No Blues at the Blue Belle Inn

I went from one mostly consonant-free state to another. Ohio. Iowa. A measly two consonants between them. No wonder I got them mixed up when I was very young!

Jeff and I had been to Iowa once a long time ago. We often reminisced about a motel near Ames, the quiet location, the pond our windows overlooked (though it could have been a rain puddle considering all the rain we’d driven through). We always wanted to go back through the state, and now we never will go together. But I went back by myself and this time, I didn’t stay at a motel. I stayed at a bed and breakfast, one I’d known about for many years: The Blue Belle Inn in St. Ansgar, owned by fellow writer Sherrie Hansen, author of the wildflowers of Scotland romances. (One is named Blue Belle. Hmmm. I wonder where she got that title!)

When Sherrie bought the house twenty-five years ago, it was in terrible condition, but she restored the building, upgraded it, and decorated each of the bedrooms to reflect a story. I stayed in Plum Creek, named after a Laura Ingalls Wilder book.

Talk about being steeped in luxury! Lovely and very comfortable room room. Gourmet breakfast — egg and ham strata, cranberry scone, fresh fruit cup. Delicious lunch — chicken salad on a croissant with a salad. Fabulous dinner — cottage pie with a thatched roof (her version of shepherd’s pie) and coconut cake for desert.

As you probably figured out, although the inn is a bed and breakfast, Sherrie provides other meals for guests who stay more than a night or two.

I also had the luxury of meeting Sherrie, a long-time internet friend. We met at Gather.com, a now defunct social network site for writers and photographers. Sherrie moderated one of my favorite groups — a photography group for all things color. She would choose a color, and group members submitted photos of something depicting that color. Such fun!

Sherrie is as wise and as intelligent as she appears online, making my stay at the Blue Belle Inn a real joy.

And so another online friend has become a friend for real.

***

(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

***

27 Responses to “No Blues at the Blue Belle Inn”

  1. Norm Brown Says:

    I can vouch for all the nice things you say about the Blue Belle Inn. I stayed in the Robin Hood bedroom during an author gathering Sherrie organized shortly after our novels were published in 2008. Even got to attend one of Sherrie and Mark’s live dinner mystery plays. Did they have one during your stay? Wonderful place and wonderful people.

    • Sherrie Hansen Says:

      Thank you, Norm! When Pat was here I told her about the weekend when you came to stay and how much we enjoyed meeting you!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I didn’t get to see a mystery play, but it didn’t matter. The whole stay was fabulous.  I was going to choose the Robin Hood room because it seemed more my style, but I went for opulence instead.

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

  2. foodiesleuth Says:

    Staying at the Blue Belle Inn is one of the items on my bucket list…Too bad I hadn’t met Sherrie when I visited Iowa in the past!

  3. Cicy Rosado Says:

    wow how nice looks so pretty thats the way to go !!

  4. Kathy Says:

    What an amazing trip you’re having – new places and new friends!

  5. Juliet Waldron Says:

    How adorable–esp. the pic of your bug in the driveway of the famous Blue Belle inn! Glad you finally met Sherrie–must have been lovely for you both.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I enjoyed the visit immensely. Sherrie has always written so charmingly about the Blue Belle Inn that it almost seemed unreal being there. But a good unreal. Too bad I never made it to Pennsylvania. I would have liked to meet you.

    • Sherrie Hansen Says:

      I wish we could pull off an author weekend away so I could meet all of you!

  6. Coco Ihle Says:

    What a lovely place, Pat!!! I’ve dreamed of going there and meeting Sherrie and Mark and staying in such a special home. Maybe one day…

  7. Wanda Hughes Says:

    I’m marking this place to stay when Bill and I visit Iowa to see family. I love this and want to meet Sherrie too! Your adventure is turning out to be just that… an adventure! So many experiences to go over in the future. You might think you won’t be able to remember but I think the memories will pop up to delight and amaze you when you least expect them.

  8. Katherine M Cundiff Says:

    Oh my, but you are such a lucky girl! Would most certainly be an awesome time to be around such loving, talented, gifted and beautiful people. Bucket list addition, and yes I actually have one started. One wonderful experience was checked off this past year when I was lucky enough to make a trip to Yellowstone National Park.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yellowstone is on my list, too. Most of the national parks are.

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

  9. Jan Blondet Says:

    Lucky, lucky you, Pat. How charming!

  10. Pat Fell Down and Broke Her Crown | Bertram's Blog Says:

    […] am back at the Blue Belle Inn in St. Ansgar. Sherrie Hansen, the owner, is on a much needed vacation to Scotland (though it’s […]


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