Burlington's Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast Inn
Willis Graves Inn on TV - Bob, Nancy, and Jean interviewed by KET 19 May 2016, 6:50 pmNews must have spread about the award that the inn received as one of the Top 10 Bed and Breakfasts in the U.S., because KET television made a special visit and interviewed Bob, Nancy, and Nancy's mom, Jean. What a great story! Check it out here - the segment starts around the 1 minute and 45 second mark. (We will also try to embed the video below...)
Bob Brames 14 Mar 2016, 7:56 pmIt is with sadness that we share with you that Nancy's Dad and Jean's husband, Bob Brames, passed on February 8th. Everyone who has walked through the bed and breakfast has seen Bob's handiwork as a master-carpenter, he poured sweat and determination into the renovation that began in 1991. In August 1995, with the project completed, the inn opened for business with Jean and Bob greeting guests during the early years. We give thanks for Bob's life and his legacy that is part of the entire inn. Nancy found the wonderful photos (below) that show how much hard work went into the Main House renovation - it was a whole family renovation with Nancy, Bob, Bob, Jean, and Mike all involved.
|Before - Nancy's Dad, Bob Brames, out front - this photo was
take just after the Swartzels bought it in 1991.
|Main House Before
|Bob Swartzel applying the vapor barrier under the siding.|
|Removing Siding and the ugly porch - 1991
|Bob Brames hanging doors|
|Bob Brames working in the Main House|
|Bob Brames outside with the new addition to the side of the Main House|
|Bob Brames working on the addition|
|Both Bobs! Nancy's Dad finding papers on the left, Nancy's husband Bob on the right.|
|Nancy's Mom, Jean, hammering|
|Nancy's brother, Mike, and Bob Swartzel behind him.
|Bob, Jean, and Bob|
|Nancy inside the Main House
|After all of the siding was removed - beautiful!|
|Sheets on the line
|Nancy's Mom, Jean, gardening|
|Grandpa's Littlest Apprentice - Bob and Nancy's son, Dan with Grandpa in the background|
|Nancy's parents always up for a fun time!|
|Bob with his dog; Bob was most likely about 18 years old.|
|Nancy's sister, Mom, and Dad (and Nancy!) at dinner - around 2014.|
|Nancy's Dad enjoying the front porch of the house that he restored along with the family's help|
A Note from Nancy and Bob... 26 Feb 2016, 1:56 pm
Nancy and Bob on WKRC News... 29 Jan 2016, 7:29 am
Top 10 U.S. B&Bs of 2015 Award by BedandBreakfast.com 17 Jan 2016, 1:53 pm
Bob and Nancy Swartzel renovated their 1830s Federal homestead next to the Boone County Fairgrounds and opened it for business in 1995. They later made history when they saved a cabin that sat squarely in the middle of a proposed runway at the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, by purchasing it - for $1 - to salvage a second historic landmark. This 1850s log cabin was wrapped in battered white siding and lined with layers of faded wallpaper. Nancy and Bob arranged to have the two hundred and sixteen poplar logs dismantled and hauled on flat bed trucks over four miles to their inn. After two years of reassembly and renovation, their log cabin getaway opened to guests in November 2004. This honor by BedandBreakfast.com is a perfect milestone to celebrate their twenty years in business.
Top 10 Winner - Burlington's Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast Inn, Burlington, Kentucky
"Travelers rave about this B&B's cleanliness, marvelous breakfasts and complimentary snacks, and unparalleled service. In-room features range from fireplaces to hand-carved canopy beds. 'The whirlpool tub was very nice but the show stopper was the steam shower—there are no words to explain how you feel when you take the time to relax in the steam shower,' says a guest. In the morning, choose from a multi-course hot meal or Continental offerings. 'Breakfasts were decadent. I highly recommend the orange marmalade and cream cheese French toast,' says a reviewer."
Gluten Free Twist on a Guest Favorite Breakfast Dish: Bacon and Spinach Two Cheese Quiche 10 Jan 2016, 9:25 am
Bacon and Spinach Two Cheese Quiche
4 bacon slices, cooked and cut into small pieces
2 large handfuls of baby spinach, chopped into small pieces
glug glug white whine
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
half a square block (approximately 4 ounces) Gruyère cheese, shredded
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup half and half
Dash ground cayenne red pepper for a little kick
Two springs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
Six or seven leaves of fresh rosemary, chopped fine
Couple shakes of Penzey's Italian herb blend
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place four strips of bacon on a cookie sheet that is placed inside a rimmed baking sheet, and add to preheated oven. After six minutes rotate the sheet halfway. After another six minutes, remove the bacon and squeeze in paper towels to remove extra grease. Chop into bite-size pieces. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.
