Ever since my husband and I stayed in a bed-and-breakfast on our honeymoon in Maine, I’ve loved staying in B&Bs when we travel. If you’ve never stayed in a bed-and-breakfast, there are a few things you should know to make the most of your stay.
In my experience, most B&B owners are very interesting and social people. They like getting to know their guests. Unlike the desk clerk at the local Hampton Inn, the owner of the B&B likely has stories to share and wants to hear your stories as well. Be sure to make time in your travel itinerary to spend some time talking to your host.
Last weekend, I stayed at the Lantz House Inn in Centerville, Indiana. I had some time between my afternoon tour of Wayne County and my dinner reservations. So I sat in the living room of the Lantz House and talked with innkeeper Marcia Hoyt. I learned how she came back to her childhood home of Centerville to care for her aging mother and decided to open a bed and breakfast so she could “meet interesting people, have time to volunteer, and do some decorating.”
She told me about how the Lantz House came to be featured on a Christmas cover of Midwest Living magazine and about how when she bought the property, there were holes in the ceiling and critters making their homes in the bedrooms.
Hoyt’s experience fixing up an old building to convert into a B&B is not unique. Many B&Bs are housed in old, historic buildings and most innkeepers are more than happy to tell you the history of the building and give you a tour of the house and the grounds. Rather than being confined to one assigned room, guests at a B&B are welcome to use common rooms such as the parlor, loft or living room.
As Marcia showed me through her backyard garden, I wished I had more time in my schedule to just sit in the garden and enjoy the solitude. Though the prized wildflowers were not in bloom, the lush green of grass, plants and trees and the carefully placed garden chairs were wonderfully inviting.
In addition to making time to visit with the innkeeper, when I stay at a bed-and-breakfast I look forward to visiting with other guests over breakfast. I’m always curious to learn about their travels, where they are from and what brought them to the B&B. Last weekend I met an older couple from Tampa, Florida. She was particularly interested in geneaology and had come to Indiana to trace her roots through her father’s side of the family.
And while I’m on the subject, the breakfast! Breakfast at a B&B is a far cry from the little cereals in a box and plastic wrapped pastries offered at hotels that tout “free breakfast.” Every B&B I’ve stayed at has offered delicious and indulgent breakfasts. On the menu at the Lantz House Inn was fresh pears and strawberries, baked French toast, thick slices of ham and fried eggs.
Yes, there are times when a traditional hotel fits the bill. But I encourage you to try the bed-and-breakfast experience at least once. In addition to the Lantz House Inn, you might try one of these:
The Nestle Inn, Indianapolis – walking distance from downtown’s Mass Ave. district
Market Street Guest House, Nappanee – 1 mile from Amish Acres and walking distance to antique shops
NaNa’s House B&B, Greensburg – driving distance to Metamora and Nashville, IN
Big Locust Farm B&B, Paoli – enjoy long walks in the heart of the Hoosier National Forest or head to nearby French Lick
To find more Indiana B&Bs, visit the Indiana Bed & Breakfast Association website.