Garth Woodside Mansion Bed & Breakfast Country Inn
Beware/BeFair Trip Advisor 20 Dec 2011, 3:58 am
On our site you might find some reviews that are almost funny. For instance, there was one poor gal who was such high maintenance after 6-8 phone calls, I had to tell her I did not think I would be able to accommodate her needs. I truly would not have been able. Her requirements for her meal, wedding and floral needs were so outrageous, I was not going to put myself in that position. I let her know BEFORE she drove up to Hannibal from STL. I saved her miles, expense and time. You can tell by her review she was upset. I would be too, if someone told me I could not hold my wedding at the venue I had pictured in my dreams. I have hosted bridezillas in the past, and do my best to avoid them whenever possible.
I guess my main concern with Trip Advisor and even with Google reviews, is the fact that the person writing the review can say anything they want, truth or not. You can be a big fat pig with a cigar hanging from your mouth, ashes falling in the food, while making their grilled cheese sandwich in your bathrobe with flip flops on. But when posting a management response, basically all you can do is apologize and ask for forgiveness for something that may have been a total fabrication. Management is not allowed to give a true account of a situation, even when unkind or derogatory remarks are unfairly left by the reviewer. Management is not allowed to defend oneself by telling what transpired. AND, it usually takes several weeks to be placed on the site once it IS accepted by the staff at Trip Advisor. So for weeks and weeks you have some convoluted review steering people away from your establishment unfairly. Luckily enough for us, we have garnered a reputation for caring about our guests, being fun innkeepers and providing an environment that is beautiful, comfortable and inviting.
The main point I would like to make: Not all 'places', whether they’re listed on 'Google Places' or Trip Advisor are treated equally. Try to dig into these horrid reviews, or the ones that are over-the-top glowing reports. Did the poster make more than one review on a different location? Sometimes you can find if they left a complete opposite one on their own site. Maybe one was left for a different city, or state. Use your own good judgment when weeding through these types or reviews, and making your decisions.
All in all, as you plan your next trip or evening out and are trying someplace new, use your bat brain Batman. Have a safe New Year and hope to see you in the 2012 year, which in Hannibal we call 20Twain. More on that later...
Winter Wonderland and Wine at Garth 27 Aug 2011, 12:57 pm
TASTE AND SEE
Now that the wines are coming in, I am truly amazed at the flavors the shine through. It is not all about sugar. Boy, what a wine snob I was. Sorry Missouri.
Saint James, Montelle, Augusta, Crown Valley and Blumenhof. Several of these have been awarded more than one gold medal and best of show, etc.
My favorite for now is the St. Wenceslaus from Montelle Winery, it means Santa Claus and is a spicy wine to be served warm, cold or room temp. You cannot go wrong with this one. Just a small portion in a mug is great, too. Nice of a little night cap.
After you taste the wines, and we are not giving out thimble size tastes, we will give you a guided tour of the mansion with some of the history of the home and the Garth family. To save me washing all the wine glasses, sanitizing them and then polishing them you will take your glass home with you. I mean, you also get to keep the wine glass for a souvinier.
All wines can be purchased here and EVERY one of them are priced for less than what the wineries sell them for at their location.
Starting the weekend of the 17th of December, stop by for some great tastes and a tour of the mansion. You may purchase a bottle and sit in the restaurant and enjoy with some appetizers or take some home for gifts. Either way, you will have all of 2012 to enjoy tours, wines and good friends. Hope to see you n the New Year.
Cooking with Guests in the Kitchen 24 Mar 2011, 8:23 am
The phone rang and some business guests arriving later that evening wanted to know if they could all eat in the kitchen when they were having dinner. Sounded like fun to me! So we set everything up in the kitchen for six guests to eat, chat and add their 2 cents in on how they wanted their meat cooked and banana sauced. They were getting pretty sauced themselves as we kept making trips to the wine cellar for more wine. Simply Naked was the wine of choice for the evening, which made it fun to say they were drinking simply naked in my kitchen. All in good fun.
All my prep was done, salads made, and meat in the marinade. They are used to eating in stuffy or redneck restaurants, pubs or cafes. They can eat wherever they like and it is nice they choose to eat with us, let alone in my kitchen. We laughed so hard tears came to our eyes, as we chatted about surgeries and work, snow and plowing. Everyone has a story to tell and when you have all the time in the world you can hear them all.
I think that is what makes it nice when business travelers opt for the B&B rather that a point based system at one of the major hotels. If you do not enjoy your stay, or take one a little less than standard just so you can enjoy a few extra points to get you that great vacation, you are really missing out on everyday life. Too many business trips to just get through and miss half you life as it passes by without you even knowing it.
It reminds me of a good friend telling my son, who is a photographer, to try not taking his camera with him on vacation. He missed the entire vacation if he is always trying to 'get the perfect shot.' His whole vacation is seen through the lens instead of his own eyes and that passes by as well. He probably didn't listen as it was one of my friends, and mothers generally do not know too much. Although as he approaches 30 both his father and I are getting a little smarter.
