If you’re not very familiar with Bed and Breakfast Inns, there are typically basic similarities between most of them. Whether small or massive, they are usually quaint and very comfortable. Many feature cozy fireplaces, beds with exquisite headboards and posts, spa tubs, large-screen TVs, and polished antique accoutrements. Many of the inns are endearingly rustic or tastefully elegant. Because of these commonalities, I do not list off such details in the following reviews.
1. Rabbit Hill Inn showed up on more than one or two top ten lists of Bed and Breakfasts; this I found to be quite unusual. Most travel writers have strong opinions that differ significantly at times, but some apparently reached a consensus on Rabbit Hill. Nestled in the Northern Vermont mountains, the inn is a perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea, walk the ten acres of wooded trails, or take a dip in the spring-fed swimming pond. At night you can read by the fireplace or gaze up at the stars, which seem more brilliant here than anywhere. You will be treated to a candlelit breakfast with fresh baked treats, apple cheddar crepes or perhaps a cheddar and roasted red pepper egg Napoleon drizzled with sundried tomato anglaise and rosemary potato galette. Whew! That’s a mouthful. And don’t even get me started on their dinners. You have to stay at least once at Rabbit Hill.
2. Napa Old World Inn is right in the middle of the Napa Valley and Sonoma wineries of central California and is comprised of four buildings— the main house built originally in 1874. Napa Inn is known primarily for two things: Friendliness and heavenly food. You are treated better than mom ever treated you. Fresh-baked chocolate cookies greet you upon check-in, there’s a 5:30 p.m. wine and cheese social hour, and then an array of devastatingly decadent chocolate desserts awaiting when you return to the Inn in the evening. Then wake up the next morning to a two-course gourmet breakfast, and then it begins all over again. Come for the featherbeds and warm fireplaces, stay for the food.
3. The Inn Above Onion Creek is located on an 88-acre spread in the hill country of Kyle, Texas. The inn was built in 1994 to resemble a late 1800s Texas homestead, meticulously planned with pampered guests in mind. It is rustic and antique—and extremely comfortable. Trouble is, it’s too easy to be distracted from the beautiful hill views out of every window. What with the Spa, the fresh flowers in your room, the hot breakfast with fresh-squeezed orange juice, the luscious three-course dinners, the romantic extras, it gets a bit difficult to concentrate. But you’ll just have to manage. A great Inn.
4. Belle Hearth is in historic Waynesboro, Virginia, deep in the Shenandoah Valley. The haunting Blue Ridge mountains beckon as well as fine wineries, antique shops, art centers, museums, and the Wintergreen Resort. Breakfast is a fancy Southern affair served on rare china. Fresh fruit and herbs complement homemade biscuits, hot breads, and waffles. The main courses include excellent quiches, breakfast casseroles, and smoked breakfast meats.
5. The Inn at Harbour Ridge is located on the charming Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. There are lots of place to relax: on your private patio, or on the dock, or in the gazebo. There are no less than fourteen golf courses in the area so take your pick and book your tee time. Then after golf have another kind of tea time—one to remember at the Inn. In the evening, take a romantic stroll at the Ha Ha Tonka State Park, and wake up the next morning to a piping hot breakfast.
6. Scarborough Fair B & B is located in the historic Federal Hill area of Baltimore, Maryland. From here, you can have easy access to the city’s most popular attractions. The accommodations are exquisite and so is the food. For snacks, try the Sea Salted Coffee Toffee bars or the Pumpkin Gobs. I must warn you, if you become addicted, I can’t help you. For breakfast, try the Sweet Potato Biscuits, the Vanilla Apricot Scones, the Blueberry Banana bread, or the Sweet Potato Waffles. You’re guaranteed to enjoy your stay at Scarborough.
7. The Berry Patch is near Chocolate Town: Hershey, Pennsylvania. If there is such a thing, it is a majestic log home with antique Victorian charm. Everyone these days seems somehow intrigued with Amish country, and here you are, right in the middle of it. Relax by a trickling pond, stroll the tranquil 20-acre spread, explore the Amish farm country, get pampered by the B & B staff. Fresh snacks are always waiting in your room, and, when you awake, there’s a full, hot breakfast of treats like strawberry-stuffed French toast or Oatmeal Peach muffins just waiting for you.
8. Carriage House at the Harbor is in a little town called South Haven, Michigan where lake breezes blow and a walk on the beach ensures that your appetite is piqued for a bountiful breakfast. Carriage House is obviously very proud of its food. The dishes are featured prominently on their website: Cranberry/Orange and Pecan Scones, Marmalade butter, Crème Brulee French Toast, Sage Sausage, Devonshire Cream, Artichoke Tomato Quiche, Apple Cake, Spinach-bacon Strata, Parmesan Potatoes… Those are just a few items on the list. Sit down and enjoy breakfast while sailboats and yachts skim across the lake just outside the window. Think people enjoy their stay at the Carriage House? Over 85% of guests rebook over and over and over again.
9. In 1777 a wonderfully-appointed Georgian, colonial mansion was constructed and, since the early 1900s, it has operated as a country inn-the Eastman Inn. It’s truly an elegant home, with fourteen guest rooms and great views of the New Hampshire White mountains. Every room is unique, some with the antique claw foot tubs, others with more modern conveniences. You will never enjoy the same breakfast during your stay at Eastman—every morning a new menu is offered. There’s never a complaint about the breakfast either, except that sometimes it keeps one roundly satisfied until dinner. There are summer activities such as hiking and biking and winter activities like cross-country skiing, ice skating, or sleigh riding. You owe it to yourself to relax here.
10. Windham Hill is a classically beautiful 21-room country house in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont on 160 acres of some of the most peaceful and restorative woodlands you will find. Like some of the other inns, it is perfect for a romantic getaway. Stroll the manicured lawns and gardens, play on the clay tennis court, swim in the heated luxury pool, ski or ice skate in winter, socialize over wine and cheese, take a private massage in your room, then enjoy a candlelit dinner prepared by the finest chefs.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why people often spend in the neighborhood of $100-200 for a hotel room when they could stay in many cozy, luxurious Bed & Breakfast inns for close to the same fee per night, especially in the off-season. Look into some of these inns I’ve recommended and choose one just for the heck o f it. My bet is you’ll be addicted from the moment you set foot in one of these gems.