Columnist Cassie Mattia is a resident of Historic Downtown Loveland.

Loveland, Ohio – As you enter the City of Loveland the first thing you expect to experience is Love, hence the sign when entering Loveland says “The Sweetheart of Ohio,” but what a lot of people don’t expect to experience when visiting Loveland for the first time is all of the history, the nature and the one of a kind businesses. For the longest time Jean Kresge, who has resided in Loveland since 1993, wanted to keep Ohio’s little slice of heaven a secret, but as new living establishments, restaurants, unique shopping spots and nightlife were added into the historical city people couldn’t help but notice that Loveland was quickly becoming the ideal vacation or staycation destination. So what do all vacation destinations need? A perfect getaway spot and well, Jean Kresge just couldn’t ignore the opportunity to introduce “June Bug” to those looking to make everlasting memories.

Kresge moved from Atlanta to the Loveland area and began working as the President of The Creative Worx Inc, which was a family-owned business that featured creative designs made by her mother, June Kresge.

“My mother designed jeweled dog collars, leashes, and horse halters. We patented, licensed, and took products to market with a major distributor,” Kresge explained.

Kresge eventually began working for Cisco Systems, where she has now worked for over 11 years as a Project and Program Manager. Though Kresge admits her job has been demanding throughout the years, as she has led the build-out of hundreds of high-end Video Conferencing Studio and TelePresence solutions for fortune 100 companies across the Globe, nothing could have prepared her for the hard work that she put into making “Junebug” what it is today.

A photo of Jean and June Kresge is in the “Junebug” cottage.

“After my mother, June Kresge passed away with complications from frontal lobe dementia in late 2015, I saw a ‘for sale by owner’ sign on the bike trail pointing to the cut-through street just past the bridge crossing over to the trail from Nisbet Park. I met the owner, Jen Gruber, and agreed to a quick purchase the very next day,” Kresge explained, “I wouldn’t recommend making major decisions or purchases like this for at least a year after experiencing a death, but the whole process was a cathartic and healthy way to deal with the immense grief. I wanted to honor the memory of my mother. The house was built in 1908 by a nurse who made home visits to tend to the sick in Loveland. She was a single mother with two kids and purchased the property next door for her parents using the same basic footprint. There are 2 other very old farmhouses on the street that have been in their families for generations,” Kresge said.

When purchasing the historic cottage, Kresge, of course, knew there would need to be some renovations, as the property was extremely old, but she had no idea how both physically, mentally and financially demanding it would be to renovate the cottage from the ground up. Kresge reflected on what her mother had once predicted, which was Loveland was going to grow exponentially. With that in mind, Kresge decided to make the cottage an Airbnb and name it “Junebug” in memory of her mother June.

“I had not intended to make ‘Junebug’ an Airbnb, it was a financial necessity to cover a two-year-long renovation. I had stayed at an Airbnb before in Cape Cod and thought it might be a good and affordable way for me to supplement income in retirement, and not put all my eggs in the stock market,” Kresge said.

After Kresge made the decision to make “Junebug” an Airbnb, she wanted to be sure that every part of “Junebug” represented a piece of her mother.

“My mom liked to go ‘junkin’ for treasure’s, so every piece of the cottage was either purchased at antique auctions or was one of my Mom’s hand me downs,” Kresge said, “My mother would have been proud that ‘Junebug’ is a refuge and a healing space, as she was a bit of a physic healer who loved opening her house to friends, family, and even strangers on holiday’s. She said ‘everybody hugs a fat lady,’ before they crossed the front door. ‘The more the merrier,’ she used to say,” Kresge added.

