Inns Magazine Issue 2 Vol 22 Gourmet 2018 - Page 14

"We all have visions of a perfect scenario where life clicks together creating a beautiful picture of ourselves in our own little paradise."

If you asked me then what my ultimate goal was, an owner of a B&B called Suite Miss Scarlett would not have been the answer. There were hints however to what my future plans would be, as my industry colleagues often commented on my talents as "an excellent and creative" host.

Sometimes life throws curve balls and I found myself without the life I had grown accustomed to living in Los Angeles for the past 24 years. Finding a new life for myself, as a woman of a certain age in LA, proved difficult. The choice to move back to my native land was imminent. My adult sons preferred to stay in LA, so I made the journey back on my own. I am proud of them both as they work within the entertainment industry, as I know they are proud of my achievements here in Canada. Thanks to face-to-face communication technology and yearly visits, our long distance relationships continue to thrive.

Personality and strong character are important traits to have in your innkeeper toolkit. A personal trait of mine that cannot be ignored is my A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder). It has been the force that supplies me with my drive and relentless energy to succeed. Turns out, an innkeeper lifestyle requires lots of attention to detail, so I reinvented myself starting with my education. I began with an Organizational Communications BA and proceeded to an ABA Paralegal Certificate. I discovered age discrimination was not only in LA but in the Ottawa job market as well. Unable to find employment became the contributing factor behind my decision to open a B&B.

Finding a beautiful stone home with 5 acres near Ottawa was financially our of my reach. Instead, I ended up with a lovely 1850’s homestead with 100 acres of scruffy land that had not been farmed in over 70 years. There was an unfinished barn attached to the old homestead, and I thought to build a private suite in this portion of the house was a safe venture. If the B&B biz didn’t work out I could always rent out this private suite long term.

Building Suite Miss Scarlett was an exciting labour of love. I discovered farm artefacts found in the property outbuildings that would compliment a few precious pieces I brought with me from LA. Farmer John supplied me with additional timbers to support the second story subfloor and a divider wall between the kitchen and living room. He nicknamed me Scarlett because the all-male building crew had to deal with an informed woman. Considering the 100-acres and my connection with the film industry, I reminded him of Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind. The name for my new venture Suite Miss Scarlett seemed appropriate.

The suite and its lux amenities were designed with romance in mind for couples and has accommodated families and ladies for a girl’s night out. I opened up B&B rooms in my personal home space because people staying in the suite were requested extra rooms. I love to cook, returning guests celebrating a special occasion find cookies, pies, and other goodies in the kitchen when they arrive. I love to see people enjoy the property, two bicycles in the barn, a barbeque, outdoor fire-pit, 2 pairs of snowshoes and a three-season porch surrounded by gardens are additional perks.

Can't wait to hop on King Kioti this spring to design more secret gardens and pathways to the mini lake, and somewhere in between this and guest stays, start the natural pool. Simple details do make a difference and I have created a perfect place to unwind, let your hair down and let go of the stress and proud of my new digs in the sticks!