Saturday, February 1, 2020

It All Started with a Rug

It All Started With A Rug

Have you ever wondered why things happen?  What chain of events leads to certain outcomes? Why certain decisions make all the difference? This is a story of faith and friendship at Swan Song Inn.
Many of our followers know the story of how Inn Keeper Doug and I gathered all of the furniture and decorations here at Swan Song Inn. I love to shop at out of the way places where I find some of the most unique treasures that I adore. One of those items is a rug, a simple entry way rug.

Facebook Marketplace, online yard sales, regular yard sales and estate sales. I am a treasure hunter. I answered an online sale ad for a rug. I didn’t know where I would use it but it looked pretty and I was sure I would need 8 or 12 rugs soon anyway. So off to House Springs MO I go to meet a gal about a rug.
I drive out there after work and it was getting dark.  I parked my truck where the headlights would shine into the pole barn where said run was being stored. They had other things for sale too and we gabbed and chatted and then her husband came out and we gabbed and chatted some more. I liked these people, Kris and Susan.

Now,  I was still in the planning stages for an Inn that I had not yet closed on the purchase of. But I had business cards made up with my cell on them and a picture of the beautiful home on the front. The cards looked really “real” for a business that didn’t yet exist. I gave these nice folks one of those cards.

I turned to leave with my rug, and my truck would not start. I had left the headlights on too long. Kris immediately got his truck, jumped my battery and got me running. We chatted and gabbed some more. We found we had a lot in common, outdoors, fishing, hunting and good times with friends. I learned that he really liked to duck hunt. I had told him about the water fowl on my lake that I didn't yet own.  I left feeling good, convinced that there are still nice and kind people in the world. This was sometime in October of 2016.

Life goes on and I kept acquiring furniture for the Inn that I still had not bought. A dining room table from some nice folks in South County and an awesome wine cabinet in Wildwood, MO from a couple who even loaded it for me. 

An amazing bedroom set in Fenton, MO, a bedroom set in Farmington MO, and bed in Waterloo IL. You, my readers have seen all these pieces in the website in the rooms here at the Inn, if not, take a look.

Finally we closed on the Inn and we moved to Marshfield MO in December 2016. Swan Song Inn was born. So we open January 1, 2017. The website is still not up yet, and we are still putting touches here and there on the 4 rooms. Swan Suite, Lake View, Park View suites and the Cygnet room.  We have a few bookings, people who know us and want to help support us.  

 Photo by Ryan Wallace
Then I get a call from Susan. She asks, did you ever open that B and B? She had kept my card. She
booked a Valentine get away weekend and brought another couple with them. Really, they were our first guests who we didn’t have a prior relationship with. It was a great week end and Susan found out that she LOVES steel cut oatmeal. (And my Stuffed French Toast)

They booked again and brought more friends down with them. We planned Murder Mystery weekends and more friends came. Kris and Susan seemed to be our main cheerleaders, and they wanted to share the Magic that is Swan Song Inn with others.
Photo by His Fingerprint Photography

They come down for the Hunts, both Egg and Pumpkin, but they don’t act like guests, they pitch in and help. The get the bonfires started, they help set up the tents and tear down, all in between rounds of fishing of course. By this time they have tried several of the rooms but always seen to migrate back to their favorite, the Park View Suite. This room is large enough to have an extra bed set up in the walk in closet. Yes, that is true, it is a huge closet. Their teen age daughter loves sleeping in this closet on the queen size bed. Their son, snoozes on the couch in their suite. At one of the hunts they won a garden bench. They really didn’t have a place for it at home and asked if we would just set it up here by the lake, and they donated it back to the Inn. I knew that Susan’s Mother had passed away so I dedicated it to her Mother with an attached plaque. It still sits lakeside on the far side of the lake, really close to the best bass hole to fish.

Susan is such a giving person and loves to bring presents when she comes. I have been presented with many gifts over the years. A beautiful wreath to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival, which is huge here in Marshfield, hangs in my dining room. A string art wall plaque that looks great hanging in my kitchen is yet another gift. Kris is ever ready to lend a hand with anything. I am blessed. As you can guess, by now, we are friends.  They have been here I think, 9 times in 3 years.

