It is virtually amazing, how can one woman do so much, well that is what I told myself after meeting Marcia Chittenden. She runs her Bed and Breakfast in West Seattle all the while working full time for 27 years at Boeing as an engineer. She says that she used to sell jets but after her and her Mother, Marjorie Canfield, opened up Chittenden House Bed and Breakfast she had to slow down a bit and take another job being an technical specialist at Boeing instead of selling jets. She is a powerhouse, she says that for her being busy is normal, but this is more than being busy, this is fulfilling her and her Mothers dream. Marcia’s Mom had an apartment a few blocks away, she was Marcia’s partner up until she began getting ill, she passed away a few months ago and was 85.
Boeing, Marcia’s employer just turned 100 years old this year, more than any other single company, Boeing over the last century has created the innovative and technology rich economy of Washington State. Even Microsoft, now 41 years old, is a relative newcomer, and its total of 44,000 Washington State employees still trails Boeing’s 77,000. So Marcia has some pretty nice built in job security. They are very supportive of her other business and will allow her to work from home if one of her staff members are sick. Marcia’s boyfriend of 25 years also works at Boeing; she says they have only had 3 arguments in 25 years. Marcia has been at Boeing for 26 years and Richard 24 years. Marcia never misses work; she took some time off when her Mom passes away earlier this year.
But, she does have full time staff to fill in for her when she is at Boeing. Mardi Ledbetter is one of them. Mardi was found when Marcia put an ad in the West Seattle blog. Marty is Chittenden’s Bed and Breakfast wonderful chef, who whipped up our glorious breakfast every morning. Mardi was one of my highlights staying there, she is such a wonderful person and makes you feel like you have known her your whole life, her gift is to make everyone feel really special. Mardi had a catering business before working for Marcia. Mark her husband played professional football for the New Orleans Saints and her son Dylan just got a full scholarship to play as well. Marcia also has Ema, who is there full time and does the housekeeping and everything else that needs to be done in a day; she has been working at The Chittenden for 3 years. The thing about staying at a Bed and Breakfast is that you really get to know the staff and proprietor in a way that you would never be able to do a hotel.
Marcia still does the marketing, book keeping and buys the groceries. There are no hotels or bed and breakfasts in West Seattle, 75% of her business is friends of friends. She has regulars that come back every year, as well as some of her fellow workers at Boeing send guests her way.
Marcia went to Europe and stayed in Bed and Breakfasts there and fashioned her Bed and Breakfast after her European experiences. She says it’s all about comfort. She loves people and at her job she doesn’t meet a lot of people but at the Bed and Breakfast she meets people from all over the world. The Chittenden House has a mascot in the form of a Keeshond dog, Misha. She treats everyone the same, like you’re the best thing that ever happened to her. You just want to put her in your suitcase and take her home with you; she’s just that sweet.
There is a Yiddish word called Tchotchke, which means a small bauble or miscellaneous item. At The Chittenden House there are so many Tchotchkes from the many travels of Marcia that you are constantly checking them out. Marcia wanted the décor to make people feel comfortable. There are rocking chairs in every room, which Marcia says is her favorite way to relax. Each room has a different name, mine was the Jungle Room, filled with all kinds of Tchotchkes that represent everything from the jungle, animals, landscapes, leopard carpet and different fabrics that all make for a wonderful stay. The Jungle Room offers one queen size four-poster bed and a partial view of Puget Sound. A private bath with a claw foot tub and separate shower and a beautiful view of Puget Sound is located next door. There are gorgeous photos of one of the friend’s actual safari trip, with cheetahs and zebras in tow. The bed is like sleeping on a big puffy cloud. Marcia says that you have to sleep on a bed to make sure that it is comfortable for her many guests.
The house is a craftsman built in 1926, kind of Victorian, kind of Georgian. Marcia bought the house with her Mom in 2004 and it took her 2 years to furnish for the opening of her Bed and Breakfast. It officially opened in 2006, so on Aug. 16 this year the business will be 10 years old.
When you take your next trip to West Seattle, which is a real up and coming area of Washington, and you want the creature comforts of a home with some very fun personalities stay at The Chittenden House Bed and Breakfast, you will be very glad you did.
Quote from Marcia Chittenden, “”At Chittenden House you are much more than a room number, you are a welcomed guest. Feel free to draw on the local knowledge, personal touches and special services provided free of charge.”
5649 47th Ave. SW
Seattle, WA. 98136