L'Etoile Maison d'hôtes

Reciprocal invitation and exchanges ideas between Rock Eddy Bluff Farm in Dixon, Missouri, USA and L'Etoile Guest-House in La Bastide-Puylaurent, Lozere, France.

Rock Eddy Bluff B&B avec Tom CoreyRock Eddy Bluff B&B与Tom Corey

 

Rock Eddy Bluff B&B with Tom Corey

Exchange with Rock Eddy Bluff Bed and Breakfast, Dixon, Missouri, USA

 

The perks of being Innkeepers

1 The Perks of Being Innkeepers by Tom Corey, Rock Eddy Bluff Farm, MO, USAThe reports are always glowing when we return home !
Each time back from some adventure, we find we have discovered some new wrinkle in the human landscape; we return aroused, stimulated, and full of wonder.
But, how do we afford frequent travel ? We are folks of modest means - innkeepers at a rural retreat in the middle of America. Simply, we do it by how we structure our lives. And we afford it by allowing adventure to rank higher than new cars, boats. that sort of modern way of living.

2 The Perks of Being Innkeepers by Tom Corey, Rock Eddy Bluff Farm, MO, USAThe privilege of doing this is paid for with many conscious daily decisions -- bartered for with the legal tender of our lives. Too, we go abroad gently, below the radar of what many Americans think is a required style of travel.
And, there are other tricks too! Many of them accrue as a result of our jobs as innkeepers. Here are a few of our discoveries:

Number 1: Innkeepers have more time in the winter months when travel costs are lowest. Go then !

"But for a rare bump and an occasional shimmy the rails are smooth and we are gliding through the central Ontario forests, pointed toward the Canadian prairies and, days head, the snow-covered Rockies to the west. It is late February. We are fulfilling another of our travel dreams, this time the trans-Canada railroad, a jewel of North American: The Canadian. Away from home and hearth, we are being flung across the continent."

We paid for this trip two ways: Nearly a year ago, on a trip to visit a fellow innkeeper in France, we "volunteered" to be bumped off of an overbooked Paris-bound flight. Our payment for the two of us was: fifteen hundred dollars in airline vouchers to be applied against future flights. On this trip, those vouchers have covered our flight to Toronto and then back home again from Seattle at the end of the circle. The train trip expense relied on my newly-achieved status as an old guy ! Alert for any travel bargain, I discovered, via Arthur Frommer's email newsletter, a deal for those sixty or older, and then only for the first two months of the year. The second person travels free. Half price tickets and free airfare - something not possible during the tourist season !

Number 2: We share ! Other innkeepers have more time during the slower months. It is a grand time to make exchanges and visit fellow innkeepers.

"These are the back roads of France; the bustle of Paris is a memory now. We are on a rural course at last -- we, and the little red Citroen that we took as hostage at Gare de Lyon and together fought our way into the countryside. Village melds into village on the banks of the now-smaller river Seine. Comfortably outside of the worn tourist ruts, we are moving in the general direction of our fellow innkeeper, Philippe. It is early March. Our route will take us into an area of France we would not have thought to explore if it were not for our connection across continents with our new French innkeeper friend." So far we have completed exchanges with other innkeeper across the US and in two foreign countries. Next up: two weeks in a self-catering cottage in the Scottish highlands with friends we made when they stayed at our cottage.
      

3 The Perks of Being Innkeepers by Tom Corey, Rock Eddy Bluff Farm, MO, USANumber 3: Use the internet to discover other innkeepers of like mind. It makes connections possible. New friends, fun, and adventure on the cheap !

Our French innkeeper friend, Philippe, is a master at this. So learn from him. At this writing, he has just returned from several weeks in Australia. That's after he returned an earlier trip to America for several weeks. On each trip he stays with fellow innkeepers on an exchange basis, living close to them, making friends and sharing his sense of adventure..
His approach has always been very straightforward. A the beginning, looking for exchanges in the U.S.A., Philippe simply selected several that held appeal to him from their listings on the internet. He wrote to all of them by email, expressing a desire to exchange stays and asking if they might be interested.

Now, with lists of friends here and other continents, Philippe's adventures seem to be self-generating.
Too, he now has a website showing many of his exchange adventures, along with his letter proposing to exchange stays with other inns. He is a great host and a wonderful guest !

