Monday, August 10, 2009

From San Diego to Wausau

When guests find out we moved here from San Diego they often ask “Why?” The brief answer is “Because of the house.” Another is “We’re doing this instead of sailing around the world in our beloved ketch, Black Knight.” The more complete answer goes like this. After working in the computer and financial industries for decades, we abruptly decided in November, 2000 to bail out of “Corporate America.” Our two sons had graduated from college, married wonderful women, and were getting along fine on their own. Even though we quit our jobs with no plan for what to do next, the immediate feeling of freedom was exhilarating. We looked into buying a small business or franchise, even becoming over-the-road truckers. Since we had always enjoyed staying at B&Bs, Jane suggested we explore innkeeping as a career. In March, 2001 we attended an aspiring innkeeper workshop in Santa Barbara. We spent three intense days with a diverse group of people including symphony musicians, Hollywood screenwriters, a plumber, a doctor of economics, an ex-nun, a real estate agent, and an innkeeper from Hawaii. We had so much fun we decided to take the plunge. The next two months found us visiting dozens of properties in California, Arizona, and finally Wisconsin in our search for the perfect inn. The Stewart House was the 35th property we inspected. We fell in love with Wausau as we passed the tall pines in Marathon Park and saw the meticulous restoration of historic downtown. Jane fell in love with the building itself as we parked in front. Both of us were overwhelmed by the interior architectural details, still intact after nearly 100 years. On our way back to San Diego we asked ourselves “Why would B&B guests want to go to Wausau Wisconsin?” but we had already decided to go ahead with the purchase. We posted a “for sale” card on the bulletin board of our condominium community in San Diego and had a great offer within a few days. In July we packed our belongings in a big rental truck, loaded Chester the dog, Wally the cat, and Wally’s litter box in the cab, and drove to Wausau. We closed on the house August 1, spent nine months on renovations, and opened for business in May, 2002.

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