Archive for the ‘Down By The River FAQ’ Category

Update on Down By The River B and B

July 8th, 2015 by Mike Hug

Down By The River B and B – an exciting update for our Guests

Arizona winter birding lodging

Down By The River B and B is the perfect lodging for the Arizona winter birding enthusiast.

The dream named Down By The River B and B was opened by Barb and I in 2005. We planned to work and building up our little piece of heaven with an emphasis on providing a great experience with meals, service and ambiance for our guests. We planned to retire after about 7 years and enjoy our “Golden Years” using the advice out guests gave us for traveling to locations all over the world. But the best laid plans were not in the cards. Barb passed away in 2009 at the beginning of the recession and it was not a good time to try selling anything unless you were giving it away.

southeast arizona b and b anniversary picture

The Ribbon Cutting in 2005 at Down By The River B and B with the Benson Chamber of Commerce and The Red Hat Ladies of Benson

Then a bright spot entered my life when Angie came back as a second time guest. Things progressed and we were married in 2010. Angie moved out and added her warmth and charm to the b and b. With her arrival, she also brought new touches that helped to improve the experience for our guests and she raised the bar higher. The guests responded to her efforts and this lead to many of our great reviews that we have received over the past 4 years.

But after four years of doing what we do best we decided that it might be a time to try and sell again. With grandchildren growing up and things changing in their lives, we decided we wanted to become a part of that experience. But we didn’t want to just sell to anyone. We wanted to find a couple that  would take this “Gem in the Desert” (as many guests have called us) and take the ambiance and guest experience to another new level. Well our prayers were answered when a couple visited us as guests and then informed us that they were wanting to buy Down By The River B and B.

Down by the river b and b update picture

Angie and Mike

So on June 25th there will be new faces here at Down By The River. We have spent many hours with the new owners explaining what we do and how we do it. We will remain a resource for them to help them with a seamless transition as they take the reins of the business. We are excited for them and their plan. We believe that they will take the guest experience to that new level with their enthusiasm and charm. Let Angie and I introduce to you Elizabeth and Darryn Cray who hail from Las Vegas. The Crays want to keep the basics the same but will be making some improvements to the B and B by adding their own touches during the scheduled summer shutdown and will be reopening September 1. We wish them both well and want our former guests to come back and experience Down By The River B and B.

We are sure that you will love to visit the Crays as much as you loved coming to see us.

The Crays picture

The Crays, New owners of Down By The River B and B.

B and B Owner’s Day Part 2

May 12th, 2015 by Mike Hug

B and B owner’s day – Now comes the rest

The b and b owner’s day starts early but after breakfast the harder work will come. If you do things right breakfast is easy and you have some time to relax. If you have guests leaving your relaxation will be short lived. But if you have guests that are staying and you don’t have to clean and do laundry you can get some things done that help you our cause. So here is part 2 of the narrative.

b and b breakfast Picture

Our table can seat 10 guests comfortably during our b and b breakfast.

After the guests leave the table, we will finish up our cleaning and straightening up the kitchen and table. We will update our menu for tomorrow and get any cooking dishes we need to have ready for tomorrows breakfast prep. As the guest leave we will tidy rooms, take out the trash, check for any dishes that we need to put in the dishwasher and check for any shortages of tissues and such that may need to be replaced. We will clean the rooms if guests check out. We try to run a quick spot check of the rooms for anything left behind before they get out the gate. We start the laundry and the dishwasher and hang the clothes on the line as they are done. In between we check the emails and telephone for messages.

Once we finish laundry, cleaning the rooms and putting the laundry away, we get the paperwork out for the incoming guests; start the prep for the next morning breakfast and other household chores that we need to get done that day. We check ingredients as we make breakfast and write down items which will need to be replenished. A running list keeps you from forgetting things when you have a long drive to the store. Wasted trips don’t help efficiencies and time is precious. We field phone calls as needed and many are from solicitors that want to sell us the cheapest insurance, best credit card set up, advertizing. While we do have online reservations, we get the call from potential guests who have questions and want to make a reservation. There are many balls to juggle but with two people working at it we usually aren’t overburdened. We get the morning meal into the refrigerator to sit overnight. In amongst all of this we try to fit in lunch.

