Blog

hd-blog Welcome to our blog page!  In here you can find out about some things that are going on in the area or maybe some insight into things you can do.  Every once in awhile, you may even catch us just writing down some of our thoughts and day to day activities.  So, Please feel free to have a look around and let us know if you have any questions!

Third Party Reservation Sites

Third party reservation systems like Expedia, Kayak, Tingo, booking.com, etc. etc. seem to be a necessary Evil these days.  If we don’t use them we don’t get the necessary exposure that we so desperately need, plus for some people, that’s the only way they know how to make reservations.

Here are a number of reasons you shouldn’t use a third party reservation system when dealing with bed and breakfast and small inns and make them directly through the property in which you intend to stay.

  1. Sometimes they lie – the people on the other end of the reservation know nothing about us, they are usually on some other continent and will do anything to get the commission of the sale. They will sell you our standard room like Turkey Run or Door County and tell you it has a hot tub and private balcony.  We’ve had some very upset people arrive here and to find out their room doesn’t have a hot tub and rightly so!  If there is a hot tub room available we try to accommodate but sometimes we are fully booked.
  2. Sometimes they just don’t know – We have one pet friendly room and two wheelchair accessible rooms and these third party companies just don’t get it.  They’ll put someone with a handicap on the second or third floor and we don’t have an elevator. Or someone traveling with their dog is given a room that we don’t allow pets in and we have to turn them away because we assure people with pet allergies that pets have never been in the rooms that we don’t allow pets in.
  3. They don’t give us the information we need form you – Sometimes, all we get is a name from them. No phone number, no e-mail, no credit card info, etc.. We like to send everyone our personnel conformation letter because it has some very valid information on it that their generic confirmation letters do not. Also, we like to get a cell phone number in case we need to get a hold of you for one reason or another.  A couple of examples we would need to get a hold of you are, we need to run into town for something and we want to see what time you think you’ll be arriving, or someone left their cell phone charger and their earrings in their room and we want to get a hold of you before you get too far away.
  4. They charge the same price as us AND they charge a commission – It’s true, they tell you they are giving you these insane prices that no one can touch, but in reality, you’re paying the same price as what you would pay if you went directly through us. Plus, those companies charge us up to 30% commission! There are some that only charge 15% or so and those I don’t have a problem with, but 30%!?!? That’s just greedy.  There are even a couple of sites that we know of that you pay MORE than you would if you booked through us.
  5.  They don’t have our information right – One site once said that we had horses on property! And to try and get them to change anything is nothing short of impossible.
  6. They don’t have all of our rooms to sell – We only give them up to half of our rooms to sell. So you’re only getting a limited number to see and choose from.  We can’t afford to have all of our rooms to be sold on commission.

Do you see that little green lock in the browser bar by our web site domain name?  We paid extra to have that to show we are just as secure as those other big guys.  In fact, if you don’t see that lock on your reservation site, Don’t Use Them!! Also, these third party sites are really good at sneaking in their site when you look for ours and you click on them instead of us, so you think you are dealing with us.  So also look for the “Official Page” of the Brightwood Inn, those others, you just never know what you are getting yourself into!

So in short, when it comes to dealing with “Mom and Pop” businesses, leave the middle man out. It’s really meant for the large corporations that can afford high price commissions and have cookie cutter accommodations.   Here’s a tip that we use, use the third party vendors as a search engine, then call or book directly with the actually property.  We do that all the time when looking for other bed and breakfasts and small inns when we travel! 😉

Oglesby Fun Fest

Schedule of Events

2016 Oglesby Summer Fun Fest

the largest free festival in North Central Illinois

Schedule of Events

July 7-10, 2016

Oglesby Municipal Pool Grounds unless otherwise noted

No gate or entry fee required.

Bring lawn chairs and blankets from which to enjoy our many free entertainment acts.

For more information, call 815-883-3389 or 815-488-3599

50/50 Ticket Sales

Our goal is a $30,000 Jackpot.

Early bird monthly drawings for $100.00 each

Last year’s winner took home $10,404!

This is a Chicago Bears weekend.
Wear your Chicago Bear apparel!

Tuesday & Wednesday, July 5th & 6th
6 p.m.
10-11 year old District 20 Baseball Tournament, Bottomley Field
11-12 year old District 20 Softball Tournament, Memorial Park

THURSDAY, JULY 7TH

3 – 6 p.m

Farmer’s Market

Downtown

5 – 11 p.m.

