What’s on YOUR Bucket List?
Regardless of age, when asked what they would put on a bucket list of things they wish to accomplish, a large percentage of Americans say they’d like to travel to new places. Traveling is good for the soul. It allows us to relax and enjoy new experiences. It allows us to maintain connections with people and places that are important to us. Although I don’t really maintain a bucket list, as such, there are a number of places I would like to visit. Some are places I’ve never been and some are places I’ve been before. There are a few places that I love to visit again and again. I love to travel and I really am a great tourist, so the hospitality business is a good fit for me. Offering luxury accommodations at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast is one way I can share my passion for travel with others.
Childhood Travel Memories
As I was growing up, I traveled the Eastern United States rolling around with my younger sister in the back end of a wood-sided station wagon, playing auto bingo and drawing mustaches on Wooly Willy. (Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about!) The big excitement came when we stopped at HoJo’s or Stuckey’s and when we stopped for the night at a motel with the pool and swing set in front! We toured Callaway Gardens “way down South,” and Jackson Perkins Rose Gardens in upstate New York. We went to Montreal for Expo ’67 and we visited Niagara Falls, and I collected picture postcards all along the way to prove it.
My first airplane ride was St. Louis to Phoenix when I was 12 years old. We went out to visit relatives and I remember going to the desert and the Phoenix Zoo, where I rode on a tortoise. Travel matters! I have wonderful memories of the trips of my childhood. When I was 17, I spent the summer living with friends in Argenteuil, France, just outside Paris. I often rode the train into the city and I enjoyed seeing the sights, including viewing the city alongside the gargoyles atop Notre Dame Cathedral. The recent loss of the cathedral saddens me, and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to visit this treasure.
When we were married 37 years ago, Glenn and I drove to Canada where we celebrated Canada Day in Ottowa and toured Montreal and Quebec City. We took a carriage ride through the Plains of Abraham. We stayed at the Chateau Frontenac and what was then the Harbor Castle Hilton, along with some beautiful Bed & Breakfasts. Believe me, I loved the Château and the Harbour Castle, but I really enjoyed the Bed & Breakfasts, too!
I enjoyed staying in the historic homes, one alongside a lake. I loved the antique furnishings, the wonderful breakfasts, and I loved getting to know the innkeepers. It was at that time I decided I was going to be an innkeeper one day. That dream was put on hold for 25 years while we raised four children who came to us via foster care and adoption.
Dreams do Come True
I am a woman of faith and I never gave up my dream. The Lord gave us the opportunity to relocate to Jacksonville and prepare to open Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast the year I turned 50. Now, we have just entered our 11th year as Jacksonville’s only Bed & Breakfast inn.
What’s There to Do in Jacksonville?
I use my personal experiences as a resident to share Jacksonville with guests that come to stay with us. I’ve dined at our local restaurants, toured the Duncan Mansion and Woodlawn Farm, attended D-3 football games at Illinois College and MacMurray, attended live theater and art openings of the Strawn Art Gallery, and I’ve even ridden the Big Eli Wheel in Community Park! (I feel relatively certain that mine was the shortest ride in the history of the Big Eli Wheel #17, but I made it around a couple of times!)
Who Travels to Jacksonville?
Our guests have come from throughout Illinois and from across the United States, from Spain and England and New Zealand, Japan, and other countries. Travel helps keep people connected. Some of our guests come to visit family and friends, others come to town for special events.
Over years I’ve found that more and more are coming to Jacksonville just to stay with us at Blessings On State. We are bringing people to town! They find us on the Internet and they come to town with no family connections, no work connections, no event to attend, just a desire to come stay in our our Bed & Breakfast in the heart of the historic district! Once we get them here, we work hard to bring them back.
It’s All About the Experience
As an innkeeper, I’ve learned that it’s all about the experience. When our guests stay with us I want them to have the best accommodations, the best bed sheets, the best coffee and tea, the best breakfast, the best front porch, the best lawn and garden, the best tour guide, the best sites to see, the best places to eat, the best shops, the best activities, the best of everything that they can imagine while they are in Jacksonville!
We encourage our guests to walk around our historic neighborhood. attend local events, visit historic sites, dine in our restaurants and shop in our locally owned businesses. While our guests are enjoying their stay with us, we also enjoy getting to know them. Relationships are formed that continue to grow over the years.
I’m a traveler at heart. I can make a work trip a fun trip with a Bed & Breakfast stay and dinner at Maggiano’s thrown in, and I love sharing the travel experience that has been so important in my life with my guests.
Edna St. Vincent Millay speaks for me in her poem, Travel:
My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing;
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.
I hope that you all will find joy in your journey.
Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast ~ Jacksonville, Illinois
About Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast
Experience a stay in our award-winning Bed & Breakfast located in a magnificently restored 130-year-old mansion in the heart of the historic district. Pampered luxury is our goal, to delight both business and leisure travelers. We offer two upscale guest suites, each with private sitting rooms and private baths. We provide multi-course gourmet breakfasts, 24/7 family-friendly hot and cold beverages and snacks, and cookies and milk at bedtime. Wi-Fi is available throughout our home and each suite has a digital satellite TV and all-season fireplace. We are located just steps away from Illinois College, the Governor Duncan Mansion and Illinois School for the Deaf and our neighborhood is highlighted on one of Jacksonville’s historic walking tours. Escape the standard hotel room and enjoy your own private suite in the finest Jacksonville area lodging. Book direct for the best rates.