Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Angel of the Sea

When I first started this blog it was my intention to write about the beautiful Bed & Breakfasts of North Carolina, since that is where I live. However, there are so many wonderful Bed & Breakfasts all around the world, I have found that I simply cannot limit my blog to only North Carolina.

The Angel of the Sea Bed & Breakfast in Cape May, New Jersey with its ocean-view setting is a charming, award-winning Inn and one of the most recognized Victorian homes in the United States.

This Bed & Breakfast was recommended to me by one of my blog readers, Jillian. She said: "
My husband and I have stayed there several times. It's wonderful! A beautiful, refurbished Victorian mansion with wrap-around decks overlooking the ocean.....high tea at 4:00 every day, wine and cheese at 6; yummy breakfast in the morning. It's been rated one of the top 3 B&Bs in the USA, and I know why!" Click Here to visit Jillian's blog.

Visit The Angel of the Sea Bed & Breakfast website and you will see the beauty of the rooms that await your stay. Be sure to call 4-6 months in advance because this Bed & Breakfast enjoys 100% occupancy most of the year.

If you know of a great Bed & Breakfast please leave a comment or send me an e-mail:
cmmdtp@gmail.com .

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tips for Finding a Bed & Breakfast

Selecting a Bed & Breakfast to stay at is a little different than choosing a Hotel or Motel. Unlike the Hotel and Motel chains where every one is the same wherever you may go; each Bed & Breakfast is unique. A little pre-planning is necessary before heading off on vacation. Here are a few tips to help you with your Bed & