Yes there are chapters in a book, and so are there chapters in the book of life. I am currently on chapter 24 in the book of my life, with hopefully 24 chapters to go. This chapter took place as innkeepers in Friday Harbor, Washington… What a chapter it was.
Arriving on this little island in June almost 2 years ago, we hit the ground running at the beginning of a hot tourist season. My husband Glenn and I relocated from the sweltering desert of Tucson, Arizona to fill the innkeeper positions here in the top left corner of the US. Our smiles were wide when we felt the crisp, clean air of San Juan Island. What a blessing it was! Tucked away in the extreme Pacific Northwest, this island offered so much personality, space and most of all clean, clean air. Coming from a large metropolitan area that is- how do I say- HOT! This was the cleanest of the clean. Breathe in and breathe out, take in the many vistas and the open green space surrounded by the freshest water. Need I say more? Probably.
It’s June. The “peak season” has just begun and here we go. Enter the San Juan Island Inn Collection. Wow! What a property, what a team. We felt truly blessed to be a part of the most wonderful work family ever! Cue Glenn and Susan. Tadddaaah, enter the new Innkeepers. Talk about hitting the season in a full sprint. But I’m not complaining, this is how you learn. Make mistakes, learn new things, meet new people, build new relationships… Let’s just say priceless memories were being made right from the get-go.
Let’s skip some pages for a bit, shall we? It’s now September and things are winding down. June looks like a decade ago. Oh, but the memories already made. Time to add to the team, cue Nikki our new Guest Relations Coordinator. Here is a position that not only makes the guests feel at home each and everytime there is an encounter, but fills the position of social media guru. These 20 somethings are really the bomb, aren’t they?
October rolls around, meaning “shoulder season” is upon us, time to do some deep cleaning. I don’t mean in the human department, but in the facilities. What can be done to make the guests feel like they’ve hit the lottery when they stay with us? Check on the amenities, update ourselves with
all the services on the island, including new dining venues, excursion updates. Everything we need to learn to answer all the questions from the many, worldwide calls we receive. Have I mentioned, our guests come from all over the world? Yup! They sure do. That is the coolest part of our jobs, meeting so many awesome families here for pleasure, guests here for business. Never a dull conversation. Heck this is hospitality- the best industry ever!
“Shoulder season” comes to a close and the real “slow season” sneaks in. Our time for taking a step back is over and now we have to lace up the sneakers and get ready to do it all over again. Chef Jessica has sharpened her tools, Nikki has honed-in on her skills. Glenn and I are ready and we must not forget Korbel and Socket, our trusty K-9 team members. Let the games begin.
Time for Round Two
Fast forward through an awesome summer filled with fun and excitement. I will never forget our weekly vlogs premiering every Sunday. Oh my! Can you say, “what a hoot!” Woooosh! Another September upon us, Nikki heads off to obtain her masters. Enter stage right, all the way from Atlanta is Lindsey with her amazing skills. The videographer that dreams about making award-winning documentaries. First though, she’s stuck with me… Helllllloooooooooooo.
Time flies when you’re having fun, and that is truly what the “Island Chapter” is all about. Our owners, Anna Maria and Dave, have become the best of friends. Talk about great moments. Those weekly “clam bake” nights, even when there were no clams to be found. Westcott Bay seriously helped us most of those summer evenings, though. Can you say, “I’m sick of clams, mussels and oysters?” Heck no! Best in the area.
I can go on and on (and on) with our experience on San Juan Island. But to end this before you all head off to more important things, I want to take these last few lines to thank those of you who impacted this particular chapter in a huge way.
Hugs to Nikki, Lindsey, Jessica, Elsa, Cam, Maria, Maribel, Rosa, Civ and of course our fearless leaders and best friends, Anna Maria and Dave. The memories made will forever be written in our book of life and hold a special spot in our hearts always.
Thank you all, thanks to San Juan Island and thanks for yet another completed chapter in our book of life. Until next time.
Dance a lot, laugh often and remember: age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind… it doesn’t matter.
What was that you asked?
What is next for us? Well the Miesch’s are off to Meridian, Idaho for our next chapter. Perhaps an attempt on retirement. Not going to happen, I’m afraid. Susan will dust off “Red Girl” and hopefully hit the streets of Boise throughout the summer months, while Glenn watches over the fun-loving human statue with a heart. Days will be spent hanging with Socket, Korbel and the 123-year old Founder the cat. Life is good!
We’ve had a BLAST making videos every week for our followers. We thought it only fit to compile the best (…or the worst) of #HospitalityVignetteswithSusan in 2017. Here’s to the highlights, the craziest of endeavors and loads of shenanigans.
Much love from the San Juan Island Inn Collection team. Happy New Year!
