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It’s been just over two years since we moved to South Dakota. One of our challenges when moving was the housing market. Many places sold within hours. Others had generous cash offers without inspection or appraisal. And we wanted a few specific things in our house.

One particular was a space where we could host groups from church. Another, which was extra important to me, was a usable kitchen. Whoever keeps putting sinks in the middle of an island, please stop. It’s the one large area in the kitchen to work from. The third factor was room for people to stay.

I, in particular, like catching up with old friends when we visit places, and I often construct a trip that hits areas with people we know. We wanted to be a place where people stop. It’s great when we’re the destination, but sometimes we’re the pit stop. Sioux Falls always felt like a reasonable place for people to pause on their way somewhere else. Even if you’re only here for supper, a shower, and a place to sleep, we enjoy it when you stop in.

We also wanted to offer a place to stay for people in transition. Maybe you’re between places to live. Perhaps you are waiting several days on the next phase of travel. Or you could be in town for an event. We can offer you somewhere more comfortable than a hotel.

There is an art to being a good host. It’s more than merely opening our door to you. We want you to enjoy being here. Our experiences traveling in homes and hotels play a part in three major things we try to provide.

First, the bed. I’ve spent many years living on a couch or an air mattress. In that period of life, it was fine. I am older now, and a subpar bed will mess with my world for days. I have become the guy who will have a chiropractor visit on the first day back from a trip, and I make the appointment before the trip.

There are three parts to the bed. Above everything else is the mattress. I can forgive the mattress being on the smaller side. But it has to be comfortable. My plea is not that you buy a $4000 mattress that gets used three times a year, but don’t be cheap about it, either. Something comfortable with a decent amount of support would be great. If I lay down on squeaky springs, it’s a bad sign. My parents did well when they bought a California King mattress for their spare bedroom, which is both large and comfortable. Right after the mattress come the pillows. I happened into some pillows we love, which only makes a lousy pillow feel even worse. One good pillow per person, not multiple lifeless pillows. The bed is rounded out with the sheets. You’re on the right track if you have something that can be cozy but still breathe.

The second thing is to make the stay delicious. Delicious covers many things, so don’t freak out over this. I can be just as pleased eating mac & cheese with hamburger (the blue Kraft box doesn’t count) as with a steak dinner. Never discount the power of spaghetti with garlic bread. I was blessed as a child because my mother somehow accumulated a solid collection of recipes, and this is the well I keep going to, and I hope my little tweaks are elevating them. When you visit, there’s a likelihood of enchiladas, lasagna, tater tot hotdish, burgers, spaghetti, or maybe even steak and potatoes. If we’re shorter on time, macaroni salad, grilled cheese, pizza, or brats might be on the menu. I’m also getting more into quality breakfasts. Right now, it’s peach cobbler season, so visit soon if you want a great dessert. Tiah is also growing a small collection of dishes she makes well, so neither of us could cook. When we visit you, we’ll be delighted to be shown a hidden local gem to eat out at too.

The third piece we try to offer is easy access. My lovely wife has been known to call me when she’s forgotten her keys, necessitating a 15-minute drive across town. So now we have keypad locks, and we’ll gladly issue you a code so you can get in and out regardless of us being home; feel free to do your own thing without us.

We hope these three things help make a stay with us something you look forward to. And if we’re coming to you know that the bed and delicious food are at the top of my list, and easy access is a great bonus.

I’ll leave you with a final note. When we moved, countless people said they would come to visit. Hopefully, you aren’t saying it in an attempt to be polite, as we are disappointed when we think about you and realize you haven’t come yet. Please come soon, and know that I am thinking about how to visit you on a trip; make an invite if you want us sooner than later!

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