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Day for a B and B owner Part 1

May 5th, 2015 by Mike Hug

Day for a B and B owner – the morning

day for a b and b owner picture

Early in the morning I am headed over to the guest side to start preparing the morning breakfast prep. This is after and hour or so that I have been on the computer.

The routine day of the b and b owner may vary as to specifics but there is always the one thing in common. The essentials everyday tasks are doing maintenance, cleaning, cooking, processing reservations and greeting guests. Most guests don’t know about all the other hats that a b and b owner may wear. There is the bookkeeping, budgeting, planning meals, gardening, scheduling time for shopping, banking, paying bills and maintenance. Then there are some b and b owners that do their own websites and marketing. If you aren’t organized and if you don’t have a system that works for you, things can unravel quickly at inopportune times.

We are starting our 11th year at Down By The River B and B. We have developed systems that save us time and effort. We only have 4 rooms at our b and b but that is enough to make our business plan work. We are able to do everything ourselves without needing to hire help for the normal day to day operation. When it comes to special maintenance or repair work we do find someone that is qualified to work with us in that area. So just what exactly is our normal day like? Well I can tell you that it isn’t ever the same but this is probably a typical scenario.

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April 19th, 2015 by Mike Hug

B and B Breakfast – Not like your corner cafe.

b and b breakfast picture

Our signature breakfast is Gruyere cheese souffle with a strawberry crepe.

One of the things I always check out is a b and b breakfast menu on the website. I want to find a place that will serve me something that I can’t get in a chain restaurant. If I want bacon and eggs with toast then the b and b needs to be extra special with other amenities. Before we opened Down By The River B and B, breakfast was one of the first things on our list to figure out. We didn’t want to spend hours on preparation or cook times but we also didn’t want to be short order cooks. To be able to have the best of both worlds we felt we needed to research and develop our recipes to be easy to prepare and have that “Wow” factor that Barb loved to find.

Our signature dish would probably be the Gruyere Cheese Soufflé served with a strawberry crepe. At first look just thinking about a soufflé is daunting. I thought of nothing but watching an “I Love Lucy” episode when I heard that this would be perfect. Too hard and takes a lot of time. But Barb was determined and took a class to learn how it was done. I found out that the prep time wasn’t that bad; 30 minutes or less and it keeps you organized so that you don’t make mistakes. If you would like to know how it is done read our blog on making soufflés.

b and b breakfast picture

We serve a fruit smoothie in the morning just before breakfast.

Over time we have developed and adapted different recipes to add to our selection. One thing we planned was to keep a database of our guests and what they had on their visit. This list has been handy when the guests return. We will then provide a different recipe for them on a return visit. This way our guests will end up with a variety of breakfast entrées. We have had guests at our b and b breakfast for 14 days in a row. We now have 13 recipes to choose from before we have to repeat.

b and b breakfast picture

We serve quiche at some breakfasts and yes real men do eat quiche.

One last part of the b and b breakfast plan we decided on was “How do we want to serve breakfast?” We have been at different b and b’s that serve over a several hour time period. These were generally the normal short order cook breakfasts. Others did a buffet style breakfast but they had to keep the food conditioned for heat or cold while people served themselves. The first people there saw the nice presentation while the ones at the end may have gotten lukewarm food that had been worked over by previous guests. We decided on “Family Style”. Why family style? Well that allows us to do dishes that we can prepare the afternoon before when needed. It allows us to make soufflés , quiches or our other casserole type entrées in an orderly manner and we also get to sit down with the guests and learn things about them. We do have times when guests have a schedule that they must adhere to so we try to modify the meal time for them but they may not get the dish everyone else is getting.

b and b breakfast Picture

Our table can seat 10 guests comfortably during our b and b breakfast.

When everyone is at the table, we usually have discussions that can be informative and interesting. One example is an engineer who worked at Cern on the supercollider. Another was a guest that runs African Safaris in Botswana. Other guests were b and b owners who one day may have us as guests. We also have the guests that tell us funny stories and in turn other guests will share theirs. Sometimes we find out that we have been enjoying breakfast and conversation for 2 hours. When this happens we like to tell our guests that they “Made Memories” at our b and b breakfast. If you would like to experience this, book a room with us at Down By The River B and B. Bring your appetite and your stories.

