Barb passed away after a long fight against cancer on July 21, 2009. Most of our guests never knew that she was ill, nor did she want them to know, thinking it might make their stay less than satisfactory. She wanted this to be a joy filled stay for all who came to visit. Barb’s vision was to make this B and B a great experience for guests to remember fondly and be able to look back on the wonderful time they had. To that end, she never quit looking for a better unique item that caught her eye and would replace something that may have been on the wall or in a nook that was nice but not fantastic.
Her drive to make the guest area and rooms as comfortable and eye appealing as possible was her always in the back of her mind. Her comments would be that she wanted people to walk into the room and ask her where did you find this, I have never seen anything like it. She could tell them where she found it and would tell some of the history behind it, if she knew it. She made great efforts in finding things that worked into the themes. She was not formally taught to be a decorator; she did have a flair for the task and she always said that she knew what she liked and then would find a place for it to go when we got home.
She continued that same vision in her food service. She didn’t want the same old items that you can get in any chain restaurant. She wanted to have unique or uncommon dishes. Quiches and soufflés were things that she never made before and so she took classes and experimented on the family with the recipes. She poured over recipes in magazines just to find that one desert, or entree that would be a hit. There were many dishes that she tried and some that she rejected because it didn’t have the “BAM” needed to make the cut. There were others that she would modify to make them better. She was the final judge on what would be served and if it was a worthy effort. Even when we had guests that had restrictions, she would want to spice it up and make it something that the guest would enjoy.
Barb will be missed for her humor, and her bubbly spirit. She was always ready to greet new guests and loved the discussions with them about things they wanted to do in the area. She also had a great time talking with people that came from the Chicago area or someplace that she wanted to visit after we retired. She was totally organized in her approach to the B and B and she made certain that all her ideas and recipes were put down in writing so that anyone could follow them. She always read the guest comments and improved on things that she felt were not quite up to her standard. She never wanted to leave things unfinished and so she made sure that her wishes were known so that Down By The River would not lose it’s luster and uniqueness. She laid the foundation well and so I will endeavor to continue on in a way that she would find acceptable. Her goal is a hard path to follow but not an impossible one and hopefully when you visit you will feel her presence as you view and experience her handiwork.
My thanks to all our past guests for their part in making Barb feel that her efforts were greatly appreciated. She took pride in her work to make Down By The River a peaceful and relaxing get away destination.