Dreams of Yesteryear Victorian Bed & Breakfast

1100 Brawley Street, Stevens Point, Wisconsin 54481
Innkeeper(s): Bonnie & Bill Maher
 

Time to "Repurpose" 17 Sep 2014, 11:31 am

It has been a long time since I posted on my Dreams of Yesteryear blog. Got to admit--life has been busy. Bill and I are definitely in that sandwich generation--the ones that take care of their parents and their grandchildren. So that's my excuse for not posting. But perhaps life will slow down a little now that my parents have moved into an assisted living facility and their house is cleaned out and on the market. Anyone interested in a 1958 ranch style home in Stevens Point, WI?
There is a lesson to be learned when you clean out your parent's house. That is, of course, watch what and how much you collect so your children won't have to deal with masses of "stuff" when their turn comes to clean up. Which brings me to my own clean up. My winter project for Dreams of Yesteryear Bed and Breakfast is to go through the basement and closets and "repurpose" "stuff." I've always kept my "stuff" clean and well organized, but let's face it, it's still just "stuff." I like the word "repurpose." "Repurposing" sounds better than recycling or trashing. My experience cleaning out my parents house has shown me lots of places to do my "repurposing." Places like Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, Goodwill, Easter Seals are always looking for useful things. Easter Seals will even come to the house to pick up your donated items. I think they will like the treasures I will be putting together. And, don't forget, you can "re-purpose" things by getting your kids to take them into their basements, garages and sheds! Then someday they can "re-purpose" them. :-) Sitting at my computer and writing about cleaning up makes the task sound easy and me motivated. I may have given you the wrong impression, I'm sure when I'm finally sifting and sorting, I'll be subject to that, "it's too good to get rid of" inclination and things will end up back in the basement or closet. So, reader, send some strong "repurposing" vibes my way. I'll let you know how my 'repurposing" project goes.

Dreams Gets a College Pro Facelift 16 Jul 2013, 11:37 am

Dreams of Yesteryear Bed and Breakfast has the reputation for being well-maintained.  We strive to keep the outside looking as beautiful as the inside. One thing I longed for, though, was to see every square inch of the building painted in the same season.  Prior to this year, at the advice of a neighbor who also owns an old Victorian, we painted one side of the house a year or hit the places where it was needed most.  So you can understand my feeling after owning the house for 26 years, I wanted to see the house completely painted.  I wanted her to look as fresh as the year she was built.

So it was with this in mind, that I researched College Pro Painters to do the job.  I usually try to hire college students whenever possible to do jobs around the bed and breakfast, but I must say, I was a little apprehensive about sending college students to the top of my three story house.  After making sure these students were trained and insured, I decided to give them a chance.   I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the result.  I'm posting some photos to share



June in the Gardens 21 Jun 2010, 3:11 pm




Here it is June already. Birds and squirrels, gardening and B&B guests are getting my attention these days. Stevens Point has had its share of rain already this month so creatures and plants in our gardens are quite happy. Already summer travel has provided plenty of opportunities to share the gardens of Dreams of Yesteryear with guests.
I like to describe to my guests what the property, especially the gardens, were like when Bill and I purchased our historic home, the J.L. Jensen House in 1987. The huge yard was quite overgrown with trees, shrubs, vines, and Lily of the Valley. Cedar hedges that were nearly as wide as they were tall topped the stone rip rap on two sides of the lot. A bittersweet vine near the west porch crawled over the roof and looked like it would be the plant that ate the house. Grape vines had tangled their way relentlessly through the Lilacs (not a bad thing if you like to make grapevine wreaths J). Pachysandra had managed to make its way up to the top of the mama and papa pines. Although we had just bought a large old house that needed lots of attention, we couldn’t wait to sort through the gardens to discover what kinds of plantings had been placed here by early owners of our house. I imagined Jensen family members planting these varieties a century ago. But, I also imagined that soon enough I’d be using my back, knees, elbows, and muscles to have my way with these plantings. After all, what is the purpose of a garden if not to accentuate the house? J
We’ve owned this historic home over 23 years now and I think we have pruned and trimmed every inch of the yard. As guests stroll through the formal and informal gardens of Dreams of Yesteryear, they now can gaze upon antique plantings that have been lovingly nurtured back to health. Honeysuckle, Bittersweet, Lilacs, Roses, Cotoneaster, and Bridal Wreath are a few of the plantings we've given a second chance at life. Of course we couldn’t resist the allure of the local nurseries and have given some new plantings a first chance at life in a Victorian garden. A variety of Hostas, Dragon's Blood, Lavender, Bugle Weed, Sedums, Artemisia, Iris, Jacob's ladder, Wild Ginger, Anemone, Lamb's Ears, Perovskia, Euonymus, and Lillies have found a home in our Victorian garden.
So as I write this I realize it‘s officially the first day of summer. With no purpose in writing this except to ponder my gardens, I wish you a happy summer and invite you to come enjoy a stroll through my garden.