Southeast Arizona B and B Anniversary

February 15th, 2015 by Mike Hug

Southeast Arizona B and B Anniversary – 10 Years of Memories

southeast arizona b and b anniversary picture

The Ribbon Cutting at Down By The River B and B by the Chamber of Commerce and The Red Hat Ladies of Benson happened 10 years ago.

Our Southeast Arizona b and b anniversary is the 21st of February. On that day 10 years ago, Barb and I moved to St. David and took possession of the building that would become Down By The River B and B. After almost 3 years working on the design and purchasing the furniture and décor, we were able to realize our dream. During those 3 years, we endured our work day with the knowledge that we would be headed to a better situation. We keep things secret at our jobs during that time. After the 14 months of construction, we finally move lock, stock and barrel to Saint David. We had vaulted a few hurdles after we decided to change our lives. The process was a little bumpy but no more than could be expected by such a big change.

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Southeast Arizona B and B Directions

December 24th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Southeast Arizona B and B Directions

Southeast Arizona B and B Directions picture

After taking Judd St. and crossing the wash you end up on Escalante Rd. There is no turn around until you are almost at the San Pedro River.

Southeast Arizona B and B Directions picture

Just where you are able to pull off the road, Escalante becomes worse with ruts.

Our Southeast Arizona B and B directions are given to all our guests so that they don’t get stuck in the San Pedro River while driving to Down By The River B and B. Our directions use Apache Powder Road so that guests will make it to our front door without a wilderness adventure. Because we have guests that ask us about using Judd Street to Escalante Road, I decided to take some pictures to show just what the road looks like.

Southeast Arizona B and B Directions picture

The road disappears as you near the river and the banks have been eroded away by the flooding.

There are online sites that believe this is an easier way to get to Down By The River. GPS and Google Maps are wonderful things but they do fail more in rural areas. The reason is that these programs sometimes have not been updated or, better yet, they extrapolate a cow path as a road. We have sent information to Google about previous errors in the maps and some have been updated. The one using Judd Street as a route has persistently been ignored.

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Birders Lodging Theme Room

December 17th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Bird Room – A Feathery Vision of Nature

birders lodging theme room picture

The branches, birds, nests and birdhouses hang suspended in air.

birders lodging theme room

During the winter a cozy fire can be enjoyed in the bird room fireplace.

The bird room is our birders lodging theme room. Gone are the days of the Spanish Padres, the prospectors and the cowboys, although some still ride range down here in Cochise County. Today one of the biggest activities in Cochise County is bird watching and tourism. The San Pedro River is one of the best birding areas in the US will nearly 400 species of birds that can be found here during the year. Check out the bird page on our website for the birds that have been spotted around the b and b. This is why we chose the name for our birders lodging theme room.

birders lodging theme room pciture

There are many bird ceramic displays in the bird room.

The bird room is a match of the cowboy room in size and amenities. This room has a much lighter and airy feeling than the cowboy room. It is also our most popular room with our guests. The difference stops there as the décor for the bird room is all about birds and nature. This room has an unobstructed view toward the San Pedro River. The headboard in the bird room is unique. It is really a table top that has had a layer of match sticks stained and placed on the table top in a pattern. The amount of time and effort is amazing and it must seen to really get the feel for the

birders lodging theme room

The headboard is a table top that has been hand designed.

artistry. The room also features a quilt from the early 1950s with a square for each state at that time. These 48 squares show the state birds and state flowers for all the states prior to Alaska and Hawaii being admitted to the union.

birders lodging theme room

We even have a bird house that we rent out as a b and b for our feathered friends.

The bird theme is carried throughout the room with different figurines, crafts and painting of birds. Over the fireplace is a grouping of branches, nests, birds and bird houses that appear to be suspended into the room. A “Birds Eye Maple” dresser is also featured in the room along with some other antique items that were found in various locations in Arizona. In the closet we even had a bird house that is made up to look like a b and b.  Our birders lodging theme room was actually one of the harder rooms to find items for that fit the theme. We still are looking for items that will help complement the décor in that room. Click on our room page to find out more about the bird room or use this link for a video.

birders lodging theme room

More bird ceramics are hung on the walls along with a framed needlework.