Luckily, Kresge extended the offer to me to stay at “Junebug,” for a weekend so I could experience the historic cottage myself. I packed up my belongings, my 2 dogs and my boyfriend and made the short journey from Loveland Station Apartments to “Junebug!” As I approached the cottage I immediately noticed the whimsical charm Kresge had told me about. The porch was covered in colorful rustic antiques along with 2 signs that read, “Junebug sold here.” Walking up the path to the cottage I not only felt a sense of warmth but also happiness. Kresge had told me she had hosted guests from all over the world and that they always left the cottage with stronger bonds because of the feeling the cottage gave them. That ambiance continued as I walked into the cottage. As soon as I opened the door it was hard for my mouth not to drop at what I saw. Original wooden floors, wood panel ceilings, stained glass windows, quality vintage furniture and of course beautiful pieces handcrafted by June Kresge herself. The cottage was also fully equipped with anything and everything I could possibly need! Cooking supplies, coffee, wine glasses, toiletries, books, games, food, Wifi as well as a computer and of course if you’re into binging on Netflix, Kresge had that set up on a gigantic flat screen TV along with Hulu, Prime Video and Apple TV. The added bonus for me? The spacious backyard for my dog children! I felt such happiness watching my dogs run around with my boyfriend while I relaxed on the elevated wooden porch that overlooked the backyard. Although I didn’t get to use every amenity because it was raining and cold the weekend I stayed at “Junebug,” the shed in the backyard had bicycles and fishing poles that guests could use! With Downtown Loveland and the Little Miami Bike Trail being within walking distance to “Junebug,” I loved the idea of being able to hop on a bike to go enjoy all Loveland had to offer. I could definitely see why people that had experienced “Junebug” kept returning. The weekend at “Junebug” was everything I had imagined it to be and everything Kresge had promised it would be. Oh, and did I mention “Junebug” had a massage chair?! I don’t want to spoil all the surprises “Junebug” holds, but I will say that I couldn’t have asked for a better getaway.

The house was built in 1908 by a nurse who made home visits to tend to the sick in Loveland. She was a single mother with two kids and purchased the property next door for her parents using the same basic footprint. There are 2 other very old farmhouses on the street that have been in their families for generations,” Kresge said.

I asked Kresge what her favorite part about opening “Junebug” to the public was and after staying the weekend I wasn’t surprised by her answer.

 

Jean invited me to bring my family to Junebug and Nala enjoyed her “staycation” 2-minutes from the Loveland Bike Trail, Nisbet Park, Historic Downtown, and the State and National “Scenic” Little Miami River. Nala also enjoyed her freedom and playing in the fenced-in back yard.

“I like to go the extra mile with southern hospitality to make people feel extra special. I love it when people relax to the point that they spend more time in the cottage than they anticipated. I often notice guests invite friends and family to come to visit the cottage versus going to their place,” Kresge said, “I especially like their first and lasting impressions. Many times I’ll get an immediate text about how awesome the cottage is and at the end of their stay I’ll get personal notes about their magical experience which really warms my heart and makes all the hard work worth it. I’ve been blessed with awesome guests who have all provided 5-star ratings for the overall experience which is ranked by accuracy, cleanliness, communication, check-in, location, and value! The guest comments provided afterward help me realize I’ve created something really special and I already have a lot of repeat customers,” Kresge said, “Guests really love seeing their names on the blackboard, the warm and cozy bed and comfortable studio feel, chefs kitchen, luxury bathroom, high tech amenities, fenced in backyard, outdoor seating areas, hammock, and access to bicycles and fishing poles in the shed. They love it that they can walk to the end of the street and be in complete nature or historic downtown in just a couple of minutes. My next door neighbor is Woody ‘the Norm’ of Loveland, a retired postman, and native that volunteers at the Farmer’s Market. He is an awesome neighbor. It’s really impossible to pick a favorite guest, but I guess the most memorable was hosting a young newlywed couple who celebrated their wedding night here. Thanks to guest referrals, the cottage is now being recommended by several downtown businesses, like Schildmeyer’s funeral home,” Kresge added.

Read the full list of amenities found at Junebug.

“Junebug” has definitely made its way into the hearts of many. Kresge says since Memorial Day last year she has hosted over 35 guests with 70 percent occupancy for peak season. So just what does Kresge see for the future of “Junebug?” Well besides filling people with the joy and healing spirit of her mother when they stay at her Airbnb, she has quite the vision for “Junebug.”

“I would like to promote more guest discounts with local businesses, provide low-cost alternatives to guest hosting daytime events and parties, and accept donations to help organizations like battered women heal at ‘Junebug’ and get back on their feet,” Kresge said, “I would like to add a private master suite off the back deck, finish the loft to open this cozy space to guests and install a major storm drain system to protect this historic home from the next big flood.”

If you would like to spend the weekend at “Junebug,” or treat your out-of-town relatives or friends to the Loveland experience visit https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/25107720?guests=1&adults=1 to rent out the cottage.



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