Gardens at Dreams of Yesteryear 18 Jun 2010, 3:45 pm

It's been a long time since I've entered a blog. Shamefully, I'll admit it was Christmas. Now here it is June and Christmas is but a memory and birds,gardening, and B&B guests are getting my attention Stevens Point has had it's share of rain already this month so birds are chirping happily and the gardens are lush. And the best part has been sharing these treasures with bed and breakfast guests.

As guests comment on the gardens, I like to describe to them what the property was like when we purchased our historic home in 1987. The huge yard was quite overgrown with trees, shrubs, vines, and Lily of the Valley. Cedar hedges that were nearly as wide as they were tall topped the the stone rip rap on two sides of the lot. A bittersweet vine near the west porch crawled over the roof and looked like it would be the plant that ate the house. Grape vines had tangled their way relentlessly through the Lilacs (not a bad thing if you like to make grapevine wreaths). Pachysandra had managed to make its way up to the top of the mama and papa pines. It was exciting to sort through nature's green to discover see what kinds of plantings may have been placed here by early owners of our house.

Over the years we've pruned and trimmed our way to returning the yard into the beautiful Victorian landscape we enjoy today. As guests stroll the formal and informal gardens of Dreams of Yesteryear, they enjoy gazing at mature antique plantings that have been lovingly nurtured. Honeysuckle, bittersweet, lilacs, roses, cotoneaster, bridal wreath to name a few are the plantings we feel we've given another life. Guests also notice the other plantings that we've added over the years. No gardener can resist the many varieties of hostas or the dragon's blood, lavender, bugle weed, sedums, wormwood, iris, Jacob's ladder, wild ginger, anenome, lamb's ears, provoskia, eunemome, and lillies we couldn't resist adding to our gardens.

I Wish You the Christmas Spirit 4 Dec 2009, 2:02 pm

Well it finally came. The first real snowfall of 2009. Thank goodness! I've spent three days at my job in the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point's Tutoring-Learning Center trying to sandwich in the business of decorating the Writing/Reading and Content Tutoring Labs for the holidays, two days decorating my mother and dad's house and tree, and countless days/hours decorating our home--the Dreams of Yesteryear Bed and Breakfast. And guess what? I wasn't in the Christmas spirit in the least. But today changed all that.

Today we had our first real snowfall of the season. I woke up to discover my lawn covered with white, and to the slippery roads that paved my way to work. Looking through the windows I felt like I was in a giant snowglobe. The tips of the tree's branches were dusted with white, the large snowflakes melting on the heads and shoulders of the students as they came into our office, and the weather prediction of snow for the next five days has finally put me in the Christmas spirit. It feels good to feel that Christmas excitement again.

You would think that as one gets older, the excitement of Christmas would wear off. But, it is truly that magical time of year even for us adults. I love the anticipation that pours from Bill's and my six grandchildren this time of year, the beautiful sentimental feeling evoked by the old classic Christmas carols, the Advent Season as we prepare for Christ's coming.

I hesitate to put a damper on my Christmas spirit by turning on the news or even thinking of the state of our nation and economy this time of year. So join me and let's not make the world's problems take main stage right now. Instead, let's embrace Christmas and trust in He Who knows our problems and can make them go away. Perhaps if we can hold onto that Christmas spirit, the rest of the world's problems WILL go away.