                                                                                        Photo by His Fingerprint Photography
They decided to renew their vows this past October. The planning had begun. Susan and I both were florists in our earlier lives and between us we had the wedding details down! We do a lot of weddings here at Swan Song Inn. The lake is the perfect setting and when Mrs. Lola and Mr. glide by and photo bomb the photographer, it can’t get much more perfect. They renewed their vows, with Inn Keeper Doug officiating and myself coordinating.
     Photo by His Fingerprint Photography

We always say "Enter as Strangers and Leave as Friends" This is just one example of the friends we have made here at Swan Song Inn. Inn Keeper Doug and I have so enjoyed the past three years Meeting and Greeting strangers into the Inn and waving goodbye to them as new friends. I like to say                              " A Guest is just a friend I haven't met yet."
     Photo by His Fingerprint Photography
 Now if I can only get Mr. to start thinking that way.

Valentines Day is on a Friday this year. Visit our website and book your stay. If you shoot us an email at that you read the February Blog and you stay the 14th and 15th of February, we will have chocolate covered strawberries in your room for you.

So if you are a past guest, we thank you for the time we spent together and may our paths cross again. If you have never experienced the Magic that is Swan Song Inn consider this an invitation to come meet us and experience the Destination for Relaxation for yourself. Remember, it all started with a rug.

Inn Keeper's Doug and Cheri Colson
Swan Song Inn
Marshfield MO

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Large and In Charge - The Perspective of Mr.

My story starts several years ago, long before Inn Keepers Cheri, Doug and Ryan came into the Bed and Breakfast picture here at Swan Song Inn.

The "others" brought me here as a young Cob.  They then brought me a young Pen for my mate. Unfortunately, a fox took her away from me.  So for a few years I was alone until the "others" brought me another very young Pen. She was beautiful and sleek. I loved her. All seemed fine, and one day a turtle, (nasty amphibian) took a piece of my Pens webbing off her foot. She had trouble with that foot every day from then on.

We were building our nest to be ready for cygnets, and we both were very excited. During my show of love for my Pen, she stopped breathing. I didn’t know what to do. I climbed on land and let the Inn Keepers Doug, Cheri and Ryan know that something was wrong, very wrong.  They came to see, and when they tried to take her away I fought very hard for her. I never saw her again.  I sang the song of my people for three days. They say we are mute, but we have a bellow that can be heard from a distance.

So for a few days I was very distraught and I even thought of flying away. I flapped my huge wings but never left the lake.

Photo credit to His Fingerprint Photography

I start my days patrolling my parameters. The Lake is my home and I ferociously guard it from trespassers. I allow a few ducks to coexist with me, for without them I would be very very lonely. I also allow just a few wild geese to stay here to mate and raise their young. I tolerate them barely; such vile creatures, but we all have a purpose on this earth. I watch them and the ducks raise their young and my memory flows back to my Mrs.

The winters here are not as cold as my native area up north. From time to time I am glad the geese are here. They add numbers that help keep a spot of open water on the lake. The Inn Keepers have only had to break ice for me one time

I am very vigilant when guarding my lake. I know the second the front door of the Inn has opened. I know when one of those loud moving things on wheels is coming over my dam. I know if deer are drinking from the edge or moving in on my leftover cracked corn the Inn Keepers give me two times every day. I am forever watching the skies to see if a mate may be looking for me. From time to time I attempt to stretch my wings to the heavens and fly north in search, but alas, I never leave the water. My routine is mundane, but I have purpose, food and safety here. I have accepted my life as it is.

I see the loud thing that moves Inn Keeper Cheri along the dam. I see that she does not disappear into the Inn as usual. . I notice that she has set up that see through contraption that the ducks seem to always get caught in.  It is in the yard by where I like to build my nest; I go to investigate very quickly.  I do not understand what she is doing over here. This is MY area and I don’t tolerate much activity over here.  Just ask the humans that I have ran off. They are scared of my large wings and I can move really fast when I want to. Most is all bluff, but don’t tell anyone.

