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Hello From Niagara Falls: Luxury And Coziness At The Kilpatrick Manor B&B (Part II)

Feb 22, 2008
With bed and breakfast owners the demarcation of private living space and public guest space is always a delicate issue. Particularly in Canada, the concept of bed and breakfasts usually involves the property owner living on site. Nance and Kevin have found a creative solution to this dilemma and now live in another house on the same street, just steps away. This gives them the necessary privacy for their own family, which today includes two small children, yet they are still close enough to the property when a guest needs something. I can personally attest to that since I had problems with my keys on Friday night. When I gave Kevin a call he arrived within less than a minute to help me and show me how to properly lock the door.

In order to spend quality time with their children, Nance and Kevin Kilpatrick have also found a creative way to distribute their work responsibilities. Kevin is usually on site in the morning, handles breakfast and leaves around noon. Nance then comes in to take care of the cleaning and look after check-in until about 6:30 pm. Nance smiles and says that they are a great tag team. Next year they plan to hire cleaning help which will allow them to spend more time working together on site again. Nance in particular misses the interaction with the guests that she would normally be enjoying over breakfast. Entrepreneurs with a young family often have to find creative solutions for arranging their working life and their family time.

Many of the couple's regular guests have actually met the children and often inquire about them. Nance added that over time many of their repeat visitors have become friends and Nance is looking forward to having more of a chance in the future to socialize with the guests again. Guests at the Kilpatrick Manor B&B are usually also quite young, between 25 and 45 years of age, slightly different from the traditionally older bed and breakfast traveling crowd. Many of the guests arrive for a special weekend escape or to celebrate a special occasion such as engagements, birthdays or anniversaries. Most of the clients come from within a three hour radius, which includes Ohio, New York State, New Jersey and Ontario, and on average they stay two nights.

Nance added that the Ontario tourism industry was hit quite hard by 911 and the after-effects of the SARS epidemic of 2003. Recent changes to US government regulations require US travelers to hold passports to cross into Canada, and the higher Canadian dollar has increased cross-border shopping and wait times at the Canada-US border. Despite these factors, Kilpatrick Manor has been very successful in establishing itself as a choice destination for bed and breakfast travel in Niagara Falls.

One of the main reasons for this is that hospitality is a passion for both Nance and Kevin Kilpatrick. Guests enjoy the broad selection of activities on offer in the Niagara Falls area. Travellers can explore the local history, partake of the many entertainment offerings in the city or explore the nearby countryside, do some golfing or visit one of the numerous wineries in the area. Nance added that many guests also like to go on ghost tours as Niagara Falls is one of the most haunted areas in Canada. The choice of recreational activities in this region is virtually endless.

In addition to meeting my hostess Nance I also had a chance to meet Kevin, the other half of the Kilpatrick Manor hospitality team. On Saturday morning over breakfast I snagged Kevin to find out a bit about his personal background, his experience and his passion for the hospitality business. In his gregarious and friendly manner, Kevin started to explain that he has been a professional chef for many years. During his extensive travels he has gained international hospitality experience and often told his staff members that "there are not a lot of perks in cooking. But people need to eat everywhere, so why not take advantage of that and cook in all sorts of interesting places?"

Kevin's longest international chef experiences include the six-month stint he did with Nance in France. He has also worked as a chef in Venezuela and various places throughout Europe. For a long time he was the executive chef at a restaurant in Burlington, Ontario, and currently he still is the executive chef at a popular resort in Niagara Falls, although he is presently on parental leave.

His adventure in France provided Kevin with a humorous anecdote: during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the hockey game was being broadcast, and Kevin, while out at a pub, asked if the owners could turn the television to the hockey game. The French pub owners responded "What is hockey?" So Kevin explained that ice hockey is Canada's national sport and that the Canadian team was just about to play the American team for the Olympic gold medal. Shortly after, the TV station was turned to show the hockey game and the French audience promptly started to cheer for the Canadian team. Kevin will forever remember this special hockey game.

A small sampling of the breakfast choices at the Kilpatrick Manor include a standard "full-on fry" (a typical breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and toast), breakfast ravioli (a delicacy I was to sample myself), sautéed-apple-stuffed French toast with Frangelico syrop and candied cashews with cinnamon whipped cream. All main breakfast dishes are accompanied by fresh fruit and freshly baked goods.

Being a consummate chef, Kevin now also offers catering services and his kitchen is now fully licensed to handle catering. He also provides in-home catering, offering the convenience of gourmet-cooked meals at the client's site. In addition to catering, more plans are in store for Kilpatrick Manor: Kevin is planning to redo the Victorian living room which is big enough to hold 12 to 14 people. This will allow him to host a variety of special events in his property, from weddings and engagements to anniversary dinners and other celebrations.

My own first-hand experience at Kilpatrick Manor was characterized by great hospitality. From Nance's warm greeting upon my arrival and a tour of the premises to two scrumptious breakfasts prepared by chef Kevin himself I felt welcome and pampered all along. I loved the light yet tasty breakfast ravioli - incidentally the first time I had pasta for breakfast. The breakfast on my second day was even more scrumptious: strawberry crepes with a Grand Marnier sauce - simply to die for.

Despite my very hectic schedule in Niagara Falls I had a bit of a chance to relax in my beautiful room and enjoy the high-definition television, the fireplace and the full-body Neptune shower, a real treat on cold winter days. Kilpatrick Manor turned out to be the perfect place to do a bit of luxurious "nesting" away from home. I just hope next time I'll have a bit more time to relax and maybe even indulge in the in-room spa service.
About the Author
Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions. Travel and Transitions deals with travel to foreign countries and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences, interviews with travelers and travel experts, insights and reflections, cross-cultural issues, contests and many other features.
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