Airbnb versus a "real" Bed and Breakfast or aka my Airbnb Rant

When it comes to Airbnb, I have issues. Maybe it’s because I own a “real” Bed and Breakfast, and I find most Airbnbs to be cheap copycats that skirt around the edges of what’s legal and ethical. An Airbnb is not a business, it’s an under-regulated, over-hyped, step above couch surfing. But I digress.

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When I opened the Inn at Glencairn, it was after a long, arduous year of renovations, planning board meetings, township approvals, and numerous fire and health inspections. Had I opened an Airbnb, I could have skipped the time and money that went into the renovations, meetings and approvals and simply cobbled together a page on the Airbnb site and opened up for business. It definitely would have been the easier route. And cheaper. And less risky. And probably more profitable.

Until quite recently, Airbnb sales were “under the table” and exempt from paying state and local occupancy and sales taxes. A “real” Bed and Breakfast is a full-fledged lodging business and is required to pay occupancy and sales taxes, like a hotel. In our municipality, that equates to 16.625%, which is quite a chunk of cash and figures prominently into our pricing model.

Did you know that an Airbnb might be illegal in the city or town you are visiting? Roughly 70% of the Airbnb reservations taken in NYC were illegal in 2014. The influx of Airbnb accommodations in some cities are driving up the prices of affordable housing for residents. Sure Airbnb is a lower cost alternative to other lodging options, but maybe the lower price is a result of an illegal sublet or an owner skirting the law when it comes to paying taxes.

Each year, the Inn at Glencairn is inspected by our local fire inspector. The inspector spends about two hours going from room to room and making sure our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are up to date. The inspection can be unnerving because we take our responsibilities very seriously. Our smoke and carbon detectors are hard-wired to a central station that is notified immediately and automatically dispatches the local Fire Department if an alarm is triggered.

Does your Airbnb have working smoke or carbon monoxide detectors? If it does, are they the most up-to-date and recently inspected? If an alarm is triggered, who responds? Is it up to the occupants to determine what to do in case of an emergency? Our fire inspector also requires us to have fire extinguishers on every level and tag our rooms with directions to evacuate in the event of an emergency. Does your Airbnb have emergency evacuation instructions or fire extinguishers? Maybe not.

Also once a year, the Health Inspector comes in and inspects our kitchen to make sure our appliances are in working order. She makes sure that our dishwasher reaches the proper temperature to disinfect our plates and cutlery and that our refrigerator maintains the proper temperature to keep our food fresh and free from bacteria. Also, she inspects for pests to make sure we are maintaining a clean and sanitary environment. Does your Airbnb provide documentation that it is inspected and is pest free? Maybe not.

It is much easier to “game” a review on Airbnb than it is on TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google, Expedia and Booking.com. In fact, misrepresentation runs rampant on Airbnb. Reviews for a “real” Bed and Breakfast are vetted by the aforementioned sites and guests must provide proof that they stayed at the lodging establishment for a review to be considered valid.

Running a “real” Bed and Breakfast means you have a staff on hand to assist with any issue that may arise during your stay. At an Airbnb you are literally on your own unless the owner lives nearby and is responsive to your requests. Have an issue with the thermostat, good luck! Unless the owner is a quick call away, you may be sitting in the extreme heat or cold waiting for assistance. What about the lack of amenities in an Airbnb? Maybe it has enough towels, maybe it has enough toilet paper, maybe it has shampoo, maybe it has a hair dryer. Then again, maybe it doesn’t have any of these things, and maybe you have to spend your hard earned vacation time purchasing them.

So, next time you consider an Airbnb over a “real” Bed and Breakfast or even a hotel, consider the time, energy and expense that goes into providing an authentic local lodging experience. Consider the inspections, the taxes, and the staffing. Then make an informed decision on how you want to spend your vacation dollars.

Inn at Glencairn awarded 2018 Certificate of Excellence Award!

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We are thrilled to announce that the Inn at Glencairn has been awarded the 2018 Certificate of Excellence Award from TripAdvisor.

The Inn has received this honor for the past four years, making it the only lodging establishment in the area to consistently earn such high marks from travelers on TripAdvisor since 2015.

The Certificate of Excellence celebrates businesses that continually earn great traveler reviews and receive strong praise and ratings from travelers. We are honored to be included among the best of the best!

Quiche, Quiche, and more Quiche!

