I've never stayed at a bed-and-breakfast before. What's it like?
Every B&B is a little different, but they're usually small, quiet, and found in large historic homes away from the main roads. They're often owned and managed by a family, with the support of a few employees. Unlike most chain hotels, the guest rooms at B&Bs are usually unique, and often furnished with antiques and premium linens. On the other hand, since B&Bs are often in historic buildings, they might come with a few quirks: limited soundproofing, awkward bathroom layouts, and other signs of retrofitting are pretty common. A full breakfast is almost always included, and it's generally a step above ye olde average hotel breakfast: the ingredients are sometimes locally-sourced, the meal is usually plated, and it's often served in a formal dining room with the opportunity to chat with other guests.
How's the 1899 Inn different from hotels and other B&Bs?
With only five guest rooms, we're smaller than many bed-and-breakfasts. That means we're also very low-key: we're not very formal, we don't have a lot of house policies, and we're friendly with our guests (though we're a bunch of introverts, so we're just as happy to leave folks alone if they want some privacy). The innkeepers are relatively young, and while the house is decorated with some antiques, the style is a bit more minimalist: historic colors, Edison-style lights, no pastels, and absolutely no creepy porcelain dolls. Since the house is mid-restoration, guests will encounter a few historic quirks here and there. The guests who have the best stays with us tend to love history, love food, get off the beaten path when they travel, and be pretty easy-going themselves.
What do you mean by "quirks?"
For the most part, pretty innocuous stuff: cracked plaster in a couple rooms, for instance, and plaster being repaired and repainted in others. A couple of doors are a bit sticky, as are some of the mortise locks on the guest rooms. The trim on the second floor is gradually having the paint stripped from it and it's being restored to its original natural wood finish. Speaking of the second floor, soundproofing there is pretty limited.
Wait... do the innkeepers really live in the house?
It's a really cool house. You'd want to live there too. Besides, the state of South Dakota requires bed-and-breakfast owners to live on-property, and the cats would be pretty obnoxious without someone there to feed them and scratch their ears.
Why are deposits nonrefundable?
Unlike chain hotels with up to 100 rooms, the 1899 Inn is small. Really small. With just a few guest rooms, our availability is extremely limited - particularly during the busy summer months. Cancellations can have a big affect on our small inn. Of course, we understand that plans can change at the last minute. While our deposits typically aren't refundable on short notice, we're happy to help guests re-book for different dates and credit the deposit for a different stay. (Check your confirmation e-mail for more details.)
How do I get a copy of your baked French toast recipe?
Ask and ye shall receive!
1899 Baked French Toast
16-20 slices of good white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups milk
1/2 cup half'n'half
2 T vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick cold butter
Grease a 9x13" pan with butter. Spread torn bits of bread in pan. Whisk together all the custard ingredients and pour over the bread. For the topping: mix dry ingredients together. Cut cold butter into the dry ingredients until it has a texture like pebbly sand. Spread the topping on the bread and custard, then bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. This can be assembled the night before and kept in the refrigerator. Add the topping just prior to baking. Serve with fruit and warm syrup. Serves 10-12.
What if I have a cat allergy?
People with minor allergies generally do pretty well: the cats are only allowed in guest rooms by special request (which isn't very frequently), the hardwood floors help keep hair and dander to a minimum, and we clean the entire house frequently. However, we discourage guests with more significant cat allergies. No one wants to have a sneezy sleepless night on vacation.
Is the house haunted?
Definitely not. Unless you really like ghosts, in which case it absolutely is.