For years, my husband and I have told people, we’d like to have a bed and breakfast or something like that, when we retire. We love having overnight guests in our home. Usually we host people we know, like our good friends Mike and Terrill who are coming today for a long weekend. Sometimes we have hosted people we’ve never met. I know some of you may be freaking out a little here…wondering how we could possibly entertain folks in our home we’ve never met, but I have to tell you, these unexpected visitors have all become lifelong friends…not to mention they bring the world into our home. We met Igor from Istanbul, Turkey. Igor is a pastor who stayed with us for a couple of nights and shared stories of life in Turkey…and we introduced him to steamed crabs.
There is Albert from the Netherlands who is a doctor. He came to do his residency at Johns Hopkins and needed a place to stay for a few weeks until he found an apartment. He stayed in Baltimore for a year in which time even Chris Ann and her husband Todd, came to know him and his wife. Devon claims Albert as one of his closest friends. They are scotch and cigar buddies. There was also the family we had come stay with us on their way to Brazil. They were traveling from up north to the south to say goodbye to family. Here’s a crazy story. As we were getting to know them and their two little girls, they were reliving their road trip experience so far. They said, “We spent some time in Minnesota with our best friends.” We asked them where in Minnesota. They said, “A little area called Prior Lake.” We said, “Our best friends live in Prior Lake.” It turns out, the friends they were visiting are neighbors and good friends of Chris Ann and her husband Todd. Can you believe it?! I think that is why we love to have both guests we call friends and guests we’ve never met, stay with us…the unexpected happens!
As I am getting ready for Mike and Terrill, there are a few things I do to make my guests feel welcome and comfortable. I strive to make them feel at home and a part of the family. We have our guest room in the basement. We use to rent it out, so it has an efficiency kitchen and a full bath. Our guests have their own privacy. I always prepare two baskets, a snack basket with little treats. I usually put a couple of granola bars, fresh fruit and of course a few pieces of chocolate in the basket.
I also stock our downstairs refrigerator with water bottles. Then, a trick I learned from Chris Ann, I fill a toiletries basket, full of items our guests may have forgotten.
Then I write a handwritten note, to welcome our guests and let them know how excited we are that they’ve come to stay.
Years ago, I started a guest book. My family loves to be the first to run downstairs after a guest has left, to read the message they may have left for us. It’s a treasure in this home. It’s a treasure of memories and moments we spent nurturing friendships, old and new. Even kids have left us notes.
What are your tips for getting ready for house guests? Have you ever had interesting people stay with you?