What? You never stayed in a B&B

Are you one of those folks who love to travel, go explore and experience new things? I know there are lots out there who do, and yet I hear often, they have never stayed at a bed & breakfast. So, let’s talk about why you never have.

We first need to dispel some of the thoughts about sharing baths, old linens and Grandma’s picture hanging on the wall in your bedroom. All of the members of the Texas Bed & Breakfast Association have lots of unique properties, but all are highly inspected for quality control of what is offered and safety and personal touches for your experience. I honestly don’t think there are any b&b’s that make you share a bathroom with any one any more, most properties want your privacy to be of up most importance. They offer new bedding and most have very nice luxury sheets and some of the nicest amenities that you can find. There are some wonderful b&b’s that will still have the beauty of the furnishing that make their historic inns what they are. But, you will also find many of the properties have taken on a new more modern look. As innkeepers, we try hard to cater to all folks from the more mature traveler that may love the historic inns to the younger crowd who want a more clean line look and all the electronic gadgets a room can have.

Most of the properties will be offering you a breakfast, which may be a wonderful in room continental breakfast, a large buffet to enjoy with other guest or some offer breakfast delivered to your room. Which ever you love best, you will find a property that will offer what you are looking for. Most have coffee ready early morning for you to have or in room coffee makers so you can make it at your time of arising.

You will find bathrooms that go from the quaint clawfoot tub, or the luxury jacuzzi with all the bells and whistles. You will find the amenities you need like personal bath products and hair dryers and some even offer a personal toothbrush, cotton swabs and all that you might have in your bath at home.

I would like for you to take a glimpse at what we have to offer as the Texas Bed & Breakfast Association, the best spot is to start on our Pinterest page and view some of the properties that catch your eye. After that, head on over to our website and book your stay at one of the many great stays of Texas.

happy travels!!

Texas Bed & Breakfast Convention

It’s nearly time for this years Texas Bed & Breakfast Association’s convention. We are looking forward to a great time and some boot scootin’ as we gather in Fort Worth this year at the Historic Stockyards.

The dates are September 11-13, 2016 at the Hyatt Place at the Historic Stockyards. We hope that all members of TBBA will plan on joining us for a good year of educational classes, good food and great opportunities to visit with other innkeepers. We will have Scott Joslove with TH&LA to give us updates on what is going on state wide with the legislation, round table discussions and classes of websites, food preparations, weddings at your inn and many more good topics.

For fun, we will watch the Longhorn Cattle drive down the historic street, Western night dinner with awards, historic Ghost bus tour and other opportunities.

Vendors will be set up to help you with anything from sheets and towels, to reservation systems to building a great website and more.

If you are new to the b&b industry or are just thinking about getting into the business, we will be hosting on Sunday, “Innkeeping: The Basics Workshop”. This is a full day of learning about various aspects of the business to help you with your inn or help you decide if you are really wanting to jump into this area of service to guest.

For all the info please visit our convention page on the website. Early bird registration is until July 15th and rooms must be reserved by August 10th for TBBA discount.

We hope you will join us and have fun in Ft. Worth.

Here’s to ya Pardner, see ya in Ft. Worth

The TBBA Board

Texas Our Texas, all hail the mighty state!

I love Texas! I am a native Texan whose families are Texans for generations – ranchers and farmers to be exact. I grew up with my mother telling me the story of the Alamo at bedtime and learning Texas songs not only in school but at home. Some people have said that I am an extreme Texan. When I lived abroad in St. Louis, Missouri, someone asked me why Texans are so proud of their state. I responded with “why aren’t you as proud of your state?” Texas pride is hard to explain to someone who has never experienced the beauty, ingenuity, loyalty, independence and hospitality of Texas and its people! Who couldn’t be proud of such a great land and people!

I grew up in Central Texas, Lampasas and Austin to be exact, but spent my childhood summers at my grandparents in Kerrville and Sonora. I attended Texas Christian University (TCU) in Ft. Worth and settled in Arlington with my husband, Keith. Our two native born children, Joyce and Tommy, are pretty hard core Texan themselves, although Joyce and her husband, Dan, are living abroad in St. Louis. I grew up going to the Texas coast – Galveston, Angelton, Surfside, South Padre and Corpus Christi. In the 1990’s my children and I traveled with my mother, Betsy Ross, visiting as many county courthouses across the state as possible during Spring Breaks. We saw the Paris tower, Gainsville circus, the red in the Red River and the beauty of Wichita Falls. I have a purple pearl from the Concho River in San Angelo, wine from the hill country and decorative woodwork from the state capitol. My favorite date in high school was going to the state capitol (seriously it is an impressive place). I traveled across East and Central Texas playing tennis as a teenager and attending Tyler Junior College for tennis camp. I have been to Del Rio and crossed the border to buy Mexican vanilla. My point being, I have seen a lot of Texas. But, there are places I haven’t seen – Big Bend National Park, the Marfa lights and Amarillo. And there are places I saw twenty plus years ago that are different now!

