When I think of spending a weekend at a Bed and Breakfast, I think of a 4-poster bed in an old New England home. Mornings are about cozy breakfasts and the sweet smell of fresh baked muffins and warm coffee. I imagine chatting with guests about places to visit. I imagine a cheery Inn Keeper who bustles around in the background.
Scratch that image. After this past weekend’s stay at a local B&B, I may have to read my trip adviser a little more closely before signing on.
Here’s what happened. My husband and I arrived at the B&B that was conveniently close to our friend’s son’s wedding. The mother of the groom (MOG) had reserved the entire Inn for our group months before and we were so grateful.
Upon arrival at this lovely roadside New England Inn, my husband suggested I check in and he would put the bikes together. As I approached the screened door a voice bellowed, “No shoes in here thank you very much, and no high heels if you wear them, I’m preserving my beautiful wood floors.”
I hadn’t even made it through the front door. As I sat down to take off my sneakers the woman opened the door to watch me. She looked very odd and was giving off a frantic energy vibe.
“Let me show you to your room,” I was carrying my backpack and a shopping bag filled with goodies from our favorite bakery. As we entered the room I was given instructions.
“Don’t put your damp towels on the bedposts, this bed is an antique…there’s no lock on the door, someone must have stolen all the eyes for the hooks—ha ha. Oh, what’s in that shopping bag? Did you bring me something?” She giggled peering into the bag.
“Let me show you the bathroom down the hall. Oh dear once again, someone has stolen the eye on the door – so no lock – just put this post-it on the door so someone knows you are in there. You have to turn on the sink faucet to turn on the shower or you’ll wait forever.”
Let me say that I am not a wimp –but I was totally crushed by this woman’s vibe and my brain was playing the Bates Motel horror theme music from Psycho. (play this at risk of conjuring nightmares).
I lowered my head and dutifully told her (let’s call her Norma), that I fully understood. I started to walk away explaining I needed to go outside and get something from the car. She was on my tail – following me down the stairs with more instructions. I practically ran to get some distance and found my husband working on the bikes. She was close behind.
“Hey”, I whispered loudly, our Inn Keeper is a whack. Don’t engage with her, don’t answer questions, avoid her if you can and join me in the room.”
He smiled and we headed to the room. Norma followed us up the stairs muttering all kinds of instructions and walked right into our room with us. Finally, I politely told her we understood and needed to head out.
A little voice in my head told me to take my stuff with me. I must have been in fight and flight mode as I’m a totally trusting person (never lock anything) but I had a vision of her snooping into my bags. After spending no more than 6 minutes in the room we left with my backpack full.
We found our friends and the first thing they said was, “How do you like the Bates Motel?”
And then the stories started to flow. She wouldn’t let them into their room when they arrived because she explained the room was not in their name. She said she needed to check in with our MOG in order to release their room. Eventually she gave in but wouldn’t let them in the room because she was in full cleaning mode. They finally checked in around 11:00 pm after the welcome party.
In the morning, Norma greeted us with wide-eyed and started in about the other guests,
“One of those ladies didn’t look so rich but she had some of those Manolo shoes. I was surprised – very pretty. I tried them on.” UGGH!
At the wedding we talked to 2 other guests who had spent the first night on the 3rd floor of The Bates.
They told us the woman had totally freaked them out and they checked out, took all their stuff to the wedding and would be staying at the Hampton Inn 45 minutes away. “No way I’m staying at that place, the woman is nuts.”
One lone survivor remained on the 3rd floor. She was shown to her room and it was a thousand degrees but was reassured it would cool off later. She was then shown the toilet. “Do you know anything about plumbing? I have all the parts and need to get this working.” The parts were laid out on the floor. My friend’s husband took care of the task later. She then went outside to use the outdoor shower and as she walked out soaking wet, Norma was on her ready to talk, and my friend said, “Don’t you talk to me, I’ve got to get ready for a wedding.” That shut her down.
As we shared stories about this wild Inn Keeper we were honestly enjoying the craziness of it all. We are all well traveled and adventurous and none of us wanted to be rude or cruel to this woman who clearly had major issues.
So the last morning as we drank our coffee, we were all chatting up a storm. Norma had unwound a bit. Her energy had chilled and she was less jumpy. She pulled out photos from her travels and told us how she loved being with her guests.
“What do you do for a living she said to my friend’s husband – I bet your are in finance.” He nodded yes. “And you, I bet you are book editor.” “No, guess again,” my friend said. “ I know … you’re a Ho who works at 7-eleven.” Hilarious! You can’t make this stuff up.
Out came more travel stories, more photos. She was in a bright mood.
Later as we shared our Norma stories with our MOG laughing away she asked us if we were to hit the reset button would we do it again – and we all said yes. It turned out to be bonding, entertaining fun. We had pulled the silver lining out of the dark side, which was a great reminder, how the unpredictable and outrageous… can also be great fun. And by the way….the wedding was spectacular!