Oh my stars! I see a cloud of feathers.  Could that be a Pen in the back of that wheeled thing?  She is not white, like me. She is not making any noise; does she not see my majestic self? What is this sad creature that should be so white and is not?

I watch closely as she is handled ( oh I see she hates this) much hissing involved. But Inn Keepers Doug and Cheri are very gentle and are talking to her softly. They are singing to her.  “Her name in Lola, she was a showgirl” Once she is in the see thru contraption, she takes a drink and I swim up to introduce myself.  She meets me at the edge of the cage and we touch chests. Oh this is a good sign, SHE LIKES ME!!!

Feeding time is together, I spend most of my time at this side of the lake. I do not want her out of my sight.  I still wonder why she is not white and glamorous like me. She begins telling me her story. She lived with some very nice keepers, but her space was not like this. She had a lot of mud and clay and no grass. She told me she has never seen such beauty as what is here. Oh I take so much for granted.

For two days the see thru contraption separates us. Then Inn Keepers Doug, Cheri and Ryan open the door and she swims free. I thought she would come straight to me. NO…. she stopped to take a bath. Girls….sigh. She says she has never had this much clean water to swim in before and she was going to use it.

 After her bath she swims to me and again we touched chests. This is how we greet each other. Sometimes we make our necks into a heart shape, (humans love this) and entwine our necks. This is a part of courting. I have allowed our Keeper to see this just a few times, but never allowed her to video it. Privacy please! She always has that picture taking device with her.

The next few weeks was molting season and the shore line looked as if one of us has exploded. Feathers everywhere!  But as time passed and I look upon her, I realize she is no longer clay colored but is as majestic as I. I have found MY Queen.  Her name is Mrs. Lola

Well another season of red bows and bells on the front of the Inn has come and gone and more cold weather will be upon us soon. 

This is the time we take to nest building. I noticed an abundance of straw has materialized up on the other side of my lake. Maybe I will show this to Mrs. Lola. Our time to show love is coming up soon and I hope I am an acceptable partner. I hope we succeed in nesting eggs and raising young. I will feel so complete and my purpose will be fulfilled.

So come out to the Inn, meet the Inn Keepers who take good care of me. We may have Cygnets this spring to watch. Check out that web thingy, I hear humans talking about while they are strolling along the lake. I hear them say how relaxing it is here. Then I, of course, have to come out of the water to remind them who is in charge. 

Until later in the spring,
Mr., King of the Lake at Swan Song Inn

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Love Found ...Again

Owning a Bed and Breakfast puts me in the perfect position to match make. What a great place to come to relax. Many folks believe that only couples come to Bed and Breakfasts. That is a wrong assumption. We have several guests who come for the peace, quiet and solitude that Swan Song Inn offers.

Many of you that follow the Inn's Face Book page know about Mr., our mascot. A male mute swan. This beautiful guy sadly lost his mate 3 years ago. Swans mate for life, but if one dies the other will look for another. If Mr. would have been able to fly, he would of set off on a mission to find another.  During this time when he was a widow, I often reflected how people go through this sadness. What do they do to cope?

Imagine, if you will, two strangers that just happen to have a reservation at Swan Song Inn on the same week-end. Both have endured the loss of a much loved spouse. They both had decided to take a week-end to relax and decide what direction their life should go in now.  It has been a few years since, lets call her Sally, Sally's husband of 30 years had passed. Joe's wife has been gone just a year.

The sprawling 10 acres here at the Inn give plenty of space to be alone with your thoughts. You can walk the lake with just Mr. and the ducks for company. Sally can sit knitting in one of the rocking chairs in the shade of one of the mighty oaks and Joe can be around the lake fishing, and you never have to meet or even speak if you don't want to. Until breakfast.
So after three years I finally get  a lead on a female mute swan that is located only 3 hours away and within our budget.  I take off to Hillsboro, MO, ( my Hometown of all places to find her) to pick her up.  A quick round trip and we arrive back at the Inn.  She has been alone her whole life, never had a mate. She was so excited to see all the green grass, the ducks and the huge lake before her. She has been in a corral of sorts with just a small water hole. Then she spotted HIM. Mr. in all his finery is gliding up to me, as is his nature to follow me everywhere I go. He still has not noticed her in the back of the truck. I have the pen ready for her so she can acclimate to her new surroundings. When we transferred her into her temporary holding pen, is when he noticed her. He immediately swam up to inspect this new creature in his lake. Her name is Mrs. Lola.

