Bed and Breakfasts – 10 reasons to try them out
By Clint Cherepa
I was introduced to the bed and breakfast scene early on. My wife and I spent part of our honeymoon staying in B&B’s around Door County, Wis. It offered us a taste of how staying at a B&B can really add a new dimension to your trip.
Even though bed and breakfasts have been around for ages, many are still hesitant to give them a try. They work perfect with the outdoor life and typically cost the same as a hotel.
Here are 10 reasons to try them out:
1. Get romantic
Many Bed and Breakfasts have romantic themes and rooms that hit the spot for an anniversary or honeymoon. One that we return to time after time is the White Lace Inn in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. This inn has garden pathways that connect each of their four turn-of-the-century homes. There are 18 antique furnished rooms with whirlpools, fireplaces and Victorian beds. The outside of the White Lace Inn is just as inviting as the inside with a gazebo, flower gardens and a fish pond.
2. Organic Lifestyle Appeal
Are you looking to vacation well, having an eco-friendly and green experience? Some B&B’s offer an organic get away. For example, The Arbor House in Madison, Wis., is within a few miles of downtown State Street. According to their website, “Arbor House’s mission is to provide the art of hospitality within a model for urban ecology. Our goal is the wise use of resources and providing guests with an unparalleled combination of natural design, features, fabrics, amenities and surroundings, while providing opportunities for recreation and learning more about urban ecology.”
If you are in the mood for some nature, biking or canoeing the University of Wisconsin Arboretum is right across the street. It holds 1,280 acres of natural preserve.
Many B&B’s are located in urban areas close to outdoor activities such as hiking trails, mountain bike trails, nature reserves, parks, etc. One that we stayed at, Blueberry Ridge in Marquette, Mich., is a rustic and elegant home located in the beautiful forests of Michigan. It is within minutes of Marquette, home to Sugarloaf Mountain and Presque Isle, which both offer miles of hiking and biking trails. You can also spend your time visiting the local museum, touring the Iron Mines, fishing and hunting or picking blueberries and mushrooms.
“Refreshments are served upon arrival and music is available upon request.
“Candle-lit gourmet breakfast is served on fine china. Our specialties include Blueberry Stuffed French Toast, Blueberry Buckle, and Blueberry Puff Pancakes,” says their website.
4. Support local economy with a staycation
Staying at a local Bed & Breakfast will save you money and give you the opportunity to explore your town or city as if you were a tourist. Many of us have probably spent more time exploring places far from where we live than local attractions. As mentioned, you will save money as you will not need to pay for airfare, rental cars or other travel expenses.
Choose a B&B close to home and you will also save time with no wasted days traveling. Treat it truly as a vacation.
5. Live a theme
Have you ever spent the night in the slammer? The Jailhouse Inn, located in Preston, Minn., gives you the chance to stay the night in an old jail. This inn/jail was originally built in 1869 and was used as a jail until 1970. Then, in 1989 it was converted into a B&B.
One of their special features: “Cell Block Room allows guests to sleep behind bars, but it has two queen-size beds, a whirlpool tub, a private entrance and a porch. The original courtroom is also now a guest room, with a sitting area and a private bath.”
6. Did we mention the food?
The foodie in all of us will shout in delight at most B&B’s as you enjoy the gastronomical pleasures offered. The Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, Mich., is a good example of great dining. The owner prepares a three course champagne brunch and afternoon hors d’oeuvres from her own cookbook. She is a food writer and has a best-selling cookbook.
Their website says, “Rosso sources whatever ingredients are in season to make flavorful farm-to-table masterpieces such as sugar and spice popovers, asparagus and chèvre frittata or pistachio breakfast sausage.”
7. Be culturally inspired
Some B&B’s offer culturally enriching entertainment. We enjoyed our stay at The Brumder Mansion in Milwaukee, Wis. It has in-house entertainment that includes music concerts, magic shows, murder mysteries and guest speakers in their on-site theater. This majestic brick home—designed in the English Arts & Crafts style—was built in 1910 by a prominent Milwaukee business leader, George Brumder. Most of their rooms include whirlpools and fireplaces.
8. More for your money
An online infographic compared the average prices of hotels and B&B’s in some U.S. cities. The results were that B&B’s can average about $50 less a night. Other price advantages include, homemade breakfasts over continental or no breakfast, free refreshments that often include wine and free services such as, shuttle service, Wi-Fi and parking.
9. Get comfortable
Bed and Breakfast are happy when they know you are comfortable. They take pride in assuring that their guests are as comfortable as possible. The little extras are one of the best parts of B&B’s. Some of the ones we have stayed at have fresh baked cookies or muffins upon your arrival and at times free wine and other refreshments. They commonly have a small library of books and DVD’s to keep you entertained.
You will spend a bundle to get a hotel room with a whirlpool and fireplace, but these too are part of many B&B stays.
10. A rich history
Most bed and breakfasts are rooted in a unique and rich history. A vast number of them are restored homes from hundreds of years ago. One we stayed at was converted from an old barn and silo. Others are old mansions. Be sure to find out the history of where you stay.
Sandy Soule, the editor of BedandBreakfast.com, suggests “get to know other B&B travelers. By talking to them, you’ll get insight into what made their stay special, and also some referrals for other B&Bs.”
Soule also notes that you should “make the most of your stay by being there as long as possible to enjoy complimentary benefits. Check in during the afternoon so you’ll have plenty of time to get advice on dinner and activities in the area. Most inns offer afternoon snacks and beverages, and some offer tea and/or wine and cheese in the evening.”
Why not check out a bed and breakfast for your next getaway?
White Lace Inn– www.whitelaceinn.com
Arbor House– www.arbor-house.com
Blueberry Ridge– blueberryridgebedandbreakfast.com
The Brumder Mansion– milwaukeebedbreakfast.com
Jailhouse Inn– jailhouseinn.com
Find out more here:
Wis. Bed & Breakfast Ass’n., wbba.org
Minn. Bed & Breakfast Ass’n., www.minnesotabedandbreakfasts.org/
Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast Ass’n., http://www.laketolake.com/
Illinois Bed & Breakfast Ass’n, www.illinoisbnb.com/
Iowa Bed & Breakfast Guild, http://www.ia-bednbreakfast-inns.com/