Bed and breakfast a hidden treasure

Published 11:03 am Friday, August 29, 2008

For those living or spending time in Shelby County, the Blue Spring Manor Bed and Breakfast Inn is a surprise waiting to be discovered.

Ray and Doris Harris own the inn and have run it since the day it opened in October 2000, eight years ago.

While Vincent may not seem like the first place to go on a getaway trip, vacationers should take a second look.

“It’s quiet and secluded. It’s close to town, but not too far away,” Doris said. “We are a destination. People come here to be here.”

Doris said the couple chose Vincent because people in the town were receptive to having a bed and breakfast there. Ray is originally from Birmingham, and the two have lived in the area for more than 30 years.

Blue Spring Manor is a homey collection of mementos from the Harrises’ lives.

For example, the Kilimanjaro Suite is filled with hand-carved pieces found during a trip Doris took to Malawi, in Eastern Africa.

Also, each room boasts its own eclectic book collection. Guests might find books ranging from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis to “Science and Practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy” by David Clark and Christopher Fairburn.

The inn also boasts massage rooms, a spa, outdoor pool and hot tub, a putting green and a croquet lawn.

The Harrises see their business as an extension of their lifestyle.

“People felt like we were always open to friends and company. It was really a lifestyle,” Doris said. “The people who knew us said, ‘You should do this.'”

Perhaps more than anything else, Blue Spring Manor is known for its food.

“People love our filet, our halibut. They really love everything we do because we cater to them,” Doris said. “All our soups, sausage and salad dressings are freshly made here. We do not do much out of a box or a can. We grow a lot in our garden.”

While the inn’s cooking tends to trend towards the gourmet, the staff has no problem coming up with a menu to fit any tastes.

“We always ask if there are any dietary needs or allergies and if there are any requests,” she said.

For the Harrises, good food is just another way to give their guests an added level of comfort.

“What I love is being creative with what we cook, with flavors and presentations,” Doris said.

More than anything, Blue Spring Manor offers an opportunity to take a little time to yourself without having to travel too far.

“What we really offer is serenity within proximity,” Doris said. “We are allowing others to enjoy the quiet. It’s a very needed thing in today’s world for people to be able to get away.”

Blue Spring Manor does everything by reservation, so to reserve a room or just to go get a nice lunch, be sure to call ahead. For more information, call 672-9955.