Nestled in a picturesque and secluded dead-end in the heart of Ditmas Park known as DeKoven Court, Emilia's Retreat is one of the neighborhood's many bed and breakfasts.
"You meet the most interesting people in this business," said Donna Zaengle, owner of the B&B, which is named after both her daughter and grand-father. "I named [the B&B] after my daughter, who was named after my granddad, a frugal German immigrant who always said 'make your home work for you.'"
Zaengle opened her home as B&B five years ago when a neighbor who runs his own B&B suggested she try it out when she expressed interest in taking in foreign exchange students. "My neighbor said, 'Why not try that first and if you don't like it, then [move on to] foreign exchange students.'"
Running a B&B affords a person more flexibility in their schedule than housing students for an extended period of time, Zaengle said. "You can set your schedule as you like," she said.
A social worker in a middle school by day, Zaengle has always enjoyed meeting and speaking to new people, so the business came easy to her. She enjoys supplying "traditional American kids' breakfasts" such as cold cereal and providing insight on where to get the best bagel to the many international guests that frequent the B&B.
Emilia's Retreat's entire basement is available to guests and is ideal for families as it has two bedrooms, a living room that can double as additional sleeping quarters and a kitchen. Guests can come and go as they please as the basement has a separate entrance.
"I try to think mostly about families traveling," Zaengle said of her business plan. The second floor is also available to guests and includes one bedroom and a sitting room with a bathroom.
To contact Zaengle to reserve a spot in Emilia's Retreat, head to her site.