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BOB'S BLOG Bed and Breakfast is off and running – me, not so much

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August 27, 2013 - 59 comments

For those of you who follow Bob’s Blog and are curious about a certain family project that my wife and I had undertaken, I’m sorry. I left you hanging way back in June 2012.

So, here is some catch-up.

Back then, the family was moving, from Burlington to Port Rowan, in Norfolk County. This blogger and long-suffering wife Karen were “slowing down” and had decided that the bed and breakfast business looked like an interesting racket - see HERE

It can be reported that the much-anticipated bed and breakfast is still in the embryonic stage although, on the optimistic side, one could say it is progressing faster than the planning for the Scarborough subway. Unlike the characters involved with Toronto transit politics, I refuse to blame delays on other levels of government or nameless bureaucrats.

I do, however, have what pessimists might call excuses and rationalizations. I prefer to call them challenges.

First, there were pet challenges. Diamond, our dog, tore her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) on Christmas Day, necessitating surgery and the family’s relocation to the accessible area of the house. That bed and breakfast section functioned as a “guest-free area” for the better part of three months.

I’d like, though, to think of Diamond as our first guest. She had no complaints about the breakfasts but would have preferred, I believe, the queen-size bed to that thin floor mat provided by the hosts.

Diamond recovered but by the time her rehab had progressed to the point where she could get back to a regular routine, there were more challenges. That was because your blogger got sick. Eventually diagnosed with pneumonia, I was useless around the house (more useless, some would say) for a couple of months. Actually, if truth be told, I’m still not up to the requisite heavy-lifting tasks that bed and breakfast work demands. I’m working on the marketing side of things until back to full speed.

We’ve had some real guests now. But a bigger challenge has been the faux guests. These are friends and family who we’ve cajoled into staying overnight gratis in exchange for honest feedback on the quality of rooms, meals and the overall experience.

The feedback is most welcome. There are no bad ideas, as they say. But purchasing a Mandibular Advancement Device? The snoring can’t be that bad. And besides, do you really think Canada Revenue will let me write off snoring-mitigation costs as a bed and breakfast business expense?

As we prepared marketing materials, we became aware of certain relevant questions people wanted to know (but in all honesty I cannot quite say that they are Frequently Asked Questions quite yet!). Here are challenging questions that we attempt to answer:

Q. Where exactly is Port Rowan?

It is on Lake Erie, better known around these parts as Ontario’s South Coast. Southwest of Hamilton you’ve got to pass other ports i.e., Port Dover and Port Ryerse. If you see a submarine, you should reverse engines. You’ve gone too far – you’re in Port Burwell and that is the HMCS Ojibwa, a Cold War Oberon Class submarine recently arrived and now part of St. Thomas’s Elgin Military Museum.

Q. How do I find your website?

A.  You can’t. Not yet, anyway. Like Bo knows football, baseball and all the other sports, Bob knows blogs. So we have a blog.  (

Q. What is the beach like?

A.  We don’t have one.  It is about an eight-minute drive to Long Point Beach.

Q.  No beach, then why would I go there?

A.  To quote our brochure:

“The area offers some of the best birding opportunities in North America. Featuring a large number of accessible birding locations, at last count the area can boast a species tally of nearly 400 birds.  One hundred and seventy six species breed in the area that is designated as a World Biosphere Reserve.”

So that is where we stand now. We’ve met some interesting people with this family experiment and are going to keep it up for the foreseeable future. And sorry again for leaving you hanging!


Bob Wood is a housing and poverty advocate and former two-term Burlington City Councillor who has built a bed-and-breakfast with his wife on Lake Erie. 


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