by Mary Cokenour
Hospitality to travelers, strangers really, goes back to the beginning of recorded history; an extension of religious beliefs and culture.
A perfect example is Xenia, the concept of Greek hospitality where generosity and courtesy were reciprocated between host and guest. A traveler could knock upon the door of any home, be greeted warmly, given food and a bed to rest upon.
Zeus, leader of the Grecian Pantheon, was also called Zeus Xenios, the protector of travelers; often disguising himself as a weary traveler he was able to see if humble hospitality was practiced or not. Rewards were bestowed to those who were pious to the concept (Theoxeny), punishments to those who refused to help a stranger, or even try to take advantage.
As humankind developed, travel went from walking, horse/oxen drawn carts, waterways, stagecoach, railway, automobile, airplane. Inns with many rooms, stables for the horse and oxen, developed into hotels with the advent of indoor plumbing.
As families traveled on vacation and needed cheaper lodging, motels burst forth along highways. Hotels provided meals through a restaurant of their own, or kitchen providing room service. Diners became the roadside partners to the motels, and then the fast food industry came onto the scene.
Having traveled through Europe, Russia, Canada and the United States, the concept of hospitality differs, not from country to country, or town to town. Nowadays, what you get might just be dependent upon what you give, and that means money….or does it?
The Bed and Breakfast, or B & B for short, has never left, but is becoming a much desired staying place for people on vacation or traveling for business.
The owners of a B&B often live within the residence, or within a smaller building on the premises. Cozy sized bedrooms with ultra-comfy beds, a small private bathroom; homemade breakfast is typically the only meal served.
Guests are treated more like family; rocking chairs on porches, taking in the night air and sky; sharing stories of the day’s sightseeing.
…and let me introduce you to the Valley of the Gods Bed and Breakfast. The Route 261 entrance to Valley of the Gods is 6.5 miles once you have made the turn off Highway 163; on the way is the road to Goosenecks State Park.
Or, like we did, travel down the three miles of switchbacks known as the Moki Dugway, ready to explore the 17 mile trail of the Valley and its amazing formations.
About a half mile in is the B & B, stopping only to take some exterior shots, owner Claire Dorgan came out to ask us if we were reserved guests. Explaining the travel blog, and wanting to do a write up of her business, she cheerfully exclaimed, “Well, come on in!”
We weren’t staying there, but already felt wanted and welcomed.
The porch is referred to as the outdoor living room, dining room and kitchen; a place to take in the beauty of the landscape, the night show of the stars, breathe deep and relax.
Inside, this home is amazing wood and stone; antiques galore; handmade quilts adorn the sink-into-glorious-sleep beds; rustic country/southwestern charm. Breakfast is freshly prepared by Claire, unique creations keep the guests surprised and satisfied.
Her husband, Gary, proudly talks about the energy efficiency of the B & B; powered by wind and solar systems. Looking for a little privacy, the old root cellar building has been converted into a quaint little hideaway of its own.
Valley of the Gods Bed and Breakfast is a haven in the desert; its warm arms surrounding visitors at night while the coyote howls and a tumbleweed rolls into the dark.
Valley of the Gods Bed and Breakfast, PO Box 310307, Mexican Hat, UT 84531. Phone: 970-749-1164