Guest Tweeting for @CelebrateNS

Just a heads up that I am the guest “tweeter” at @CelebrateNS on Twitter for the next week. “@CelebrateNS is a crowd sourced venue to discuss all that makes Nova Scotia great. Past, Present & Future. Arts, Culture, Industry.” The conversation this week is all about Nova Scotian B&B’s and Inns, and I’m happy to help with travel planning! For the record, we can be found all year long on Twitter as @BelgraviaBB


Guest Book Comments

One of the first things we do when we enter a guest room to clean it up after our guests have departed is open the room’s guest book and check for a comment! We LOVE to read the notes that guests leave for us! They always make us smile. We usually don’t come out and ask for guests to write Trip Advisor reviews for us  (I know, I know – we should, but it makes both of us feel kind of awkward…) We appreciate that most guests will spontaneously leave comments in the room journals!

One of the things I really appreciate before staying at a B&B or a hotel, is finding out what other people’s experiences have been. I do check on sites like Trip Advisor and Facebook as well as the property’s own website.  The following is the first installment of a few recent entries from our room guest books:

“The most lovely stay we had in Canada! Thank you for the cozy, comfortable bed and the fabulous pumpkin waffle breakfast. We’ve stayed in many B&B’s but your is by far the best ever! Thank you!”  – Mark & Rita, New Hampshire

“We greatly enjoyed our stay in this beautiful old home.l It made a great little winter getaway.” – Fran & Steve, Nova Scotia

“Thank you very much. I love this place and I hope come very soon. You have a lovely family and a lovely place. Thanks again.” – Jairo, Bogota, Colombia

“Thank you for this lovely place and your wonderful hospitality. The breakfasts were superb!! And lighting the fire in the front room while we had old friends visit was much appreciated. Hope to come again. Fondly” – Serena & David, St. John’s, Newfoundland

“Many thanks for your hospitality – your home is beautiful, the bed was so comfy & breakfast was delicious. We’ll be sure to spread the word about Belgravia B&B.” – Yvonne & Laurin, Nova Scotia

“Encore merci pour votre acceuil chaleureuse. Les petit dejeuner sont excellents et votre femille charmante. A notre prochaine visite en Nouvelle-Ecosse nous savons deja ou nous dejournerons, dans une magnifique maison.” – Nicolas et Marlene, France

“We loved our stay here and had great laughs at the breakfast table. The food was excellent and the hospitality a treat.” – Michael & Karen, Florida

“So much more than a top class B&B! The lovely family ambiance, hospitality and personalized attention is a 6 star!! We will be enthusiastic in our recommendations! Thank you all!” – Pam & Bob, British Colombia

“It was such a pleasure stopping as your guests once again! We were made to feel so welcome, like “old friends”. You shouldn’t make your beds so comfy & warm, ’cause I could have remained in bed much longer! Beautifully delicious breakfast. We will be great advertisers for you and will hope to stop again. May your beds be full all season long.” – Duane & Gail, Alberta

“We thoroughly enjoyed our stay with you. We can’t add to any of the superlatives previously mentioned so will just say THANK YOU!” – Wendy & Peter, Australia

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast website

Big plans!

As you can imagine, running a business while living in an 108 year old home means that there is always a project to be worked on.  I say we joke about how the list of priorities is always being re-arranged, but it’s actually the truth. We’ll think we’re going to tackle one project, and another will come up which becomes the top priority. Because the past two years were so busy while  both of us were teaching, a number of little jobs that need to be done have piled up; however, our top priority has become saving energy.

This big, old, home is beautiful, but not energy-efficient. We have  original cast iron radiators that throw wonderful heat in winter, but the water that runs through them is heated with oil. As is the hot water we consume. You can just imagine – using oil to heat the water used for six family members to bathe/shower, plus three rooms’ worth of guests, plus all the laundry we do each day, plus the water that needs to be heated for the radiators. Did I mention that an energy audit concluded that the draft in our home with four fireplaces &  poor insulation is the equivalent of a two square foot hole in the side of our house? And we don’t want our guests to feel cold? (Family? Sure. Guests? No.)

The result? We burn approximately 8000 Litres of oil each year.

Oil this year has cost $1.10/Litre – before tax.

Starting next month, we’ll be performing some big renovations: installing a new roof, adding insulation in the basement & exterior walls, and installing two new solar collector panels to pre-heat our hot water.  We’ve been told that we may be able to reduce our yearly oil consumption by up to 75% as a result.

We have a short window of opportunity to get the work accomplished, because we’ll (obviously) have to close out the B&B while much of the work is being performed. Since our tourist season is quickly approaching, we’re scheduling workers around our guests who have already booked, hoping to cause the least amount of disruption.  The next two weeks are quite busy here due to the Truro Music Festival, a Bridge tournament, and the Colchester Home Show, so we’ve got the work scheduled to begin in early May. While the work is being done, we’ll also be painting fences, replacing worn doorsteps, and doing the other small jobs that need to be done.

My goal is to have the B&B ready-to-go by the time the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) Annual General Meeting is held in Truro on May 24th & 25th.

We’ll keep you posted…