REDEFINING SUCCESS: CAREER, FAMILY LIFE IN BALANCE FOR CANYON CREEK’S KENDRA MORROW

By Caitlin Switzer

MONTROSE-When Director Quentin Tarantino brought the cast and crew of “The Hateful Eight” to San Miguel County this winter to film, news of the film’s $44 million budget and generous local spending quickly spread. Not so well known, however, was the fact that Tarantino himself made his home away from home on Main Street in Montrose.

“He stayed with us,” Canyon Creek Bed and Breakfast owner Kendra Morrow said. “Telluride can be a fishbowl; here, he could just be himself.”

Despite his global fame and superstar status, the director was soft spoken and very gracious, according to Morrow.

“I was surprised, and very impressed,” she said.

Anyone who knows Morrow and the Canyon Creek B&B probably won’t be surprised, however. Over the past ten years, the local business has consistently drawn rave reviews for service, location and creative community events—and for the historic charm and modern comfort of the home itself. Located at 820 Main Street, the B&B is located beside the home of the Morrow family, which includes Kendra, husband Daniel, children Reese and Julian and dog Bo.

“When I opened this business, I decided to keep it to a size that I could run myself,” said Morrow, a Montrose native who holds a degree in education and who originally thought she would be a schoolteacher. “This way I am able to manage everything; cleaning the rooms, making breakfast, doing the bookkeeping.

“In the beginning, I lived in the basement and I was here 100 percent of the time,” she said. “Now, I am lucky enough to be able to live right next door.”

When she first opened her business at the age of 30, Kendra was fresh from the East Coast, where she had spent eight years as an innkeeper on Martha’s Vineyard.

“I thought I would be a teacher,” she said. “But when I graduated and went to work, it just wasn’t me. My sister told me to go find what I wanted, and I went to Martha’s Vineyard.”

Though the lodging industry is highly competitive, Canyon Creek has carved out a niche for itself over the years.   Morrow advises flexibility and a great business plan.

“You have to be available and ready to hit that reset button at all times,” she said.

“It’s not easy to go up against the big guys in the industry,” Morrow said, “So we try to constantly come up with new ideas. And here in Montrose, word of mouth is your best advertising. Our busy season is from May through October, and we used to have music here every Thursday for six years…I have worked with lots of bands. But (due to Ascap costs) it was time to hit the “reset” button; now we have our quarterly  “Darling Dinners,” catered dinners with 20 seats at the table.

“We’ve been hosting Laff Inn Comedy for the past three years too–the first Saturday of every month except in July; we will not do one on July 4, we will have it on July 11. It’s great because we use a booking agent out of LA so we always get a couple fun new comedians, and we have been really lucky to partner with The Bridges this year for the winter season.

“This is a great venue for birthday parties, because you have the place to yourself, and for special events—the Montrose Bicycle Alliance has held movies here, we’ve hosted Nurse’s Appreciation Day, the Passage Charter School Fundraisers, and the Three Graces events too.

“The Three Graces turns the B&B into a whole different thing,” she said. “It’s about empowering women.”

With her own family growing, Kendra has stepped back from volunteer boards in recent years. In the past, however, she has volunteered with the Main in Motion board, an experience that has given her a deep respect for the amount of work that goes into the summer Thursday evening Main Street fairs.

“Main in Motion is for the community,” she said. “It’s not about making money, but something that helps give Montrose that special feel.” Just like Canyon Creek Bed & Breakfast, which has been written up in Sunset Magazine and which is currently rated No. 1 for local bed and breakfasts on Tripadvisor.

“You feel like a part of the community when you stay there,” commented one reviewer in July 2014.

“The rooms are beautiful, the beds comfortable, and the location perfect to stroll downtown for dinner or lunch,” commented another reviewer in February.

And Kendra Morrow continues to find fulfillment and excitement in her work—the daily tasks change with the seasons, and there is room for family and friends.

“It’s just awesome how being an innkeeper can meld with life,” she said.

Reach Canyon Creek Bed and Breakfast at 970.249.2886, or find them online at http://www.canyoncreekbedandbreakfast.com/.