The Inn Port Story

Dayton, OH

The Inn Port Story

Jeff and Leslie Gonya lived in the quiet, residential Dayton neighborhood of Patterson Park for 5 years. They loved to travel, and when they did, they always looked for a bed and breakfast or inn rather than a hotel to fill their need for lodging. From this came their dream to open a bed and breakfast, someday.

Then they decided, why can’t someday be today!

So they went house shopping for their future bed and breakfast, and they found the perfect house, so they put their house on the market in the hopes of buying their “future bed and breakfast,” a huge, pink house (which Jeff vowed to re-paint as soon as they bought it) located on Main Street in the quiet community of Tipp City*, just north of Dayton.

*Please notice that Inn Port is not pink, has never been pink, and is not in Tipp City.

Upon receiving a bid from a buyer, the Gonyas put in a bid on the “big pink house,” only to find out that it had gone under contract with another buyer just 2 days before. It was the moment of truth—was it meant to be or just a nice dream that would have to wait for “someday.” With the help of their trusty realtor Guy, they started searching for the perfect house yet again, and they found it—in the heart of the Oregon District. Though they were fascinated by many aspects of the house, being graduates of the University of Dayton and both being of German heritage, the triple “keg-erator” that resided in the dining room of the property was, perhaps, the deal-maker when it came to the decision to purchase the property. (Said kegerator has since been sold to the Ace’s Club in east Dayton and replaced by a quieter one-keg capacity cousin).

The duplex became the foundation of Inn Port, which was built in 1855. Upon purchasing the property, Leslie was convinced that some of the dust dated back at least that far. It was used as a rental property for nearly 10 years leading up to its current ownership, and the previous inhabitants took the phrase “never be gentle with a rental” to new heights. Since July of 2002, Leslie and Jeff have arranged or performed the following improvements:

The wrought-iron fencing that you see adorning the front of the property was not original. Badly maintained wrought-iron was removed and replaced with the powder-coated steel that you see now. The original finials were not available, so Patrick from Elegant Iron recommended the flower pot finials as an alternative.

The front area of the house had 2 large trees that provided shade in the summertime, but hid the house from the outside world (and made it impossible to get homeowners insurance). These trees were removed and replaced with 2 small flowering trees with plenty of room to grow. Shrubs in the planters were replaced with butterfly bushes and pansies.

The name “Inn Port” is a play on words, centered around 2 passions in the lives of the owners. Both Leslie and Jeff have a love for cruising. As Leslie says, “When other kids were making road trips every year to the Grand Canyon and Disney World with their parents, we were saving up to go on a cruise every other year.” By the time of their honeymoon, Leslie had already been on 6 cruises. Never having cruised, Jeff wasn’t convinced about the cruise thing, though he had worked on a boat for the Jet Express company in Port Clinton, Ohio for several summers during college. He booked their honeymoon aboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, and by the end of the first full day, he was hooked. Since then, they have been on 10+ cruises and are always looking to take another. You can’t have a cruise without the ship pulling “in port,” so it seemed only natural that they take this as their name for their own lodging establishment, naming the rooms after different ports of call.

The second reference in the name may be a little more subtle. On that first cruise together, they attended a wine tasting. That began a fascination with the world of wine, be it “port”, cabernet or chenin blanc. This also led to the addition of Deaf Monty’s Wine, their small wine bar and retail shop located at Inn Port D’Vino.

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