Carnival & Midway

Unlimited ride wristbands (until 10 p.m.) just $23
Win a free t-shirt!

5 p.m.

Mechanical Bull

Food Booths

Beer Garden

6 p.m.
Boys 10-11 year old District 20 Baseball Tournament, Bottomley Field

Girls 11-12 year old District 20 Softball Tournament, Memorial Park

7 p.m.
Pictures & Autographs with Chicago Blackhawk’s Tommy Hawk


“It’s Finally Hair Again!” Music Night

6 p.m.

Libido Funk Circus

Watch this high energy group perform good ole’ Motown music
to the bass-thumping beats of today’s dance music.

8:45 p.m.

Hairbanger’s Ball

Playing 80’s Hair Rock and Glam Rock

FRIDAY, JULY 8th

8 a.m.

City-wide garage sales

maps available at City Hall

9 a.m.

Boggio’s Sweet Corn for Sale

across from Washington Junior High

5 – 11 p.m.

Carnival & Midway

Unlimited ride wristbands just $23
Win a free t-shirt!


4 p.m.
Boys 10-11 year old Baseball Tournament, Bottomley Field

Girls 9-10 year old Softball Tournament, Memorial Park

5 p.m.

Mechanical Bull

Food Booths

Beer Garden

Pony Rides

 

6 – 9 p.m.

Cruise-In at the Root Beer Stand

Hot cars, cool treats, presented by the Stampede Mustang Club

Join us for the “British Invasion”

6 p.m.

The BriTins

A tribute to the Beatles

9 p.m.

Satisfaction

2-hour concert of music from the World’s Best Rock & Roll Band

SATURDAY, JULY 9th

8 a.m.

City-wide garage sales

maps available at City Hall

9 a.m.

Boggio’s Sweet Corn for Sale

across from Washington Junior High

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Craft & Vendor Sale

To become a vendor call Cathy at 815-343-9403

9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Friends of the Library Used Book Sale

111 S. Woodland Ave.

10 a.m.

Heroes Come in All Sizes Kiddie Parade

Children and families may decorate bikes, strollers,
and wagons in a patriotic theme and join the parade.

Prizes for kids of all ages!

12 p.m.

Water Fights

Firefighters’ tug-of-war, hosted by Oglesby Fire Department

1 – 11 p.m.

Carnival & Midway

Unlimited ride wristbands just $23
Win a free t-shirt!

1 p.m.

Mechanical Bull

Food Booths

Beer Garden

Pony Rides

Petting Zoo

1 p.m.

KIDS PARTY IN THE PARK 

Completely FREE kids activities

Featuring Ralph’s World in concert 

and stilt-walker and juggler Jason Kollum

2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

The GreatLakes Timber Show

Chainsaw carving, axe throwing, wood chopping, crosscut sawing, log rolling,
audience participation, and loads of clean family humor.

3 p.m.

Paddy’s Favorite Sons

the Illinois Valley’s only Celtic Folk band
4 p.m.
Boys 10-11 year old Baseball Tournament, Bottomley Field

Girls 9-10 year old Softball Tournament, Memorial Park

4 – 6 p.m.

Chicago Bear’s Staley da Bear

meet & greet with the mascot; wear your Bears colors!

Super Star Saturday Night

Celebrating the music of “The Boss” and “The Killer”

5 p.m.

Glory Days

Bruce Springsteen tribute

9 p.m.

Lance Lipinsky

Jerry Lee Lewis tribute,
performed by a member of the Chicago cast of “Million Dollar Quartet”

Sunday, July 10th

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Craft & Vendor Sale

To become a vendor call Cathy at 815-343-9403

12 p.m.
Illinois Valley Community Hospital’s

“Hometown Heroes” Parade

Join us for one of the finest parades in our area.
RAIN OR SHINE.

Call 815-488-3599 to sign up to participate.

1 – 9:30 p.m.

Carnival & Midway

Unlimited ride wristbands just $23
Win a free t-shirt!

1 p.m.

Mechanical Bull

Food Booths

Beer Garden

Pony Rides

Petting Zoo

Oompah Music
by Jimmy’s Bavarians

2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

The Great Lakes Timber Show

 Chainsaw carving, axe throwing, wood chopping, crosscut sawing, log rolling,
audience participation, and loads of clean family humor.


3 p.m.

Keith Allynn

A Neil Diamond Tribute

 

4:30 p.m.

