When The Owner Is A Guest

TripAdvisor Phineas Swann near Jay Peak Resort in VermontFound this yesterday while scrolling through Phineas Swann Bed and Breakfast reviews on TripAdvisor.

We get lots of reviews on Google+, Facebook, Expedia, Booking.com and other sites, but I’ve found TripAdvisor’s to be the most popular.

What I stumbled across on TA was my review, from back in 2012 when I was passing through Montgomery Center, a year before we bought the place. It was my first visit to the Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast Inn, and it’s fascinating as the current owner to see what I thought of the place as a guest.

Got to spend one night at the Phineas Swann last night, and wish I could have spent a week. Jay & John were the most gracious of hosts, and the establishment they run sets a standard for service and hospitality that I don’t think any other establishment of any kind can match – B&B, hotel, restaurant — anything!

First, the location. Just eight miles from Jay Peak’s expanded ski resort, in the lovely town of Montgomery at the mountain’s base, Montgomery Center is just a wonderful place to walk down the sidewalks and enjoy a restaurant or cool evening. Had a great dinner and a drink down the street at Bernie’s, a 90-second walk.

Then the house. Just amazing. Beautifully decorated and yet homey, you have the choice of one of the three rooms in the main house — the Red, Blue or Green Room, or one of the four Carriage House suites, or perhaps one of the two River House suites. I had originally booked the Green Room, but John & Jay were nice enough to upgrade me to the Green Mountain Suite in the Carriage House.

One of my fellow guests who were back for an anniversary explained it best why people come back: “We come because they think of everything, and there’s nothing we lack for.” No need to call down for a forgotten razor or toothbrush. They were in the room. If you’re a pet owner you and your dog can stay in the Carriage House or River Suites — and they provide everything from a water bowl to special towels to wash their feet to special dog treats. Each room has everything you need — TV, sodas, snacks, a Kerug coffee maker. Even the minibar beer & wine was top-quality and reasonably priced!

I had to make a phone call and guess what: No charge! No long distance fees! I could have even called Europe or Canada for free! (Wish I’d known someone in Canada to call!)

Breakfast was a yummy french toast with fresh berries and my fave: bacon. The staff was genuinely friendly and smiling, and you couldn’t help but leave the place in the morning happy.

I highly recommend this B&B! It’s not the cheapest, nor should it be. Its level of service justifies a price twice what’s charged, and next time I’ll make sure to bring my wife for a longer, romantic getaway.

What’s amusing is that my review wasn’t particularly unusual. Most of the things I observed and appreciated have been recounted in the 800-plus reviews on the site.

The other memory it triggered was my dinner at Bernie’s. Being by myself, I sat in the back at the bar, and that was a lucky choice. I got to spend two hours having drinks, dinner and listening to the locals. After just 120 minutes of listening to these people, I knew I wanted them to be my neighbor.

Less than a month after visiting, Lynne and I put an offer on the Phineas Swann to buy it, and lucky for us the staff I raved about stayed on after we purchased the place. And the rest, as they say, is history.


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