“Holiday Tour Charms Guests” – That’s just one writer’s title to describe the 2012 Annual Bed and Breakfast Holiday Tour. Others listed the Annual Bed and Breakfast Holiday Tour as one of “St Augustine’s Top Five Holiday Traditions”. Others titled according to the theme this year.
Undoubtedly the innkeepers “charmed” their guests as they visited each of their inns, but “Wow” them is more the term to describe their excitement as ticket holders navigated the tour route with their traditional red bags and holiday tour stickers on this beautiful December weekend. As the guests walked through 12 inns on Saturday and another 12 on Sunday they all completed the catchy Christmas Carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with décor adding to the excitement.
This year was one of the largest the inns have seen! Tickets sold out the week before on the tour website and the innkeepers knew they were expecting big crowds! The tour’s Facebook page received last minute messages from fans looking for ways to obtain tickets and the hunt continued up until the day of the tour. Finally it is safe to say over 1,200 ticket holders walked through the door of St Augustine’s prestigious 24 bed and breakfast inns over the second weekend in December.
This year’s tour theme was “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and was a huge decorating success! Inns sang the verses of the popular Christmas Carol with amazing décor and showcased their own creative touches at each of the inns to their guest’s delight. From a Partridge in a Pear Tree to 12 Drummers Drumming, the inns displayed amazing exhibits of each verse.
St Francis Inn’s role was Six Geese a Layin and they not only wowed the guests with their amazing creation, they initiated a contest for tour goers to place their names in their huge golden egg for a chance to win a free night at their inn. Bayfront Marin went all out with costumes at their place. You could see eight maids (or men) a milking hanging around the inn waiting to greet their visitors. Handcrafted geese could also be found at the Inn on Charlotte, and were a huge sensation!
Some of the inn’s Facebook pages received messages after the tour from guests who walked through thanking the innkeepers for their warm hospitality during the event praising them on their decorations and inquiring about future stays.
With half the inns on tour Saturday and the others on Sunday, the tour is divided by day to give the tour-goer just the right amount of fun from 1-5pm. Restaurant partners this year ranged from the Columbia to the local Gourmet Hut and Crucial Coffee shack.. Always another exciting aspect of the tour is the food as each inn is paired with a local culinary partner to the tour goer’s delight.
Always proud to support local charities in St Augustine partial proceeds of this year’s tour went to a newly developed culinary arts program for the homeless at First Coast Technical Center.
The two-day event has not only become an annual tradition for its guests but has received national recognition for the past few years as one of the “Top Twenty Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society.