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The Blade – Lodging is Key in Attracting People

Back to the survey sponsored by the Fairbury Planning Commission! One of the questions was, “How strongly do you agree that we need a hotel/motel and/or some Bed and Breakfasts?”

Almost 70% of the respondents (or 179 people) agreed or strongly agreed! Some were neutral. Only about 6% (or 15 people) disagreed.

“I have to agree,” says Bobbi McKeon, coordinator of the Specialty Shops. “As we invite folks to visit our area attractions, the lack of lodging in Fairbury is an obvious obstacle. In a recent conversation, we were wondering – with some many beautiful, well-cared-for, old homes in town – would there be any interest in starting any “bed and breakfasts?” B&B’s are neat additions to any destination spot.”

The nearest Bed and Breakfast to Fairbury is the beautiful Forrest Hotel (n/k/a The Hampsher Hotel) which has been restored by the Forrest Historical Society over the last several years. Thankfully, we can provide this as a nice option for lodging.

One of our area residents, who graduated from Forrest-Strawn-Wing, took a tour of the Hampsher Hotel and found it a “classy renovation of an old town landmark.” For those of you who have not experienced the Hampsher, here is a brief recount of his experience:
“The building has undergone a complete transformation, inside and out, and now presents a very appealing presence that has a clean, bright, and well-appointed appearance while maintaining the character of its age and history.

“In addition to the kitchen and the dining rooms on the main floor there is also a nifty little gift shop stationed right inside the front doors that can’t help but appeal to our needs or wants and it is adjoined by the stairway leading up to the rooms on the second floor.

“Having negotiated the stairs (there is a mechanized lift chair to assist guests in need of help), you will find four individual arrangements of rooms, each of which is done in a different décor, eye catching and unique in their separate themes as well as invitingly comfortable. The rooms are available for visitors and the venue is of a “bed and breakfast” nature so, instead of having your guests staying at your place you can just send them on over to the Hotel where they can enjoy a well-cared for stay.

“Or, maybe you’d just like to take a break yourself and experience a “sleep-over” in an atmosphere that gives you both an interesting experience and the comfortable escape with a bed and a meal that someone else is going to make – maybe for a special occasion or, just to pamper yourself.

“The building also has a basement that has been converted into a “meet and dine” hall (or just meet if you prefer) and it has been done up as the “Garden Room” with a décor that appropriately matches its name – very nice and plenty of room if you have a group meeting agenda to contend with. If you haven’t seen the Hotel since its rebirth you should at least take a look, especially if you’re aware of the place’s history and how it used to look – hats off to the Historical Society and all of those who have contributed to the rescue of one of the town’s historical monuments.”

Based on the survey responses, having lodging in Fairbury would be a good idea. How many more people could we attract to spend more time shopping and dining here if they would have a place to spend the night?

“Is anyone wanting to setup a B&B in Fairbury?” asks Bobbi McKeon. Please call Bobbi at (815) 692-4500 or email fairbury@fairburyILattractions.com with any ideas or suggestions!