Ten years ago we bought an inn. It wasn’t a rash act, although I think my parents viewed it as such by the look on their very concerned faces when we told them what we were going to do. My parents seemed to sum it all up one rainy spring morning in April, when they came down from Dallas to view our purchase. As they walked through the front door of the main building, a beautiful old barn, they exclaimed with alarm, “What have you done?” I began to ask myself the same question once the enormity of the decision we made started to sink in. Because, as you see, I had no earthly idea what I was doing.
Hugh and I became aware of the Hoffman Haus when our real estate agent brought us a flyer describing the place, rationalizing that it would be a good venue to go along with the cooking school I had opened when we moved to the Texas Hill Country. With the anticipation of two children about to embark on the trip of a lifetime, we drove up the gravel driveway and circled into the parking area, our tires crunching to a stop in front of one of the cabins. We smiled at each other. We were smitten.
This is where my story begins, with buying a twelve-room bed and breakfast, having never been in the business of owning and running one, and figuring out where to start first. The inevitable discoveries of recalcitrant, poorly installed plumbing and bed frames held together by chicken wire, of rooms stuffed to the brim with garishly mismatched furnishings reduced us to disbelief that anyone in their right mind would pay to stay with us. As we gradually began to peel off the layers of neglect a property collects when it has been for sale for a long time a beautiful old girl emerged, delighted to be taken care of and loved. The funny and loopily endearing stories that have accumulated over the years, usually told with the opening line “you can’t make this stuff up,” have kept us amused and offset the occasional difficulties. There are always unexpected and frequently entertaining surprises that pop up on a daily basis, making us feel as though we would never get the hang of this business. But our gradually developing pride of place began to emerge as we continued renovating and bringing back to life a charming spot which brings so much peace and tranquility to those who stay here, has kept us cheerfully and creatively going.
And so, over a decade later Hoffman Haus has become a part of many fabrics of many lives. Our returning guests are part of our extended family and our new guests soon become part of our family too. We have an extraordinary staff who have dedicated themselves to making the HH shine and do an incredible job in the process. This has been a project I never would have dreamed I would have taken on, yet take it on I did, with enough naiveté to see me through all of the twists and turns, ups and downs that owning a twenty-three room bed and breakfast can throw at you. I have learned a great deal, and have come to love what I do. The first steps were a little unsettled, but now I feel sure footed. Content to know that the original vision of the original owner, who began Hoffman Haus over twenty years ago, has been realized. He called Hoffman Haus the most enchanting guesthouse in all of Fredericksburg, Texas... and we believe it is!
- Leslie, Fredericksburg, Texas
- February 2016