Hospitality Vignettes with Susan: Sweet Earth Farm
We at the Tucker House Inn, Harrison House Suites and our partners at the Coho Restaurant work with many producers on the island to ensure fresh, local ingredients are used in everything that comes out of our kitchen! This weeks video shines the spotlight on Sweet Earth Farm, who was gracious enough to let us film their operation.
Listen, next time you’re on SJI, you better stop by… Who knows, you too may be able to hold a newborn piglet. See for yourself.
*DONT FORGET TO STAY FOR BLOOPERS! #SweetEarthFarm#HospitalityVignetteswithSusan
The winters here are underrated. Or perhaps it’s just the islanders’ best kept secret? Well Susan is taking this week’s vignette OUTSIDE to show you one of the best hikes on San Juan Island. Warning: you’re going to want to visit asap..
*WATCH UNTIL THE END FOR BLOOPERS #HospitalityVignetteswithSusan
Hospitality Vignettes with Susan: Gift Certificates
Be honest. Christmas is right around the corner, the only people still on your list to buy for are the tough ones you struggle with every year. We will make it easy as can be! Buy a Gift Certificate from the San Juan Island Inn Collection and give someone the gift of travel! …really, what’s a better gift than that?
Hospitality Vignettes with Susan: Trivia Trilogy: Week 3
Our trilogy is wrapping up, folks. Here’s the final episode hosted by none other than the infamous Skip Shenanigan, putting our team to the test for the third week in a row. Sit back, relax and see how well we know our island.
Oh… and you CAN’T miss our outtakes this week.
Hospitality Vignettes with Susan: Trivia Trilogy Week 2
WE’RE BACK! Skip Shenanigans hosts Part 2 of our Hospitality Trivia Trilogy! Allow us to show you how well The San Juan Island Inn Collection Team gets to know our guests.
***Stay tuned till the end for the best part: OUTTAKES!
Here at the San Juan Island Inn Collection, we pride ourselves on exceptional customer service. We like to make guests feel like part of the family! In this week’s vlog we’re starting a series to show you just how dedicated we are to the job. Take a look.
Visiting Friday Harbor and looking for some outdoor entertainment? We always send our guests on down to the San Juan Island Sculpture Park in Roche Harbor. Open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk! Plus, this exhibit is always changing. You never really know what you’re going to find…
Everyone knows it. Marine life is one of the most alluring aspects of San Juan Island. And guess what people – there’s still so much to see! Susan takes the vignette to Jackson Beach this week to show you just what we mean.
Hospitality Vignettes with Susan: Canadian Thanksgiving
Okay, okay. The secret is out… Susan is CANADIAN. And Canadians have a Thanksgiving all their own! Luckily she let the team join her in celebration this year. Here’s an inside look to what Canadian Thanksgiving looks like, Susan-style.
Hospitality Vignettes with Susan: Falling Into Autumn
Friday Harbor is taking Autumn by storm. Not only is our property embracing all things Fall, but so are our neighbors. In this week’s vlog, Susan will show some of what this festive town has to offer. But…..perhaps not in the way you’d expect.
Hospitality Vignettes with Susan: We’re on Island Time
You’ve heard it a million times. But what does being on “Island Time” actually mean? Is it really any different from your average day on the mainland? Yes, yes it is. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.
Hospitality Vignettes with Susan: Teach me How to Ferry
The Washington State Ferry is a HUGE part of the San Juan Island experience! In this week’s vlog, Susan will cover everything you need to know before you embark on the inter-island ferry run. Plus, tips on how to spend your time aboard!
Something many visitors don’t realize is that the Inter-Island Ferry Route is FREE to walk-on. Though we do recommend having a vehicle to conveniently peruse the neighboring islands, if you want an inexpensive day trip the Inter-Island ferry is perfect for you. You’ll be sure to get your steps in!
Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? It seems like just yesterday Nikki became part of the family. But now, after an amazing year with us, she’s off to her next adventure! Tune in to this week’s Hospitality Vignette to watch Susan’s (attempt to say) goodbye.
Hospitality Vignettes with Susan: A Day in the Life of an Innkeeper
Find out what Susan REALLY does as an innkeeper for the San Juan Island Inn Collection. There is a lot that goes on each day at a bed and breakfast inn. From cooking breakfast to plunging toilets, she can do it all!
The kids are back in school, now what?? Design your own course load here on San Juan Island. We have the film festival, Savor San Juans, farm tours, orca whales, and relaxation! This is a course load you are sure to ace.
Hospitality Vignettes with Susan: New Brewery in Friday Harbor
The San Juan Island Brewing Company is the new kid on the block! We had an amazing tour of the brewery the day before it opened. And, let’s just say, it’s got a lot goin’ on! We can’t wait to hang out here all summer long. They’ll soon get sick of us!