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A Brief History of Bed and Breakfast Lodging

Edited information from Wikpedia and Elizabeth Arneson - Your Guide to Bed & Breakfasts

The B&B arrangement is a very old one. The concept has existed in one form or another since the beginning of man. Monasteries served as bed and breakfasts for travelers, and in some cases still do.  Before the 20th century, it was quite normal for country travellers to spend the night at a private house rather than an inn, and this custom persists in many parts of the world. However, prior to the 19th century, this was strictly an informal arrangement constrained by acquaintance and social rank; a doctor might stay with a doctor or pharmacist, while a nobleman would stay with the local gentry.
Bed and breakfasts have been very popular with the traveling public in Europe for years.  The abbreviation of `B&B' on roadside signs first became popular in the British Isles - typically with a detachable 'Vacancies' sign swinging below.  Tourists will see B&B signs in many windows there. The term "bed and breakfast" is not used in many other countries. Terms such as paradors, pensions, gasthaus, minskukus, shukukos and pousados are used to describe what Americans and English-speaking Europeans think of as a bed and breakfast.

The United States also has a history of bed and breakfasts dating back to the time of early settlers. As the pioneers traveled the trails and roads across this county, they sought a safe refuge in homes, inns and taverns. In fact, some of those historic accommodations now serve as B&Bs.

During the Great Depression, many people opened their homes to travelers to bring in some additional money for the family. The term "boarding house" was used at this time. After the Depression, this type of lodging declined and many people had the idea they were just for low-income travelers or drifters. In the early fifties, people may remember the term "tourist home" being used. This too was essentially a form of bed and breakfast. Once motels were built on the new highways, they were soon forgotten.

In large part because of the number of Americans traveling to Europe in recent years and rediscovering B&Bs, there has been an exponential increase in interest in the U.S. Today, the B&B is not viewed as a low-cost lodging facility but as an attractive alternative to the typical standard chain hotel or motel room. Today, some bed and breakfasts offer amenities not unlike those found at the most upscale hotels in the world.

NATIONAL DIFFERENCES

Australia
Despite the cultural similarities, there are far fewer B&B's in the whole continent of Australia than there are in just the South Island of New Zealand despite the resident population being more than twenty times greater.

Since 1879 the average per capita disposable income of Australians has been greater than that of New Zealanders and this has mitigated the powerful incentive to let out rooms in their homes to travellers. Another factor may be that Australia has, apart from City States such as Singapore, the greatest concentration of city dwellers anywhere on the globe and these cities are amply supplied with budget hotels and motels.

British Isles
The North East Atlantic Archipelago has some of the most expensive hotel beds in the European Union[citation needed] and in those isles, B&B's are a budget option where owners often take pride in the high service levels, local knowledge and personal touch that they are able to offer.

There tend to be concentrations of B&B's in the seaside towns where, historically, the working classes holidayed such as Newcastle in Ireland and Blackpool in England but they are also widespread in isolated rural areas such as the Highlands of Scotland and Connemara where there is not a year-round concentration of travellers sufficient to sustain an hotel.

In the British Isles, breakfast is usually cooked on demand for the guest and usually features bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, etc but, increasingly, because of either a desire of owners to economise or guests to minimise their calorie intake, a continental breakfast is becoming more common.

In Ireland, most B&Bs serve a traditional Full breakfast as a point of pride.

In recent years some bed and breakfast businesses in the UK have struggled against budget hotel chains such as Premier Travel Inn and Travelodge. Traditionally, business travellers used B&B's but many of these clients now tend to stay in budget hotel chains. However, in holiday areas the B&B or small hotel still prevails. Unlike the 'chain' accommodation providers these provide a more comprehensive service and breakfast is included in the price.

Cuba
In Cuba, which opened up to tourism in the 1990s after the financial support of the Soviet Union ended, a form of B&B called casa particular ("private home") became the main form of accommodation outside the tourist resorts.

Israel
The Israeli B&B is known as a zimmer. All over the country, but especially in the north of the country and the Galilee, zimmers have become a popular alternative to hotels for romantic weekends or family vacations.

New Zealand
A Centre of New Zealand Bed and BreakfastAs in the USA, Bed and Breakfasts in New Zealand tend to be more expensive than Motels and often feature historic homes and lovingly furnished bedrooms at a commensurate price. The historic city of Nelson has an unusually high concentration of both of these accommodation alternatives because it was historically the place where kiwis holidayed.

North America
Many B&Bs in North America (and New Zealand) try to create a historical ambiance, with old properties turned into guesthouses decorated with antique furniture. Sometimes B&B owners will introduce upscale amenities to improve business and move "up-market." Due to the need to stay competitive with the rest of the lodging industry, larger bed and breakfast inns have expanded to offer wedding services, business conference facilities, spa services, and meeting spaces as well as many other services a large hotel might offer.

REGULATIONS
Regulations and laws vary considerably in each national jurisdiction both in content and extent and in enforcement.

The most common regulations B&Bs must follow pertain to safety. They are usually required by local and national ordinances to have fire resistance, a sufficient fire escape plan in place, and smoke detectors in each guest room. Kitchens and equipment used to serve meals are also often required to be monitored for hygienic operation, but there are significant national and local differences.

Most B&Bs are generally compliant with their jurisdiction's laws. However, guests are mostly unfamiliar with these guidelines and may miss any violations out of ignorance or a desire not to be involved in reporting violations while on holiday.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
While various local governments have regulations and inspect for health issues and fire safety code, membership in a state/provincial/national bed and breakfast association can indicate a higher standard of hospitality. Associations sometimes review their members' properties and tend to have additional standards of care.

These associations also facilitate marketing of the individual B&Bs and provide a stamp of approval that the business in question is reputable. This "stamp of approval", however, may be just an indication that membership dues have have been paid.


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RIVER HOUSE BED & BREAKFAST
Getaway Lodge and Timeaway Lodge
11052 Ventura Boulevard
Rockford - Machesney Park, IL 61115
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RIVER HOUSE BED and BREAKFAST GETAWAY RETREAT located in ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS-- Two waterfront B&B lodges offer northern Illinois travelers luxury Jacuzzi and fireplace suites for romantic getaways as well as child friendly vacation lodging, group retreat, family reunion accommodations, or short term weekly rental. Whether romantic weekend, business stay, or entire house rental, find bed and breakfast packages: Romantic Getaway, Murder Mystery, Scrapbooking Retreat, Cooking Getaway, Weddings, Group Rentals and Furnished Apartment for extended stay. Guest Notes & REVIEWS.