So, if you do travel for business, try a B&B, ask for a business rate, ask if they have any rewards if you know you are going to frequent the area. Some of our best (read favorite) guests are the business folks from the hospital, General Mills, and Continental Cement. We give them free range of the place and they are happy to come and go as they please. Sometimes I even put a chef's coat on them and have them help me in the kitchen. My momma didn't raise no fool! The Tom Sawyer trick works several times here.
Cookbook is finally on its way to Garth 6 Mar 2011, 9:00 pm
Now, I am not frogging around any more. The big ugly gray three ring binder can be pitched. They are all copied, edited by many, eaten by several and a big purple check mark on each page. Actually, an orange, green, red and purple check mark. Everyone that help edit had their own color. I just have a big sigh of relief it is over.
So...if you want to order your copy of Inn the Kitchen at the Mansion then go right ahead. If I receive your order before they arrive you will not have to pay the shipping to get it to you. They are going to be the same price as the coffee cups, $15, so you may go to the gift shop page and order from there. It is the one on the top with 'picture coming soon.' I ordered 500 and thought that was a huge amount but am quickly finding out they will not last as long as I presumed. I can always order more; that is a good thing, right?
Here's the best part~they all have names. NAMES. Each recipe has a name. I laugh when I make something up in the a.m., when I seem the most creative. Dump a little of that, and this goes with it, and lo and behold when it is served a guests always wants to know what it is called. If you read the Diary of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain, you know that Eve always wanted to name everything.
Well, a little role reversal here and I feel like Adam. Why does everything have to have a name attached to it? Well, I came up with some good ones. Or at least it fits the items.
Chocolate Extravaganza in Hannibal next weekend! 4 Mar 2011, 9:23 am
We played the Tom Sawyer trick here at Garth and convinced a repeat-guest-turned-friend to make his famous chocolate cheese cake for dessert that night. So after the festivities are over that night we will come back to the mansion and have cheesecake. Doc Block and his wife, Stephanie are great people and even if you cannot come that weekend you may watch us live in the kitchen, of course.
Peter Deneen stays and plays at Garth Mansion in Hannibal, MO 2 Mar 2011, 6:22 am
|This is the always smiling Peter|
|William with his Deneen Mug|
Until this week, Peter was a potter, but now he is also a Pewter Pourer. I guess if you are really good would be called a Pewtersmith, but right now we are going to stick with Pewter Pourer. Thank goodness Peter is a great potter. We have convinced his not to give up his day job. After four tries he got a fabulous spoon from a mold made in the 1600's. Pretty cool. Peter Potter Pewter Pourer. Say that five times real fast!
ASL Pewter, just south of us here, are in Louisiana. (Missouri) They, also, are the leader in their industry. The 'Hollywood' folks arrived in Williamsburg and asked for the Pewtersmith. There is not one anywhere near this historic town. The troops call in Pat and Tom Hooper in our fair state. They made all the pewter for the mini-series that was featured on HBO, John Adams. Great people! It is great feeling when you know good people you can introduce them into other good people. I think I turned them into good friends as Tom taught Peter how to pour the 700 degree liquid into beautiful plates and spoons among all the other pieces in their store.
AAA readers name Garth Mansion #1 B&B in the entire Midwest 10 Jul 2010, 8:02 pm
Pretty darn cool though. Some places you can pay your money for dues and do all the required things to pass inspections to belong. Those are all very important, BUT when all is said is done it has to do with the end product. The customers. We could lower our prices, take out several of the amenities we lavish our guests, but we stuck to our guns. Give the guests a little more than they expect and it will all come out in the end. If you are a AAA member, and you are one of those nice folks that voted us the favorite inn, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
It sure seems like the news media comes in spurts. Unlike the water pipes that froze last winter ~ that just plain gushed! We were in the LA Times article a few Sundays ago. Even the Hannibal video interview started and ended with the writer chatting with me.
He was delightful gentleman and would have added more on our restaurant dinner in the evening but the museum folks decided to take him to a restaurant that is more chain-like near a hotel on the outskirts of town. The writer was able to stop for lunch at least in the historic district, which is where he said he would have rather eaten since he was doing the 'Twain thing.'
The LA Times article has been picked up by the Kansas City Star, Chicago Tribune, STL Post and many other larger publications. That just makes the phones ring more and in Hannibal we love to introduce our town to new tourist to experience "America's Hometown."
photo credit: LATimes writer Chris Reynolds
Victorian Garden Weddings at Garth Mansion 9 Jun 2010, 7:29 pmProbably, or most definately, the best decision I have made in the past several years was to re-hire my full time chef to be our wedding and event planner. Erik Spence is so attune to details and specifics that it would be very hard to believe there is someone out there with as many skills as he.
Erik has been with Garth Mansion for several years first hired on as our head waiting and restaurant manager. After he trained my son and one other waitress to perfection I found out he could cook. He helped me out in the kitchen when I was between chefs and when I asked him why he didn't tell me he could do this, he responded "you didn't ask!" Well, I wasn't the one who hired him, so I did not ever really look as his resume. Boom, he was in the kitchen for the next few years.