This year, as president of the Texas Bed and Breakfast Association (TBBA) I have a once in a lifetime chance to see this great state of Texas by taking a self mandated “Tour of Texas” to visit our members and see their amazing and unique properties! This tour of Texas will give me a chance to not only learn how these Texans share their “Great Stay of Texas” with travelers (Texans and foreigners alike) but to see a different side of Texas than I have seen before. This time I will get to hear the stories of the historic homes and their current owners, see the small and large towns on foot and experience Texas hospitality at its finest!

To document my TBBA “Tour of Texas” I will be using this blog, FaceBook and Instagram with both my personal and TBBA accounts. Each month I will hop in my car and go visiting the great stays of Texas! I hope you will join me!

Suzy Hankins

TBBA President 2015-2017

2015 Christmas Festivities and Fun in Grapevine, TX

Each of us has a favorite holiday—you may be one that favors Thanksgiving with turkey dinners and pumpkin pie or perhaps Valentine’s Day with its hearts and chocolate and spreading love. For many though, Christmas takes the cake! It is a season that brings people together, celebrates holiday cheer and being merry, and is just plain fun! There are still a few weeks until Christmas is upon us but for those of you who love this season and may be traveling through Texas, we have to make sure you know about Grapevine, TX, the true Christmas Capital of Texas!

From mid-November to January the Christmas season truly comes alive in Grapevine, TX. This charming city, about a half-hour northwest of Dallas is transformed with elaborate decorations, life-sized ice sculptures, magical displays, millions of lights, and more than 1400 events over 40 days. It is the perfect place to make special memories with your family and friends. Below is a list highlighting some of the spectacular events that will be going on:

Carol of Lights and Tree Lighting

Parade of Lights in historic downtown Grapevine

Magic of Christmas Light Show

Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s North Pole Express®

ICE! and Lone Star Christmas at Gaylord Texan Resort – see 15,000 ornaments, a 54-foot tall Christmas tree, an 8-foot tall gingerbread house, and live ice carving.

Victorian Christmas at Nash Farm

Texas Star Dinner Theater

Christmas Wine Train

There is so much more to share—visit their website for a full download of events—you’ll want to take in it all! At the end of a fun day full of Christmas festivities, head back to Dallas for a memorable stay in a bed and breakfast. There are three amazing properties part of our association that offer luxurious accommodations where you can truly relax and renew this holiday season.

Brazos Valley Worldfest: An International Celebration

Did you know that the population of the United States last year was almost 319,000,00? That number encompasses people from all different ethnic backgrounds—creating a true multicultural community that we should be proud of. The Brazos Valley Worldfest is a community-wide international festival designed to promote and celebrate international diversity. If you will be traveling near College Station, TX this fall we encourage you to attend this fantastic and really fun event.

The Brazos Valley Worldfest is a festival where you can truly experience all different kinds of cultures in one two-day party. You can eat some Mexican food, try beers from around the world, listen to West African drummers, watch Irish clogging, and enjoy some toe-tapping Afro-Caribbean music. At what other festival can you get all of that in one place? It is truly a remarkable festival. It will all take place November 20-21, 2015 at the Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater in College Station, TX.

The festival, which is totally free for every attender, kicks off with a Friday night dance from 7-10pm. There will be free Salsa lessonsBrazos Valley Worldfest provided by Salsa Fusion Latin Dance Company so get ready to light up the dance floor! La Orquesta Salmerum, a nationally recognized salsa band will provide music for the evening.

Throughout the two days there will be around 20 performances on three different stages, cultural displays and demonstrations, cooking demos, vendors with wares from around the world, an international food court, and a fun kids village for the younger ones. It is a festival the whole family will enjoy!

College Station is also home to the 7F Lodge & Spa, a place that offers private, charming cabin suites—perfect for visitors looking for special accommodations while traveling through central Texas!

