Thursday, September 16, 2010

An interview with Rosemary and Hess Gates, innkeepers and owners of Twin Doors B&B

"Renovate and they will come"
In 2005, Rosemary and Hess Gates began the transformation of the 1900 country cape farmhouse in Sunapee Harbor to become Twin Doors Bed & Breakfast. They had spent many great times in the area and were thrilled when they purchased the property in 2003. They thought it was such an ideal location: in the Harbor, a 5 minute walk to all the great Summer waterfront activities and just a 10 minute drive to their favorite Winter recreation - skiing at Mt Sunapee. Their goal was to retain all of the property's original charm while providing modern comforts for future guests.

As Hess relates, "We were both working full-time when we started the renovation but it was a great experience. We were fortunate to find George Grant, a Sunapee resident with a real appreciation of older homes. The three of us made a good team, Rosemary had the vision and decorating flair (plus a barn full of collected furnishings), George had the construction expertise and Hess knew which end of a hammer to hold." In 2007, after two years of hard work, Twin Doors opened with four guestrooms with modern comforts including private bathrooms with Jacuzzis, individual room heat control, remote controlled ceiling fans, air conditioning, in room TV/DVD and wireless internet. As Rosemary notes, "Having experienced many B&Bs, we learned what really made a difference: guestrooms with two comfortable reading chairs, plenty of electrical outlets, plush bathrobes, ironed 400-count bed linens & plenty of pillows, bedside reading lamps, lots of soft towels and, of coarse, great hot breakfasts."

Now in their 4th year, Hess and Rosemary enthusiastically comment on how enjoyable Innkeeping is plus note they find it a rewarding lifestyle. Some of their favorite experiences are: Sharing their love of Lake Sunapee, Mt Sunapee and all the nearby activities and hearing great feedback from our guests, meeting interesting guests from all walks of life and from all over the world - skiers, hikers, business travelers, wedding guests, international guests plus many, many vacationers and sharing family updates with their many repeat guests - several have become "extended family" which they find so neat.

When asked about learning about being an Innkeeper, Rosemary relates their initial B&B experiences. Hess's business (software for Distribution & Manufacturing) involved extensive travel and when we went on vacations, Hess all but refused to stay in another big box Marriott or Hilton. She says, "That is when we started staying in B&Bs and most were fun (some even approaching the Bob Newhart TV show)."  Rosemary grew up in old houses and always loved old houses. Both would have loved to own an old house but with two sports active children it just never really fit. Well, now it has come full circle for both of them,  Rosemary has an old house and Hess stays every night in a B&B!

Both Rosemary and Hess commented on what fun their guests are. This makes the hard work more than worthwhile. A bonus form of entertainment (and certainly a surprise) has been some of the questions from prospective inquiring guests. They mention a few of the more memorable ones:
"I know you are a Bed and Breakfast but do you serve breakfast? "
"Do you have on-site parking and, if so, what is the cost per day? "
"Should I bring my own sheets and pillow? "
Hess asks caller, "How many in your party". Caller replies, "Eleven". Hess says, "We are awfully sorry but we just have 4 rooms and can only accommodate eight". Caller adds, "That is ok we will take two rooms". Hess hesitates, gathers himself and says, "I guess I wasn't clear. Our B&B only holds 8 guests total". The caller quickly replies, "That is ok , six are children. Hess is now really stumped and politely says,
"In Sunapee, we count children as people" Caller now says "Ohhh, that is too bad."

Twin Doors Bed and Breakfast
49 High Street, Sunapee, NH
Romantic accommodations with four modern queen/king guestrooms plus ideal location - walk to Sunapee Harbor waterfront activities & 3 miles to award winning Mt Sunapee skiing & riding