The Bacon Mansion Bed & Breakfast
Bacon Mansion Fall ideas and changes 21 Sep 2010, 3:01 pmThe leaves here at the Bacon Mansion Bed and Breakfast are just beginning to turn and fall and so are our rates. We are dropping a little more mid week than we usually do from now through October and then to low season rates midweek in November.
There is still a lot to do in Seattle in the fall months. In Mid-October we are a sponsor of the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival I encourage future guests to take a look at the site and see if there are any films you may want to catch while you are here.
The Seattle Art Museum downtown is opening a special Picasso exhibit that many won't want to miss to run, I believe, until January. Remember with admission, you also get to visit the Seattle Asian Art Museum up here in Volunteer Park, just a few blocks away.
I am starting to make my list for projects on the house for this slow season, including making some changes based on some guest reviews. One in particular will include repainting the Emerald Room to lighten it up a bit. I am contemplating taking down the wall paper, but that is a more drastic step. Any comments would be welcome.
The Bacon Mansion is All-Inclusive 4 May 2010, 11:10 am
So I just read an article in the New York Times and I had seen something about the subject online earlier that is about hotels following the direction of airlines and coming up with additional add on fees. They can included a tray charge for room service or say $5.95, a restocking fee for the minibar for the first item removed of $5.95, a luggage storage fee of $1 per bag and internet access up to $19.95.
I know that times are a little tough in the industry and rates are competitive, but extra add on fees are a hidden cost when making a reservation.
Here at the Bacon Mansion we quote a rate for a reservation and the only thing we add on is the 9.5% that we collect for the state and submit once a month. (A little off subject, but I wouldn't be shocked if the state moved to multi-month collections if not daily, as so much of everything is done electronically and they could get the money sooner.) Anyhow, as we mention on our website in a couple of places, our tax rate is just the general sales tax and not the additional amount or 15.6% total collected by properties with more than 60 rooms(pretty much most hotels) that goes to the Convention Center Bonds.
In addition, if you have a car, you can expect to pay up to $30, an expanded continental breakfast with coffee and juice, cereal, fruit, yogurt, muffins would run at least $10 for the average person. We have complimentary afternoon tea, single serve coffee, hot chocolate, cider and cookies out all late afternoon and evening to help yourself. If a guest wants a soda and I have something they want, I offer it to them. The grocery store is just a few blocks away and you can stock your own minibar with your favorites at a fraction of the cost. All the rooms have wine glasses and corkscrews so you can get yourself a nice bottle and not have to settle for a house glass of hotel wine for $7 to $12 a glass.
I find the the local neighborhood restaurants tend to be less expensive than the one's downtown and many of our guests get fixings at Pike Place Market, the grocery store or take out and enjoy there meal on our patio in the warmer months or inside there room or living room with a beverage of there choice. I just let guests know they can take a place setting off the table and I will replace it in the morning. Doesn't mean they have kitchen assess, but they do have access to a fridge and microwave, plates and utensils.
We also try to help our guests by letting them know of some great things to see that cost little or nothing like the Water Tower and Conservatory up in Volunteer Park, renting canoes where the locals do over at the UW waterfront activities center, the value of the the Saverpass if they want to hit a certain number of the major attractions and so on.
Anyhow, just wanted to point out the real value of our rates and everything that is included here at the Bacon Mansion and what we do to help you make your vacation dollars go as far as they can. Let me know your comments.
Bacon Mansion on Facebook 18 Mar 2010, 5:56 pm
While I have jumped in and finally went on Facebook. The link on the blog will take you to my personal page. I am trying to figure out how to get the Bacon Mansion like from the website. I invite all who read to go the Bacon Mansion on Facebook and become a fan. I will try and keep you up to date on what is going on here at the Bacon Mansion. Any suggestions you have are welcome. I know some have had a problem in posting a comment, but I know it works as I have done a test. Be well and look forward to hearing from you and seeing you here at the Bacon Mansion.
The Bacon Mansion and Mona-Vie 1 Mar 2010, 5:41 pm
I just came across an exciting product and opportunity a couple weeks ago, that I decided to go ahead and try. The product is Mona-Vie which is a wellness juice drink supplement made primarily from the acai berry. It also includes 18 other fruits from around the world. It is extremely rich in anti-oxidants and is the premier product available out there in the marketplace. I will be sharing the product and the opportunity it offers for both personal and financial health. I was introduced to Mona-Vie by the former innkeeper of The Williams House B&B, Sue and Doug Williams, that was located up on Queen Anne Hill here in Seattle.