After many servings of quiche made every possible way, our own Chef Lydia has discovered that most of our guests prefer not to indulge in the carb-heavy (though entirely tasty) butter crust. Therefore she has perfected a crust-less quiche that is popular with everyone and results in a spotlessly clean plate when finished!

Chef Lydia’s recipe is often requested, so here it is for you to make at home.

Quiche Glencairn

Blend to a creamy liquid:

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 cup cottage cheese

  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Spray a pie dish with nonstick spray and layer any prepped vegetable and cheese choices that you like. (See below for ideas!)

Pour the egg liquid (described above) over the layers.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 35 to 55 minutes depending on your oven.

When done, the middle should barely jiggle and you should see color around the edges.

Let rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Some popular combinations at the Inn are:

  • Marinated artichoke and Dubliner cheese (KerryGold)

  • Sautéed asparagus, chopped fresh spinach, cheddar cheese

  • Broiled tomatoes (heirloom or cherry), fresh basil cut into ribbons, mozzarella cheese

  • Fried and drained sage sausage, caramelized leeks and bell peppers, shredded Gouda cheese

Be creative and try your own favorite vegetables, herbs and spices, and cheese combinations!


The Microwedding Trend

Some couples dream of a large wedding, complete with ice sculptures and an over-sized guest list. Other couples dream of an intimate wedding, with only their closest confidants in attendance. Elopements, while seemingly spontaneous and romantic, can fall short of expectations, especially when you often have to settle for a stranger as your witness. Many couples crave the intimacy of an elopement, yet would prefer having a handful of their close family and friends present to share in their celebration. That’s where we come in!

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The Inn at Glencairn specializes in microweddings. We define microweddings as a wedding ceremony with fewer than 25 guests, including the bride and groom. A microwedding can have all the trappings of a larger event, but the size, and therefore the expense, is much less. You can wear your fancy threads, carry a luscious bouquet, stand under a stunning arbor, and have that expensive cake. The only thing missing will be the over-sized guest list, and if you think about it, you might only want to talk to the people at the first three tables at that megawedding anyway!

Give us a call today at 609.497.1737 or visit us online at www.innatglencairn.com and let us customize a microwedding package for you!

Eggs Glencairn: Best B&B Breakfast!

We are in the running for the BEST B&B Breakfast!  Our signature dish -- and one of the few breakfasts Lydia repeats on occasion-- Eggs Glencairn, has been advanced to the final round of voting by BedandBreakfast.com for their BEST Breakfast contest!

Some of you may have enjoyed our creative take on a classic Eggs Benedict: The toasted croissant and crispy prosciutto add a touch of crunch and saltiness to the raw greens and sauteed vegetables, tied together with a light Hollandaise and a perfectly poached egg.

If you have enjoyed our breakfasts, please vote for us here so that we can win the coveted title!

Private Dining in an Historic Barn

Thinking of doing something different than the typical date night at a restaurant?  Read on to see how one of our recent guests surprised her husband:

"I really went into this with blind trust. Being from NYC my standards for accommodations are higher than most and my food ratings could seem brutal to some. The pictures of the Inn, in their site, were elegant and Lydia was on her game when I booked. I was trusting her! She shared with me that she was a chef and that if I wanted, she could provide, as an Inn guest, a special private Chef dinning experience in the onsite barn!  This is where the trust really came in. She said she was a very good chef and could design a 3 course meal with me.  I'm thinking, alone in a barn with twinkly lights and crickets and a warm breeze, even if the meal was so so, I'd be happy anyway!

Upon our arrival it was clear that the Inn was even lovelier than on line, all the way down to the yummy sheets and toll house fresh made chocolate chip cookies!  My husband had no idea we were eating in the barn and even commented on how lovely it looked for the affair they must be hosting. When I ushered him in and asked him if he'd care to join me for dinner, his mouth dropped open. There was a printed menu with his name on it, the table was set with white cloth and silver and frankly it was like a wedding atmosphere. But, BUT!!! THE FOOD! This woman can cook!

We started with this fresh gorgeously presented salad with a hint of flower pedals, mind you, and an avocado vinaigrette...soooo delish '. She made us a roast beef that made me cry. Tender, cooked to perfection, all the right herbs, topped with crispy mushrooms and a side of roasted root veggies and potatoes. Yummy sounds were all that we could exchange. At one point I said, "are we in NY?".  We ended with two homemade personal apple pies topped with creamy vanilla ice cream, that were so, so ...SO freaking amazing.  At one point Lydia came out to clear the dishes and I actually gave her a standing ovation. I frankly didn't know how else to express my delight!

