Husband-and-wife innkeepers Jack Hazelton and Gale Glasson Abayon are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Fairview Manor, a Ben Lomond bed-and-breakfast that hosts guests looking for peace and quiet among the redwoods.
The five-bedroom inn was built by Eleanor Wilder of the famed Wilder family, near the site of the Ben Lomond Hotel that burned down near the time of World War I.
The couple describes the one-time brothels in Ben Lomond and how the train traveled from San Francisco, carrying visitors to the redwoods.
Each morning, the couple serves breakfasts to guests who visit Ben Lomond for some R-and-R.
“We get a lot of people who have not experienced bed-and-breakfasts before,” Hazelton said.
Recently, he said, guests from Georgia, England and all around California visited the inn.
“Many want to go hiking in the parks here,” he noted.
The couple took over operation from Abayon’s mother five years ago, and they’ve made hospitality their way of life. They have transferred knowledge gained during 37 years in the airline industry to help their guests feel indulged. As proof, Abayon recently developed a substantial vegan and gluten-free menu to cater to specific dining preferences, and she likes to serve something new each time visitors sit down at the table.
“We try very hard not to repeat meals,” Abayon said. “I keep track of what every person eats.”
Each room is themed. In the California ’60s Room, a framed ticket from Woodstock catches the eye. In the English Rose Room, pictures of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones adorn the walls. In the bathroom of the Hawaiian Room, a sparkling, refurbished claw-foot bathtub and shower, circa 1923, adds to the allure.
“We have a lot of fun finding stuff to put in the inn,” Abayon said.
The couple play host to guests from around the world, who often visit to see the redwoods.
Guests are often directed to the Tyrolean Inn for German food or to Castle Rock, Loch Lomond or Big Basin Redwoods State Park for a day hike.
“Last weekend, we got a couple who wanted to get away for the weekend. They came from San Jose,” Abayon said.
They’ve hosted weddings and parties on the property and love to share the history of the valley with each guest who comes.
After decades in the corporate airline world, the couple enjoys the pace of life and kinship they feel among their Ben Lomond neighbors.
“It’s a very strong sense of community,” Hazelton said. “Coming from the big city, we really noticed it. Without a doubt, these are the best neighbors we’ve ever had.”
The inn sees many returning guests, and there’s been a recent trend toward younger couples who are looking for something different from a traditional motel.
“You’re not just doing business with customers, you’re doing business with friends,” Hazelton said of the guests who come to the inn.
“You’re not going to make a ton of money in this business,” he said, “but we will make people happy.”
At a glance
What: Fairview Manor marks 25th year
Where: 245 Fairview Ave., in Ben Lomond
Info: 336-3355 or www.fairviewmanor.com