B and B Cowboy Theme Room

December 10th, 2014 by Mike Hug

B and B Cowboy Theme Room – Victorian Décor Close Up

b and b cowboy theme room picture

Early morning sunrise at the summer solstice lights up the wall of the cowboy room shadow boxes, clock and headboard.

b and b cowboy theme room picture

Different poster can be found on the walls.

Our b and b cowboy theme room is one of our two large rooms. These rooms offer our guests many amenities not offered in the two smaller rooms and is more spacious. This room is my favorite because it reflects the lore of Tombstone just 20 minutes away to the south. The Victorian furnishings add to the mystique of the “Old West” that still can be found in Cochise County. We had a lot of fun collecting items for the b and b cowboy theme room.

b and b cowboy theme room picture

The “Deadman’s Hand” is on display in a Victorian shadow box.

The cowboy room gives you an insight of the late 1800s and how the people who lived in that time survived. The word cowboy wasn’t for a hard working trail hand in the days of 19th Century Arizona Territory. It was a word used more to define outlaws than upright citizens. Hollywood has corrupted the meaning of the original term and gave some dignity to the cowboy genre. Many things in the room would be familiar to the people who lived during that era. We do have the 1890s headboard for the bed. We did take the foot board and cut it up and welded it on to the headboard to make a king size headboard for the bed. Victorian shadow boxes with artifacts decorate the walls as well as wanted posters of the era. There is an 1870s 8 day clock that is also mounted on the wall.

cowboy theme room picture

Unusual framed artwork can be found in the Cowboy room.

b and b cowboy theme room picture

The closets are decorated with many items including a Victorian Wedding dress.

An 1898 wringer is in the room with an old refinished settee. The closet has a Victorian wedding dress and blouse. A stereopticon with viewing slides is also in the closet for your 3 D viewing pleasure. Yes there were 3 D viewers predating Hollywood.  But the pride of this room is the tin ceiling that was culled by a contractor during renovations of the Glendale, Arizona Courthouse. The ceiling is over 100 years old and was installed with all the trim pieces to give the room that final touch of authentisity. The ceiling sets the mood for the room and enhances rest of the décor.

Victorian and Old West artifacts in our b and b cowboy theme room will give you that frontier days nostalgia. This will be helpful when you visit Tombstone. You will have looked at some items in your room and may spot things like them in the shops along Allen St. Click on our room page to find out more about the cowboy room or use this link for a video.

b and b cowboy theme room picture

An “Old West” bar scene can be found outside the entry to the cowboy room.

Southeast Arizona B and B Theme Rooms

December 4th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Southeast Arizona B and B Theme Rooms – Prospector Room – Looking for the mother lode

southwest arizona b and b theme rooms picture

We have found and displayed different minerals in the prospector room.

Our Southeast Arizona b and b theme rooms continue with the prospector room. Southeast Arizona has its share of mining claims. Some locations here in Cochise County still have active mines. Silver and copper are the main ores but there is also gold to be found. There is still a chance that some luck cuss that knows what he is looking will find something. Now as for me, I could trip over a silver deposit and keep on walking.

We chose the prospector room as one of our Southeast Arizona b and b theme rooms because of all the mining that was done in the area. Tombstone is probably one of the more famous finds but it is not the only one. Bisbee had a large mining operation that was in

southwest arizona b and b theme rooms

The walls of the prospector room have many things to see including old photos, maps, stock certificates and mining equipment.

use into the 1980s. The decorations for the room were gathered throughout the US and fit into the early 1900s era. Old maps of Arizona are on display. We also have Arizona mining stock certificates but found them in Florida because we couldn’t find them in Arizona. We have a canary cage that was used down in the mines. The canary was kept in the mine to warn miners if deadly gasses would build up. If the canary quit singing that was a sign of trouble.

