The Shafer Baillie Mansion

907 14th Avenue East, Seattle, Washington 98112
Innkeeper(s): Mark Mayhle & Ana Lena Melka

Mother's Day Contest 29 Mar 2011, 12:51 am

The Shafer Baillie Mansion is a member of the Seattle Bed and Breakfast Association. The SBBA is sponsoring a Mother's Day contest-- the mom submitting the best humorous video about why she deserves the prize (a night away for two, spa treatment, dinner, and breakfast the next morning) will win! See more on the SBBA Blog.

Ana Lena

Dine Around Seattle 1 Mar 2011, 11:44 pm

March is Dine Around Seattle month! What a great excuse to come see us-- many of the area's finest restaurants are offering prix fixe three-course dinners for just $30 Sunday-Thursday, and quite a few of them also offer 3-course lunches for $15. Some are longtime Seattle favorites such as Ray's Boathouse and Salty's, and there are many newer spots to sample as well. Spend a couple days at the Shafer Baillie Mansion and you can easily hit three or four of them!


Seattle Boat Show 22 Jan 2011, 6:03 am

It's that time of year again! Running now through Jan. 30, the Seattle Boat Show is the largest on the West Coast with over 1,000 boats in two locations. Lots of other activities too, such as a catch-and-release trout pond, boating and fishing seminars, and much more. We have plenty of rooms available after tonight so come visit the show!


Saint Mark's Cathedral 21 Jan 2011, 2:55 am

Our Capitol Hill neighborhood has many hidden gems. Among the not-so-hidden ones is Saint Mark's Cathedral, just a short walk from the Mansion through Volunteer Park. I really enjoyed this article about it from the Capitol Hill Blog. I hope you will too!

Ana Lena

Seattle Arts and Activities in the New Year 18 Jan 2011, 11:58 pm

Happy New Year to all!

I can't believe half of January is over and February is on its way!

There are many venues in Seattle to keep us warm during the blustery winter weather starting with the musical "South Pacific" running at the 5th Avenue Theater from January 29 to February 21. This musical won 7 Tony Awards and was directed on Broadway by Seattle's own Bartlett Sher.

Pacific Northwest Ballet brings Cinderella to life from February 4 to 13, a delight to both kids and kids at heart. One of our favorite folkies, David Wilcox, is at the beautiful Triple Door February 11. Plenty of rooms are still available at the Mansion for a Valentine's getaway!

If your taste runs in a noisier vein, the Presidents of the United States of America are playing at the Showbox on February 19.

And don't forget to order your tickets to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, running from February 23 to 27 at the Washington State Convention Center. This show brings out the best in people looking forward to Spring!

Ana Lena

Shakespeare in the Park! 9 Jun 2010, 3:15 am

One of the many reasons we love our location, just a block from Seattle's beautiful Volunteer Park, is the return each summer of GreenStage's Shakespeare in the Park program.

This year's performances include Romeo and Juliet on July 9 and 10, and August 12; and As You Like It on July 11, and August 13 and 14.

So whether your taste runs to comedy or tragedy, come visit us and enjoy a bit of culture in a wonderful and casual outdoor setting.

And if you find we're all booked up for your choice of Shakespeare dates? Well, there are plenty of other things to do in Seattle this summer so just pick an open date and come see us anyway! You may even be able to catch one of the plays in another of the area's lovely parks. See the GreenStage calendar for all the details.

PS-- In case you missed our Notes from the Innkeeper, you still have a few days left to catch a flick at SIFF!


Volunteer Park Water Tower 29 Jul 2009, 12:26 am

One of the many perfections of the Shafer Baillie Mansion location is our proximity to Volunteer Park, the "jewel of the Seattle parks system." Just a block north of the Mansion is the park entrance and in particular, the iconic Water Tower. This brick tower, erected in 1907, is a major neighborhood landmark as well as being functionally important. Situated as we are at the peak of Capitol Hill, the additional height of the tower affords our neighborhood what little water pressure we enjoy. (Actually, the excellent water pressure at the Mansion is the result of a big electric pump in the basement, but that didn't come along until our extensive renovation and complete replumbing in 2005.)

But for visitors, the best part of the Water Tower is the fact that it is open to the public. It is well worth climbing the 107 steps to the observation deck at the top, for one of the best free 360 degree views of the Seattle area. In addition to the sublime view, there is historical information not only about Volunteer Park, but about the key role of the Olmsted Brothers landscape design firm in laying the early foundations of the Seattle parks system as a whole. The Olmsteds were the First Family of landscape design in the US, with family members and their various firms responsible for Central Park in New York, key elements of the National Park system, and many other renowned designs. In Seattle they not only created much of the early city park system, but also the design of beautiful neighborhoods such as The Highlands and the Mt. Baker neighborhood.

But one word of caution for your visit to the Water Tower. A member of our family, visiting from out of town, went for a walk one morning and decided to climb the tower. However, she found the door at the bottom locked. A helpful Seattle parks employee told her that the door at the back side of the tower was open, so she went around back and proceeded to the top. After enjoying the view for a while, she headed back down the stairs-- only to find she had come down to the locked front door! So, back up 107 steps and back down the other stairs!