Mrs. Lola and Mr. chest bumped. That is friendly swan language for hello. All seems good at this point. They took their meals together for a few days. Then the big moment! RELEASE into the lake.  At first she was hesitant, shy almost.  Then she realized she was free in this beautiful body of water that she had never seen before. She promptly took a bath. She had never had this much clean water to do that before. Then they chest bumped again. Time to get to know one another 

Joe and Sally shyly say hello to each other at the breakfast table. There are two couples there as well so the conversations started. " Where are you from? How long will you be in the area? Have you seen the Hubble replica on the town square?" Normal small talk during the breakfast feast here at Swan Song Inn. One couple is just passing through for a couple days from Connecticut. The other are celebrating their 40th wedding Anniversary here. Joe mentions that he came here for some quiet time to reflect and maybe start writing a book and Sally mentions that she just wanted a change of scenery. They both find out that they are from similar areas in St. Louis, MO.

Everyone goes their own way for the day. A bit after dinner time the group seems to gather on the porch around the fire pit to chat. Cups of Hot cocoa and tea are being enjoyed along with some of neighbor Mrs. Marie's chocolate chip cookies and the amazing decorated cookies from 2 Kids and a Crumb. Joe and Sally seem drawn to each other. Is it an attraction or just a mutual loneliness that they can forget for a few moments. Slowly the couples migrate to their suites and it is just Joe and Sally around the fire. This Inn Keeper has retired for the evening as well, with instructions for them to put out the fire when they are done.

Mrs. Lola and Mr. continue to stay side by side. Their bonding continues with the idyllic heart shaped hug. This is a positive sign of the connection that is happening, a part of swans courtship rituals. From this point forward he is on guard. Protecting her, letting her eat, driving off the duck and geese from her food. Mr. puts himself between her and anything else, including this Inn Keeper. It looks as if they will be completely bonded and maybe come spring they will nest and produce cygnets.

The next morning at breakfast the group gathers for another wonderful breakfast. Stuffed French Toast that the Inn is famous for, served with the "best bacon in the world" according to Joe.  But something has changed.  Joe and Sally are not across from each other, but side by side. There seems to be less nervousness about their conversations. And boy were they conversing. This Inn Keeper notices things like this, and it makes me smile.  I overhear them making plans for the day, that include each other. "Well, isn't this a change of events" I think.  They ask me for a map of the area and some things they can go do. As any good concierge would do, I produce said map with several areas circled such as Hidden Waters, and  Webster County History Museum.

Once again, everyone is off for their day of adventures.

The swans are my Mascots of Love here at Swan Song Inn. When people see swans, they see their beauty and the symbolization of love. Because swans mate for life, we compartmentalize that to equal forever love.  I get to watch their behavior daily and I never tire from seeing Mr. taking care of and guarding Mrs. Lola.

The guests gather at the pergola fire pit this evening for wine and comradely chatter. They all find out that we offer Murder Mysteries and discuss coming back another time to enjoy this feature. Possibly during the colder months.  I notice that Joe and Sally are holding hands. I hear that they discovered that they both have a love for Route 66. Both being from the St Louis area this does not surprise me. I let them know that Marshfield has an amazing Route 66 Festival called the Route 66 Carnivor Festival on June 20th, 2019.  They ask if we still have availability for that week-end. 
The evening is over, and everyone is retiring to their rooms. The moon is full and shines down upon the lake highlighting Mrs. Lola and Mr. I see the silhouette of Joe and Sally, still holding hands as they mosey back through the yard to the main house.

 Everyone enjoys breakfast and the check out process has started. Hugs go around as we all have become friends. I see all my guests, as friends that I just haven't met yet. The anniversary couple book for next year, the Connecticut couple wants to see if they can meet up with their Kansas friends for a Murder Mystery. I talk to Joe and Sally, and they shyly ask me if we do weddings...!!! I cant help but smile and hug them both.  I tell them, what a fitting place to get married. The term Swan Song means  "the last big thing" Another love story unfolds here at Swan Song Inn. 