4 The Perks of Being Innkeepers by Tom Corey, Rock Eddy Bluff Farm, MO, USAThere is a certain fraternity among innkeepers.  At breakfast there are the stories,  generally beginning with, "We had a guest one time who...." Easy friendships seem to spring up quickly. And, it is more than our common avocation. Yes, we both - during the course of our businesses - have learned how to meet people and be pleasant. But, with other innkeepers, we seem to begin at another level in our discourse. We find that a large percentage of them genuinely love people and are interested travel and a wide array of subjects.  

Number 4: Commit to your days away from the inn. Cross off days on your reservation calendar. Take them for yourself. Do it several months ahead. In our case, we make no reservations for our inn while we are on holiday. But, there are plenty of professional inn sitters who will keep your inn open. We close our inn, allow someone to live in our house to watch the place,  and march merrily off, charging the cost of doing so to the price of our adventure.

We believe strongly that travel is not and extravagance; it is simply a matter of priorities. Most people of modest means can travel widely if it rates a high enough level in their personal order of preferences. Biggest problem for traveling Americans is their pitiful shortage of vacation time. The lack of it is nothing short of a crime in our view (but that's another discussion.) As an innkeeper, being your own boss, setting your own schedule, and granting yourself vacation time constitutes a profound advantage. Sure we loose income when we are away traveling. We figure the travel is more important.
Don't be squeamish; mark "x's" on the calendar. Plan your time for yourself.  Mark yourself gone ! Priority ! With our hope for great travel experiences.

 

Meet our friend Philippe Papadimitriou

1 Exchange with Rock Eddy Bluff Bed and Breakfast, Dixon, Missouri, USAWe first met Philippe when he stayed a week with us one winter after he proposed an innkeepers exchange: We would stay at his Guesthouse "L’Etoile" (The Star) in France in trade for time at our Country getaway "Rock Eddy Bluff Farm" in Dixon Missouri USA. A year later, we were at his place.

2 Exchange with Rock Eddy Bluff Bed and Breakfast, Dixon, Missouri, USAYou should know that we have become very fond of Philippe. We truly like him and have a high regard and respect for him.

An adventurous spirit, integrity, intelligence are obvious qualities. But Philippe is also a comfortable person, easy to be with. He speaks good English with a strong French accent. His is an inquiring mind, free of dogmatic limitations.

Philippe will show you his true self and, I think, would ask the same of you if he is visiting in America. Be yourself and allow him the chance to see your life in a personal way. Show him what you do each day, who you have contact with. Introduce him to your friends. Allow him contact with ideas different than he normally deals with.

These events in his life illustrate the sort of fellow he is: He performed poorly in school, he told us. Wanting to quit school, he asked permission of his father, a journalist in Brussels. "If I see that you are capable of making good grades, then I will allow it,” his father told him. The good grades were made easily and at fourteen Philippe was freed from school, ready to throw himself headlong into life.

He worked on organic farms for a few years. Then worked construction jobs in France and Belgium. Later in Peru, Australia, Greece and the USA.

3 Exchange with Rock Eddy Bluff Bed and Breakfast, Dixon, Missouri, USAHe biked alone around France at 16 years old, from Brussels to Athens at 17 with an ecological demonstration for the Protection of the Mediterranean, and a year later he biked to Scandinavia.

At 21, following a report on television, Philippe decided to search for gold in California. He and his brother (knowing very little English) flew to New York and then hitch-hiked to Northern California. He learned a little English on the way. "When you are obliged to learn, you learn," he said. Among the first phrases he learned: "Hands up !" "When the police have a gun to your head, you learn quickly," he notes. It seems a driver had picked them up on the highway in a car that had just been stolen. They spent the day in jail. What an advendure !

4 Exchange with Rock Eddy Bluff Bed and Breakfast, Dixon, Missouri, USAIn Arcata, along the pacific-coast, they met a former Vietnam soldier who hosted from 14pm till 16pm few ladies. Original job on a large bed inflated water. Tattooed, strong and gentleman, he did all his best to make those ladies happy. After few days, they found the way to reach those gold prospectors lost in the Red Wood Forest where, as hippies, they live in self-sufficient in their cabanes roofed from slats of Sequoia and their horses. We must follow Willow Creek, Denny and then the track which leads to Eagle Creek.