Bill and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2010!

Stevens Point Roads Getting Confusing 21 Jul 2009, 9:40 am

If you've visited Stevens Point, you know that our streets can be confusing. The older section of Stevens Point is especially confusing because the streets are angled to follow the path of the Wisconsin River. And to make matters worse, the downtown and older section south of downtown is made up of several one-way streets. And now to add insult to injury, the DOT has made changes regarding US Highways 10 and 66 resulting from the opening of new US-10 West between Highway 34 North and I-39.



Here is a description of the changes as forward to me through our Stevens Point Convention and Visitor's Bureau. http://www.spacvb.com/



The changes are as follows:* US 10 no longer runs through Stevens Point west of I-39; the road there is now called Highway 66.* Old US 10 West has become County Road HH between Highway 66 and Highway 34 north.* County Road P is now Highway 66 from Stevens Point to Highway 34 near WisconsinRapids.* With the re-routing of Highway 66 onto I-39 between Highway 66 and US 10, StanleyStreet and Michigan Avenue have lost their Highway 66 designation and have become local streets. Detailed map information can be downloaded here[http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102640178370&s=39&e=001ATZcwBzHY8SVi_CPd92VBeOyPcwflz6zRn_B841RF7E6u1pZuzopMLLsZxeHw1ZqlQNJLp3iPCCnOd1ZkBRsK-qo7naY8HHN43CjtjpeMFd19w8v429uKw==].



So far these road changes have not kept guests from finding our Dreams of Yesteryear Bed and Breakfast. But, I must say, I had some UWSP alumni visiting a couple weeks ago and some Iola Old Car Show returning guests who were surprised to see signs reading Highway 66 instead of Highway 10. Don't let the road changes fool you, we're still here. Come see if you can find us. :)

The Recession and Dreams of Yesteryear 18 Jun 2009, 7:13 am

As I'm out and about, people will often ask me if the bed and breakfast business has slowed down due to the recession. You know with the recession our country is in, I really did not expect people to be traveling as much, but I find my expectations are wrong. I can happily reply that business at Dreams of Yesteryear has been steady and is even surpassing last year's statistics. So who are these people that can afford to travel? Well, let me tell you what I'm observing.
There are still the big events in the area that attract certain guests--events that people look forward to and plan for year after year--kind of like the square dance conventions that Bill and I would plan to attend year after year. :) This weekend the 20th annual Midwest Renewable Energy Fair has our guest rooms full. Next month, Riverfront Rendezvous, the National Wellness Conference and the Iola Old Car Show will bring guests. Later the Jazz Festival, Art in the Park, the Amish Quilt Auction will bring people to our community. But, in between the events, what reasons do people find to travel? I think that recession or no-recession, people work hard and need a vacation. So to meet that need for a vacation, I'm finding people are being resourceful and taking vacations closer to home. Some guests come from as close as an hour's drive, some come from right here in Stevens Point to get a peak at our historic home and to experience bed and breakfast hospitality. Guests may not be traveling as far to get away, but they still can feel rested, relaxed and "vacationed" by checking into a nearby bed and breakfast.
Low cost and free activities abound in Stevens Point so once here guests do not need to spend a lot of money to have fun. Some bring their bikes and ride our beautiful and free Green Circle Trail or experience hiking in our many parks. Others take architectural walks to view our many historic buildings and homes in nearby downtown. And when it comes to food, a full gourmet breakfast at Dreams of Yesteryear starts your day and is included in the price of the room. For lunch and dinner, Stevens Point has a wide variety of restaurants to choose from so dining out does not have to be expensive.
So to make a long story short. The recession has not been bad for the bed and breakfast business. It's actually great to see people stretching their imaginations to come up with ways to vacation without stretching their wallets.
I'm sure you've already thought of ways to take an inexpensive vacation, but if not, consider staying at a nearby bed and breakfast. And, while you're at it, why not stay at Dreams of Yesteryear! :)