Inn Keepers Cheri and Doug

Friday, November 29, 2019

Getting Married? No Worries....

Weddings can bring the best and the worst out in people. The Bride, the Groom, partners, the parents...anyone involved in the planning and execution of the Perfect Day.

Many brides have that Special Day all lined out in their head (since they were a child), and when it comes to reality, it sometimes cannot happen. Either because of finances, logistics or just because no one can agree.This all turns into Worry and Stress.

 It has been my experience that there are two types of couples. Some who want to pick every flower, ribbon and detail. Then there is the couple who has a general look they want to have and won't sweat the details. They are perfectly content leaving those details to trusted professionals that they conveyed this information to. The second couple are the ones who can have a Worry Free wedding at Swan Song Inn.

So if you want to have a beautiful outdoor lakeside wedding completely taken care of from chairs to food to decor, pictures, cake and so much more. Call us for a free tour and consultation.

Oh, I didn't even mention that you get to spend the night in one of our two room suites, complete with fireplace and jetted tub!

 Why do we have weddings anyway?  A reason to have a celebration? To show the world that you have found your partner? Just to make it legal? To renew the vows made years ago?  There are many reasons to want to share your joy and love with others. But it doesn't have to make you crazy along the way.  We meet with the couple to discuss the details. Starting with the date, time of day, how many people and the officiant. Where on the estate do they want to share their vows? We go on to menus, color and style of flowers and table decor. What type of songs, down to their favorite play lists and ceremony music. We discuss how formal or relaxed they want the event to be. Then we work with our partnered professionals from photography, catering, decorations and the cake. After a detailed conversation, they are done and the rest is up to us here at Swan Song Inn. They will simply show up on Wedding Day with their clothes, licence and a smile.

One great thing about being part of a Worry Free Wedding here at the Inn is that you get years of wedding experience with myself and my trusted vendor partners. So you do not have to have the added expense of a Day Of Coordinator.

Now not every couple is OK with this type of service and we of course welcome these couples with open arms as well. We have other packages where the venue is rented and the couple can make all the decisions down to how many petals on a daisy. We are still here to help and guide the day of.

We have other partners we work with when the couple want more choices. While we offer an in house music package we make sure the couple knows the difference between in house music and a professional DJ service.  We also offer professional hair and make up artists. These can be added on to any package.

All of these beautiful couples trusted us here at Swan Song Inn, along with our vendor partners, to create the perfect wedding memories for them.

Here at Swan Song Inn we have the experience to make your wedding day a stress free memorable event.  Let us help you plan your Worry Free Wedding.

Inn Keepers Cheri and Doug

All wedding photos credit to His Fingerprint Photography
Inn Keepers Photo Credit to Joyce Geiser Photography 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

#BOOKDIRECT What is all the Fuss This February?

What is all the Fuss This February?

Planning a getaway can be fun or frustrating. Searching for just the right location, does it have all the amenities you require? Is it close to activities that you want to see? Do you just want to get away and relax? We all do it. We go online and start searching.  I immediately start getting overwhelmed by all the sites that pop up. 

As I browse from site to site I lose track of what I saw that I liked. Then finally a decision is made and we hit the “Book Now” button that we see on Google, thinking it is taking us to the site of our choice. 

Google takes you to Online Travel Agencies, OTA’s like and Expedia. Google makes money, like they need it, by channeling you to the OTA’s. You often have to pay more by booking through these OTA’s. There is even one called,, they lie, don’t be confused.  I can tell you that you will always get a better value by booking your stay directly.

If you are anything like me, I expect the best of service. I enjoy the perks that come with great service. So imagine that you have a product to sell. And a company comes along and says "I will sell this for you, but I will get 18% - 25% of the selling price." So to offset that huge cut of profit, you may not take the extra time to make sure everything is perfect. You may not put that extra polish to make it shine just a bit better. You may not take the time for the extra “extras” that you may normally do. It is the same way for a small Inn or B and B. If I have a booking come in through an OTA, I of course will make my guests as comfortable and welcome as my website promises. But maybe not go that extra mile to add those homemade cookies bedside for a midnight snack. Or offer to bring some s’mores and hot chocolate out to the fire pit for them. There may be a special available if booked directly from the businesses website or even by simply picking up the phone and calling. I often hold back my best rooms only for the people that book direct. You will never know what you could of had if you would of booked direct.  The bottom dollar paid is not always the better value, but most times you will actually save $$ by direct booking as well.