Brenda's first post! 26 Jun 2009, 12:00 am

There is a longstanding Seattle tradition at St Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral a few blocks from the Mansion—a Sunday evening Compline service of plainchants that I had attended once before and found to be enjoyable… a good quiet time. Lew and Clarke, some dear friends for over a decade, were on vacation recently in Seattle and decided to meet me there one Sunday during their visit. Of course I was a tiny bit late. I was carrying a big bright bouquet of flowers for my buddy Clarke I had purchased at the local Broadway farmers’ market that morning. The church was packed when I arrived and the mood was still and somber. The beautiful male voices had already started to sing and I felt at peace. I quickly spotted my friends ( both are a head taller than most!) Lew stepped out into the aisle and put me between them. I felt safe and happy. I closed my eyes and asked God to give me guidance for the future.

I opened my eyes and before me were four large beautiful banners hanging from the tall ceiling. They read WELCOMEINSPIRESERVETRANSFORM. I started to really read those words over and over to myself. Focusing on what those words truly mean. My role and purpose in Seattle and particularly at the Shafer Baillie Mansion became very clear to me. This is exactly what I want to do at the Mansion. Glenn and I have discussed this job and the changes we are making in our personal lives to move here. So when I returned from the church, I told him what had become clear to me and he said it made good sense to him.

So what do we see ourselves doing here? We want to welcome each and every visitor into this splendid restored home, We want each guest to be inspired from their time at the Mansion and in Seattle. We want to serve our guests a scrumptious and healthy breakfast and then hopefully we all will be transformed into stronger and better people. My wish is for the guests to use this beautiful Mansion as a restorative and relaxing place. A time for reassessing and making plans for their futures, whatever they may be!


Glenn Freshour, newest member of the Mansion team! 12 Jun 2009, 12:34 am

We are so fortunate to have Glenn joining Brenda on our innkeeping team at the Shafer Baillie Mansion! Glenn did his undergrad and graduate work in Biology at the University of Georgia and had a long career as a research microscopist. He comes to us from Athens GA, after a year-long side trip to Tempe AZ. He is an avid biker, although still adjusting to the fact that biking in hilly Seattle is not quite like Athens or Tempe! He loves hiking and the outdoors, which should make the Northwest a great place for him to explore and discover. He was the person who inspired Brenda's love of gardening, and you'll likely see him out in our garden every day, watering, checking the health of the plants, and enjoying some fresh air.

Glenn enjoys guitar and piano and I hope he'll decide to share his talents in our salon from time to time! Brenda is thankful for his attention to detail and organization that complements her more, uh, freeform approach to life. We're also relying on him to help our guests navigate around town and to develop neighborhood and area maps showing places of interest, although of course his own familiarity with the city and region is still developing.

Glenn's about the most helpful person you'll ever meet. He's happy working quietly behind the scenes, but is equally likely to greet you at the door or take your reservation over the phone. In fact my only worry is that, as he gets the hang of my idiosyncratic ways of running things around here, I'll be left with nothing to do!

Did I mention he's a little camera-shy?


ZooTunes! 19 May 2009, 4:35 am

One of the highlights of summer for us is the annual concert series at the Woodland Park Zoo known as ZooTunes. Although this already merits a mention on our website's Seattle activities page, it definitely deserves a blog post of its own-- and maybe a few more if I decide to report on some of the shows after they happen!

The ritual begins in about March as I start scouring my secret sources for clues to who will be playing that summer. In late April comes the official announcement of the lineup. Then the big day-- the first Monday in May, when tickets go on sale. Either Ana Lena or I (this year she drew the short straw) queue up at the Zoo gate well before the on-sale time of 8:00am. (Last year I was there by 6:25 which put me second in line.) Sure, there are other places to get tickets and although shows do sell out it doesn't generally happen the first day. But being there early is all part of the fun.

Shows take place in the North Meadow of the zoo, most often on Wednesday evenings, with families picnicking on blankets, basking in the sunshine (very occasionally of the liquid variety) and enjoying great music. We usually attend 7 or 8 shows a year but the 2009 lineup is just superb and we plan to be at all 13, including both the July 1 and 2 shows of 3 Girls and Their Buddy, who comprise four of our favorite musicians on the planet (Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller). The season kicks off with the B-52s (already sold out) and as you'd expect our innkeepers Brenda and Glenn, who until recently hailed from the band's home of Athens, GA, are pretty pumped about that one! Ana Lena has being saying for years that we need to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and this summer we'll finally get the chance. Los Lobos and Cowboy Junkies are perennial favorites of ours. And Mavis Staples! What can you say but "living legend." Folk divas Joan Baez and Nanci Griffith, the Indigo Girls... I could go on but you get the drift.

Several years ago we started a new practice of getting extra tickets so we can invite friends and family to join us at the shows. Another aspect of the annual ritual is trying to match up bands with invitees we think will especially enjoy them.

If you come stay with us this summer, I hope you'll consider an evening at ZooTunes. If you want tickets and they're sold out online, let me know and I'll try to pick them up for you. But here's a tip: Even if the show is sold out (as they usually are) and you don't have tickets, just show up at the North Gate of the zoo around 4pm and there are always folks with tickets for sale-- usually at face value. It's definitely worth a shot!


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