About Me

The Himalayan Lodge

For over ten years I operated a small bed and breakfast in this house called the 8th Street Trekkers' Lodge B&B.  I lived at the house and rented the guest room to travelers from all over the world.  I have so many fond memories of meeting and getting to know so many nice people.  During those years, I managed my tour company, Of Global Interest Adventure Travel, from my home.  Twice a year I would travel to Nepal and lead trips trekking in the Himalayas to Mt. Everest base camp.  I feel privileged to have traveled with so many amazing people.  Every trip was an adventure.  Many of those adventures can be found here:  https://www.imperialexpedition.com/blog.  When home, I maintained a store that I called the Himalayan Bazaar in my Garage where I sold imports I brought back from my trips.

My enterprise on the corner of Eighth and Washington kept me busy for many years.  I sold my paintings and photographs and was able to make a living, sharing my love for travel, the Himalayas and Nepal.  In 2010 I married the man of my dreams, and we had a baby boy - the baby of my dreams.  In 2012 we moved to another house nearby in Ann Arbor.  My heart is still very much attached to the Eighth Street house.  This was where so many adventures filled my days.  I am happy to continue to share the house with you now as The Himalayan Lodge.

My travel business, Of Global Interest Adventure Travel, and store, The Himalayan Bazaar, have moved downtown to Main Street.  As co-owner, my business partner, Pem Dorjee Sherpa - a two time Mt. Everest climber from Nepal, runs the shop.  Please visit The Himalayan Bazaar at 218 S. Main Street the next time you are in Ann Arbor.

Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp 2018

History of the House

This wonderful cozy home near downtown Ann Arbor was built in the 1870s by David Kay.  He was a stone mason and also built the Engineering Arch on the UofM campus as well as a narrow one lane railroad bridge in Dexter, MI.  David and his wife, Catherine, raised two girls at this house, Florence and Betty.  In 2002, I was honored to meet Florence during a trip to Ann Arbor with her son, Ed Cole.  They were passing by her childhood home as they often did on their infrequent visits to Ann Arbor for family reunions.  In 2002, my sister happened to be outside when Florence and Ed drove by.  They rolled down the window and told my sister they used to live here.

My sister invited them in and thus began one of the most unique relationships of my career.  Like a second family, Florence and Ed have been a delight.  The following year, they came to visit again, and this time they stayed at my B&B.  They told me many stories about the house, some of which I recorded on video tape.  They even gave me a large book of old photographs, which you can now find at the Lodge.  The photos record many years of the lives of the people who loved this house in its early days.  The book is a treasure.  Florence moved from Ann Arbor to Oregon in the 1930s when she was 17.  Florence celebrated her 100th birthday in 2013.

 

At the age of 101, Florence passed away in 2014.  A plaque near the front door now dedicates the house to her.

Celebration of a House

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During the many years that I lived in this house, I began to think that a B&B is a celebration of a house.  Opening one's home to strangers who then leave as friends has become a way of life for me.  I am so lucky to know all the nice people that make this home on Eighth Street so special.  I think I have met everyone who has ever lived here.  I welcome you to experience the magic of this little house on your next visit to Ann Arbor.  I've been hosting guests 9 years longer than Airbnb!  I had the idea first.

Sincerely,

Heather O'Neal

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