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Sunday, July 22 2018

Caretaker Profiles

Virginia Doser - One of the few Professional Innsitters


Date of Birth: 1/12/48
Interests: Cooking, travel, and reading
Quote: "Whatever you can do, or dream, you can begin it! Boldness has genius, power and imagination in it. Begin it now." (Goethe)

PHOTO
Virginia's taking a break at a local inn!

Virginia Doser is one of the few professional innsitters in the U.S.

She began innsitting the summer of 1994 in Emporia, Kansas by taking care of the White Rose Inn for her friends who really needed a holiday. She enjoyed this experience so much that the following spring, she completed an intensive, hands-on innsitting workshop in northern California, and decided that innsitting was for her. "I was a librarian for the previous twenty years in all types of libraries: public, community college, law and accounting firms, and I have also done consulting for corporations and individuals in library start-up and management. Additionally, I reviewed books for Library Journal and a major southern California daily newspaper, and compiled bibliographies. I enjoyed the diversity of all of this, but I was ready for something else," says Virginia.

Originally from Wisconsin, she grew up in Long Beach, California. "I attended California State University, Long Beach and earned two undergraduate degrees in English and Comparative Literature. I sort of fell into the graduate school library science program at the University of Southern California, after contemplating a graduate degree in art history or law school. I think I made the right choice; my experience as a librarian really provides a resourceful background for me now," she states.

Virginia quit working as a librarian in 1995, and set up her innsitting business; mailing out brochures and resumes, and visiting as many inns as she could in California and Wisconsin. "My first innsitting job was very local -- seven miles down the coast in Laguna Beach at the Carriage House -- a lovely older inn that I still work at when I am able," she remarks. Since Virginia worked in the hospitality industry as a waitress and hostess throughout high school and college, she has a good understanding of the service industry, and is able to handle situations as they arise. She has innsat for small, quiet inns, and extremely busy inns alike; either doing everything, or supervising a staff varying from 1-6 people.

As an innsitter, Virginia's duties might include all or some of the tasks required: greeting guests, taking telephone and in-person reservations, sending out confirmations, giving brief tours of the inn to people who stop by, cooking and serving breakfast and afternoon snacks, shopping and banking, housekeeping and laundry, and pet care and light gardening if needed. "I do enjoy the variations and challenges of each inn," she explains. Virginia goes on to say, "Because I am not the owner, it is very easy for me to "sell" the inn as a good place to stay to prospective guests. I let them know right away that I am taking care of the inn for the owners, so they seem comfortable right away in asking questions or making relevant comments about the inn to me. I, in turn, pass any suggestions and comments onto the owners. This seems to be a good method of finding out what guests really enjoy or really dislike about the inn without them feeling pressed or embarrassed. Inn owners do appreciate suggestions and comments, and I am happy to oblige as the 'middleman' between owners and guests."

Since innsitting for over a year and establishing a few regular B&B clients, Virginia would like to venture into caretaking, too. She has done some housesitting and small estate caretaking locally, and would like to move up to larger properties all over the country as a caretaker. "I have managed small inns with no guests, larger inns with 12-15 people to take care of each day, and I do enjoy both the solitude and the conviviality of lots of people," she explains. Virginia does love to travel, and this was pertinent to her motivation to get into this unique type of caretaking service. She has seen a lot of the United States and Canada, and has been to Europe a few times in addition to China, Australia and New Zealand. "I hope to get to Alaska soon; I understand that this 'last frontier' is truly beautiful. Hopefully I can work up there as an innsitter or caretaker," she remarks.

Virginia's interests also include collecting and using unique and vintage cookbooks, embroidery and needlepoint, early Renaissance music, writing short stories and yoga. She says, "Happily, I may indulge in all of these interests while innsitting or caretaking during quiet evenings." What has been the most enjoyable for Virginia in the past year has been meeting so many very interesting and diverse guests of the inns who come from all over the world. "If I visited all the places to which I have been invited by these lovely people, I probably would be traveling for a couple of years! I would enjoy that too," says Virginia. As an organized, resourceful and conscientious individual, Virginia is able to innsit or caretake almost anywhere. She says, "I hope to be doing this work for a long, long time; what a wonderful way to encounter good people and see the world!"

PHOTO

Virginia's watering flowers in front of the Carriage House!

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