Zumba Demonstration

Led by the Oglesby Rec Department’s Diane and Cindy

6 p.m.

FEATURE ATTRACTION:

The Chicago Six

Featuring former Chicago Bear stars Dave Hampton, Otis Wilson & Steve McMichael

9 p.m.

50/50 Drawing Winner Announced

Someone is going to win thousands of dollars.

Need not be present to win.

9:30 p.m.

Gigantic Fireworks Finale

Going out with a band. See you next year!

Why Should I Choose a Bed and Breakfast?

bed and breakfast, beautiful viewWhen you’re looking for a home away from home while on vacation, the Internet has no shortage of places. There’s a multitude of hotels and motels with cheap rates and even cheaper amenities, but nestled in those endless listings are bed and breakfasts that are as much a destination as the vacation spots. There’s a major difference between staying at a bed and breakfast and some off the Interstate hotel.

It feels like home…only better

When you open the room to a motel or hotel room, it looks like a hotel room. It feels like a hotel room. Hotels are designed to value cost savings over comfort, so you get stiff beds, thin sheets and tiny rooms. The furniture is something from a 1990’s dentist waiting room and sleep is often impossible thanks to the 30-year-old heating and cooling system.

Bed and breakfasts are the exact opposite. We want you to have maximum comfort and feel like you’re in the perfect version of your home. The furniture is handpicked for its beauty and luxury. The rooms are fitted with the most beautiful accents and the beds and sheets provide the best possible comfort. It’s everything you wish your home could be and more.

A view to remember

What do you get for a view at a motel or hotel? Open the windows and you’ll gaze upon the beautiful and colorful asphalt parking lot. If you’re lucky, then you’ll end up facing the Interstate or the side of another building.

With a bed and breakfast, your view is of nature and beautiful vistas. Our own rooms have amazing views including our organic vegetable garden and landscaped lawn. We have taken a major effort in creating not only luxurious rooms, but also beautiful views. When you’re sipping coffee on a balcony, we want you to be mesmerized by the beauty you see.

Out of this world breakfast

Stale doughnuts are often what most hotels and motels consider a “Continental” breakfast. If you’re lucky, then some microwaved sausage and cold bacon. The goal of a vacation is to enjoy yourself and not choke down breakfast before heading out for the day. Breakfast is an important meal and you want something that will energize you for the day ahead.

Here at Brightwood Inn, breakfast is an experience. You’ll come down to our breakfast area and enjoy fresh fruit and homemade muffins and breads. You can sit down to a delicious home cooked breakfast that satiates your morning hunger and fuels you for a day of hiking, shopping and sightseeing.

We’re a bed AND breakfast. It’s part of who we are, so it deserves to be something out of this world.

 

Spring Time at the Brightwood Inn

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Well, Spring has finally sprung on us and I don’t know about you, but we could not be happier! Most of the migratory birds are back now, all we are waiting for are the Barn Swallows and the Hummingbirds.  I even saw some purple Martins the other day, which I thought was a bit early, but they do tend to come earlier and leave a little latter than the Swallows. The House finches tend to leave us in the most harsh winter months, but they came back about a month ago, however the Golden Finches just came back the other day, as bright yellow as you have seen!  We have a very large population of Blue Birds this year and most of them have taken up residency in our houses already. Our Brown Thrasher has returned again this year but we have yet to see our Mocking Bird or our Cat Bird. So, like I said, we are just waiting on our Hummers and Barn Swallows.

 

 

 

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First Time at a Bed and Breakfast? Here are some things you should know about us!

We get a lot of people in this neck of the woods that tell us this is their first Bed and Breakfast experience. That’s great! You are going to love it here! Unfortunately some people have some misconceptions about what a Bed and Breakfast offers.  Let me start out by saying we are not a Hostile, nor are we a large house that rents out our spare rooms. All of our rooms have their own private bathrooms, all of our rooms come with their own sheets and linens and we do not live in the Inn itself,  we live in the house that’s 200 yards to the southeast. (Which by the way is a grueling 30 second commute 😉 ) There is a combination lock on the front door, and you get a key to your own room, so you may come and go as you please through out the day and night. So in many ways we are kind of like a hotel.