Jensen House Article 20 Nov 2008, 6:16 am

One of the wonderful things about living in an old house is the history that comes with it. Every now and then I learn something that deepens my mental image of what life was like living here before Bill and I and our two girls moved here in 1987. This past week the Portage County Gazette (pcgazette.com) featured a story by Tom Jensen. The article was entitled, "Jensen family home provided enough space for mischief." The article by Tom was well written and gave a pretty good picture of the life of a young man growing up in a big old house like this and the kinds of things kids get into. Without getting into parphrasing the whole article, lets suffice to say that one of the paragraphs explained an incident that included grass snakes in the peach bathtub. I wish I would have known this before I took all those relaxing bubble baths in this oversized tub. Well, too late now. The tub was part of our last renovation project and is no more. Maybe a good thing. I don't think I'd enjoy a bubble bath knowing snakes had been in my tub.

Tom, thanks for sharing your stories.

About Time I Blogged 26 Jun 2008, 6:18 pm

Well, I certainly have taken a vacation from blogging. Sorry about that. Finally made it through another academic year at UWSP where I work as an office manager in the Mary K. Croft Tutoring-Learning Center. It was a great year. The students are wonderful--must be, I've worked 32 years in this department. Hmmmm--I'm dating myself. Anyway, it's summer and time to focus on gardens, grandchildren and all those summer bed and breakfast guests. I really had wondered if gas prices would take its toll on the B&B business. So far I haven't noticed a great decline in guests. I guess we all need to get away once in awhile. I'm glad people are feeling Dreams of Yesteryear is a worthy getaway and want to come visit.

Last weekend we were full of folks attending the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Custer. Three of my guests were main speakers at the fair. One of the speakers we were honored to host was Venezuela Ambassador Carol Moselay Braun. What a wonderful lady. We shared old house stories. Carol too has an old house. I wish this were the term she was running for US President. Anyway, be assured, there were great conversations around the breakfast table regarding alternative sustainable energy resources. I heard that 20,000 people attended the fair and that the MREA fair is the largest in the world. I'm amazed the kinds of things that bring people to this part of Wisconsin.

I'm looking forward to some busy weekends in July with the Iola Old Car Show and the National Wellness Conference coming up. At Dreams of Yesteryear we mark our anniversaries by the Iola Car Show. We hosted our first bed and breakfast guests the weekend of the Iola Old Car Show in 1990. So here it is eighteen years later and we're still loving this business. We still have lots of openings left for July and August. Hope you'll plan a summer getaway with us. Cheers.

New baby for Christmas 27 Dec 2007, 2:26 pm

Well the Christmas rush is nearly over and finally I can take time to collect my thoughts and enter a few words in my blog.
The fall season straight through Christmas was very good. We were blessed with lots of guests to share my favorite season of the year. And, we were truly blessed with the arrival of our sixth grandchild, Regina Caeli Patrice. She arrived on December 12 at 12:01 AM and boasted a full 10 pounds 14 1/2 ounces. What a girl. She's all baby and what a joy--the first of any of our children or grandchildren to be born with a head of hair and dark hair too. Needless to say, Christmas was a little crazy at our house this year.
Christmas Eve is the day our family chooses to get together to celebrate the birth of our Lord and to exchange presents. This year dinner was moved up a bit so that the children would have time to spend with their cousins. So we hosted a 4:00 dinner for a clan of 22. While family was arriving, six rooms of guests were also arriving to check into their rooms. I can't believe I'm saying this, but, "I think I need a BIGGER house." I think this house is big until events like Christmas make me think we need to rent a hall. My daughter Darcy assures me that a hall would not put us in the right mood and that this old victorian home is the perfect setting for Christmas. And, of course, I know she's right. This house has hosted 107 Christmas'.
But today I am comforted that the business of Christmas Eve is over and I can enjoy warm memories of Christmas Eve 2007. My house full of guests have checked out and my housekeeper and I tidy up as we await the arrival of more guests. What a great life we have. Wonderful family and So much to be thankful for. Oops, I hear the doorbell. Guests have arrived. More later.