The team being put together to share this wonderful product and opportunity are all very excited about the prospects of one of the fastest growing companies out there. If you have any questions while staying at the Bacon Mansion, please feel free to ask. I will have it available on display, but do not plan on sharing the product with guests unless asked and if you show an interest. If you are a Mona-Vie user and don't want to bring it with you, let me know and we can provide your product of choice and I will make sure I have the inventory on hand for your stay for $5 a day for your two 2 ounce shots.
Bottoms up to ours and your health.
A big project nearly done at Bacon Mansion 18 Feb 2010, 2:44 pm
Well it have been quite a month or 5 weeks really here at the Bacon Mansion. First, my neighbor to the south was having trouble with his side sewer, meaning there was a heavy invasion of roots and probable partial collapse of his pipe from the north side of his house to the street. Having had repeated problems with the line from the Carriage House that ran over to meet the storm drains of the main house then wrap around house to meet the side sewer, I saw an opportunity. We could share the cost and join together and put the line on our side of the concrete fence. We were worried that the fence could collapse in on his hole and his gas line was on top of the sewer line. In addition, he would likely loose a number of trees that are in his yard. We had to take out my holly tree and another ratty tree I never liked and it gives us the opportunity to redo the landscaping over there. Anyhow, the project went smoothly enough, just have to redo the concrete in front of the carriage suite where the pipe went and new drain and on the southeast corner of the property where we had to go back onto my neighbors property to connect to the pipe. So have to rebuild about 6 feet of wall and the corner so I can put the garbage cans back in there.
It went smoothly enough and the price was reasonable, so I decided that maybe I should do the line from the main house, as we couldn't push the camera through the issues that it was having and was likely to back up again as it has in the past. This one would only be about 30 feet. While it unfortunately was under the gas line, so that would have to temporarily be moved out of the way and put back. Not as easy as it sounds as PSE has to contact Pilchuck as they don't do anything out side anymore. Then in the process of digging down to the gas line by hand we came across the fill tube for the old bunker oil tank. Turns out it was full, even up the fill pipe and was sitting right next to and ran south from the sewer pipe. Not a big deal as I knew it had to be taken care of eventually. You see the vent pipe was still there, so I was pretty sure it was also. Budget Tank Removal to the rescue. They pumped it out on Monday and had it out on Tuesday. The top was 8 ft down and the tank was about 4 feet round and 8 feet long. Over 1000 gallons. And no, they did not pay me by the gallon, it was the other way around. It will be recycled though. The best part was that it had not leaked. It was some sort of old converted boiler and we are pretty sure it was placed down there in 1909 and to the best of our knowledge, hasn't been used since some time in the early 60's. Got the gas line moved finally and hole dug for the remaining sewer on Thursday night. Had the backhoe protect the over 12 foot hole and piles of dirt in both directions on the driveway. Finally got the line in on late Friday after struggling with the shoring and back filled. Unfortunately, that was a furlough day for the city and Monday was a holiday and did not want to leave that hole and pile of dirt when I was going to be full on Saturday and nearly full on Sunday. So we took lots of pictures and I witnessed the pressure and slope test. Inspector was very nice and understandable and I just had to get a form signed and notarized for them, along with the pictures.
Now the only thing we have to wait for is for the hole to settle before we can relay the concrete. Will do all of it at once. We put gravel over the dirt so it isn't muddy.
The only thing left is to replace the gas line from the meter into the house as it wasn't installed correctly with a sleeve to prevent pipe from rusting. Just a few feet of pipe so, hopefully not another big bill.
It is always something on a 100 year old house. I tell everyone, I am doing my part to stimulate the economy, unfortunately it is coming from savings. That's the way it goes though, and we move one.
On a side note, John from Budget Tank Removal, when I told him I grew up in Spokane, asked me if I knew of Seven Bays on Lake Roosevelt. While actually, I said, I grew up there as my grandfather Win Self created Seven Bays and my father took over when he passed and had sold off almost all of the remaining land. He had actually been in his living room discussing lots that were still for sale. Small world it is.
