Sunday, March 26, 2017

So... What's there to DO in Jacksonville?!?

Spring is in the air! That means it's time to start planning your summertime getaways. Start your summer adventures in Jacksonville. What's there to do? I'll be glad to tell you!

My family moved here just over eight years ago from a larger city just across the river from St. Louis. Jacksonville is a smaller town in population, but it has more historic sites, more antique shops, more golf courses, more dress to the nines galas, and one of the best bass-fishing lakes in the state. Jacksonville has become our home, and it seems that there's always something to do, especially during the summer! Here's one of my favorites: ride the Ferris Wheel in City Park. Manufactured by our own Eli Bridge Company, it's a great ride on a warm summer day!

Here are a few other ideas to keep you entertained...

Stay and Play! Golf, that is!
Stay in our award-winning inn and enjoy all that Jacksonville has to offer, from fine dining, to shopping to a round of golf at The Links in Jacksonville’s Nichols Park.
Package Includes:
One night lodging for two in your choice of luxurious suites, dinner for two at Lonzerotti’s Italia Restaurant, multi-course gourmet breakfast for two before you play golf, a bucket of balls for the driving range, 18-hole round of golf with cart at The Links, JACVB Discount Card for Jacksonville shopping and dining, our Golfer’s Gift Bag with 1 hat, 1 sleeve balls, tees and a $10 Snack Bar voucher, Two suites available. Package may be reserved for multiple nights with additional lodging nights booked at our lowest available rates. Tuesday – Friday, plus Early Bird golf on Saturday. Tee times must be scheduled in advance of stay. Based on availability between April 15th and September 30th.

Our Couples' Double Package includes a one night stay in our Tranquility Suite for one couple and a one night stay in our Serenity on State Suite for a second couple. The package includes two $25 Gift Cards for Steak ‘n Shake, four tickets to the movies plus popcorn and soda pop, bedtime snacks, upscale amenities, gourmet breakfast for four, Sunday afternoon Ferris Wheel rides for four, June - August. Additional nights may be added at the regular room rate.    Check Availability

If you're a car buff, you should plan to visit on Saturday June 10th for our annual Plaza Car Show and Cruise Night. Come over early in the day to peruse the cars displayed in the juried show. Check in to the suite of your choice late in the afternoon then head out to use your $30 Chamber Checks at one of our local member restaurants. Pack your lawn chairs and enjoy the Cruise Nite along Morton Avenue from 5 – 9 p.m. Please click here to reserve our Cruise Nite package.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


In addition to my 20+ years as a foster adoptive parent trainer, I've been given many opportunities to speak at conferences, Mother/ Daughter Teas and other events over the years. One of my presentations is called Hospitali-TEA.

Even as I'm nearing the grand age of 60, I've never enjoyed drinking coffee. I have had two or three cappuccinos, and they were OK, probably because of the sugar and other flavors added. I'm just not a coffee fan. I'm a tea drinker. I'm not a tea snob, but I do know how to do it right.

Most mornings I slip a tea bag into a mug of water and microwave it until it almost boils. I'll admit, that's not the proper way, for a number of reasons. Please see the link below for great instructions for making a proper cup of tea. Some rare fine days are china cup and saucer sit and ponder days, but truthfully, most of my days are three mugs of tea, microwaved, consumed while working.

I started collecting tea cups as a child because they were given to me by my grandmother and many "older" friends and family members. I expanded my collection during our honeymoon in Canada when I had access to so many fabulous Royal Albert patterns. I have a few Russian Lomonosov porcelain tea cups and one beautiful Lomonosov teapot. The Lomonosov porcelain factory dates back to 1744 in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was their first porcelain company. These stunning bone china designs, some shown above, typically have a brilliant cobalt blue and white pattern, accented with gold. The tea pot is especially impressive. However, did you know that Lomonosov china is not the best vessel for tea? In spite of its rich history, high price, and great beauty, it's just another teapot.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Sun'll Come Up.... Time Zones and Time Changes

It's Daylight Saving Time!


There are a few things that I can readily identify that I don't process well. A big one  is figuring what time it is in another time zone and managing time changes. Have I ever been late to church on time change day? Perhaps. But... I've also been an hour early a time or two!

