay at a B&B, you have to have breakfast with strangers and eat whatever the innkeeper puts in front of you.  But we have a little problem with busting this one. These “objections” are not total myths; they are, in fact, traditions that are celebrated in the world of B&Bs. 

“I don’t think this perception should be treated as a ‘myth’ at all,” maintains Elizabeth DeWaard, innkeeper at The Inn at Old Orchard Road in Holland. “In fact, to me it speaks to the very essence of the Bed and Breakfast concept. The most decadent of main dish recipes and pastries have always brought sounds of delight from my guests.”

“My guests tell me what they love most about B&Bs are the breakfasts and the interesting table conversations.  I am very concerned to think we could be swallowed up by the motel/hotel mentality and all end up being the same.”

Breakfast at Serendipity Bed and Breakfast Inn
Breakfast at Serendipity puts meaning behind "yummy."

At Serendipity B&B in nearby Saugatuck, Innkeeper David Langley explains that guests are always asked if they have any dietary restrictions or preferences at the time the reservation is made.

“We take these into account when we plan our menu. Because of this and because we are really good cooks, our guests always leave us positive comments about the yumminess of our breakfast….. comments like, “Triple ten for the breakfast. Yummy!” Or “Look forward to the delicious breakfast each morning. They never disappoint!””

We always ask about dietary needs and accommodate them the very best we can, said Kathy Henry of Crimson Cottage Inn the Woods in Holland.
Breakfast food at Crimson Cottage Inn the Woods Bed and Breakfast
Variety is the spice of breakfast at the Crimson Cottage Inn the Woods.

“We purposely plan a buffet-style breakfast that includes a hot entree, fruit, pastries, yogurt, granola and juice  —  so there are choices.” 

She said they also provide vegetarian options with a separate meat option when they have guests with varying needs.
It’s clear that breakfasts served at bed and breakfast inns are delicious, offer variety and cater to dietary needs that range from preferences to glucose intolerance. So what about sharing the breakfast table with strangers?
Cathy Russell, the innkeeper at White Swan Inn, noted this typical guest comment in her newest blog.
“We enjoyed our breakfast converation with the other guests — wonderful company and great food.”
Cathy observed the comment sums up what the B&B experience is all about:  “Breakfast is half of the equation.”
Dining Room at The State Street Inn Bed and Breakfast
There are no strangers at the breakfast table at The State Street Inn.

“People are only strangers until you begin a conversation with them. Then they are acquaintances. By the time you get ready to head home from The State Street Inn in Harbor Beach, suggested Innkeeper Janice Duerr, “you may have made a new friend.”

She added that while she always serves one hot entree, freshly-baked “somethings” and fresh fruit, if any guests have dietary concerns they need only let her know.  Janice will be sure to serve a breakfast they can enjoy.
As to having to eat with “total strangers,” said April Tubbs, innkeeper at Adrounie House B&B in Hastings, “most of our guests find that is the really fun part of the B&B experience. It is amazing as the conversation develops, how much guests find they have in common.”
April tells the story about a woman who called to make a reservation, but stated her husband was quite shy and wondered if he would have to eat with strangers.
“My husband replied, ‘It will be okay. We’ll just turn his chair around so he won’t see anbody else.’  She had a good laugh. When they came, her husband was very comfortable and ended up being a major contributor to the conversation.”
Innkeepers cooking breakfast at Prairieside Suites Bed and Breakfast Inn.
At Prairieside Suites, Paul and Cheri offer breakfast three delicious ways to accommodate your desire.

Cheri and Paul Antozak are two of the most fun and guest-savvy innkeepers in the biz’.  At their suburban Grandville inn, Prairieside Suites Luxury B&B, they serve a hot, freshly homemade “candle light” breakfast in their dining room every morning at 9:30 a.m. Or, for a small service charge, they will deliver a full, hot breakfast to your room at 10 a.m. Or, for the business travelers and early risers or those who prefer sleeping in, they will pack the in-room refrigerator with a deluxe continental breakfast you can enjoy on your time schedule.

 Albion Heritage B&B’s innkeeper, Mary Slater, noted that most of her guests prefer to eat at the common dining table. But for those who don’t, she offers a small private table at a window overlooking the gardens. She will also serve breakfast to guests in their rooms if they request it.
Breakfast Table at The Kalamazoo House Bed & Breakfast Inn
Enjoy breakfast at the common table at Kalamazoo House -- or enjoy the privacy of your own table.

The Kalamazoo House B&B’s breakfast philosophy can be summed up in one word — choice. Not only does this larger inn serve up to six daily entrees, it offers breakfast from 8 – 10 a.m. with time slots as early as 6:30 a.m. accommodated upon request.

Innkeeper Laurel Parrott promised that “unless you choose to eat with other guests you befriended earlier at the daily social hour, you will have your own table.”
When all is said and debunked, maybe what we’re really busting here is the “notion” that B&Bs are inflexible and force guests into situations that could make them uncomfortable. If you’re not convinced otherwise by now……  well, that observation would be rude.