Cooking with Grammy Nominated John Two-Hawks 3 May 2010, 5:41 pm
We had a super weekend with a beautiful bride and groom. From the rehearsal dinner, to the huge horse and buggy and all the way to the perfect dinner~it was all fabulous. Hard to get better than that! Well, it did. We asked Grammy Nominated John Two-Hawks if would play his favorite flute for the guests at breakfast. Not only did he play wonderfully, I also schmoozed him into staying another night and being a celebrity chef with me in the kitchen on Sunday night.
It is Nurses Week and we hosted a dinner party for some wonderful ladies from Hannibal Regional Hospital. John Two-Hawks took the challenge and donned a chef's jacket and cooked right along next to me. You have to understand this is a huge deal. I actually coerced him into understanding it can be fun on the other side of the counter. For someone who states he can only cook a Marie Callender's frozen pot pie, and is serious, he found it was much more fun than he could imagine. He grilled the wedding skewers, diced up herbs and bell peppers and garnished the dinner plates beautifully. When it was time to take the meals out to the women he carried three plates in one hand like a pro. We joked that although he is a Lakota Indian, full blooded, I was still a bit nervous on allowing him to torch the creme brulee. My son says they invented fire!
I will keep you posted on the llamas, they are driving me crazy and still hanging on tight to the babies. Will let you know when they decide to show themselves to the world. Sorry, the groom, John didn't see the delivery before they both took off for Costa Rica!
If you are crabby person, come stay at Garth! 19 Apr 2010, 10:21 pmThat's right! You are reading correctly. Come and stay with us if you are a crab, or just generally a snob, or how about just grouchy and unfriendly. You can stay at our wonderful Country Estate, enjoy a nice dinner for only $20 a couple when you opt for the Modified American Plan, have a great breakfast with my famous (or infamous~you can mean that in a good way, you know!) fresh fruit cup, fresh baked muffins and hot main dish. You see with the economy in the bucket right now, John will not allow me kick anyone out for not being nice, fun or friendly.
Life is too short, way too short really, to not enjoy the people whom surround you. When we first purchased the mansion we were extremely busy. We were basically running in circles and since we were 11 years younger and fresh innkeepers it was fun AND easy. But, if you stayed with us and were either rude to us or our other guests, or just acted a little too good for anybody else around you~well, just like Emeril when he was fired from his FoodNetwork show, BAM! you are gone.
Business is not the same as it was back in 1999 and the early 2000's. So, when someone has dinner here, is a bit rude to me, the owner, the other owner jumps in to take over. John basically keeps me in the kitchen so I do not cancel their card and ask them to leave. I have to stick it out.
Hmmm, let me think of the few fun ones I asked to leave. There was the gentleman who did have a wife that did not say one word. Maybe she couldn't. He was just plain rude to a cute 9 year old boy who was with his parents across the hall. The three of them had never been to a B&B and were really excited about it. Mr. Rude asked what he is suppose to do in the middle of the night when "that thing starts to cry in the middle of the night." GONE
Oh, there was the guy (late 70's) that said I told him his room was on the first floor, and he insists it is not. He was just sure I told him it was on the the main floor. Why would I tell him that? He would find out, duh, when he checked in. So, when he took a swing at me, my son, Sean and I both asked him to leave.
The film producer checking in seven hours early when guests were still in his suite? Well, when we found he was going to be shooting photos for really young girls for their portfolios~ uh, we just never let him check in. And I also called the rest of the inns on his list of reservations across the country to let them know what he was doing. I even kicked out a police officer from Mexico, Missouri with an attitude. It is the same on the restaurantcam where it tells you "Be nice or be gone, we only have fun here."
It has been easier over the years to put up with the crabby people. I look at them differently now. They have to be so miserable. Sometimes folks can only be satisfied if they can make others as unhappy as they are. Seems a sad way to live. I know for certain that if I kill them with kindness and just overlook (really just pretend to not see it, there is a difference) the rudeness they are showing towards me they might, just might, take a tad bit of sorrow (or sour) out of their personality. We never know what someone goes through on a daily basis, what their thoughts are or what news has just struck them. So, when someone pops an attitude toward you, try to see if they have some underlying issues. Maybe they just received some really bad news, maybe they skipped several days of kindergarten and didn't learn those little things. No matter, just be kind, and at the end of the day they just might remember the niceness you showed them. One couple called us early one morning to cancel their upcoming 2 nights for the next two nights. I asked her to promise to come and stay with us sometime and I would not charge her a cancellation. She said OK. But, I made her say it out loud and repeat after me, "I will come and stay and have a good time someday." And she did. Well, 4 o'clock rolls around and that very couple rings the door bell. She said I was so nice on the phone and they had been traveling for 2 weeks and were just worn out. They just wanted to get home. But because I was so nice to her and slightly funny she thought that maybe it is was just what they needed. So they took a vacation from their vacation and just unwound for 2 nights and three days. THEN they went home and did laundry! They were so sweet, and even bought quite a bit in my little gift shop. Just give a little TLC even if you do not feel like it.
Robert Fulghum's list.
Uh, and no baby llamas, yet. We keep looking. We are on llama alert here every hour during the daylight hours. They generally have them in the daytime. Stayed tuned.