Change of plans? Have you ever tried to make changes when using an OTA. Some allow them, some don’t, some charge a fee. I can guarantee you that if something happens and you are dealing directly with an Inn Keeper they will do their best to accommodate you. I recently had this experience with a guest who had hit the “Book Now” google button and wanted to cancel due to fearing bad winter Missouri weather. She called me and I had no way to help her other than to advise her to call the OTA and cancel. Luckily she was within 1 day of having no recourse through the OTA. Then I told her if she wanted to, simply call me back to #BOOK DIRECT and I would work with her around the weather. She did and now she is feeling confident for her travel plans. Also, if you have to make a change of plans it is usually easier to talk to a human (Inn Keeper) and not have to be transferred around. If you are going to be staying for more than three nights, ask if they offer an extended stay rate. Many do not post that online but are more than happy to offer a discount on longer stays. Just another reason to #BOOKDIRECT.

Shopping online to find a place to stay is wonderful. I like to just pick an area that I have not been to and search for B and B’s within a certain diameter of miles and see what it out there. They pop up as you move around the map, sometimes even ones that do not have a true website, maybe just a Facebook page.  After I narrow it down, then I make sure to go directly to their website, and look closer. The things I look for are the words, "en suite" bathroom. It might say private bath, but that could be across the hall. I look for "oversize" jetted tubs.  Does it have a tub and a shower? "Cozy" translates to small. Pay attention to what floor the room is on if you have trouble with stairs. I forgot a couple times and poor Doug had to climb to the third floor. Look for pictures that show the whole room, not just close up shots of a chair and vase or corner of the bed. If they have video pictures, that is even better.

This is my Lake View Suite
picture by 

 Now look to see if they are a member of BBIM. This is Bed and Breakfast Inns of MO. When I applied to become a member of BBIM, the stringent process needed to be accepted was overwhelmingly wonderful. They inspect their Inns MUCH more closely than the state does. It is refreshing to know that my fellow BBIM members are inspected that way as well. I can definitely recommend any of the inns located at

Another thing to consider while looking online, since you probably looked at Airbnb. Remember that these folks have ZERO inspections and most do not carry adequate insurance. Now I have stayed at a few Airbnb’s, but I really look hard and talk to the host in advance. Most people are nice, friendly and most are clean. I have only had one sketchy situation with an Airbnb rental where I didn’t feel safe. But if you see an ad for a true BnB on AirBnb, figure out who they are. Look up their website, pick up the phone and call and see if there is a price difference and why. They may not offer all the amenities with a low ball Airbnb rate.  They may even have better rooms available that they don’t post on Airbnb. They may offer breakfast for an additional fee, or they may not have all the extras we Inn Keepers tend to offer to guests that Book Directly with us..  
So remember to always check the search engine bar to make sure you are on the correct website for the Inn of your choosing. Like

Here's a quick recap of what is going on with #BOOKDIRECT according to
Two online travel giants (Priceline and Expedia) dominate the marketplace with an estimated combined market share of 95%. Hoteliers (and Inns)cannot compete with their advertising scale and are locked into costly distribution agreements, with commission on bookings sometimes reaching 25% (or even higher).
Further to this, price parity agreements imposed by OTAs restrict hotels from providing their guests with the best online price. Despite this, OTAs frequently undercut direct rates, costing the hotel industry millions of dollars every year in lost bookings.
Most importantly, the guest is likelier to have a better experience if they book direct. Not only should the best price be guaranteed, guests are also likely to find the best offers, the most flexibility, and the most tailored pre- and post-stay communication if they book directly with the hotel. BETTER VALUE!!!

So #BOOKDIRECT with us for your next getaway and come see the charm and relaxation that is Swan Song Inn.

Your Inn Keepers
Doug and Cheri