While the bacon is cooking, take the chopped spinach and add to a small saucepan over medium heat. Add a "glug glug" pour of white wine (we used a chardonnay) to the saucepan and let it come to a boil and cook down the spinach for a few minutes. Drain remaining liquid.
Spread the cooked spinach and bacon in the bottom of a pie dish. Add the cheeses on top.
In a separate bowl, mix eggs, heavy cream, half and half, fresh herbs, Italian herb blend, and cayenne pepper. Be careful with the cayenne pepper.
Slowly pour egg mixture over pie, sprinkle the fresh parsley on top, and then add a couple turns of freshly cracked pepper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.
Holiday Gift Giving: Our Gift Certificates are Available Online 3 Dec 2015, 1:16 pm
We can customize gift certificates for any amount over $25 to be used toward a relaxing stay. Your recipient can choose between two masterfully restored early and mid-1800s buildings: the 1850s log cabin and the 1830s Federal brick homestead. Our goal has always been to understand our guests and deliver a lasting impression that involves all five senses: the sight of antiques and comfortable surroundings, the sound of soft music, the touch of plush towels, the smell of the freshly ironed sheets, and the memorable taste of homemade cookies.
Recent Cabin Restoration Details 27 Oct 2015, 12:35 pmGuests this Fall and Winter will notice our recent updates to the cabin restoration...
It started in early Spring, as we hired a painter to paint the main house and to seal the logs on the cabin. At that time we were only going to seal the logs and repair the chinking (the area between the logs) where needed. We went to a store called Log Home Center close to Noblesville, Indiana. We decided to use their products to seal the logs and the chinking. We bought top of the line products that included a 3-step process, to seal the cabin after fixing the chinking and cleaning the logs. We picked out a nice grey stain for the logs and the chinking. We bought what we thought was enough chinking for the repairs and we were on our way. The rest of the product was mailed to us because we needed to test the color on a section of one of the logs once we got home.
At that point we didn't know what batch was wrong. As it turned out the first batch was too dark and the second batch was the correct color. The painter was able to blend the light and dark together so it worked out - the good news is that we decided that we liked the new dark grey color.
About a month later the painter came back to finish the porches. We decided to keep the cedar stain that we used 11 years ago when the cabin was reconstructed. That produce is called Sikkens. The contrast between the grey and the cedar looks great.
As for the chinking, Bob and I worked side by side for more than a month on ladders making all repairs to the chinking. Every time we ordered chinking a few days later we ordered more. Not sure how much chinking we bought, Bob thinks about 40 small tubes and about 10 large tubes - that is a lot of chinking!! We worked in the hot sun and sometimes the nice shade. Sometimes we worked when big dark clouds were looming. At one point I told Bob that I would never say the word again (chinking). All the hard work paid off because now that its all done, it looks great. Some of our regular guests arrived when we were still working, so they got to see the changes in action.
Our sources for stains and finishes: The product called Sikkens (sikkens.com) is sold in different places throughout the country. We bought the product at an old hardware store in Cincinnati called Doppes J B Sons Lumber Company (www.doppeslumber.net) at 1001 Dalton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45203. And we visited the Log Home Center (loghomecenter.com) at 16907 Mystic Rd, Noblesville, IN 46060.
"The 50 Best B&Bs in America" - MSN Travel 21 Oct 2015, 1:52 pmWe were surprised and thrilled to see our inn included in MSN Travel/Business Insider's recently released feature article, "The 50 Best B&Bs in America", a great resource if you are looking for travel ideas: http://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tripideas/the-50-best-bandbs-in-america/ss-AAf8D4y?ocid=HPCDHP#image=15
Not everyone has the time or resources to hit all fifty in this article, but it makes for a fun wish list. Also, if you are ever interested in a regional bed and breakfast experience, we do offer a two-stop adventure with our friend, Marsha, for those interested in experiencing two bed and breakfasts during a two-day weekend adventure!