2019 was a big year for Blessings on State!

AIHP – Giving Back

A major highlight of the year took place in March at The Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals (AIHP) Summit in Cincinnati. Glenn, Val and I went early to join other innkeepers to volunteer our service at a Queen City Kitchen. It was a fun evening and Val was the youngest one there! AIHP recognizes that innkeeping Professionals are not strangers to hospitality and compassion. It’s something that comes naturally to us; it’s what we do. Many AIHP members are involved and volunteer in regional and national non-profit organizations that help improve the lives of others outside of the innkeeping industry. During the Summit, Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast was honored for Giving Back to the foster care community. We have offered our guests incentives for donating to The James Project, a not-for-profit Christian ministry in Springfield, Illinois which provides homes and support for fostering families. There was a beautiful general session video highlighting our family life, focused on foster care and the adoption of our five children and Valerie’s Story. It ended with a standing ovation from the crowd and many positive comments throughout the conference. That recognition is something I will never forget!

Friend of Tourism Award
Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast was honored with a local tourism award. I was the 2019 recipient of the Friend of Tourism Award during National Travel and Tourism week in May. JACVB Director Brittany Henry and Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard presented the award for my efforts to promote tourism in the community. The award was based on nominations from the community, and it really means a lot to me. It’s something that really reflects our goals and passions at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast. I work hard to promote the Blessings on State and the Jacksonville experience to people who have no ties to Jacksonville. We have a high number of guests who have no other ties to the area – Blessings brings them in. It’s fun meeting people who are visiting town for the first time, and it gives me the opportunity to shine my concierge badge and share all that Jacksonville has to offer. I love this town and I love sharing it with others! Our local ABC News channel 20 even did a special Marketplace segment about my tourism award and other media outlets publicized it, as well.


TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Winner

Bed & Breakfast Magazine Article

We were honored and excited that Bed & Breakfast Magazine featured Blessings on State in their holiday issue! There was a beautiful five-page article, complete with pictures, detailing the origin of our Elves Weekend tradition. Justin Hurley, a Springfield Illinois photographer, provided the cover and other photos. I am sure thankful to all my local photographer friends for their assistance in taking pictures over the years and to the magazine editor for putting together such a nice article.

I highly recommend Bed and Breakfast Magazine, especially for inn-goers and other travelers. And home cooks. And photographers. This year’s holiday issue offers recipes that look great and shares inviting looks at many B &B’s, including an inn-to-inn Cookie Tour. Those who know me well will understand that one my favorite articles featured hot tea and cookie pairings. Clever, and right up my alley! Please consider subscribing. I’ve also subscribed to their other publication, Chateaux and Castles Quarterly.

We are entering our 12th year at Blessings on State in Jacksonville. Over the years we’ve been honored to host many delightful guests, to be recognized in local newspapers, TV, and with awards that are very meaningful. This is another high note. There’s just something extra thrilling about seeing a five-page article about the work we’re doing here! The holiday issue we were featured in has become a collector’s item, as it sold out within a week, but you may still order a digital copy. I would encourage you to do so. The articles are great and the photography is exceptional.