Once there, "you are in another world. Here, I must make my proven, adapt, see large, forgetting my prejudices ... Only the dog of Brian the boss can still allow to keep me a link with what I learned that I have sensitivity to Europe. Everything is swept, we must move forward, not waiting from the others and be creative to find a little place. All here were part of special forces in Vietnam, their sensitivity is desapointante but rich. This wealth inside feels like the beauty of nature and his real side, raw, without pity. The real life ! What could ask a 20 year old man full of energy and ready to see "something else". This is the university of life. "

5 Exchange with Rock Eddy Bluff Bed and Breakfast, Dixon, Missouri, USA"The first nuggets of 1.5 cm 2, reported to me 1500 $. The Gold Rush provides incredible strength. I was in the midst of the Vietnam Veterans who took me for a youngster. They waiting to see what you are worth. One night I smoked a joint of marijuana they grew and I emptied a bottle of vodka. I was high but I was in good company. At Saint John, we drove the bear or deer. The hippies, gold seekers, the kids of eight or nine years rode naked on horses like Indians. After I came down again, I made a peru ... "These are the last words of Philip, owner of L'Etoile Guesthouse, cousin of Jack London. He spent a long part of the night to tell us that the twentieth century can still look like the cabaret of the Last Chance. The curse of Jack London pub. Belgian talks like a writer. Damn, you move '. That's what we did ... Eagle Creek ...

At 30 years old, with his girlfriend, three horses and two dogs rode 650 kilometers across France during 2 months following the Long distance trails (GR), sleeping in the welcoming farmers barns. In fact, Philippe spent a year caring for his two horses and his dog like a real cowboy, he took the opportunity to learn how to shoe a horse, making a Texas saddle, Pack saddle and so on.

6 Exchange with Rock Eddy Bluff Bed and Breakfast, Dixon, Missouri, USATotal immersion on this opportunity gived by his friend Olivier who lended his horses for one year. Owner of Mas Lauzas, a farmstay in Bordezac, a little village between Les Vans (Ardeche) and Genolhac (Gard). He hosted occasionaly hikers in a large dormitory and proposed his table d'hote. "I felt concerned" says Philippe; this is what the ex-gold miner was waiting for !

It was on this trip that Philippe discovered the Hotel Ranc which was then for sale in La Bastide-Puylaurent, Lozere. Though he had little money he declared there and then, "This is my guesthouse !". "What is there about you that causes you to make those choices in your life ?" I have asked Philippe variations of this question more than once. Each time his answer is the same. "I do not choose; life chooses", he replies in heavily accented English.

Here is a description of La Bastide-Puylaurent and Philippe by an English writer who traversed Europe, walking on trails that took him past the door of L’Etoile: "After the Second World War La Bastide-Puylaurent faded back into the forests. For a while the village subsisted on the custom of workers from railrway and from local dam-building projects. Hotel Ranc became a holiday home for old soldiers who had served in Algeria. Now is a guest-house run by the young and immensely tall Philippe Papadimitriou Pausenberger Vanniesbecq, a Belgian-Greek whose grandfather once owned the Hotel de Paris in Cairo. After a series of occupations, from gold-panning in California to hod-carrying in Peru, Philippe had bought the Hotel Ranc, complete with contents, from bedspreads to the oak and chrome Frick refrigerators. "It was intuition, not science", Philippe laughed. "Voila !"

A High Sunny Place. The book may be obtained at the following web address: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/rockeddy by Tom Corey

Visit our two websites:
Tom & Kathy's in Missouri (USA):  Rock Eddy Bluff Farm - Map

Philippe's in France: L'Etoile Guesthouse
- Map

 

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L'Etoile Guest-House between Cevennes, Ardeche and Lozere in the South of France

Old romantic Hotel, L'Etoile Guest-House is a mountain retreat in the South of France. With a beautiful park along the Allier River, L'Etoile Guesthouse is located in La Bastide-Puylaurent between Lozere, Ardeche and Cevennes. Many hiking trails like GR7, GR70 Stevenson trail, GR72, GR700 Regordane way, Cevenol, GR470 Allier river, Margeride, Gevaudan. Many Hiking loops around L'Etoile Guesthouse. The right place to relax.

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