Innkeepers of the Tremain Street Cottages
1) What was your first experience ever staying at a bed & breakfast?
Rachelle: I'm actually drinking coffee this morning from their clay mug. It was The Wayside Inn located in Ellicott City, Maryland. We were up north for a wedding and stopped here on our way home for a little R&R.
Brian: I fist stayed in a B&B near Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains in S. California.
2) What did you do before you were a B&B owner?
Brian: I owned and operated several insurance agencies and also was and still am a real estate investor.
Rachelle: I worked in marketing & public relations for several companies and then became a Realtor and mortgage loan officer during the real estate boom.
3) What made you decide to become an innkeeper?
Rachelle: Working in mortgage lending was very stressful. I used to really look forward to Saturdays when I could stay in my pajamas all day, catch up on laundry and make a big breakfast. I actually enjoy cleaning, it is sort of a stress reliever for me. Kind of weird, I know. I think it's because I make my own cleaning supplies so it's a little like aroma therapy. When we stayed at The Wayside Inn, the atmosphere was so relaxed. As we were having breakfast with the innkeepers a light bulb went off over my head and I thought, "Everyday could be Saturday!" So, I traded in my banker suits for jeans, flip flops and laundry and never looked back.
Brian: Living in the traffic jam that has become Orlando made it simple to jump on this opportunity when it arose. I was born in a small town much like Mount Dora and have fond memories of it.
4) What is your favorite part about having a bed & breakfast?
Rachelle: Well, we're not really a "bed & breakfast." We're more of a "Bed & Bed." Our cottages are individual little suites with their own kitchens, bathrooms and living area. On the weekends, we send our guests one block downtown to 5th Avenue Cafe for brunch. So, I guess my favorite part is the freedom and having a flexible schedule to pursue my other interests and hobbies such as acting.
Brian: We meet very interesting traveling folks on a regular basis. The freedom and lifestyle it provides are fantastic.
5) What is your least favorite thing to do as an innkeeper?
Rachelle: I guess I have to agree with Margie at the Heron Cay on this one. It's something that every self-employed person has to deal with, not just B&B owners. Paperwork! I hate filing. In fact, I have about a month's worth of paper stacked in one of my office chairs that I need to sort through and file. I guess I could just turn on some good music and try to make it fun.
Brian: My least favorite thing is the constant maintenance required for older buildings. There always seems to be a rush to fix something before a new guest arrives. And I don't do cartwheels come IRS tax time.
6) How did you decide on your room themes and decor?
Rachelle: Each cottage is really different. When we bought them, nothing had really been changed in about 10 years so there was a lot of cosmetic work that needed to be done. Our Rendezvous Cottage was planned around two pieces of tile mosaic furniture that we found at Madison Rose Quilts. They had a yellow and black french toile theme that we decorated the room around. Brian loves boating, so he really planned our Nantucket Cottage. What's funny, is I thought I would LOVE redecorating the cottages. But it's amazing how many small little details there are to pay attention to. After we decorated two cottages ourselves, we were burned out and hired a decorator to help us with matching linens, window treatments and paint colors what was left to be done.
Brian: I love telling folks that I picked the paint colors in the Rendezvous Cottage, they never believe me though it is true. We sort of let the cottages speak to us and slowly themes began to emerge based on furnishings that were already there or furnishings that we found to fit certain spots.
7) Tell me one thing you love about Mount Dora.
Rachelle: I love being able to walk everywhere. I think we naturally have what a lot of developers are trying to artificially create. An authentic town feel. The first time I was able to walk everywhere for all of my errands ... going to the post office, getting a pair of shoes re-heeled, buying toothpaste and shampoo, meeting a friend for lunch, getting an iced latte to go .. all in one morning, all by foot. It's really simple, I know. But it is a neat feeling. And it's especially appreciated today with our higher gas prices.
Brian: The social life we enjoy is wonderful. At any given time we might be at a neighbors house for dinner or sitting on some front porch drinking a glass of wine. Folks here have a sense of community that is very different than most other places I have lived.
8) Describe your favorite breakfast creation at your B&B.
Rachelle: Well, since were a "Bed & Bed," I don't cook. I joke with people and tell them that I burn toast, and that's why we don't do breakfast. But, during the holidays I usually bake up a storm for all of our neighbors and friends. During the fall, it's anything pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and pumpkin cheesecake. I just love the spices. I do really love the Historic Inn's Sweet Potato Pancakes. We send our guests to the 5th Avenue Cafe for brunch and my favorite breakfast there changes with my mood. Most times, it's the basic Breakfast Creation.
Brian: We are lucky in that we don't have to make breakfast for our guests, they get to enjoy weekend brunches at the 5th Ave. Cafe. We very often join them. My favorite breakfast dish at the 5th Ave. Cafe has to be the eggs Florentine.
9) Can we post the recipe?
Rachelle: Well, that depends on Leigh at the 5th Avenue Cafe. She does have a few recipes posted on her website at 5th Ave Cafe. I suppose I'll share some of my favorite pumpkin recipes this fall.
10) Tell us one unique thing that most people don't know about you?
Rachelle: I used to be on a Show Team for clogging when I was younger. Now you'll only see me clog when I do my "happy dance" whenever something exciting happens. Also, you might recognize me in a few commercials or the movies Robodoc or Halloween H30.
Brian: I am a competitive ballroom dancer. That's actually how Rachelle and I met ... through ballroom dancing.