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Honeysuckle Hill B&B - A Day in the Life by:Fred Riley

Honeysuckle Hill B&B - A Day in the Life by:Fred Riley

My wife and I live in a 200-year-old home on Cape Cod

. It is our home, and it is our work. We are innkeepers. Doesn't that have a poetic and romantic ring to it? Well, it is both poetic and romantic, but it is a labor of love, as well. We are never bored, for certain.

There are duties involved in the standard innkeeper's day that are visible and obvious to guests, and there are duties that go unsung and unseen. Still, there are two of us to share the work, and it is a good thing. Things to be done vary with seasons, of course, and the high season on Cape Cod is summer, so here is an idea of what a standard summer day looks like from our side of things.

We are up by 4:00 a.m. We set an alarm, but really, it is more insurance than necessity. Our internal clocks have long been set to an innkeeper's schedule. The morning paper is retrieved and placed to be available to early rising guests. A pot of coffee is made ready for those same early risers, as is a pot of hot water. Our dogs need to be managed for their early morning needs, as well. This is separate from B&B business, but is still a part of our regimen and warrants telling.

Preparation for breakfast is begun. As this is the one meal we prepare daily for guests, it gets a lot of attention. There are muffins and breads to be baked, at least, and depending on the specialties of the day, eggs to be broken, fresh bread to be sliced, fruit to be prepared.Honeysuckle Hill B&B - A Day in the Life by:Fred Riley

Then begins breakfast service. We don't force all guests to be at table by a certain time, so breakfast preparation is a rolling event. All hot items are made to order for each guest. In addition to the work of breakfast, visits to the dining table for a morning check on guest well being is a necessity. Being an innkeeper is a very personal business. Our guests know our names and expect we know theirs.

Breakfast isn't over until the last dish is washed, and the dining room reset for the next day. Then, a supply check is in order. What staples are running low and need to be replaced; what fresh items need to be acquired for the following day's meal. When the time is convenient, one of us heads out to manage this errand.

As guests check out, their rooms need to be reset for the next guests. Floors need to be vacuumed and furniture dusted. Bedding and cut flowers and English toiletries are refreshed. Linens and bedding need to be washed. In the rooms, we always do a check for personal items that may be left behind and then need to reconnect the owners with their property.

Mosts guests are out for a good chunk of the day - off to a beach or taking in a local attraction. We are frequently asked what we recommend for day trips given certain parameters, and we are ready with advice and directions. Once our guests' days are set, we take care of the common rooms in the inn (a great room with fireplace and flat-screen cable t.v. and a library) and the innkeepers' quarters (separate from the inn proper), work in a dog beach walk whenever possible, and manage other personal business.

Then, there is an English garden which requires time nearly daily. I am the gardener, and that responsibility falls to me. There is a spa in the garden that requires daily maintenance, a fish pond and environs, and any number of plants and a lawn that want attention, too. There is some flexibility with this, but not much. Plants are only forgiving for so long.

With incoming guests, there is greeting and, as we offer concierge service, special needs to be met. They are settled in, shown what's available to them at our inn and new relationships begin to develop.

We offer afternoon tea by request. If there is a request, tea is prepared and served in the location of the guest's choice usually the screened in porch on the front of the house or the English gardens in the back. Again, some clean-up and resetting is required.

We have a refrigerator on site for guests, as well as a Professional Viking barbecue. Very often, our guests prefer a barbecue at the inn to a meal out, and we are on hand to offer our assistance and maybe tools, if needed. Our guests clean up behind themselves for the most part, but there is always a detail or two requiring our attention.

Guests come and go all day. We are available until the last one is tucked into his or her feather bed. We have a bit of downtime before our own bedtime sometime between 10:00 and 11:00 in the evening. Four o'clock a.m. rolls around pretty quickly, though, so that time is minimal.

In addition to current guests, there is the booking of and communication with future guests. We have a website, and it needs to be kept current. Specials are rotating, and those that have passed need to be removed while others are added. Photos are updated. Then there are Innkeeper Association responsibilities to be attended to, as well.Honeysuckle Hill B&B - A Day in the Life by:Fred Riley

As I stated above, we are never bored.

If you'd like a virtual visit to our establishment to see in more detail who we are and what we offer, visit us on-line at We do not stop business in the quiet seasons of fall and winter, so do consider us as an option, whenever you plan a getaway to Cape Cod.

About the author

Freddy & Ruth Riley's Innkeeping debut on Cape Cod was in 2004. Freddy brings imagination to the 4-course gourmet breakfasts served at the Honeysuckle Hill Inn, along with his English humor, a love of gardening and the ability to fix almost anything in and around the house. Freddy reflects on the many friends he and Ruth have made. "Hosting so many lovely guests has been gratifying," says Freddy. "Innkeeping has been a perfect fit for us."
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Honeysuckle Hill B&B - A Day in the Life by:Fred Riley