Minerals and scales are also found in the room along with personal mining equipment such as carbide lamps, ladles and pots. Outside the room on the private patio are 2 mining buckets used to winch ore up the shaft from the bottom of the mine. There is also an antique vanity in the room that is equipped with side mirrors that would allow the woman to view herself from front or back. Along with the other turn of the century furniture we decided to have some unique end tables for the bed. One is an old icebox, pre-electric, and one is a 1920s radio cabinet.The room also has a real tin ceiling installed which is over 100 years old.

southern arizona b and b theme room picture

Before the refrigerator and electric power, ice boxes were used to preserve food. The ice would go on top and the food was stored below.

southwest arizona b and b theme rooms picture

The old radio is used as a night stand on one side of the bed the ice box is on the other side.

Probably the one place that most or out guest laugh at is the bathroom. The bath has clothing hanging from the walls as if it were wash day. There is even an old washboard in the room along with some signs from mines that we found in Nevada. TSA didn’t like one of the signs in particular because it had traces of nitrates on it. It set off the alarms and our luggage was searched for bombs. The bath also has a copper basin sink that fits in perfectly with our Southeast Arizona b and b theme rooms. Click on our room page to find out more about the prospector room or use this link for a video.

southwest arizona b and b theme rooms picture

The bird cage was used in a mine. It housed a canary that would sing. If the canary quit singing and was lethargic the miners would know that gases were building up to dangerous levels.

Arizona B and B Theme Rooms

November 28th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Mission Room – The Old Spanish Padres our first Arizona b and b theme room.

Dia de los Muertos is a Hispanic tradition that is found in  the Southwestern US and Mexico. Arizona B and B Theme Rooms picture

Metal art of flowers and wheat are located over the headboard of the bed. The headboard is made of a wood screen.

Arizona b and b theme rooms picture

To go with our mission theme, this painting was done by my grandfather and is of the Tumacocori Mission south of Tucson.

Our Arizona B and B theme rooms were inspired by the history that took place in our part of Southeastern Arizona. We had been at different b and bs with theme rooms when we were thinking about starting a b and b. Many b and b with themes were simple such as the blue room, the red room, the green room. All the decorations and furnishings were in those colors. Some inns were more elaborate such as naming their rooms for the people that had lived in the old house when it was a residence. The rooms were then decorated with that person’s taste in mind. Since we were starting fresh, we took the time to think of the room names we could use in the theme. We wanted to have our Arizona b and b theme rooms to actually be the basis to determine the décor.

Arizona B and B Theme Rooms picture

The handmade Mexican tile was used with the talavera sink to add to the mission theme.

With this in mind we named our 4 rooms after a defining time frame that occurred here in Southeastern Arizona. The first room we named was the Mission Room. This room reflects the life of the old Spanish Padres who built missions here in this part of Arizona. Father Kino was instrumental in establishing the Spanish presence here in the Greater Tucson region. The padres lead a more Spartan life and didn’t have a lot of creature comforts. We didn’t go that far with the mission room amenities. We do have indoor plumbing and a nice bed, however it is our smallest room.

Arizona B and B Theme Rooms picture

The old priest’s biretta was found in an antique fair in Tucson. It was still in a hat box dated 1898.

The mission room decorations were gathered mostly from different parts or Arizona. Some pieces did come from other parts of the world. We shopped mainly in antique stores for items that we could use. We found altar pieces in Mesa, deacons chairs in Glendale and an old priest’s biretta still in a hat box with a date of 1898. Some vestments that we found were in a Tucson antique fair and were imported from France. We even found a Santo from South America in a yard sale. Pictures and paintings had been collected over time and include mission pictures, portraits of pastors and a photo of Jerusalem.

Smaller decorations include milagros, crosses, rosaries, miniature mission buildings and day of the dead items. Each item in the mission room was selected to fit the focus we had of our Arizona b and b theme rooms. This is one of our rooms and we will present our thought process when we describe the other three rooms. Click on our room page to find out more about the mission room or use this link for a video.

Arizona B and B Theme Rooms picture

Dia de los Muertos is a Hispanic tradition that is found in the Southwestern US and Mexico. This is held on All Souls Day.

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