Bacon Mansion Tree Pruning and More 13 Jan 2010, 11:17 am
Today at the Bacon Mansion and for that manner the Belmont Mansion across the street it is major tree pruning day. The guys from are here and high in the big old broadleaf maples across the street and our smaller parking strip maples and lindens. I decided it was time to get them professionally pruned and more important the maples out of the power lines before city light came by and hacked at them and billed me even more.
Since I manage the condo building across Broadway, I was able to coordinate it to have both properties done at the same time.
Also, had them take out a messy old tree and the holly tree on the south part of the Bacon Mansion by the carriage house. No more holly berries to track into the Carriage Suite of your shoes. We are potentially anticipating a joint partnership with my neighbor, to replace the sewer line to the street down my side of the fence as it is wider and mostly dirt already. His line is blocked badly, I saw the video. I would then be able to connect the carriage house sewer and drains from the patio to the new line and will not have to deal with it backing up once or twice a year. Will let anyone who reads the blog know the progress of the project. Will not affect the main house in any way and really only effect Carriage Suite briefly for about a week or so hopefully.
Nice enough here that Jaime and I are even going to head out and prune the hedges and arbor-vite as we finally caught up with the yard waste getting rid of all the leaves from the fall.
Bali comes to the Bacon Mansion 5 Jan 2010, 11:58 am
I had the opportunity to recently travel to Bali, Indonesia and meet up with a couple of very good friends. The purpose of the trip was primarily help or at least slightly assist them in purchasing home wares and accessories for a showroom they have down in Punta de Mita, Mexico just north of Puerto Vallarta. In addition, we all took the opportunity to also pick up items that would enhance both of our properties as he has a all inclusive villa nearby on the beach called Casa de Mita(casademita.com). The goal was to finish filling up one container and that quickly turned into another 1/2 size container after the first full day. My friend loves to shop and bargain, you never just get 6 of something, we came a long way, so make it worth it.
The people of Bali as so nice and warm. It is a primarily Hindu culture on the island in a country that is overwhelmingly Muslim. All the homes and shops have at least one location that they can fulfill the practice of giving an offering a number of times a day. I never found out the exact reason that some offering went onto the sidewalk instead of the offering shrine so you kind of have to watch your step as you shop. The offering was usually a bamboo leave weave small basket about 3 inches square and usually has a small spoon full of rice a little piece of wrapped candy, a flower(usually a frangipani which have a beautiful smell and are all over the island).
We were fortunate enough to stay in the guesthouse of a friend of a guest who has become a friend over the years from staying with us here at the Bacon Mansion. It worked out well as it was in a village or sub-village about 10 minutes south east of Ubud. The pool was very nice and refreshing and the accommodations and hosts made us feel at home yet gave us our own space. Had dinner with them a number of nights in Ubud and met a number of members of one hosts family who all lived next door on both sides or near by. Even went to the beach with the village one afternoon for the cleansing ceremony that I believe they do twice a year. We had on our Balinese attire of sarong, white linen shirt, flip flops and head piece loaned to us. It was fun, but thank god it was overcast because the black sand beach was hot enough as it was. I think we were the only non natives at the event. They caravan down to the beach in cars, truck and whole families on motorbikes. Everyone in white tops. They had drums playing and chanting,recited prayers, release a duck and chicken in the sea for the younger boys to catch. Anyhow, my point is, I am glad we staying where we did instead of a resort on the beach. Waking up to the sounds of the jungle and temple chanting and gongs was much more interesting. We do go to the monkey forest in Ubud and had lunch north of Ubud at a place that overlooked a valley of rice field terracing that was beautiful.
Back to the shopping, I tried to keep in mind while shopping that not everything or even a lot of the things that were for sale are in keeping with the style of the house. No art work of tropical beach scenes and the sort. I have purchased things for the house and rooms on visits to Mexico in the past and had to keep by the same sort of guidelines. On the other hand, I don't have a set of ideas that means that everything in the room has to match. If you are expecting a guestroom to look like it was decorated with one and only theme done all at once, we are not the place to stay. Rooms evolve over time and as I add something to one room, I often end up moving something it replaces to another room and another and another.
I also had to keep in mind that you can only take back two back that weigh 50 lbs and news to me carry on only 15 lbs. I had a very nice person who checked me in at EVA Airlines that overlooked both rules by making be transfer close to 20 lbs from my carry on to my already at weight checked bag. I think only because the flight was only 1/2 full if that.
