The Small Town Life: Charlie & Jane’s Bed & Breakfast



It was certainly a fine day to be answering the call of the road.  Despite it being July 4, the weather was like a perfect spring day.  The drive was smooth and sure and the scenery was peppered with plenty of lush foliage.  Thus marked my journey to Mount Ayr, IA, the home of Charlie & Jane’s Bed and Breakfast.

A big part of what I like about bed and breakfasts is that it’s like a home away from home.  And this was truer than usual for Charlie & Jane’s.  Many of the bed and breakfasts I’ve visited are almost like museums in the sense that they are completely restored, opulent homes with furnishings to match.  It’s almost like stepping back in time.  However, Charlie & Jane’s is like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting.  It’s a humble little slice of Americana like going to Grandma’s house.

In fact, images of my grandparents’ home lept into my mind when I arrived at this fine establishment.  Before I could even ring the doorbell, I was greeted by Collus Lawhead, one of the owners.  With a firm handshake, he welcomed me into his home and led me to my temporary home of the Rhoades Suite (pictured below).


Yes, memories of visiting my grandparents flooded into my mind as I gazed about the room.  Even more impressive was that the room contained one of the cookbooks written by the late actor & gourmet cook, Vincent Price.  I may have to see about getting a copy of that book for myself because that man wrote some fabulous recipes.

After settling in, I went downstairs where I was greeted by the other owner, Jane Lawhead.  She told me of the 4th of July activities taking place in Clearfield, IA and graciously provided me with a folding chair  in case I wanted to drive down there and watch the fireworks.

By visiting on the 4th of July, I had hoped to see some small town festivities, but discovered that the counties in this region take turns hosting major holidays.  Because of that, the noninvolved counties completely shut down.  Businesses, restaurants, even movie theaters were all closed for the day.  Unfortunately, that meant I couldn’t experience any of the small town life that I look forward to on these excursions.  Hopefully, I will be able to return at some point and have the proper experience.

I was able to do a little exploration.  I wandered about the town square and marveled at the very impressive library.  How I wish it had been open so I could have done a little perusing.

Fortunately, the inn more than made up for any lack of activities.  The room was very comfortable and contained the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in.  When I went to sleep for the night, my eyelids didn’t even flutter until the next day when I awoke to a thunderstorm.

When I went downstairs for breakfast, I met Bob Tribblett and Georgie Scurfield, who were staying across the hall.  Amazingly, Bob and Georgie were from my neck of the woods as they live in Papillion, NE.  Bob is retired Air Force and Georgie is the treasurer for the Papillion-LaVista Community Theatre which is getting ready to open Annie.

What followed was one of the most splendid breakfast conversations I have enjoyed.  Bob & Georgie told me how they met and we spent much of the time talking about the local theatre scene.  And breakfast was a magnificent meal.  Over glasses of coffee, orange juice, and water, we enjoyed fresh fruit and raspberry coffee cake.  The main course was an omlette that was more like a pie as two crusts of egg contained the tasty filling of cheese, tomatoes, celery.  On the side was bacon made just the way I like it, firm, but chewy.

Thanks to Jane introducing me to the Iowa Bed & Breakfast Association, I have also been able to expand my search list by a great deal and will be able to continue this project for a good many months.  If you find yourself in Mount Ayr, stay for a night at Charlie & Jane’s.  You’ll be glad you did.