So much to do!

August 4, 2010

Alas, I have been negligent in my blogging.  But I have a great excuse!  We have been swamped this summer.  We experienced a normal summer, so here’s hoping for a busy fall.  We have been painting our basement.  Next up will be the tedious job of painting 98 exterior windows and lots of trim this fall!  I will get to know ladders very well again.  In my youth I painted houses in the summer.

August is here, which means the Iowa State Fair is around the corner.  Of course I am biased, but I really believe this is the best State Fair in the USA.  It is the oldest, but also the best.  There are so many things to do and see in the ten day run.  Our weekends are full, but we still have some availability during the week days.  The fair is Aug 12-22.  It is indeed nonstop fun!


Iowa Ranked 7th Best Bicycle Friendly State!

June 1, 2010

Wow!  Iowa just keeps getting better and better in regards to bicycling according to the League of American Bicyclists.  Why would we post this particlular tidbit of information?  Because we are across the street from the Bill Riley Trail that has access to over a hundred miles of trails in Central Iowa.  So, if you are planning a trip to Iowa, bring your bike and stay with us.  Here’s a link to the trails in Central Iowa:

We can help you plan your bike trip too.  Just call and ask.  Hope to see you this summer!  Clark


Why stay at a bed and breakfast?

April 14, 2010

During the last ten years we have heard most of the reasons why someone doe not want to stay at a B&B:  “I feel like I’m in someones home.”  I don’t want to eat breakfast with other guests.”  “I need access to the internet.”  “I need a TV.”  These seem to be the top reasons.

All B&B’s are different.  That’s the good and the bad.  At Butler House on Grand,   we hope you don’t feel like you are in our home, even though it is our home.  We try to keep our common areas clear of personal items.   We also provide seating options that allows the guest to eat with other guests or at a table of their own.  We can do this by offering different breakfast times.  We have free WiFi.  We also provide cable television in every room.  B&B’s offer personal service and in most cases you always dealing the owners, so the care and attention to the business will be much greater than at the run of the mill chain hotels.

We are prepared for the single business traveler or the romantic couple.  We want everyone to feel comfortable at our B&B.  Since we have been open for ten years, we can easily fall into the trap of doing the same thing over and over.  We try to keep a fresh outlook on things. 

If you haven’t stayed with us, we hope you will soon.



Count your blessings

April 9, 2010

Lauren was getting her hair cut at the salon today.  She hears a very load crash.  They move to the front of the salon and there is a car sitting in the salon.  An elderly woman had crashed into the salon!  No one was injured.  But about a minute before the crash a woman had been sitting against the front window.  She had just walked back to the station.  Had she still been sitting in front of the window, she could have been seriously injured or worse.

Lauren and I laughed about what happened today.  I mean, the odds of this happening have to be about the same as getting struck by lightning.   But step back and think about it, and you have to thank the Lord that nothing worse happened.  Someone could have been sitting in front of that window.    Our whole family goes to this salon.  It could have been any of us sitting in front of that window.

What this reinforced for me was that we need to live each moment as if it is our last.  Lauren has faced her mortality this past year.    But we still end up getting caught up in the day to day issues.  We try to make money and work 18 hours/day.  Starting today I am going to enjoy my family more; try to get better organized;  see my friends more;  laugh a little more; donate my time  a little more, and have a lot more fun. 

So, grab your partner and head over to our B&B!  It’s time to relax.

Clark  866-455-4096.  We hope to see you soon.

We are a family business

April 1, 2010

Butler House on Grand is a very small family business.  The last eight months we have been challenged in these economic times.  Plus we had several cancellations this winter because of weather.  We are trying to figure out how to more aggressively market ourselves.  We definitely need more heads in our beds!

We hope this whole social media thing will help a little.    While lots of businesses can recover their losses by selling more product and unloading excess merchandise, we don’t have that luxury.  We sell days of the week.  When that day is over, we will never be able to make it up.  We can’t add 100 days to the calendar. 