Anyhow I purchased for the guest room really cool facial tissue boxes, a couple new soap dispensers and dishes, some throw pillow covers, and two pictures of sunflowers for the Capitol Suite sun room. For the library I found four little paintings of frangipani, runners used in the dining room and entry way, stone coasters for living room and a flying Balinese. I tried to add picture, not sure if it will work.
Also got a nice piece of art for kitchen with bright sunflowers and I bought a number or big, medium and small bowls and some others onyx stone items that I can't remember that all went into the container and is now on its way to Mexico. I hope to bring those home over the next year on my trips down there to visit. Also, a good excuse to go done and visit my good friend. I also number of things that included some soaps for friends and family and of coarse a couple things in the clothing department for myself.
Overall, the trip was fun and relaxing even though I was getting a little tired of the shopping. The one time we walked on the tourist beach it was very warm, almost to much so even under an umbrella. Was more comfortable sitting by the pool at the house as it was always a little bit cooler up in the hills. The weather in Seattle while I was gone was more than bad, heavy wind and rain nearly every day so glad to miss that.
Here is to a better 2010 and happy travels to everyone.
Thanksgiving at the the Bacon Mansion 26 Nov 2009, 12:29 pmWell it is that time of year with the start of the holiday season. It actually started for us last Saturday the 21rst of November with the Friends Thanksgiving hosted this year hear at the Bacon Mansion. We had 26 for dinner and fun, all sitting in the dining room. We had 14 at the big table which we moved to one side of the dining room and had 12 next to it at the folding tables. The table was set with some of my new purchases from Bali, including the table runners, napkin rings, salt and pepper cellars with tiny spoons and the party gift for guests of two little soaps and bamboo soap tray. Todd and I did the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Guests brought, wine, vodka, gin, port, fruit salad, cranberry jello salad, three different brussell sprout dishes, pumpkin and pecan pies, green bean casserole, squash soup, and other various appetizers. We had way more food that we needed or could consume. I stuffed one 15 pound turkey and brined and roasted unstuffed and 15 and 11 pound bird. They were all moist and great and carved perfectly by one of your friends Arnie. Everyone was lots of help and had some heartfelt things to be thankful for over our toasts. We even had a new addition to the Seattle family of friends attend, 8 week old Christiana who is actually the star of the party many of us will attend tomorrow for her Christining.
Found out that pictures were posted on Facebook before the evening was over by Diana.
What would Thanksgiving be without the National Dog Show on TV. Not really a dog person and always wonder how the judges make their choice.
Having 12, including us for dinner tonight. We only have to do the turkey for this one and should be a breeze compared to the 26 the other night. The house is about half full and will fill up for the weekend. Not sure if any of the guests are coming to run the Seattle Marathon on Sunday.
I will post more later on my trip to Bali and the impressions that I had.
Hope to get the tree up next week with Jaime's help. Glad I switched to the pre-lite tree in a box a few years back. Don't have to have the worries of the fresh tree drying out and it is actually quite hard to tell the difference until you closely inspect the tree.
Transitions and Travel 22 Oct 2009, 4:36 pmIt has been awhile since my last submission. The summer here in Seattle was Spectacular. One of the driest on record and it hung in there quite nicely until about October 8. Some years it is over by mid September. Had a pretty busy summer with lots of new faces from all over the world and many returning guests. It is so nice to have people return and being able to hear what is new in their lives.
As far as what is new with us hear, I had the opportunity to join friends at a Villa Maddalena in Tuscany for 10 days in mid September. We traveled with two close friends from Seattle and met up 10 others from either the Bay Area or Puerto Vallarta. We had such a great time, except for looking for parking in some of the towns. We had all but two dinners in the house and had some great meals. Fortunately we had some excellent cooks and I didn't mind at all be relegated to sous chef, dish washer or taker out of the garbage or recycle. The village that we stay at was in Montisi which is about 12 km north of Pienze, 40 minutes southeast of Sienna and 2 and half hours north of Rome. It has 350 permanent residents and we were fortunate to be able to attend their community dinner and futball awards on the Saturday night we were there. They had tables set up down the only street through town for at least 3 blocks on both sides and served a five course meal to 540 people from one community kitchen that was actually under a portion of our house. The futball dignitaries at in a portion of our house that was for the foyer that a harpsaccord had been sitting in that was moved into the living room. The food was good and the atmosphere was great and people were wonderful.
