Reflecting on 35 Years of Innkeeping

Jun. 1, 2016 | by Jim Beazley

Carol & Jim Beazley, Owner/Innkeepers of The Beazley House, Napa Valley, CA

Carol & Jim Beazley, Owner/Innkeepers of The Beazley House, Napa Valley, CA

Some people think that “‘Doers’ DO” while Dreamers just dream.

We’ve learned over the last 35 years that you can’t DO if you don’t DREAM.

Caged in the everyday grind of careers which seemed to define us, dictating not only what we could do, but how much our labors were worth, we dreamed of a different life. We had been shown a new point of view: that we had complete free will; as long as we understood we also had full responsibility for whatever we did.

We were free – to succeed or fail.

By traveling we had experienced the joy of meeting new people, seeing new vistas, of cultures different from our own. And so it was through traveling that we met our future.
We came to the Napa Valley and were directed to “an old house” just down the road from a sold-out motel we knew. We drove by the Chalet Bernensis a couple of times because it was a beautiful Victorian B&B, not as described.

Jack and Essie Doty were the welcoming innkeepers of one of the first and only B&Bs in Napa Valley. They would become not only loving friends, but mentors. After a number of visits we shared our desires to change careers. It was the Doty’s who said, “We think you guys should become innkeepers.”

The dream-seed was planted.

Hope is not a plan, but it is fertile ground in which all dreams grow.

Doubts were plenty and spawned instant questions and challenges. How would a working journalist and an RN ever get the money to buy a mansion? Where would we find it?

What about our family responsibilities to aging parents and young children?

Answers came as we dared to dream. And with Jack Doty’s help, after looking as far north as Oregon and south as Napa, we found our mansion.

After seeing places run down, isolated and even abandoned and after rejecting a property with a seven page termite report this wonderful old mansion in downtown Napa seemed perfect. It sat on a huge parcel, it was in very good, original condition and even had a carriage house for extra rooms we knew we’d need.

Beazley's Garden - RosesThe owner’s last deal had just fallen through. We made an offer which was accepted that day! With scant idea just how we would actually PAY for it, we turned instantly from “Dreamers” to “Doers.”

We weren’t afraid of failing to make it work, just that we wouldn’t get the chance.

The seller took back paper at 12%, eliminating the need for a bank and the other mortgage holder went along with the deal. We knew from the realtor that the City of Napa was poised to pass an ordinance allowing B&Bs and we qualified as Napa’s first one. In quick succession we quit our careers, sold nearly everything we owned, packed up the kids and Jim’s parents and moved to Napa using two of the largest Uhaul trucks with trailers. The Beazley House opened on June 1st, 1981.

Fast forward to today, a lifetime and 35 years later.

Jim’s parents have passed away, after almost 50 years of marriage they both died a month apart. The children have grown and blessed us with grandkids.

Sonja and her husband Daryl Burch live in Napa, she is a weddings and events planner and Daryl is our “IT guy” and on our marketing team with daughter Brooke Beazley Peterson in Reno. Our son Scott continues to live at the inn and is responsible for maintenance.

The Beazley House has hosted over 75,000 guests, having evolved from a 6 room “mom and pop” to what would be in Europe an 11 room “boutique hotel.”

Sleepy Napa has evolved from a “drive-by” town gutted by redevelopment and annually plagued by devastating floods to the capital of the Napa Valley, itself considered the “Food and Wine Capital of America.”

The Beazley House is now within walking distance to over 30 Zagat rated restaurants and some 28 wine tasting rooms. Live entertainment venues at the reborn Napa Valley Opera House the Uptown theater have sprung up.

The Napa Valley continues to draw wine enthusiasts from across the nation and around the world. Once dotted with a handful of wineries along highway 29, the destination boasts over 425 wineries. And just as importantly the destination finally as a budget of over $6 million annually to promote it.

And thanks to our loyal innkeepers and loving guests the Beazley House has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor. The only thing better is your continued visits.