Old Thyme Bed & Breakfast
By Jennifer Highet
Room Service*September 2014
By Jennifer Highet
Photos: Betsy Erickson
Over coffee one morning at a bed and breakfast in Fort Bragg, Tony and Linda Kilcollins decided they wanted to run a business of their own. Ideally, it would supplement their retirement income and be something they’d truly enjoy doing. “We love meeting new people, cooking together and entertaining. Running a B&B seemed like the most logical choice,” Tony remembers.
When they first toured the 1890s Victorian in Redding that would eventually become their home, it was love at first sight. With its 12-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, original glass door knobs, clawfoot tub, woodwork, baseboards, dumbwaiter and elegant chandeliers, they knew their dream was about to be realized. The charm and character were more than they could have hoped for; it was perfect.
To prepare for their new venture, the couple took classes at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena and met with B&B owners up and down the coast. Seasoned travelers themselves, Tony and Linda have always preferred to stay in a B&B over a large chain hotel. They enjoy the personal attention and homey feeling and wanted to offer those pleasures to their guests, as well.
Old Thyme offers two guest rooms, each complete with a working skeleton key for the door. “Dragonfly” has an adjacent bathroom, and “Lavender and Lace” boasts an en suite bathroom complete with clawfoot tub. The bathrooms also offer soaps made by Clear Creek Soap Company. A recent guest from Chicago raved about her stay:“We chose Old Thyme based on its location to downtown. We found the old Victorian to be very charming. The bed was very comfy, innkeepers very friendly and the food was amazing!”
Speaking of food, breakfast is part of the B&B experience, and the Kilcollinses offer a wide variety of specialty items. “You won’t find a packaged Danish at this location,” Linda says . How does Eggs Benedict Strata sound? French toast roll-ups? Praline french toast? Bacon and egg tart? Prosciutto and gruyere croissants? Or how about Grandma’s old fashioned gravy over biscuits?
The couple buy locally whenever possible. Mustard (which might be a secret ingredient in their Eggs Benedict Strata) comes from Wilda’s Grill. Granola is provided by From the Harvest, and date night wines are courtesy of Moseley Family Cellars.
The Kilcollinses want guests to have a warm and inviting experience. After breakfast, one could relax on the porch with a good book, check email with the available wi-fi or sip a cup of java from the complimentary coffee bar.
Others stroll through the garden specially built for B&B guests. An enchanting purple door (originally from the kitchen) now serves as a garden gate. Sit at the bistro table and enjoy the water feature and patio, built using brick that was found under the house and appears to be original to the era.
Tony and Linda are their guests' personal concierges, able to offer suggestions, directions and make reservations. While they don’t serve lunch or dinner, the B&B’s proximity to downtown Redding provides access to many eateries nearby. And when returning from a day of exploration, guests will find a nighttime snack of cookies and milk, one of the many things that make a stay with Old Thyme unique.
“We are incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to share our 1890s home with the community,” says Tony. Linda agrees. “This venture, which was once a dream, has become a reality.”
Old Thyme Bed and Breakfast • 2067 Placer St., Redding
*Since the publication of this article, we are sad to say the Old Thyme Bed and Breakfast is closed.