Tired of big chain hotels but want to get away? Try a bed and breakfast. From big houses with turrets to mansions by the water to cabins in the forest, America’s bed and breakfasts offer quaint escapes to renovated historic properties, guesthouses and inns with an ambiance of a home away from home. Here’s a roundup of the nations best B&B’s.
Simpson House Inn, Santa Barbara
Set on a quiet acre in the heart of Santa Barbara, guests of the Simpson House Inn can choose to stay in the main Victorian designed house or the modern cottages in the restored barn. The six romantic cottages have private courtyards with fountains, featherbeds, wood burning fireplaces and plenty of privacy. The main house has larger rooms and suites with hand printed wallpaper, Oriental rugs and claw foot tubs.
The Empress of Little Rock, Arkansas
This magnificent gothic Queen Anne mansion houses five double rooms with baths and a stunning walnut and chestnut staircase leading to a 64 square foot stained glass skylight. The octagonal guest rooms are decorated in a Victorian style with authentic antiques, original stained glass windows and floral Aubusson rugs. Fireplaces have beautiful ceramic tile and the one featured in the gentlemen’s parlor has a secret compartment said to have hidden whiskey during Prohibition. One of the finest examples of Victorian architecture, The Empress is included in the National Register of Historic Places.
Located on fifteen wooded acres, The Rabbit Hill Inn offers guests nineteen individually decorated rooms and suites. Favorites are the ‘Music Chamber’ room, housing an antique Victrola, working pump organ and huge windows; and the ‘Loft’, with a king canopy bed, fireplace and double whirlpool bath. The Carriage House rooms are smaller and provide more privacy. The restaurant offers sumptuous country breakfasts as well as elegant evening dinners.
The Woolverton Inn, New Jersey
This three story country estate house sits on ten secluded acres and is surrounded by a sheep pen miles of protected forests and farmland. Built in 1793, the Woolverton’s eight rooms and five cottages are furnished with a mixed bag of antiques, four poster beds and eighteenth century artwork. Guests can explore scenic country roads, enjoy the view of the Delaware River and visit the many nearby arts and crafts shops and galleries in nearby New Hope and Lambertville.
Hoyt House, Amelia Island, Florida
This Queen Anne B&B located near the beaches of Amelia Island and the historic downtown district of Fernandina mixes fine period furniture with one of a kind accent pieces including a five-foot ceramic giraffe. The huge wraparound porch with swing and rocking chairs is perfect for lounging on lazy afternoons, and the ten giant rooms are individually decorated with overstuffed chairs, fireplaces, canopy beds and whirlpool tubs. Hoyt House also offers overnight stays on their private Silverton Motor Yacht.
Chretien Point Plantation, Louisiana
This two-story brick house on the banks of the Bayou Boubeaux has 19th century Louisiana antiques and features five rooms with redbrick floors, blue velvet chairs, hand carved beds, whirlpool tubs and fireplaces with imported French Empire marble mantles. The Chretien’s stairway and window above it were used as a model for those in Scarlett O’Hara’s Tara in the classic epic “Gone with the Wind.”