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  • Writer's pictureMary McRoberts

Innkeeping 101

When I retired from my non-profit exec career in October 2016, I became a full-time Innkeeper. And I’ve never worked so hard and for such long hours ever. Did I mention the non-profit work, known well for hard work and long hours?! There was no time off to officially “be retired” as my husband, Ron, and I were still building our ten Casitas. The first Casita opened October 13th, the last one opened December 17th. While Ron built, I was performing the dual role of designer/stocker AND Innkeeper. But alas, we finished the Casitas and welcomed our first guests!

We love Dripping Springs, TX and enjoy its many festivals and events. One great event is the Songwriters Festival held each October. Mark your calendars if you like music! We were asked to sponsor the festival and provide accommodations for one of the songwriters. Being brand new and having, ummm, one reservation on the books for the 4 available Casitas, we said SURE! And low and behold we were assigned the incredibly talented singer/songwriter, Drew Womack.

So Drew and his wife and son arrived that Friday evening (our very first guests, eeeeccckkk!), and I am so nervous. Ron is in Drew’s Casita kitchen still testing the water when they arrive! Drew calls me and says “there’s someone in our Casita”, I laugh and think this job will be interesting.

The next night at the Songwriters Festival, Drew opens for Rodney Crowell to a packed Mercer Street Dance Hall and puts on a great show. While in between songs he gives Hill Country Casitas a shout out saying the porches are so great, he and his wife didn’t leave it all day long! He was very complimentary, and we were grateful for the reassurance that maybe we did something right. Leaving the Dance Hall that night, we grabbed the fall edition of the local Dripping Guide and guess what? The Casitas are highlighted in an article on new and creative lodging in the area. A good night all around!

So we settled in to finishing Casitas, sooner rather than later because time is money in this biz, and welcomed many guests this past fall. One party was four guys out of Dallas who, for the fun of it, buy cars off Craigslist that cost under $1000 and fix them up then road trip, this time Dallas to Austin roundtrip. They told me the fun is in the breakdowns and the fires along the highway! More power to those guys! They were great sports.

Since we are in The Wedding Capitol of Texas, we naturally host many a wedding party and one bride’s family stayed with us in November. I try to meet all our guests without invading their space and this time I did get to visit with the bride’s parents. They had put so much effort in to their daughter’s big day; it was so sweet. They, too, were appreciative for the special place that is the Casitas. They were able to relax, be together and just embrace and enjoy the time together. This couple has already made a reservation for early May and are coming back “to relax” this time.

This Virgin Innkeeper has so much to learn about Innkeeping, but I imagine it’s not too different from what I’ve done all my career in non-profit human services. Serve people by providing what they need – relaxation, rejuvenation and reconnecting with each other and the beautiful Texas Hill Country. The Hill Country does most of the work. I just provide a clean and comfy Casita.

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