Bed and Breakfasts
Cathy and I love to travel, though of course, with three kids, we don't get
to do a whole lot of it.
Especially, one of our favorite
types of excursions is a weekend at a bed and breakfast.
Here are the ones we've stayed in, ordered favorite to least favorite.
- The Gosby House, Pacific Grove, CA.
It's a few blocks back from the ocean, so it lacks the views of some of
the more famous Monterey Peninsula inns, but it more than makes up for
this in the beauty and comfort of the rooms and the congeniality of
the innkeepers. Beautifully period-decorated yet up to date.
- Lake Pointe Inn,
Deep Creek Lake, MD.
The decor is gorgeous, arts-and-crafts themed. The hospitality is A+:
24-hour availability of milk and cookies, coffee, drinks, and
various other munchies. Kayaks, canoes, and mountain bikes for the
borrowing. We can easily see making this place an annual destination.
Deep Creek Lake is beautiful (and feet from the inn), and there's lots
to see and do nearby (especially if you are the outdoors type, as we
are). Also, it's about 40 minutes from
which we visited, and Kentuck Knob,
which we didn't.
- The Clifton Country Inn, Charlottesville, VA.
A fairly famous inn, in part because one of the innkeepers is a world-famous
chef. Nicely decorated, very comfortable, and of course, the food is
exquisite. Located just far enough from the heart of Charlottesville,
for those of you who want to sightsee UVa, Monticello, etc.
Update: I believe they've changed innkeepers; we can't speak about the new ones.
- East Brother Light Station, in San Pablo Bay near Richmond,
This location is hard to beat: it is a light station on an island
off the Eastern coast of the San Francisco Bay.
You get there by boat (theirs, included in the room rate).
There are four rooms, and the accommodations are fairly spartan (no showers
unless you stay more than one night), but that's not why you're there
anyway. The view is nothing short of spectacular, and there's something
about the atmosphere of being on an island, with no TV, no phone, and
almost no reminders of the outside world. It's expensive -- just shy of
$300 a night -- but well worth it. We concluded that the best way to
enjoy this would be to fill all four rooms with your friends (when we went,
the other three rooms' tenants were all friends).
- The Oaks,
The house is positively beautiful, the innkeepers are very friendly and
hospitable, and the inn is overall nicely quiet and romantic.
The first night we brought Chinese back and ate it in the inn's dining
room, where the innkeepers graciously provided dishes, napkins, etc., and
the second we ate in a quaint little restaurant in `downtown' Christiansburg.
Nearby is Virginia Tech, our alma mater, whose campus is well worth a visit.
Also nearby and recommended: Chateau Morissette winery, The Homeplace
Update: We just stayed here a second time, just as pleasant as
the first. The "Lady Melodie's Turret" room is wonderful!
- The Mercersburg Inn, Mercersburg, PA.
Not particularly remarkable, but nice enough; the innkeepers are very
friendly, and the inn itself is quite comfortable. We were in the area
to ski, and this inn had about the same rates as the local cheap hotels,
over which it was obviously a vast improvement. Especially since it
rained and we ended up spending the weekend in the inn instead of on the
We wouldn't go to Mercersburg again just to stay here, but if we're ever
back there to ski, we'll definitely stay here again.
(Can't find a web site; phone is 717/328-5231.)
- The Seven Gables Inn, Pacific Grove, CA.
You've seen this in Visa commercials -- you know, they don't take American
Vastly overrated, as far as we were concerned.
No doubt about it: the views are breathtaking. But the accomodations
are pretty unremarkable, and the place is run such that it feels more like
staying in a hotel than like staying in someone's home (as an inn should
feel). For example, the main building is locked up at 10pm, so you can't
return from dinner with friends and hang out in the parlor, as we would've
It's expensive, too; save your money and stay at the Gosby House instead.
- The Blue Violet Mansion, Napa, CA.
A real mixed bag here, but definitely more bad than good.
The inn and its grounds are big and beautiful, located in downtown Napa.
The rooms are nice, and we were served dinner in our room (a nice touch,
but pricey and the food wasn't great - good, but not nearly as good as
one could get for the same price in a restaurant). But the worst part
came at bedtime: the walls (and floors) are so thin that we could hear
every word of the conversations next door, and every footstep above us.
It kept us up late, and woke us up early. And after all, no matter how
nice the rest of the visit, what's the point of staying in a B&B if
you wake up feeling like you spent the night in a truck stop?
- The Belle Grae Inn, Staunton, VA.
The rooms are small, the inn is old and not particularly well maintained,
the staff is hard to find and not overly friendly or helpful, and worst
of all, the place is incredibly noisy. We were kept awake till late by
a screen door that banged loudly every time someone passed through it.
But dinner was excellent -- both the food and the service.
Bottom line: don't stay here, but if you're in Staunton, this is a great
place to eat.
- The Chester Inn, Scottsville, VA. The inn itself was
nice enough, but we found the innkeepers very inhospitable. Case in point:
as we often do at B&Bs, we wanted to spend the afternoon in our room
reading. We asked for firewood (it was winter), and were told that we
couldn't have another fire till that evening. In general, they seemed to
want us to behave as though we were at a hotel: leave in the morning and
come back in the evening. Definitely not recommended.