The “Hometown Hostess” series was inspired by my best friend and her ability to embody the ultimate hostess. She knows exactly what to do to make people feel comfortable and ensure that everyone gets the most out of their visit. I am always in awe of her because she makes it look so easy even though she carefully considers every little detail from possible allergies, hazards for children and beverage preferences.
Before we head to Charlottetown, PE, let’s learn from the ultimate hostess “How to Host Guests in Your Home like a Pro” – Oh, and don’t forget to pin this post for later… it will come in handy when preparing for your guests to arrive this travel season 🙂
Hostess Name: Meghan Van Gaal
Hometown: Fort Augustus, PE
Where do you live now? Charlottetown, PE
Why you love this place: Hometown feeling; small town that has everything that I need!
I love having visitors! I’m always sad when they leave as I enjoy having my friends visit, being able to spend quality time together and share some laughs. Having visitors also allows me to be a tourist in my own town / province while having the opportunity to show off everything Charlottetown and PEI has to offer. It’s a great way to get to try and explore places that you always hear about but aren’t part of your regular day-to-day routine.
I like when people stay with me; in fact I rent a two bedroom spacious apartment specifically for that purpose. Plus, I would remiss if I didn’t mention my love for tinkering with the décor, swapping furniture from room to room and changing up design elements of my space – one of the perks of having guests is being able to show off my latest project or update 😉
Master Bedroom – Photo: Meghan Van Gaal
Before people arrive, I do the usual cleaning of the important things like the bathroom and kitchen, but I also make sure to freshen up the room they will be staying in by opening the windows, washing sheets and hanging bedding on the line. Hanging bedding on the line might not seem like a big deal for us islanders, but for my visitors arriving from bigger city centres it’s a fresh homey touch they don’t get to enjoy on a regular basis (or at all for that matter…). If my guests have small children I take the time to do a scan around my apartment for small objects that could be hazardous, outlets that they could get at or any other potential safety concerns. Lastly, but equally as important, I remove any of my personal items that had made their way into that room.
I have a small bin of toys from my childhood that I keep handy for my tiny guests as well – a few blocks, figurines and little toys to keep them amused for when the adults are looking to get in a few minutes to relax.
Now that we have dealt with the basics, it’s time to get into the fun! I go through the latest edition of the local entertainment newspaper to identify things my guests might be interested in… shows to see, parks/trails to visit, restaurants to eat at, etc. I usually make a list of options and when they arrive, we pull out the map and go through the list to make our plans for the day. The guests are usually open for anything, so I do make sure to have my favorites picked out in case they ask me to decide.
Some of the shows require buying tickets in advance so I usually try to pre-schedule one or two of these kinds of activities for the visit but then leave the rest for us to decide once the guests arrive, we have a chance to chat and see what everyone feels like doing and seeing during the visit. Keep in mind that the weather always plays a factor so having a backup plan that is good no matter what the weather is, is always on my list of suggestions. On that note, PEI has beautiful National Parks so I always make sure to have a valid Parks Canada pass so my guests have a pass to the parks before even arriving or deciding that it’s something they may like to check out.
Greenwich National Park – Photo: Meghan Van Gaal
Last, but certainly not least – let’s talk food and beverage. Before guests arrive, I always take a look at my cupboards, make a grocery list according to what’s missing and what snacks I want to have on hand to offer during their stay. I try to have the items on hand to make a few different snacks that we can grab before and between activities. This usually includes a selection from the local breweries – PEI has so many options and it’s nice to be able to enjoy a beverage after a fun day of exploring or treat a certain someone’s Mr. while we have our favourite wines 😉 I also plan to have breakfast foods, but keep it simple with yummy fresh bagels, fruit trays, yogurt cups, coffee and tea. Since I live in a place with so many things to do I don’t want us to waste time cooking breakfast when we could be touring the island. Having simple breakfast foods at home is a great way for my guests to be able to eat as much or little as they like and all of the foods can be prepared as people wake up or be taken as a grab-and-go option.
Is there something else that you do to prepare for guests to visit? We’d love to hear from you!