We are Bed & Breakfast travelers sometimes. When we leave home, we like adventure. B&Bs provide a unique experience every time. And, in thirty years of enjoying this, I can’t think of one that didn’t prove to be positive. Of course, there was the one where we stopped and looked around, but choose not to stay the night because it seemed spooky to Jim.
We’ve stayed in one inn, the York House, so many times that we know more of its history than the most recent owners. Others we’ve visited a few times, many only one time. In Asheville, we stayed in a former insane asylum, in Pigeon Forge, we stayed in Patricia Neal’s favorite home-away-from-home, and in Waynesville, we were given a free upgrade to the Tasha Tudor room when I recognized some of her work framed on the wall.
Though all are one of a kind, our experiences have revealed some similarities. Included in this list are quaint decor, privacy, friendly service, and a sense of getting away from it all. Rarely are there noisy residents (though we did share a B&B one time with a wedding party who was a bit raucous after the rehearsal dinner), phones ringing, televisions blaring.
We’ve stayed in B&Bs in the mountains, at the beach, in warm weather and cold (oh, my goodness was it cold once in Charleston – and our room was at the back of a long addition to an antebellum cottage. We thought the heat must have been distributed from the front to the back). We’ve enjoyed them in small, medium, and large cities, and in out-of-the-way places that made us wonder how guests ever found them often enough to keep them in business.
Breakfast is always provided. Sometimes its’s on a silver tray delivered to the room at the designated time with coffee and fresh baked pastries. Other times, breakfast is served in a large dining room with family style seating with other guests. My journals have pages of descriptions of conversations with fellow travelers. Names usually escape me, but some of their adventures I remember. The couple who rode Segways around an art village, the potter whose mugs hold our coffee twenty-something years later, the Florida couple looking for mountain real estate in North Carolina, and the innkeeper asking if we met the resident ghost during the night come to mind.
I suspect some of those people remember me as the lady who takes a sewing basket wherever she goes.
B&Bs are often in old houses with creaky floors, clawfoot tubs, temperamental water faucets, and steep stairs. In our most recent B&B abode, we actually stayed in a cottage property which had a kitchen of sorts. The stove and refrigerator were minimal in size, and even the sloped roof seemed designed for small people.
The tiny desk tucked in a corner made us think of all the creativity that had come from such quaint attic spaces. Jim commented on the quaintness at the same time that he said he would go insane ducking his head all the time. My reply was that many creative people did just that – went insane.
The make-do decor in B&B’s is always interesting. Many time inn owners have clearly been decorating on a budget, saving the big bucks for luxurious towels, fine soaps, and good food. This kitchen faucet intrigued us. Perhaps repurposed, it extended past the perimeter of the sink in most positions. Fun and funny to us!
Photos: The blue tumbling block quilt measures 26″ square. I was working on it while visiting Waynesville, NC, in 2005. It is hand pieced and free-motion machine quilted. Here I am seen stitching the binding. But the blocks are hand pieced, and that is a great sewing project for travel.
The white house with blue star is the fabric interpretation of a cottage in Mt. Dora, Fl. That block is part of Fifty-Two Wednesdays, still in progress.