Make us your home page

Search for slower, quiet life leads to opening of Brooksville bed-and-breakfast

BROOKSVILLE — The Dolan House Bed & Breakfast, which has welcomed overnight guests since January, was launched unintentionally on the heels of an excuse.

"He can't say 'no,' " Tina Jarvis explained about her husband, Michael Dolan.

Dolan, a mild-mannered people pleaser, had been asked to take on yet another community board position — many others already on his volunteer roster.

Jarvis, 62, had finally gotten through to Dolan, 70, that he had enough on his plate. To maintain home harmony, Dolan managed to tell the inviter that he didn't have time — the couple was moving, opening a B&B.

Indeed, after living in Naples for five years, preceded by 10 years touring the country in a motor home, also trekking Europe, the retirees from Seattle found their wanderlust salved and sought a quiet, small-town life in an easy-to-maintain, no-stairs home.

"So, what do we do?" Jarvis said. "Buy a hundred-year-old, two-story house."

They purchased the hist oric 1890s Ederington House, handsomely restored, nestled in a leafy pocket just a stroll from downtown Brooksville. Its architectural pinnings indicate several add-ons over the century, a onetime summer kitchen and attached porches — more house than Dolan and Jarvis needed.

With all of that space, "the gears started turning," Jarvis said, acknowledging that the couple had mused years ago of opening a bed-and-breakfast once they retired.

"We've averaged (guests) two to three weekends every month since February," Dolan satisfyingly reported.

The most recent week saw four couples staying over five nights, occupying two tastefully appointed upstairs queen rooms with private baths, also an enclosed-balcony sitting porch. The stairs, with elbow and landing at mid-flight, precluded getting king-size beds to the second floor.

Dolan and Jarvis reside in spacious downstairs quarters and share the oversized butter-cream kitchen with their guests.

"He talks. I cook," said Jarvis, the couple agreeing that "friendliness" is the No. 1 requirement for B&B owners. "You definitely have to like people."

She mentioned a morning when she had paused in breakfast preparation to graciously chat face to face with a guest. Turning back to the stove top, she found the sausage burned. Hosting, as any job, has its off moments.

"I'm just a home cook, but I've always liked to cook," Jarvis said.

She bakes a pastry every morning, a recent first effort, a successfully flaky, savory-leaning rosemary-apricot scone.

"Tomorrow, a guest has requested blueberry pancakes," she noted.

Most guests come to the Dolan House via its website, many of them suggested by Dolan's and Jarvis' acquaintances gained through their community participation. Dolan is involved with the local arts council, the Brooksville Main Street program and the Hernando Tourist Development Council; Jarvis with the Brooksville Woman's Club and arts council.

Brooksville isn't a big tourist draw, according to the B&B's guest book. Visitors often come because a family member is in a local health care facility, to attend a family reunion or wedding, or for a business conference.

Then there was the Canadian filmmaker producing a show on jet-ski fishing.

"You meet some fascinating people," Jarvis said.

With rates at $125 and $110 nightly through breakfast, Dolan said, "we've had people tell us we're not charging enough."

Through their own travels and those of their guests, Dolan said, he and Jarvis have learned that "motels are all cookie cutters, all the same."

Added Jarvis, speaking of the charm of a B&B: "Where else can you go and sit down and have breakfast with (the hosts), quiet and cozy?"

One thing Dolan said he has learned and wants to share with others: "Starting a business at 70, it can be done."

Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]

>>Fast facts

Dolan House Bed & Breakfast

What: Overnight accommodations, plus homemade breakfast

Where: 701 Museum Court, Brooksville

When: Daily; reservations preferred

Phone: (352) 631-8822


Search for slower, quiet life leads to opening of Brooksville bed-and-breakfast 05/08/17 [Last modified: Thursday, May 11, 2017 11:14am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker


    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.

  2. Sen. Nelson urges FEMA to examine high number of denied flood claims


    Sen. Bill Nelson urged FEMA on Tuesday to ensure fairness, proper oversight and transparency in processing Hurricane Irma aid following a report by the Palm Beach Post that 90 percent of Irma claims under the National Flood Insurance Program had been denied.

    Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for FEMA to ensure the flood claims process post-Hurricane Irma is fair and ethical following reports that 90 percent of claims under the National Flood Insurance Program were denied. | [Times file photo]
  3. Amazon expands in Tampa with Pop-Up shop in International Plaza


    TAMPA — A new retailer known largely for its online presence has popped up at International Plaza and Bay Street.

    Shoppers walk past the new Amazon kiosk Tuesday at the International Plaza in Tampa. The kiosk, which opened last month, offers shoppers an opportunity to touch and play with some of the products that Amazon offers.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]

  4. Study: Florida has fourth-most competitive tax code


    Florida's tax code is the fourth most competitive in the country, according to a study released Tuesday by nonprofit group Tax Foundation.

    Florida has the fourth-most competitive tax code, a study by the Tax Foundation said. Pictured is  Riley Holmes, III, H&R Block tax specialist, helping a client with their tax return in April. | [SCOTT KEELER, Times]
  5. Trigaux: On new Forbes 400 list of U.S. billionaires, 35 now call Florida their home

    Personal Finance

    The latest Forbes 400 richest people in America was unveiled Tuesday, with 35 billionaires on that list calling Florida home. That's actually down from 40 Florida billionaires listed last year when a full 10 percent listed declared they were Floridians by residence.

    Edward DeBartolo, Jr., shopping center developer and  former San Francisco 49ers Owner, posed with his bronze bust last year during the NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony in Canton, Ohio. DeBartolo remains the wealthiest person in Tampa Bay according to the Forbes 400 list released Tuesday. 
[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]