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The Elms – Reviews

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

As Innkeepers you’re always keen to what people are saying in the many on line reviews.  You know they can make or break you.  Last year we almost made it all year without a bad review!  But then in November there it came.  Spoiled our perfect record.  It was a bad week as Matt steamed.  And, steamed.  Ranted and raved. 

We are still trying to get the Bed & Breakfast to a breakeven operation.  So, any negative reviews, and the potential drop in business has quite an effect on us.  However, I finally settled him down.  I explained that feedback, good, bad, or indifferent is vital to us.  We need to know what people are thinking and saying.  Quality is all about meeting or exceeding customers’ expiations. 

I pointed out the many improvements we have made over the years, many as a result from the feedback we got from the reviews.

We at The Elms take all the reviews seriously and learn where we are doing a great job, and where we need improvement.  So, although we may take it personally, we appreciate your taking the time to give us, and the world your thoughts.

For those that gave us great reviews, we appreciate those also       😉

Thank You.

Family Reunions – So you want to run a B&B?

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

So you want to run a B&B

One of the best things about running a Bed and Breakfast is the guest.  Last Thanksgiving we had a family reunion that reserved the whole Inn for 4 days.  The family came from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Ohio, Florida and joined a few that lived here in Maine.  What a great family they were.  Respectful, friendly, diverse, and yes, a true functional loving family of 3 generations. 

I’ve heard an expression in this business “you can’t please all the people all the time.”  Well we had 20+ people to please.  For four days.  Quite the challenge.  Wrong.  Let me tell you.  What a pleasure it was.

We, the Innkeepers, felt welcomed into their family.  We were treated like their guest.  They played pool, took hot tubs, built puzzles, cooked, dined, played instruments, talked, laughed, and otherwise entertained each other.’  Just a good ol’ time. They left a message in our guestbook stating ‘Thank you for a wonderful Thanksgiving!  It was one of the best we can remember, thanks for your generosity and your beautiful Inn’.  We took that as quite the complement.

Well, it wasn’t.  The best complement is that they just booked another family retreat for next weekend!  We can’t wait to see them.  Wonder if they will leave another jar of that delicious homemade Maine raspberry jam for us again?

Foodie Weekend Jan. 22nd & 23rd

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Foodies, Foodies, Foodies:  You know who you are.  You’re one of us!  Portland has been recognized as one of the best small cities in the country for dining.  And, it’s a great place to get away for a simple weekend.  Wouldn’t it be great to get away to dine and stay at an historic Inn?

On Jan. 22nd  & 23rd The Elms is hosting ‘Foodies Weekend’.


You will arrive Friday, and Friday night you will be treated to  a classic New England Lobster Bake.  Steamed Maine lobsters, clams, corn on the cob, backed potato w/ sea salt, salad, blueberry cake.  Maybe a little simple for the refined pallet …… but its Maine Lobster Folks!  We just have to get that out of the way.  Saturday morning you’ll have Breakfast prepared by chief Matt Pekins or go explore one of Portland’s renowned breakfast haunts.  At noon there will be a cooking class by one of Portland Restaurateurs.

The real fun starts Saturday afternoon.  Shopping!  Saturday night you get to, with the other guest, to prepare your own collective meal!  Yes that right.  Your Foodies get to do your own cooking in our own commercial kitchen.  Sharing camaraderie, cooking ideas, tips and secretes while building friends and a terrific meal!  But let me back up.  First we’ll go shopping at The Cheese Iron, the wine vineyard, and Portland niche specialty food stores.  Maybe we’ll take the scenic routes without getting too touristy.  Then back to the Inn.  It’s time to start cooking……no one said the wine had to wait to dinner time.   The Elms dinner table seats up to 18 family style comfortably.  Relax and dine, on the delicious meal you have just had a blast preparing.

Sunday morning, sleep in.  Snore off those calories.  Breakfast will range from coffee, muffin and fresh fruit, or add eggs Benedict, fried potatoes, juice, & yogurt.

Rooms will go from $79 to $160/ night.  The foodie package adds just $ 30/ person.

Register on line by adding “Foodie Weekend” in the special needs comment section after selecting your room, or call 207-854-4060.

Invite your foodie friends and family to double the fun.

Really, you mustn’t, really……..Thank you!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

So you want to be an Innkeeper? 

Let’s take a look at some of the good points of being an Innkeeper. The guests, some are good, others are not so good, and some are just too much. We have guests that are just too much of a treat. You could all be sitting around the table and they will start clearing the table, or be talking in the kitchen and have plates to serve, and just to continue talking they will help bring out the breakfast plates to other guests. They make their own beds and use the same towels, or strip their beds and place all the used linens in the shower.

Last week a couple stayed with us for two nights, to visit their son who lives down the street. We were sitting on the veranda discussing what it is like being an Innkeeper and how some things in an old building always need to be fixed or replaced. In this case it was the pantry refrigerator which is set in a cabinet. I go and buy a replacement thinking it would be the same size, so I didn’t measure. After taking out the old one, I went to place the new fridge in the empty space, and of course it was one inch to wide. The morning I was planning to try my hand at carpentry we happened to be discussing this project, and how I was thinking a hand saw along with the skill saw to fix the problem. Well I stated that id better start the job or it would never get done and I would sit and talk all day.

I went into the pantry, and he followed to see what the job was like. The next thing I know Rick (that was his name) is under the counter asking for a screwdriver and a hammer. I traveled down to the tool room and brought back the requested tools. After a couple of tries he got the wood panel out, and handed it to me saying go and cut it on the marked lines. At this point I thought it smart to mention that I have never used a table saw. So we went down to the tool room and put on our safety glasses (mine being Prada) and Rick showed me how to use the saw. After completing the cuts we replaced the panel and set the fridge into the newly widened hole. Then we retired back to the veranda to plan out the rest of their day.

KC Goes to the Big House

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

So, you want to be in Inn keeper.   Hers what KC says about that.

As a young girl swimming at the Westbrook pool I always wondered who lived in that big house across the river. Was it a movie star or the president? Maybe it was haunted!

Going to the pool everyday with my friends who would all tear off their clothes and jump into the pool, I would put my clothes in a neat pile (an early indication that I would grow up to be a Martha Stewart Wannabe before even knowing who Martha was).

Before plunging in, I usually walked around the pool hoping for a glimpse of someone from that mansion. I had to figure this out myself, asking someone would spoil the mystery!

Fast forward: With the Martha side of me fully developed, and knowing that I love to cook, clean, and meet people, my husband saw a “housekeeper wanted” ad on Craig’s List for a  B&B in Westbrook…the “big house.”

 Jokingly (he thought) he said “there you go” and here I am… 

It’s a great Inn, the owners are so much fun to work with, and most of the people that we meet are terrific with the exception of the occasional “guestzilla”.  There are guests who are quite funny without trying to be. Example: I was walking up the stairs with the vacuum one day and a guest asked if I worked here. Another time I was explaining that some of the rooms don’t have private baths and use shared bathrooms. When checking out this guest very happily told me that she never had to “share” the bathroom with anyone (she was under the impression that it would be simultaneously) 

The fact that she would have been ok with it made me chuckle!