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

Monday, January 28, 2019

Our Story- January 2019


How did Swan Song Inn come to be? 
Many people ask me how we came to be in this beautiful Inn that we call home.  What brought us to Marshfield, MO?  All our friends asked, “What is in Marshfield?” So I thought it appropriate to start our first blog with our story.

 My husband Doug and I always travel and stay in Bed and Breakfasts to celebrate our anniversary in July every year. July 2016 was our 5 year Anniversary so we wanted to stay in theme and decided to travel to the woods, since wood is the 5 year traditional gift.
We booked our first 2 nights in a treehouse built by Pete Nelson  located in the woods of upper Kentucky. This treehouse was a wonderful experience, no water, no electric, and a potty shack in the woods.    As we drove out of town, we stumbled upon an eclectic memorabilia shop called Nina’s in Augusta KY.  Such a nice woman, and you would have never known she was George Clooney’s mom. Such a joy to meet and of course we got the picture too!!

Several B and B’s later we finally arrive at The Country Music Bed and Breakfast in Canton, TN. We stayed in the Johnny Cash room. The Inn Keeper was so warm and friendly. Even went to get us a pizza. This is the type of hospitality you can expect to find in many B and B’s.  The next morning I made a casual comment to this super sweet Inn Keeper. I said “What a joy to wake up here every day.” Without missing a beat she replied “$475k and it could be yours.” Well, relocating to TN was not an option and this particular Inn would not have worked for our family dynamics. But somewhere deep inside my head, a light bulb went off.

We came home from our trip and discussed the idea of an Inn.  We were at a time in our lives where we felt we needed to make some changes. We had been looking for a second home on a lake for a weekend retreat as well.

In August, Doug was doing a random search and found a house on a lake for sale. Not being sold as a B and B, simply a beautiful home on a lake with 10 acres.  He sent me the info and I laughed knowing for a second home it was not in the pay scale. That was Thursday. On Saturday I said “Let’s take a 3 hour road trip ( one way) and go look at that house.” So off we went to Marshfield, MO.

As we drove thru the gates and down the winding driveway to the main house, I felt all my tensions of the week float away. All I could think was this place is amazing. Like the lake in the front yard held magical powers of relaxation. Upon entering the home the tall ceilings immediately caught my attention. The home was decorated in Victorian style which was not to my taste but I saw the charm of the home immediately. As we entered the downstairs bedroom it became evident that this home was built perfectly to accommodate a Bed and Breakfast. Three large 2 room suites plus two other bedrooms. The suites, all with private en-suite bathrooms complete with Jacuzzi tubs and fireplaces. My head started making plans. This was what we had been looking for, and there was a lake too!!!!

So we drove back home and starting thinking hard. Do we leave all we had ever known and move across the state to start a new life together?

We did some research and talked a lot about what changes it would make in our lives. We decided to make an offer and they accepted it and the process started. We also decided that if it is meant to be, it will be.  “If you build it they will come” I had this entire house envisioned in my mind and I set off to find all the furnishings for 6 bedrooms, dining room, living room and kitchen.  All these magical furnishings barely fit in my two car garage, including the baby grand piano! It was a leap of faith.

Then the paper pushers didn’t like this or that, some inspection failed and more paperwork and the deal stalled. Then hit a brick wall. Of course I was saddened but knew if the round peg was not going to fit into the square hole, we would not be moving to Marshfield.

We went back to square one and were deciding what to do with all the furnishings.  Did I mention I had bought a boat too? A week went by, with many dreams of the swan who was not going to be mine, and then a message came in for another meeting.
Now it is October. 2016  The obstacles seemed to have disappeared and the deal was on again. We closed the deal in December 2016. Everything after that was a blur including the many trips down Hwy 44 to bring more furnishings. Doug moved in first as I had to stay behind to sell our old  house and tidy up loose ends. We made a few changes to make it our own and opened the doors on January 1st  2017. 
 Swan Song Inn was officially in business.

I moved in February. We had 4  rooms ready to host folks at that time. ( We have since added on two more)

My friends are all still asking me why anyone would come to Marshfield MO.  I remind them that Swan Song Inn will be the reason they come to Marshfield.
We have since hosted hundreds of guests, a few celebrities and made many friends from around the world. ( Those stories to come in future blogs.)

So if you have never heard of Swan Song Inn, take the time to browse our website.  Look at the suites and imagine yourself with your loved one soaking in the jetted tub, snuggling by the fireplace and climbing in to that king-size bed with the best of sheets and pillows for a much needed rest. Wake up to the view of our lake with Mr. our resident swan gliding by. Laugh at the antics of the 11 ducks that call Swan Song Inn home as well. There are also the 5 chickens that provide us with fresh eggs, and make me smile.
Check us out on Facebook too.
We are also a full service venue for many occasions including weddings.

We are your Destination for Relaxation, Come visit us.
Inn Keeper's Cheri & Doug Colson