Charlotte and Eric Buljung have bid farewell to the Dew Duck Inn on the outskirts of Plains.
The couple moved to Plains 13 years ago as they took ownership of the local Inn. The have now officially retired and handed the reins off to new owners Rob and Stephanie Huyghe.
“When we bought the inn in 2005, we changed the name from the Tops Motel to the Dew Duck Inn and began renovations,” said Charlotte.
“We didn’t realize it at the time, but when we began the renovations on the inn the old restaurant was filled with locals watching us and wondering what changes we were going to do,” she said with a giggle.
“We really just tore everything out and started fresh, it was exciting.”
From January of 2005 when they purchased the business they were able to reopen four rooms by April of that year. By June they were in full swing.
They had a quick turn-around time from when they took over to completing the renovations then reopening under the new name.
Once the Dew Duck Inn opened officially, the Buljungs took to making the inn their own and an extension of their home.
“From the beginning we wanted all of our guests to feel as though they were a guest in our own home,” explained Charlotte.
Thus revealing an important ingredient to their unique formula: treating guests more like family. This constant is why guests come back year after year, even from out of the country.
“We have been so lucky to have had so many guests returning over the years. I think we really were able to create the home away from home, and many have become life-long friends and extensions of our family,” said Charlotte.
A home away from home, the inn has allowed the Buljungs over the years to not only have the inn reflect them but also the town they fell in love with.
Originally from Colorado, they had been asked when ready to retire would they move back? For a small moment of time it seemed that they may head back down south when the moment arrived.
“We fell in love with Plains, not just the town but the people as well. I still remember the day I knew that this is where we would stay,” said Charlotte.
Once the Buljungs decided that Plains was home, they continued to build the business and create a warm feeling that any guest who stayed would feel welcome and part of the community.
“What we built is so important that when we decided to retire and sell the business, we needed to make sure that whoever took over would hold the same values as we did,” she said.
“We knew it was a good fit when we met Rob and Stephanie,” she added.
What got the Buljungs excited was the enthusiasm that the new young owners had for the inn.
“They want to be here for a long time. They also wanted to continue the Dew Duck as they see it and as people have come to love it,” Charlotte said.
Knowing what it is like to come from out of town and out of state, both Charlotte and Eric have said they would stay on for a short time to help the Huyghes settle in.
The Huyghes, along with their 4-year-old daughter, have made the trek over from Seattle to their new sea change in Plains.
As they settle into their new home, Charlotte said that it was the right fit for all for the Dew Duck Inn.
“They just ticked all of the boxes, we really look forward to seeing them embraced by the community like Eric and I were,” she added.
Charlotte said she and Eric look forward to their own new adventures.
“Instead of being tired, we can be retired,” laughed Charlotte.