We enjoyed day trips to Sienna, Monticino, Montipulciano, Sinalunga, Pienza, San Gimignano, Cortona, Asciano, Orvieto, the outlet mall and a couple other towns that I can't recall right now. Pardon the spelling on some of the names. The weather was perfect and not to crowded anywhere. It is hard to have a trip planned for a year and a half out and have it be over so quickly. One of the highlights was my brother and new wife were over in France and Italy on their honeymoon and were able to work it in their schedule to stay in the nearby village and have dinner with us the last night. Even walked down to the cemetery after dark that had all of these lights on the walls and headstones. It sits just out of the village a few hundred yards in an olive orchard.
Look forward to having the opportunity to being able to have an experience like that again in some other part of the world.
Upon return, reality struck and I was informed that the sewer backed up on the Emerald Room that morning. I have bad dreams about the dang sewer lines, but the one within the foundation is cast iron and not supposed to back up, just the clay ones outside the foundation that are subject to some root invasion. It is a 100 year old this year.
I also replaced the fence behind the Carriage House and the lattice fence under the birch trees on the patio with a 6 foot iron fence that in styling resembles the short one on the wall that encircles the house. I think it looks much better. I just now have to get jasmine to grow on it starting next spring.
Will try and post more often. Let me know if you read this and are interested in hearing about anything in particular.
My Many Hats 17 Jun 2009, 3:37 pmI am often amazed at all the different roles that an innkeeper and subsequent owner of a 100 year old house has to accomplish and take on. Oh sure it would be easy to hire out this and that, but if you can figure out how to do it yourself and have the tools, then why not. Some tasks do however require a professional and or licensed contractor but you know that it is at least $100 or more just to see the truck in the driveway and you haven't even opened the door for them yet.
Anyhow I thought I would list the things that I have done over the years and at the bottom add the task that prompted me to think about this in the first place.
As an innkeeper I have been a: Cook and baker, caterer, server, bartender, wedding planner, dishwasher, kitchen cleaner, concierge, tour guide planner, reservation agent, reservation maker, marketing manager, website updater, seamstress, accountant and bookkeeper (side: I was a CPA before working in Corporate Accounting for Musak), maid, laundry clerk, shopper, furniture and lamp repairer, message taker and best of all greeter to all the wonderful guests that we have had from all over the world.
As the owner of a 100 year old house I have been a: painter, flooring installer, electrician(minor), plumber, phone technician, landscaper, yard maintenance and gardener, window washer, carpenter, wall paperer, cabinet installer, arborist, street sweeper and last but not least a street maintenance technician (aka pothole filler). So the other week there were three guys replacing my gas line to the Carriage House. Anyhow, they dug a hole in the street, shoved a new piece of plastic pipe though the old line and connected to a new meter that I got them to move about 12 feet. (I gave them a muffin, soda and tour of the house.) They we very nice. So they refilled the hole and put a temporary asphalt patch and left to go do another one on another block. Odd thing is they are doing them random and different crews have been back on the block three times to replace another one. You would think they would just go down the block and replace them all if they are going to end up doing it anyway. So I went around the corner and notice they left their trailer for the backhoe that had a backhoe bucket of asphalt in a tray. So I think to myself, I have a bucket, they left the shovel and they won't miss a few buckets of the stuff. So I proceed to fill in the seven or eight small potholes in front of the house as they are annoying when trucks go by, it bounces their load. Even though it is a quiet street, people on the street must do a lot of online shopping. I am there tamping it down with the shovel and my neighbor walks by with her dog and asks what am I doing? I tell her that I am filling in the potholes, as it is not as if the city will get around to doing it anytime soon if you have been on some of the arterials lately, we are a bit down the list. She just laughs and calls me crazy. My partner gets home and asks what I did this afternoon and he does the same. I remind him, he is the one always bitching about potholes. I will try and locate our camera and take a picture of one and post it.
I am sure I will think of other roles that I have done over the course of 16 plus years here at the Bacon Mansion. I mention these to people who ask what it takes to be an innkeeper, and I tell them it is not a retirement.
Cheers for now.