We danced by the light of the moon and the twinkle lights In a hand hewn barn like children. We slept like babies in the best bed and sheets ever, and had, as you can imagine, THE most yummiest breakfast of fresh ripe fruits with a dollop of yogurt and homemade granola (which I normally hate but since it some how tasted like crunchy apple pie, I ate it all), as well as these crazy creamy lightly herbed scrabbled eggs and, yes...AND, ricotta pancakes with blueberries and real maple syrup. Ridiculously good start to finish, AGAIN!

So, Run my friends, RUN to the "book now" button. I love this place, I love Lydia and we are now lifers. The actual owners of The Inn at Glencairn have done a spectacular job at renovating this wonderful old gem, but the glue that makes this Inn the go to place you want to be at, is Lydia! Her warmth( but not bff sugary), professional manor and true talent as a chef get this Inn it's 5 star rating! Someone made a great hire!"

NJ Bike Tours, Cycing in New Jersey, Princeton, Mercer County

The mission at NJ Bike Tours is "to share le joie de vivre in unexpected places and in unexpected ways. The friends, farms, food, fitness and fun experienced on each tour connects us to each other, to nature, to history and to what it means to be alive!"


Raised in Europe, founder, Jake Herway unexpectedly found a hidden treasure in New Jersey that had everything he needed to replicate his European upbringing: picturesque and safe bike riding, farm-fresh food, rich history, culture and a vibrant community.

NJ Bike Tours was a natural extension of finding a hidden gem in the back roads of a state Jake had assumed was nothing but concrete, electric wires, and grime. Hidden to millions who visit, live in, or avoid New Jersey is a rich history, beautiful farm country, stunning views, and fresh, delicious food that create an energizing cycling adventure.

Cycle throughout Mercer County, New Jersey and the Princeton, New Jersey areas.  All tours are BYOB - BRING YOUR OWN BIKE (and helmet)!  Rentals are available.

For more information visit www.njbiketours.com, email Jake at njbiketours@gmailcom or give him a call at 801.548.2285.


Princeton University Library, Firestone Library, Princeton, NJ

Princeton University Library is one of the world’s most distinguished research libraries, consisting of the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library and nine buildings across campus.

The library's collections include more than eight million books, six million microforms, 49,000 linear feet of manuscripts, and impressive holdings of rare books, prints, archives and other material that require special handling. The library's extensive electronic resources include databases and journals, statistical packages, images and digital maps.

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections sponsors two major exhibitions a year in the Main Gallery located on the first floor of the Firestone Library. The Cotsen Children's Library includes an interactive exhibition gallery for children. In addition, materials from the collections are displayed in various lobby cases, in online galleries, and in the exhibition gallery of the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library at 65 Olden Street. All exhibitions are free and open to the general public.

Current Exhibition:

Versailles on Paper: A Graphic Panorama of the Palace and Gardens of Louis XIV

This exhibition documents the contemporary representation of Versailles through a multifaceted array of prints, books, maps, medals, and manuscripts. It highlights in particular those elements that today survive only on paper: ephemeral festivals; short-lived creatures (courtiers, animals, flowers); fragile groves and fountains too costly to maintain; and once celebrated masterpieces of art and architecture that were irrevocably destroyed or altered.

Firestone Library

One Washington Road

Princeton, NJ 08540

609-258-3184


Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library

65 Olden Street

Princeton, NJ 08540

609-258-6345

www.library.princeton.edu

 

Inn at Glencairn: Certificate of Excellence Recipients!

For nearly 10 years, we have been proclaiming that the Inn at Glencairn Bed and Breakfast in Princeton, New Jersey, is the premier lodging destination in Mercer County.  Now, we can proudly say that our guests feel the same way!  We were recently awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2015.  This Award is given to the top 10% of Hotels, B&Bs and lodging providers who offer exemplary customer service to their guests.

Travelers come to TripAdvisor to plan and book their perfect trip.  The Certificate of Excellence celebrates the accommodations, attractions and eateries that make these perfect trips possible.  Now in its fifth year, the prestigious Certificate of Excellence award recognizes establishments that consistently earn great TripAdvisor reviews from travelers.  As president of TripAdvisor for Business, Marc Charron knows how important the Certificate of Excellence is: "By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive an improvement to hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition."

From everyone at the Inn at Glencairn, we thank you, our loyal customers!!