A few years ago, I had the pleasure of having Carol Steffy on Amish Wisdom (back in its radio days). Carol and her husband, Herb, are the owners of a B&B called Garden Gate Get-A-Way (I’ve been there and loved my stay!). After 13 years of running the inn, they are ready to move on to the next chapter. They are selling their B&B and in an unconventional way… an essay contest! Keep reading how YOU could be the next owner of a charming bed and breakfast located in the Amish countryside of Ohio.

Wanted: new owner for an award winning bed and breakfast located in the largest, year-round tourism area in Ohio, which is also the World’s Largest Amish Community.

Experience: only the desire to own a bed & breakfast.

Requirements: 200-word essay as to why you want to own this bed and breakfast, plus a $150.00 entry fee.

Herb and Carol Steffey are ready to move on after 13 years of owning and operating Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast in Millersburg, Ohio. It is located about 80 miles south of Cleveland and 80 miles north of Columbus. It is also only a 2-hour drive from Pittsburgh and 4-hour drive from Detroit. Holmes County, and the surrounding area, offers just about any activity a guest could want to partake in. Over 4 million visitors come to our area every year!

Part of the structure was once an Amish home. Several years later a Mennonite couple that owned it purchased a 1-room school to put an addition on the home. When they found out that the roads were too narrow to move the school building to the property, they drew plans for a new addition and used the elements from the school to build the new addition. They incorporated 4 over-night guest rooms, and in 1996 a country inn called Garden Gate Get-A-Way was born. In 2002 the Steffeys purchased the inn and converted it to a bed and breakfast. Since 2002 they have added on a jacuzzi suite with a fireplace and 2 romantic cottages targeting the honeymoon market, giving a total of 7 units to rent. In addition, some of the rooms have been remodeled.Magnolia Room

One of the biggest positives for the new owners is the layout of the B&B in terms of owners quarters. The building is approximately 5,000 square feet. The entire second story is currently owner’s quarters. It has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room, kitchen, office, breezeway, and 2-car garage. There are so many possibilities for use of this space. Someone who has a home-based business, like web design & marketing, could operate another business from the current owner quarters. Some of the space could be used for additional rental rooms, which would result in more income. The entire first story is the bed and breakfast (5 guest rooms, breakfast room, laundry, and storage).

Amish neighbors surround the bed and breakfast, which is a feature that guests absolutely love. They see horses grazing in the field next door, horse & buggy traveling down the road, and sometimes they even see a wedding in the neighborhood. You can wake up to a beautiful sunrise and birds singing. There are gardens that border the path to the guest rooms. In the middle of the gardens is a fire pit and guests love sitting around a campfire each evening and watching the sunset.


Some people think that the time to own a bed and breakfast is in your retirement years. They think you check people in one afternoon and cook them breakfast and then twiddle your thumbs the rest of the time. We won’t lie . . . owning a bed and breakfast is a lot of work. There is cooking, cleaning, gardening, lawn maintenance, marketing, accounting, supply shopping, etc. The days are long but the wonderful people that come as guests and leave as friends are well worth it. Just like every business, we have a “slow season” and that is in the winter months. Winter is a great time to take a vacation or simply work shorter days and catch your breath.


The winning essay should speak from the heart as to why they want to own Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast. It should be grammatically correct and be no more than 200 words. Herb & Carol Steffey will read every essay that is sent to them. They will narrow all of the entries down to the top 20 essays. They will then pass along the top 20 essays, without names or addresses, to two people from the area whose identities will remain a mystery. Those two people will choose the final winner.

The new owner must be prepared to close on the property on or before December 15, 2015.

As an added bonus, IF at least 4,500 essays are received, the current owners will give the new owners $5,000 in prepaid advertising dollars with Ohio Magazine for 2016. If the number of essays exceeds 5,000, then some of the entry fees will be donated to local charities.

The bed and breakfast will be “turn key”, meaning all of the beds, furniture, linens, remaining amenities & supplies, etc., will come with the B&B. The stoves and refrigerator in the innkeeper quarters (where they cook for guests) will stay with the bed and breakfast along with some baking dishes and kitchen supplies.

Full details of the B&B essay contest rules and entry form can be found on the here.

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