Everything’s Comin’ Up Roses
Barbara Bowers has never stayed in a bed and breakfast. That fact is remarkable because she’s the sole owner of Colfax’s first bed and breakfast inn – the Rose Mountain Manor.
Open less than two years, Rose Mountain Manor looks every bit the charming, romantic, quintessential bed and breakfast inn. And Bowers looks like she was born to run an inn. She’s a nester, a great cook, a baker extraordinaire, wildly friendly and is one of those people who is so warm and so open that you feel like you’ve known her forever. Walking into her bed and breakfast feels like visiting a favorite Grandma: it smells like oranges and honey, there are doilies and flower patterns everywhere and you just know that you can sink into the green checkered sofa and Bowers will take over and make you comfy.
Is she such an effusive entertainer and innkeeper because she’s been hosting family all her life? Nope. No children, never been married, very small family. Does she run such a comfortable B&B out of a large Victorian house because the previous owners taught her everything and she’s a quick study? Nope. Rose Mountain Manor was a private house when Bowers bought it in 2000 – she turned it into a bed and breakfast singlehandedly.
So how did it happen that a single woman who’d never stayed in a B&B ended up creating one in Colfax? If you’ll ask Bowers, she’ll tell you it’s the power of prayer.
“I was in the shopping center industry for 25 years. A couple of years ago I asked myself if I wanted to keep doing that for the rest of my life. So, I started thinking and praying about what to do next,” Bowers said. Things happened quickly after that first prayer. She saw a newspaper real estate ad for a Victorian house in Lincoln. It was a multimillion dollar home, but she started thinking she needed to find a Victorian and open a bed and breakfast that would offer a respite from the outside world.
“I wanted a place where people could come to rest, emotionally and spiritually.” Then, in the same real estate section, she saw an ad for a Victorian home in Colfax. After thinking she was crazy to even look at such a thing, she called a Realtor. Bowers felt that God was leading her in a certain direction and she wanted to see where He would ultimately take her.
When she saw the Victorian, nestled in the mountains, with its five rolling acres, gazebo and separate apartment above a garage, she instantly saw what could happen. “As I walked through the house, I visualized every room exactly the way you see it now,” Bowers said. And this is what she saw:
The first room off the entry would be the Tea Room, with cozy tables and chairs to accommodate up to 20 for high tea. She’d serve her specialty breads and scones there, and tiny little finger sandwiches with cucumber. Ladies would come with their friends and sip tea and talk. And that’s just what happened.
“It just gives me great pleasure to see women be still, sip tea and enjoy each other’s company. It’s wonderful to see people come to this quiet, beautiful place and be still,” Bowers said.
She envisioned the living room as a comfortable sitting area, with its fireplace and overstuffed furniture. She knew just where her piano would go.
The three bedrooms would each have themes: the master would be the angel room, called Guardian Angels; the middle room would be Bear Hugs, with lots of teddy bears; and the last room would have an ocean theme, Seashore Serenity.
Her working kitchen would be a happy, busy place, and she would serve breakfast to her guests there. In one of her three guestbooks, there are raves for her breakfasts in the kitchen.
It not only has happened just as Bowers envisioned it would, the entire experience has been a pleasure as well.
“I just love every minute of it! And I’ve not had a single bad customer. My guests are wonderful; they’re the nicest people,” Bowers says. And learning to be an innkeeper has been a far cry from her hectic pace running shopping centers.
“It’s been quite a lifestyle change for me. My daytimer was attached to my hip. I never ate a home-cooked meal – I was a fast food junkie. I’ve gone from never being home to always being home. I don’t ever want to leave this place. Some days I feel like a little girl playing house.”
There is only one small thing that hasn’t gone according to Bowers’ plan: the elaborate rose garden she planned to plant outside the entrance to Rose Mountain Manor. She planted the roses, but the deer in the area found them irresistable. “I named this place after the concept of having a rose garden. Maybe I should have named it Deer Mountain.”
Rose Mountain Manor is located at 233 Plutes Way in Colfax. Call 1-866-444-ROSE (7673). Rates start at $80 mid-week and $95 on weekends.
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