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But to tell you the truth, we ARE different than a Hotel, in a good way!  We go out of our way to make our rooms more comfortable and more unique than a hotel, to leave a lasting impression, unlike a cookie cutter hotel where you know exactly what to expect each time, and every room looks the same as the next.  We have big fluffy towels, unlike those scratchy things you get at hotels, we have mattresses with pillow tops and feather beds and all of our sheets are made of the best materials and high thread count that we can find.  All of our nine rooms have a beautiful view and gas fireplaces for those chilly nights. Six rooms have two person hot tubs with fluffy robes and three have their own private balcony.

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And can you get Eggs Benedict at a Days Inn?  How about Irish Cream French Toast, made to order Omelets or Apple Cinnamon Whole Grain Pancakes? One of the best parts of staying at our Starved Rock Bed and Breakfast is our homemade breakfasts!  So here is something you should know about breakfast at a B&B. We go out of our way to make wonderful breakfasts, however we can only offer a couple of entrees each morning.  Here is an example of what might be offered for breakfast at the Brightwood Inn.

bread

First off, we set up the side board with homemade breads, muffins, coffee cake, Homemade Granola, wheat flakes, some fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, coffee and tea.  Grab a plate and a mug and help yourself to the side board, then sit down in our beautiful breakfast room and Our Innkeepers will present you with today’s entree options, and get your order for juice.

Saturday Morning – Dutch Apple Whole Grain Pancakes with maple whipped cream – or – Garden Fresh Frittata with Pancetta and Parmesan (Frittata is just a fancy way of saying oven baked omelet)  – or – Scrambled eggs, Applewood bacon and Whole Wheat Toast.

Sunday Morning – Cinnamon Swirl French Toast Casserole with butter and brown sugar glaze – or – Eggs Mornay (Lightly poached eggs on top of slices of ham and toasted English muffins, topped with a Swiss cheese and white wine sauce) – or – Scrambled eggs, Applewood bacon and Whole Wheat Toast.

eggs benny

We always offer the scrambled eggs as an option every morning if you are not feeling adventurous or you just want something simple like eggs.  Hey! We get it, we’ve been there!  We also inquire about food allergies and restrictions so that everyone has something they can eat.  It can get pretty tricky some days, but we manage to make everyone happy!

And to set another misconception straight, everyone has their own table at the Brightwood Inn.  We know not everyone likes to sit at a table and talk to strangers while your eating your breakfast.  So, sit back and relax and have a peaceful breakfast.  But we do have larger tables if people do decide to sit together, and it happens all the time.  At a small Inn like this you run into people with whom you have things in common. It also can be fun to communicate with people outside your own little world.

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And finally, the best thing about your bed and breakfast experience are your Innkeepers. For starters, we know the area best! Got a question?  We got an answer! We know the best restaurants, sights to see and when to see them. We want you to have a very memorable experience at our Quiet Country Inn, we’ve put our heart and soul into this place. there is always room for improvement so Please let us know what can we do to make your next visit even better.  With in reason of course! 😉 Make sure you check out our packages as well, add something to make your experience even more memorable!

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We sincerely hope our little blog helps!  And as always, if you have any other questions, always feel free to ask!!

Breakfast at Brennan’s, Brightwood Style!

eggs benny

Just finished up our “Breakfast at Brennan’s, Brightwood style” menu, for this Mardis Gras weekend. Stay hungry my friends!

Breakfast at Brennan’s, Brightwood Style

Saturday Morning

Cherries Jubilee Crepes

Delicate Crepes stuffed with a cream cheese mixture then topped with Cherries Jubilee.  Comes with a side of bacon.

or

Creole Skillet Bake

Andoullie Sausage with red onion, green bell pepper, tomatoes and redskin potatoes sautéed in a skillet then, baked together with eggs mild Cajun spices and topped with cheddar cheese. Comes with a side of Wheat Toast.

or

Scrambled eggs, bacon and Wheat Toast.

 

Breakfast at Brennan’s, Brightwood Style

 

Sunday Morning

Bananas Foster French Toast

Custard like French Toast Casserole topped with sautéed bananas and caramelized brown sugar.  Comes with a side of bacon.

or

Eggs Hussarde

Toasted English Muffins with a slice of ham topped with a Marchand de vin (red wine mushroom sauce), then a poached egg and then finally Hollandaise sauce.

or

Scrambled eggs, bacon and Wheat Toast.

 

 

 

Frozen Waterfalls

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With some good rains and freezing temperatures, the frozen waterfalls at Starved Rock are looking very nice this year!

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Each Canyon having it’s own different look and feel.  It’s really quite something to see up close.

