Want to Offer B&B to NWTF Visitors? Beth Thornton Tells Us How

Dear Editor:

The NWTF has stirred up interest, speculation, rumor, concern, and excitement with its new initiatives, the Palmetto Shooting Center and the Hunting Heritage Outdoor Education Center. I’ve been particularly concerned about lodging for all the people who will be coming here as a result and that led me to do a little research on what it takes to run a Bed and Breakfast. It seems to me that many of us have a spare room reserved for guests or children home for a visit, so why not use this resource to welcome these new visitors to our area? It could mean a little bit of money in our pockets and it might keep people in this area to shop and learn about all we have to offer in the small towns on the ridge, instead of their going to the larger towns around. Best of all, your B & B wouldn’t need to be open all the time; it could be something you do just when there is an event planned or when it’s convenient for you.

What I learned from my research is we don’t have to do a lot of fussing and cooking and complying with government rules to provide a comfortable place for a few people to stay. South Carolina has a law called the Bed & Breakfast Act that can be found online under www.scstatehouse.gov/code/title45. I just googled “SC Bed and Breakfast Act” and I got several choices for getting to it. I won’t print it all here, but I’ll put it in my own words: All you need is a comfortable bed with space to hang clothes and access to a bathroom. You may serve breakfast or a tea-type service to registered guests. There are rules pertaining to cleanliness and safety that are sensible and probably no different from the standards you yourself impose on your living conditions. You will need commercial insurance including property and liability coverage as a lodging facility. There is an exemption from tax for “any bed and breakfast that has no more than five rentable guestrooms on the same premises and that is also the innkeeper’s place of abode.”

The other thing I learned about by talking to some of the younger, hipper folk in town is “AirBnB”(www.airbnb.com) which is the latest thing for finding a place to stay by just contacting this website and finding someone in the area who is willing to rent space. It might be a sleeping bag on the floor or a castle with a chef. It sounds scary to an old fogey like me, but there are safeguards built in. There is a system called “Verified ID” that means participants have completed a specific set of verifications-online ID, offline ID, profile photo, email address, phone number and address. After each visit, hosts and guests write reviews about the experience. There are also easy reporting features so you can easily notify airbnb if you ever feel uncomfortable. There is a payment system that makes payment convenient and assured.

Please feel free to contact me if you want to discuss anything I’ve written here, but wait until Sunday, March 8. We’re opening the Edgefield General Store on March 7 and I expect to be very busy until then. My home phone number is 803-637-6760.

Beth Thornton