The Inn, The Innkeepers and Ashland
Anne Hathaway’s B&B and Garden Suites are actually two separate properties kitty-corner across the street from each other. Together, they offer two options for visitors to Ashland – one is a traditional B&B with seven rooms, each with a private bath.
The Garden Suites offer the privacy of rooms and suites with separate entrances, kitchenettes, jetted tubs, decks or porches.
Our time as owners of Anne Hathaway’s began with the B&B, which J.T. Currie built in 1908 as a boarding house for loggers, railroaders, teachers, nurses and city clerks. Around 30 years ago, it morphed into a B&B and we’re its fourth owners. The house appears on the Southern Oregon Historic Society’s list of historic Ashland properties. Over the years many upgrades and one major addition have been undertaken, bringing it to its current state with central air-conditioning and heating, modern plumbing and electricity. Its cozy though elegant décor provides downstairs, upstairs and outdoor garden reading and chatting areas. The front porch provides bird’s eye views of Grizzly Peak and what’s going on in the neighborhood, while the Siskiyou mountain range and an endless supply of local birds are the backdrop for the rear gardens.
After owning the B&B for a few years, we found ourselves sending many prospective guests across the street to cottages where travelers’ accommodations were available. We decided to add them to the Anne Hathaway’s collection. The nine Garden Suite rooms are in three buildings, two of them built in the 19th century and one built 2009. These beautifully decorated rooms and their porches offer reading and dining areas overlooking extensive gardens and the mountains, with regular serenades provided by local birdlife, not to mention regular visits from pansy-eating deer. The building has two three-room suites, each with a gas fireplace and television in the living area. Most of these rooms are available for travelers accompanied by their dogs.
The innkeepers moved to Ashland in 2002 after leaving Washington, D.C. and our first careers in journalism, government and nonprofit management. We quickly adapted to our new roles as host and hostesses to a parade of fascinating guests.
Many have asked why we chose to move so far, but anyone who has been to Ashland already knows the answer. Apart from the stellar productions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, there are countless natural wonders to explore. Go hiking in Ashland’s spectacular Lithia Park, around the nation’s deepest lake, Crater Lake, explore the wilderness or other lakes and mountains. Go rafting or fishing on the Rogue River. Drive to Mt. Shasta or the Pacific Coast. Go wine tasting in an area rapidly becoming well-known as “Napa North.”
Perhaps the most important reason for our move is that our three children and two granddaughters are only a half-day’s drive away and we get to see them much more frequently than before.
Many have asked us why we would choose to do something that requires so much work and we found the answer from Shakespeare himself. A scholar pointed out that every one of his plays features a servant, a character who embodies many of the traits we value most, such as unwavering loyalty, unimpeachable character and unconditional love. When we read that, we knew why being servants is for us a most stimulating and inspiring profession. Indeed, we aspire to be good servants who will make your stay with us just as perfect as possible.
Over the past ten years, we’ve made a number of changes in the operation of Anne Hathaway’s, primarily in the direction of becoming as green as we can be. We’ve been encouraged by guests and by our daughter Sara, a small farms advisor in Douglass County, and our son Marshall, whom the Oregonian in Portland referred to as an energy efficiency expert.
For example, we’ve installed on demand hot water heaters that provide all the hot water needed when we have a full house in the summer months, but don’t spend energy keeping hot a tank full of water in those winter months when business is slow. We installed new windows in the Garden Suites. And we use only green products for cleaning. The sheets you sleep on are all dried outside.
With nearly fifteen years of innkeeping under our belts, 2017 signals the biggest change we’ve made since the day we first walked into Anne Hathaway’s 1908 kitchen and tried to find the baking powder and a bowl to attempt making scones. We’ve closed the kitchen!
How could we do such a thing, we suspect our returning guests will ask. The answer is that in the last two years we’ve discovered that fewer and fewer people have the appetite for a big breakfast and more and more people have dietary restrictions that have led our kitchen staff in the direction of short-order cooking. As for Afternoon Tea, we know it was pretty popular, but we can’t do it without a kitchen.
When we first started this chapter of our lives, many worried that we would let our passion supersede good business sense. We had, after all, never been in business. Now that we’re seasoned business people, however, we acknowledge that this major change does have to do with business, but also to adapting, primarily to our age and stage in life. As you know from your over-burdened Inboxes, the landscape of the hospitality industry is in a new era when it comes to competition, customer expectations and clientele. A stay at Anne Hathaway’s will continue to be where it was, but the routine will be different than the one to which returning guests had become so familiar.
These changes mean that while we will continue to be around, we will be more in the margins. Deedie is busy completing her MFA in Writing at UC/Riverside’s Palm Desert program and continues to be a Rotarian. David has become a cherished volunteer professor (‘Inside Washington: The 115th Congress and the 45th President) at OLLI several times a week, serves as chairman of the City’s Budget Committee and plays ACBL bridge whenever he gets a chance.
All that said, we hope you’ll consider a visit to Ashland, and remember that fine lodging and memorable moments begin at Anne Hathaway’s. It’s reported that Anne Hathaway never left Stratford to see one of Will Shakespeare’s plays. When you come here, you’ll find that his presence is strongly felt and conversations about plays abound.
We’d love to have you visit.