Tomorrow night we will have a regular guest staying with us.  He works for one of the nicest chain hotels in the world.   I tease him that he stays with us because he isn’t allowed to stay with the competition.  The chain he works for does not have a property in Des Moines.    While I’m sure there is a little truth about the competition aspect, I also can assume he genuinely likes staying with us.  He has been coming regularly for four years.  He always brings other employees from other properties from around the world with him.  Tomorrow night his boss is coming for the first time.  I guess if we were a bad place, he wouldn’t bring his boss!  Right?    So, if we are good enough to take care of employees that work at one of the most elite hotel properties in the world, then we should be good enough for most folks.

If you haven’t stayed with us, we are an old house.  We do not in any way consider ourselves near the level of our guests hotel.  But, we do offer a clean, comfortable, quiet place to rest and relax.  This is our home and sometimes you might hear us scolding a daughter when you walk in.  You might smell what we are cooking for dinner.    But we strive to always making you feel welcome.    We are truly a family business!

When you visit Des Moines, we sure hope you will give us a try. 866-455-4096


One of the reasons we enjoy our business

March 29, 2010

We so enjoy meeting all of our guests.  When they check-in we don’t typically get to know them very well, but at breakfast we ask a few questions (if they seem open to questions) and before we know it we are having a great conversation.

Tonight we have a brother and a sister and the sisters daughter staying with us while they visit their other siblings/Aunts/Uncles in Des Moines.   The visiting brother and sister grew up here and then had careers in other states.  But they have been regular guests for almost all of the ten years we have been open.  These are the folks we so enjoy visiting with.  They are sort of like family but they pay us!  🙂   We have many regular guests.  Over the years we have been there when a guests parent or relative has passed away.  One of our long time guests mother passed away and Lauren greeted the guest at the door when she came back to Butler House on Grand the evening the mother left earth.  Lauren stayed up and talked to her for a few hours.  The guest was so thankful that she was staying with us.  What she doesn’t know, and we need to tell her, is that we are so thankful that she has come into our lives. 

We are thankful for all the folks that come into our lives.  This past year has been challenging,  to say the least,  at Butler House on Grand.  But we are so blessed to have wonderful and supportive family, friends, and guests.  So, take a moment after you read this,  and thank someone who has shown you a recent kindness.

Clark   866-455-4096

101 Things to Do in Des Moines.

March 27, 2010

The Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau ( of which we are a proud member) came out with a 100 Fun Things to do in Des Moines.    I’m trying to decide whetther we should have been on the list.  I don’t know if we are fun or not?  Okay,  I decided we are fun, so we say there is 101 Fun things to do in Des Moines.  We will sure try to make your stay at Butler House on Grand fun, relaxing, refreshing and a whole lot of other adjectives.

We are near some of the items on the list.  The Des Moines Art Center (our art museum)  is right across the street as is the Rose Garden.  We have the Bill Riley Bike Trail.  Bring your bike.  You can ride all the way to Jefferson on the Raccoon River Trail or all the way to Saylorville Lake on the Neal Smith Trail staring at the Bill Riley Trail.  The Bill Riley Trail will also get you to the Iowa Cubs.  Of course you can walk on these trails too. 

First guest arriving for the night, so a good time to stop.  Lauren said yes to helping with the Blog, so everyone should be happy!

As always visit us at or call 866-455-4096.


Butler House on Grand gets more serious about social media

March 26, 2010

Deeeeeep breath.  Here begins a more concerted effort to keep our past guests, future guests, friends and family in touch with Butler House on Grand.  About a year ago we started a fan page on Facebook and have done nothing with it.  We hope to change all that.  While we are a very, very small business, we should be doing a lot better keeping in touch.  So, here goes.

The sun is shining in Des Moines today.  It is Friday.  I am typing.  Lauren and Brigid are playing Clue while we wait to meet our guests for the evening.  The economy has been hurting our business for the last six months, so we aren’t waiting on as many guests as we normally do tonight.  We hope April will be a better month.

We are looking forward to meeting lots of new people this year, and greeting past guests at Butler House on Grand.  Thank you for taking time to read my first, Blog.    I hope I can get Lauren to take over this job!  Gotta go, our first guest arrived!   You can make reservations from our website at