One question that we are often asked is how did we decide to open a Bed & Breakfast. As parents with kids leaving the nest, we knew we wanted to make a change. We lived in St. Louis for 27 years; raised our 2 children and worked at our jobs. With the kids leaving we had an opportunity to do something different. I had always lived in the City. Peggy grew up in the suburbs, but had been in the City since we were married. I had romanticized about moving to “the country” and opening a B&B. Since I had always been in the hospitality industry, I thought it was a natural fit. Peggy as a nurse had the flexibility to move her work to many places.
When we met, we both worked at the Omni International Hotel at Union Station in St. Louis. I was a manager and Peggy was working as a waitress while in nursing school. During that formative time, we developed our ideas about hospitality and what makes an encounter special. We loved the fine dining aspect and realized it is not always easy to come by. We wanted to bring that experience to our guests. Some might say it is “too much trouble” or “too fancy” but we love it.
One place that featured prominently in our joint history was Augusta Wine Country in Missouri. During our dating years and early marriage, winery excursions were some of our favorite times. As the kids got older those trips got fewer. In 2014, I earned my certification as a wine specialist (CSW) so the interest in Wine Country was rekindled. Peggy had never lost interest in wine!
On a chance trip to Augusta with girlfriends, Peggy found a B&B for sale and remembered my dream. When she got back to St. Louis, she insisted I take her back to August to see the place. While we did not buy that place, we started looking in earnest. A place in the little town of Augusta caught our eye and we put in a contract in 2015. Unfortunately, the market in St. Louis made selling our house complicated. With no buyer in sight, we released the owners of the B&B from the contract to find someone ready to buy.
Our house finally sold in 2016 and we set out anew to find a suitable place. We found that it was not in Augusta, but Washington and it was perfect! With the help of many friends Hoefel Haus Bed & Breakfast and Bike Hostel was designed, renovated, decorated and ready for business in 2018. The craftsmen that worked on the house really gave their hearts to the project. As an historic renovation, all the grandeur of 1910 was brought back to life. Luckily, we saved room for all the modern luxuries.
The house has so many lovely areas to enjoy. There is a wrap around porch; backyard patio with a koi pond; garden swing in the trees; library with books and games; screened-in porch to keep away the pesky bugs! The Downtown area is walking distance with restaurants, library, boutiques, shops, galleries and parks to keep you entertained. The Riverfront is 5 blocks away with a walking trail, covered pavilion and a scenic place to watch to boats go by. Washington is a quaint look back in time much like our own Mayberry.
Peggy was in charge of the rooms. The linens, toiletries, lighting, colors all had to create a spa-like environment. Our theme for the suites is Planes, Trains and Automobiles to remember all the ways people travel to Washington. Our suites all have these amenities but the décor in each one is unique:
- King size Sleep Number beds
- Deep soaking tubs with separate showers
- Heated marble tile bathroom floors
- Embroidered terry robes
- USB charging for electronics
- Individual, in room climate control
- HD Smart TV with internet connection
Now, I had to develop the menu. I knew I wanted to honor the German history of our town but I wanted something that was my own creation. Potato pancakes were a German tradition so I mixed it up a bit and made a potato waffle. Peggy had to eat many mistakes before we got it right! To accompany that I called on my Mexican heritage and tried a grilled chicken thigh with Mexican seasoning. Then to truly make it my own, I can up with a Cilantro Ginger Pesto sauce! Viola!! It was perfect. Now, it is my signature dish for breakfast at the B&B!
Our experience thus far has been nothing short of my dream. We have met interesting people; heard their stories and wished them well in their travels. Sometimes following your dream is the right thing to do!