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If Cabin fever has got the best of you, this sure is a good remedy for that.

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Come and take your own pictures, create your own memories.

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And then come back to the Brightwood Inn and warm up next to your own fireplace, relax after a long day of hiking in your hot tub and most of all, re connect with your loved ones.  Make your reservations today!

Small Business Saturday!

This year for Small Business Saturday, the Brightwood Inn is featuring FREE $25.00 gift certificates for every $100.00 gift certificate you purchase!! 25 FREE Buckaroos!! Shop Small! Keep it local! (Offer is good Saturday and Sunday 11/28/2015 and 11/29/2015) 🙂 You can purchase on-line (preferred, just type in small business in the message line) or you can give us a call at 815-667-4600!!

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Fall 2015

So far the fall of 2016 has been above average temperatures and way below average precipitation.  Thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Patricia we are experiencing a little relief in the precipitation department.  Temperatures still look to be above average in the 10 day forecast.  We’ve only had one bout with freezing temperatures so far.  Two weekends ago we got a freeze advisory, so we went out and covered up the garden really good. The temperature got down to 29 degrees and unfortunately most of hard work was in vain. Our garden really took it on the chin killing ninety percent of the plants.  The good news is that our efforts did help keep all the fruit and vegetables form freezing, so that we can still harvest them. One thing I found interesting was that the morning glory on the back patio, which is normally a very temperature sensitive plant, remains virtually unscathed from the event.  All I can think of is that it was on a more protected side of the Inn.

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The ten day forecast still looks very good, I don’t know about you, but I could take this kind of weather all winter long.  So there are still flowers blooming all over the Inn and the fall colors are still going strong. Personally, Fall is my favorite season.  The crisp air, the smell of the leaves and maybe a distant campfire. It’s just a little chilly outside but nothing a nice little hike won’t warm you up fast.  A time when you can enjoy a campfire outside with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Regular or adult version 😉

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These are some pictures I took just yesterday out around the Inn and with weather like what we’ve been having, I don’t see it changing till farther in the future! Relax and Enjoy at the Brightwood Inn!

BBQ n’ Blues

blues and bbq

In its 2nd YEAR! The 1st Annual BBQ-n-Blues was such a success- we’re doing it again! On September 11, 2015, we’ll be celebrating with Bands, BBQ & a Rib Cook-Off Contest. Held on 1st Street between Marquette & Gooding in historic LaSalle, bands will begin at 4:00 pm with the Rib Cook-Off turn in around 6:00 pm with winner announced at 8pm. Enjoy blues sounds through 11:00 or so- and don’t forget to grab some legendary BBQ from one of our vendors!

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BBQ-n-Blues Bands

Crossroads – 4:00 PMcrossroads

Steve Cerqua and his band Crossroads have been keeping the blues tradition alive in the Illinois Valley for the past 20 years. Covering music by such artists as Robert Johnson, Muddy Water, Bonamassa and many more!

Written Warning – 5:30 PMWrittenWarningCourtHouse1117s

Screaming guitar and whaling harmonica amplifies this modern day soulful blues band to an impressive sonic level. Whether playing for a small crowd or a packed concert hall, Written Warning delivers and connects with every member of the audience.

The Lizzi Neal Band – 7:00 PMlizziNealBand

The Lizzi Neal Band from Northern Illinois is blues with a kick of TNT.
They have won the Rockford Area Music Industry (RAMI) award for …Blues Band Artist of the Year two years straight.

Morry Sochat – 8:30 PMmorrysochat

Morry Sochat and The Special 20’s are bringing a fresh sound to the Chicago Blues scene. They mix classic Chicago Blues with Swing and Rock N’ Roll from the 1950’s. The band is influenced by the best in blues history. Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Louis Jordan, Junior Wells, and all of the Chicago greats.

Back Pack Jones – 10:00 PM

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 Back Pack Jones is an Illinois-based rhythm and blues band that has hit the international blues scene in just over two years after the band’s formation in 2012.  The band’s success skyrocketed after performing at the prestigious International Blues Challenge in 2013, recognized in the top third of blues bands from across the globe. – See more at: http://www.backpackjones.com
Back Pack Jones brings a high-energy show led by the charismatic and extremely talented front man “Big Mike Wallace” and a show chock-full of Back Pack Jones original blues.

– See more at: http://www.lasallebusiness.org/events/lasalle/bbq-n-blues/#post_profile