Nevada City’s Emma Nevada House B&B to get new innkeepers |

Nevada City’s Emma Nevada House B&B to get new innkeepers

Jim and Katherine Doolittle are retiring after 2 years running Emma Nevada House on East Broad Street in Nevada City.
Submitted photo | The Union

Nevada City’s Emma Nevada House bed-and-breakfast will welcome new innkeepers Toni and Nel Peterson in April; saying goodbye to Kathy and Jim Doolittle who have run the local B&B for the past two years.

“We’ve enjoyed meeting and spending time with guests. There are so many fascinating people we’ve met,” Kathy Doolittle said. “That’s really been a gift to us, as well as living in a beautiful home that is beautifully kept, with so much historic background to it.”

Originally from the Sacramento area, Jim and Kathy Doolittle were introduced to the Emma Nevada House as customers visiting Nevada City, holding their wedding reception at the establishment in December 2003.

As a former Sacramento firefighter, Jim Doolittle says the B&B was such a magical place, and one of the main reasons why they moved into the area.

“We love this town,” he said. “There is a magic here like nowhere else. It’s like when people go to Disneyland they say they are ‘in the magic.’ That’s what Nevada City is like for us.”Jim Doolittle

“We love this town,” he said. “There is a magic here like nowhere else. It’s like when people go to Disneyland they say they are ‘in the magic.’ That’s what Nevada City is like for us.”

After buying a house in Nevada City in 2007, the couple began to get involved with the community, attending local events and holding get-togethers at their home. In the spring of 2013, Andy and Susan Howard, owners of Emma Nevada House, planned to leave the area to run another establishment in Point Reyes, but they needed a couple to take over as innkeepers for their B&B.

The Doolittle couple fit the bill.

“They were very great to our guests and took great care of our property,” Andy Howard said. “They got great reviews on Trip Advisor. They never had less than a five-star review.”

B&B vacation rentals have been a recurring topic of discussion in Nevada City over the years. In November 1994, voters approved Measure F, which removed city policy that regulated short-term rentals of more than one week and less than 30 days in the area.

Exceptions have been made over the years, including in October 2014, when a former bed-and-breakfast facility known as Kendall House was granted a permit to reopen for business.

The city has since dealt with an impending lawsuit in reference to B&Bs in neighborhoods from a local group called Friends of Spring Street, while also going through further settlement talks with Friends of Nevada City.

In January, council members unanimously approved a temporary ordinance that prevents and prohibits new B&B facilities from being established in residential zones in the city.

That ordinance, which was initially approved to last 45 days, was extended by city council members last week for an additional 10 months.

Although Emma Nevada House is located in a residential zone, it will continue to stay open despite a change in management. Originally from the Bay Area, Toni and Nel Peterson will take over innkeeper duties for the B&B on April 1, going through training this past weekend.

“I love to cook, and it has always been my wish to run a B&B,” Toni Peterson said. “We’re excited about being a part of the community and meeting new people and bringing just a sense of warm welcoming to the guests that come and stay. We’re excited to just be able to live a new adventure for the both of us.”

Kathy and Jim Doolittle plan to retire at the end of the month and take a trip from Hawaii to Nova Scotia, though they will always call Nevada City home.

“It’s been a tremendous amount of fun,” Kathy Doolittle said. “We have met so many guests that have become good friends who have come back to see Nevada City, and some of them have come back to see us, and that’s just been such an honor being a part of their lives.”

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email or call 530-477-4236.

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