Local B&B treats guests like royalty

Where does Debbie Reynolds stay when she visits our area?
Where does Debbie Reynolds stay when she visits our area? Nothing less than the Rambling Rose Suite at The Country Rose Inn will do. With its spacious sleeping area, separate sitting room, private entrance and Jacuzzi, the master suite is the ideal retreat. Debbie Reynolds chose this quiet room decorated with the Inn’s trademark roses when she brought her mom hot air ballooning. Jeff and Lori from Morgan Hill describe their experience this way: “God made a beautiful garden here … when He made this sunny valley. Thank you so much for a wonderful stay! We are just sorry it couldn’t be longer. Although we were so close to home, we really felt as though we were swept away in time.”

Sheltered by a 100-year-old oak tree and nestled in a grove of oak and pine trees on five acres of land, this elegant 1920’s Dutch Colonial was once a working farm, formerly part of the Lucky Hereford Ranch. Furnished with family heirlooms and antiques, Rose spent over $100,000.00 remodeling the house. The daughter of immigrants from Trinidad, her parents’ 1916 wedding portrait hangs in the Garden Room, and Depression-era glass decorates the unusual claw foot sideboard in the dining room.

A retired Gilroy teacher and former volunteer for the Stanford Lively Arts Program, Rose helped coordinate outreach performances by bringing visiting artists to schools, senior centers, and community groups. “I loved witnessing the interaction of these people in a safe environment,” Rose says. In her second career as innkeeper extraordinaire, she is still bringing people together to bring out the best of who they are. Visitors write in her guestbook: “What a lovely gift to the travel weary! This evening at your beautiful Inn will be memorable. I feel like I’ve stepped back into history, here among your beautiful antiques. Thank you for your warmth and caring.”

Business can be tough as Rose Hernandez approaches her 15th anniversary as proprietor; with the downturn in the economy she lost much of the business provided by job recruiters who rented rooms for new employees arriving from other states. And property taxes have risen to $11,000 per year! But there is great satisfaction in seeing the effect a stay at the Inn can have on those who spend time there. Her goal is to make sure they feel nurtured.

“When people leave, they’ve been renewed … they feel so relaxed that they’re ready to face the world again on Monday. They truly touch my life, and I feel I’ve touched theirs.” Their appreciation is evident in the many gifts left to Rose, which she proudly displays as treasured momentoes.

Rose continues to grow and improve at an age where many people have become set in their ways or are intent on settling into retirement. She takes classes in leadership and lodging management. I met Rose on a prayer retreat in the peacefulness of the Santa Cruz mountains in a cabin beside waterfalls and redwoods. Not only is she a great cook (a sign in her kitchen reads, “The cook accepts tips but not advice.”) she is an energetic housekeeper and hostess as well, with joie de vivre and sharp attention to detail.

The reasons people come to the Inn are eclectic. For the last three years, the Baptist Church has used the Inn for its annual retreat. Many other groups hold meetings at the Inn, including a Bible fellowship group. There are surprise birthdays or anniversaries, wedding nights and honeymoons, vacationers, business travelers, and those just seeking tranquility and quality time together.

“Waking to the chirping and singing of the birds on a nippy morning cuddled snugly in such lush handwoven quilts can only make us weep with joy. Breakfast at a table fit for a queen while quietly watching the squirrels romp and play in the garden … More delight than Eden.”

Feel like getting away but don’t feel like going far? What about a break from cares and commutes? The Country Rose Inn can be reached by taking Masten Exit off 101, crossing Monterey onto Fitzgerald Road, and turning right onto the private road marked with a sign for the Country Rose Inn. Guests put it this way, “We enjoyed our romantic evening away in the Garden Room – so close to home yet so far …” Rose is willing to negotiate on price as a 15th anniversary special, and she welcomes long-term stays at reduced rates as well (842-0441).

As late afternoon faded to twilight, I sat in her quiet sitting room by the fire, listening to birds sing. As the ambiance of classical music played in the background while I gazed out at the rose garden, I was so relaxed and so comfortable, I was seriously tempted to go home and tell my husband it’s time to sell our house and go rent a room in Rose’s. I was reminded of the ancient Egyptian idea of asking two questions whose answers determined the direction of one’s journey in the afterworld. The first question was, “Did you bring joy?” The second was, “Did you find joy?” No doubt Rose can answer yes to these questions. May you too take the time to find the kind of joy created by people like Rose in our neck of the woods.

Kat Teraji’s column is published every Thursday in The Dispatch. You can reach her at [email protected]

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