Now that the Tacoma area has become a destination again, some of you may experience a lodging conundrum when friends and relatives come to visit. You just don’t have room for all of them. How can you make your loved ones feel welcome when you can’t put them all up? Bed and breakfast inns can provide comfortable lodging rich with memories. Below is a handful of local options that you might consider during the holidays – or anytime of the year.
A 1907 farmhouse within walking distance of downtown Puyallup and the Washington State Fair, Hedman House has been voted Best of the South Sound B&Bs for the past six years. Innkeepers Normajean and Neil Hedman opened on February 28, 2001 – the day of the Nisqually earthquake. It was a discouraging day of cancellations and wall cracks. However, Normajean made lemonade out of lemons and replaced the wallpaper she hated.
The Hedman House offers three rooms with a shared bath, a beautiful yard and back deck for lounging, and good company. The decorations reflect the seasons, a rodeo theme during fair time, and a Seahawks theme every Sunday.
“We aren’t fancy here,” says Normajean of the breakfast fare. However, everything is homemade, including the bread. “Hospitality comes easy for us. My mother was an excellent hostess. We always had someone extra at the table or spending the night.”
Her secrets to success? “I see it as fun. I love meeting new people. And, I always keep a batch of blueberry muffins in the freezer just in case something doesn’t work out.”
Situated in a home overlooking the Orting valley with a Mount Rainier view, A View with a Room is owned by innkeepers Lenny and Zoom Zimmerman, who opened their retreat 10 years ago after continued prodding and reassurances from friends that everything didn’t need to be perfect. Their B&B is close to paradise though. This secluded rural spot with a mountain view (on a clear day) also serves as a wildlife refuge and home to numerous hand-me-down plants for which master gardener Lenny has found appropriate spots. Lenny and Zoom have a knack for finding the right spots for things others don’t want. The yard is decorated with handmade ironwork. Grandma’s lightening rod keeps them company.
A View with a Room offers two rooms with a shared bath. The rooms are named after the Zimmerman’s favorite Mt. Rainier visitors centers – Sunrise and Paradise.
Although most of their guests are from the U.S., they have received a good sampling of visitors from Germany, Belguim, Scandanavia, the Netherlands, Romania, China, and Japan. “Our foreign guests are our biggest challenge and our biggest reward,” says Lenny. “There is the language barrier, but usually someone in the group speaks English.” No problem anyway. Lenny’s smile, fresh coffee, and fabulous huckleberry muffins speak all languages.
You will inhale when entering this 1924 mansion in Tacoma’s North Slope historic district built in Italian Renaissance style by Irish immigrant and Tacoma merchant, James McCormack. The four levels, seven rooms named after Italian towns, private baths, two balconies, two community verandahs, and huge main floor windows provide not only lodging, but a venue.
The Villa has hosted weddings, bridal showers, Wounded Warrior showers, Christmas parties, and 90th birthday parties. “All 100th birthday parties are on us,” say innkeepers Toni and Martin Savol. They are a continued haven for visiting parents of UPS students and international travelers.
Toni and Martin are the B&B’s third owners in the past 25 years. They purchased the home four years ago after Toni lusted after it for months, chanting “Be mine. Be mine. Be mine.” as she repeatedly walked past it. Prior to serving as a B&B, this magnificent structure served as a home to at least two families. Among the previous inhabitants are a doctor and his ten children who return each year for a Christmas party.
Toni emphasizes that even though the building is exceptional, they do not want to be viewed as a museum or highbrow. “We like to make people feel comfortable,” she says. “The best thing to hear is people enjoying each other.” The many thank you notes guests leave for Toni support that claim, along with the scrumptious pumpkin cake she serves.
You step into another century after entering this beautifully restored 1889 Victorian home originally built by Henry and Jeanette Geiger. Each room is filled with antiques, lined with exquisite silk screened wallpaper, bordered with sturdy ornate woodwork, and warmed by a fireplace. You soon realize that you just can’t see it all in one visit. And that’s before you look up to discover the hand-painted ceilings created by local muralist Mary Mann that are Sistine Chapel awesome.
Innkeepers Jane and Skip Easley have lived here for 31 years, lovingly restoring it while rearing three children. They opened in May 2001, four months prior to 9/11 and its travel impacts. Yet they have survived. The inn enjoys plenty of return customers who describe the experience as “like going home to Mom and Dad’s or Grandma and Grandpa’s.”
The Geiger offers four rooms with private baths that have lodged visiting parents of UPS and Annie Wright students, traveling teachers and physicians, newlyweds, Tacoma Dome concert goers, and craft show attendees. They have hosted an 85th birthday party for a woman who used to live in the home. They’ve welcomed international travelers from all over the world.
“Skip puts it best,” says Jane. “The best part of having a B&B is the conversations that occur around the dining room table.”
Although it has been a B&B for the past 10 years, the Plum Duff came under new management as of September 2016. The home was built in 1910 and is located in Tacoma’s North Slope. New innkeeper Karen Pederson stresses that her place won’t be fully functional until January 2017. However, if folks need a room and one is available, she won’t turn them away. There are three rooms to choose from – all with private baths. Upcoming changes include the sunroom as a breakfast room, renamed rooms, and plenty of yardwork.