ownersMeet the Garth Mansion Innkeepers

John and Julie Rolsen, what the heck are they doing running a Bed and Breakfast?

John and I met in 1976 when he was on a temporary duty (TDY) trip with the Air Force in Grand Rapids, Michigan, near my hometown. A few years later I took John to Reno and before he knew it we were married. Thereafter each time we moved to another assignment with the Air Force relatives and friends came to visit. I loved having company, and John loved me cleaning the house before they arrived. I hate housework with a passion (this is great being here with a super staff to pick up behind me!). Over the years we moved around the country to Sacramento, Albuquerque (yes, it is spelled correctly), Dayton, Washington D.C. area, and back to Dayton.

By the late 1990’s we realized it was getting close to finding a place to retire and staying put, whatever that meant. We liked that ‘company thing’ going on; having guests all the time was allot of fun. We discussed for years the ideas of running a Bed and Breakfast. So we started seriously searching for a B&B. There are enough on each coast and we wanted to be different. (Not to say we weren’t already!) We love the Midwest and looked real hard for one in Cincinnati to be close to family and friends.

garth3We took a few seminars, bought several books, talked to many innkeepers. We took lots of fabulous trips visiting B&B’s on both coasts. One of our seminar consultants, Oates and Bredfelt, sent us info that the Garth Woodside Mansion was available, lock, stock and barrel, as a turnkey.

We drove to Hannibal, MO to check the mansion out. We immediately fell in love with the place; ok, not IMMEDIATELY, but after two days I had to have it. Such a small town, we were very nervous. We were not sure what the town’s reaction would be to new folks coming to town. We are only the 6th owners of this home, which was built in 1871. That’s a long time for so few owners. As we pondered the Woodside Mansion, everything pointed to Hannibal, Garth, and Missouri! We are both glad we chose this place for our home and love sharing it with everyone. The townspeople welcomed us with open arms and we feel like we have been here for years. There is never a day when we wish we chose a different life. Okay, maybe once when the air conditioner at 10 o’clock at night on a hot summer weekend went kapooey! But a couple dozen of my chocolate chip cookies and two apple pies brought/bought the repair guys in the a.m. to install a new one before lunchtime.

exterior3-1John is from Cincinnati, OH. Julie is from Caledonia, MI. We have two boys together, John, another graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. He is married to another AF Officer. Both Majors, and at this time both with the same date of rank. If you are military, you know how that is. They have one precious little girl, Alice. Instructors and flying on those huge B-52’s, they love the Air Force.

Sean, our second son and his wife Sheena, both live in Lexington, SC . Sheena works here via computer, doing payroll for us.  Sean works for ThinkReservations, the company responsible for keeping the reservations easy, so we get to see him at many of the innkeeping conference. They have two children, William and Isabel.  

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