2/25/2010

Elementary School Tour of Historic Home

The Munro House Bed and Breakfast is a historic home in downtown Jonesville, Michigan, that arranges private tours and shares tales of our local history. This pre Civil War home (1834) has a link to the Underground Railroad. The original owner, Brigadier General George Clinton Munro, was a pillar of the community and was very active in business and politics of the day. 
Every overnight guest gets to hear about the history of our house, and the family that owned it for over a hundred years.  We have also led many tours to private groups like Elder Hostel, the Red Hat Society, and elementary schools form all around Hillsdale County.  I try to keep it interesting and fact-filled.
This week, as a field trip for a group of local 5th graders, we are giving tours and telling stories about the early pioneers and the runaway slave route through Southern Michigan. The kids seem to be very interested in this piece of American history that has a link to our community.  They like being in this big old house,  walking into our stone walled tunnel, and viewing photographs of our secret room that was used to hide runaway slaves during the Underground Railroad era.
I would like the groups to be no larger than 15 adults or 25 children.  In the case of many schools, that means that I may have to offer several tours over several days and times to accommodate an entire class.  It also makes for a nice size group to take into what's left of our tunnel.

There are many great old houses in almost every city in America.  Most are private residences and are not open to the public on a regular basis.  The Munro House can be made available for private tours every month of the year.  A phone call can set up a day and time for any size group.


Mike Venturini - Innkeeper
"Life is good in Jonesville"
1-800-320-3792

2/24/2010

Snowfall in Southern Michigan

We get our share of snow in Southern Michigan. My business, the Munro House Bed and Breakfast, is located on a corner lot.  I have a lot of sidewalk to clear, along with a parking lot for 9 vehicles.

It generally starts to snow around Thanksgiving and we have ground cover until St Patrick's Day.  Most of our snowfall comes in 1-2 inch increments.  We may get a handful of days with 5 inches or more. When Valentine's Day comes, it is almost a sure thing that the worst of winter snowfall is behind us--until this year.
A week after Valentine's Day, I woke up to 8 inches of snow with more still falling.  I have a little Toro snowblower, a standard snow shovel, a push shovel, and a scoop.  Each has its purpose and works best under varying conditions.
I use the Toro when we get 2-5 inches. It easily blows the sidewalks and is adequate for my parking lot--but it takes a while.  The standard shovel is just too much work.  It is fine for digging a path from the sidewalk to the street, but involves too much lifting when doing an entire sidewalk or driveway. My favorite is the push shovel. It was designed to have no lifting involved. Just push the snow out of the way.  When there is a larger accumulation of snow, the scoop is the right tool for the job.  All you need is a place to dump it, because it collects too much to lift. 
We ended up with 10 inches of real heavy snow. The temperature was in the high 20's, so the snow was very wet.  The village snowplows had already filled the apron of my parking lot to the point that I knew it was too much for me and my primitive tools.  I had 3 vehicles to remove.  I got them out, but it was a lot of work.  I called my buddy with a plow on his truck to come over. He scraped it clean in about 5 minutes.  I used the Toro on my sidewalks and had a clean property by the time the snow stopped in the early afternoon.

The day is coming when I will have a very powerful 2 stage snow thrower. I want one with 10 horsepower or more.  Any less than that, and I will still need to call my buddy with the snowplow to clear my lot after a heavy snow.  Very often, I need to throw snow 25 feet or more.  The smaller horsepower machines just don't have the throwing power.


Mike Venturini - Innkeeper
"Life is good in Jonesville"

2/23/2010

Ozzie, a Michigan Scottish Terrier

Ozzie is the new Scottish Terrier mascot at the Munro House Bed and Breakfast in Jonesville Michigan.  He has been with us since the summer of  '09, and is 2 years old this month  He is all puppy.  He has a lot of energy, but has adjusted his behavior to our laid-back lifestyle.  When he goes outside, he burns up all his pent up energy so that he can be calm in the house.

Gilbert is also a Scottish Terrier and is his room mate.  He has been with us all of his life--since 1997.  He is an old-timer with limited activity.  Gilbert is lively in the morning and early evening.  Most of the rest of the day is spent napping.  He has a life expectancy of 12, and will be 13 in June.  My vet did a physical examination and expects him to live "for years".  With an active room mate, his energy level is above what it should be.
Gilbert has the traditional Scottish Terrier haircut--shaved back, long skirt, full beard, bushy eyebrows, and tufts by his ears.  He looks like a distinguished gentleman.

Ozzie is another story.  If he were a human being, he would wear a leather jacket and ride a motorcycle.  So we have given him a rebel haircut.  His hair is kept long everywhere, and his facial hair is squared off.  This look fits his personality perfectly.
We have had Scottish Terriers for 31 years.  Ozzie has the most personality of any of them.  We joke that he has permanent A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder) because it is hard for him to concentrate and pay attention or remember simple commands like "sit". We just love this little guy and he has been good for us.  We sometimes refer to him as "wild thing" or "the Ozzinator".

This little black dog is not very photogenic--most pictures of him are just a black blob in the shape of a dog.  He wears a bandana that helps when it comes to picture taking time. 

These movies against a snowy background are decent depictions of our good little boy:


Mike Venturini - Innkeeper
"Life is good in Jonesville"

2/22/2010

The Kind of Health Care We Need

Until you've paid 100% of every insurance premium, doctor's office visit, and prescription drug, you have no idea how expensive health care is.  There was a time when we were healthy and figured that we could save money by opting for an insurance that only covers major medical--then we got breast cancer while we were still young (in our 40's).  A lot of the major medical was covered, but that still left tens of thousands that wasn't.  A lifetime's worth of escalating expenses is ahead of us with no opportunity to change policies because of, what is now, a pre-existing condition.  We are trying to be good citizens by paying all of our expenses, but health care costs are rising fast--last year, my insurance increased 25%, doctor visits up 10%, and prescription drugs inflated by 32%.  With my income remaining stagnant in this poor economy, sooner or later something's gotta give.

Ideally, insurance like mine that only covers major medical should be outlawed.  My story explains this very well.  Taking a chance that you will remain in good health forever is a risky decision.

All insurance should cover regular check-ups and everything necessary to sustain life. The only differences in quality of insurance should be the amount of the co-pay.  Those people with the best benefits would have no co-pay.  Those with lesser benefits would have various reasonable co-pays. The insurance premium would be based on the amount of the copay.

Cosmetic or other optional surgeries could be part of an additional supplemental insurance.

This is a place to start.  Our representatives can figure out a way to handle people who refuse to carry insurance and illegal aliens who use our medical facilities, along with how Medicare and Medicaid will work. But somebody has to start somewhere.

There are many people in my situation, or worse. These are prime examples why health care needs to be addressed sooner, rather than later.

Mike Venturini - Innkeeper
"Life is good in Jonesville"

2/07/2010

Thousand Dollar Wedding in Michigan

A fine alternative to a wedding in a church or a court house is a wedding at a bed and breakfast in Michigan--especially if it's a second marriage or an elopement. The Munro House is a Michigan bed and breakfast that is a comfortable and elegant alternative venue for a small wedding party.
The Munro House in Jonesville has developed a package ideal for a wedding ceremony for 20 or fewer people that includes the location, the minister, the reception, plus 2 nights lodging for the bride and groom for one price.  It is called the Thousand Dollar Wedding©.

An all-inclusive simple and affordable wedding package is offered on any available date for the union of people in love at a bed and breakfast in a small town in southern Michigan.


Mike Venturini - Innkeeper
"Life is good in Jonesville"