Paddling Trails Near Corpus Christi, TX

On a gorgeous fall day in Texas, why stay stuck inside when you can get out and enjoy all that the season has to offer! What is your favorite outdoor activity? Perhaps you like hiking or biking? If you love being out on the open water, there are some fantastic places to go paddling and we found two great trails near Corpus Christi, TX to tell you about.

First, we have Mustang Island Paddling Trail. This scenic spot is just 15 miles from the city and your put-in is at Fish Pass located in Mustang Island State Park. This state park is 4,000 acres of beauty and shares around 5 miles of beach on the Gulf of Mexico. There are actually three different paddling trails you can do here. The first is North Trail at 8.5 miles long, then the Shamrock Loop Trail at 5.24 miles, and finally the Ashum Trail at 6.8 miles. Pick your distance and take your time as you follow the western shoreline of Mustang Island. There are some great shallow-water fishing areas and bird watching opportunities.

The second area we want to share with you is called Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail, which is about 28 miles from Corpus Christi. It is a series of four loops through mangroves and sea grass flats and the trails range from 1.25 to 6.8 miles.

These trails can take a couple of hours or longer; depending on how much time you want to spend outdoors. We suggest bringing a picnic lunch, some binoculars for hunting wildlife, and all appropriate gear that you will need to be safe and comfortable. You can find answers to any questions you may have on this Texas Paddling Trails FAQ page.

Back in town we suggest skipping the standard dull hotel and opt for a night or two (or more!) at one of our association’s amazing bed and breakfast properties, Knolle Farm & Ranch Bed, Barn & Breakfast. Get outdoors and enjoy the fall beauty around Texas!

Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge

Are you looking for adventure? A challenge perhaps that will get you out of the office chair or couch and onto the open highway and into nature? We have the perfect outdoor activity for you and it is the Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge.

If you have never heard of geocaching before, let us get you all caught up on the ins and outs of this popular outdoor challenge. It is basically a treasure hunt at the root of it all. Geo means earth and cache means hidden item. So, it is a hunt for a hidden item somewhere on the earth! You use a GPS unit or an app on your smartphone to find the coordinates of a nearby geocache and you head out! The hidden items can be small or large and are most often camouflaged so you have to put your best sleuthing skills to the test.

Now this geocaching adventure we are talking about happens to take place all over Texas in over 90 State Parks! So, no matter where you are, there is a strong likelihood that there is a hidden treasure nearby just waiting to be found. You’ll learn exciting facts along the way, see some beautiful Texas scenery and even win some cool prizes.

The first thing you have to do is download the Geocache Challenge Passport. You will write down the coordinates of the hidden cache on this passport before you go. When you find the cache, there will be a logbook in which you will sign your name and a message and it will also contain secret information that you will copy into your passport. There will also be a special punch for your passport card to prove that you did indeed find the cache. Then you put the cache right back where you found it for the next treasure hunter.

There are rewards for each level of geocaches found. Prizes range from a keychain to a free night of camping—all you have to do is mail inTexas State Parks Geocache Challenge your completed passport. Sounds like a ton of fun and a great way to see the beauty around the state of Texas. So, get out there and start hunting!

Sky’s the Limit Balloon Spectacular – Gainesville, TX

What is your favorite thing about fall? We are sure if we polled a group of people we would hear everything from pumpkin spice lattes to fall color drives to fall football and pumpkin patches. If you live in or will be travelling near Gainesville, TX we can add something to your list: the Sky’s the Limit Balloon Spectacular!

Coming up October 30-November 1, 2015, this balloon spectacular will be held on the grounds of the Gainesville Municipal Airport. For you road trippers out there who may be in the area, Gainesville is just over an hour north of Dallas and about a half hour from Denton, TX. Crowds from all over north and central Texas will be there to enjoy the festivities. The weekend will begin at 4pm on Friday as 14 balloons fill up and take to the skies and live music hits the Sky Stage. The festival will continue throughout the weekend with balloon glows, competitions and rides, an airshow, delicious festival food, a host of vendors, children’s area, main stage entertainment, and much more.

If you haven’t been to a balloon festival before, it is an exciting sight to see and this one holds so much more fun for the whole family. If you would like to book a balloon flight, they cost between $200-$ 250 person and you can click here to find more information.

One of the properties in our association is the Old Irish Bed and Breakfast, located in Denton, TX. This enchanting and private place nestled in nature is the perfect resting spot during the balloon festival weekend or simply for a relaxing fall getaway. Visit their website to book online or for further information.