I know that I live in the middle of the United States. I know that it's one hour later in the East because that's where the sun is setting. I understand that it's earlier in California. But how much earlier? And what about the Rockies? Do they have a time zone?  Every time I schedule a blog post I have to be consciously be aware of time zones, because apparently my Google Blogger program lives in Cali.

As a traveler, time zones become very important, but I've learned that airlines put the local departure and arrival times on the tickets, so I just go with it. I can't imagine what it would be like to travel internationally and arrive when it's really tomorrow. Or yesterday. I do know what it's like to arrive for a wedding and find it an hour later than it was as we turned into the venue. My nephew got married in a beautiful arboretum just outside Princeton, Indiana. No kidding, just as we drove the last half mile watching Google Maps, the time changed. We were an hour late! For a wedding. A wedding! Not a three hour play, not a two hour concert, a wedding. A protestant wedding. 30 minutes tops! The funny thing is, some people didn't even know, because the time change line was dependent on your cell phone carrier and some towers didn't pick up the change. All was well, but for a minute there...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Music! Music! Music!

Aaron Kamm & the One Drops
photo by Kyla Hurt

Jacksonville Main Street has worked hard to secure a $25,000 Summer Music Series grant from Levitt AMP for the second year in a row. With the backing of Facebook followers and with support of local sponsors, Jacksonville Main Street will again offer 10 Friday nights of free live music this summer!

Old Salt Union
photo by Kyla Hurt
Marina V
photo by Kyla Hurt

Saturday, February 25, 2017

What’s the Difference Between a Bed and Breakfast and a Hotel?

There are actually many differences between staying in a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) and a hotel.

Design: Blessings on State is located in a restored vintage mansion in the heart of the historic district. We are not your typical hotel with an awning to drive under, a 24-hour front desk, and lines of rooms connected by thin walls. Our two guest suites are unique. Each has its own unique fireplace with an all-season insert. Like hotels, each suite has its own private bath. The main difference is that our guest suites also offer private sitting rooms. The Serenity Suite overlooks historic State Street and has a curved (think Victorian) wall in the sitting room. No cookie-cutter hotel rooms here! Wall décor differs between the suites and room décor changes with the seasons. Each suite has its own Christmas tree during the holidays!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Quilted Northern and Puffs Plus

A blog about toilet paper and facial tissue? Really? Stay with me, here...

When we first opened Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast, it was a start up. We moved to this large home from a home with 850 square feet when we bought it more than 20 years before. Finishing a walk-out basement added more space, but it was still much smaller than this home. Much smaller. Very few of the furnishings our children had grown up with were a good fit for Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast. We had to do a lot of shopping to furnish our B&B. We had to determine what shampoo to use, which towels we could afford, which sheets, etc. We also had a lot of marketing expenses, including brochures, a web site, etc. It was all brand new and a financial challenge. It was fun and exciting, but it was a challenge. What were the essentials? Where would we get the most return for our money? As the years have passed, my brain has learned to calculate expenses in "room nights." How many room nights will it take to pay for... ?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Be My Valentine!

Valentine's Day brings back memories. When I was growing up, my grandma from upstate New York sent us annual Valentine's Day parcels. I remember receiving, in addition to valentines, a fine selection of rock hard brownies and cookies. I remember that she always made the effort to bake for us, and we always thanked her. We never wanted to discourage her, but it took a few days to get the package to us, and by that time the baked goods were a bit past their prime. 

I also remember decorating shoe boxes at elementary school to hold valentines from my classmates. It always took some time deciding which sentiment to give to which friend. I remember the delight in reading what each of my friends sent to my valentine box.

I taught school in Eastern Pennsylvania for three years before Glenn and I were married 35 years ago. We were engaged over Christmas vacation and wrote letters and spoke on the phone daily for the remainder of my final school year there. We invested a lot of time in our relationship even at the distance. We were separated by hundreds of miles on Valentine's Day, so we couldn't celebrate in person. I lived in an apartment, and somehow Glenn talked my apartment mate into hiding dime store valentines, complete with messages, throughout our apartment. What fun I had, finding and reading those funny and sweet messages from my husband-to-be.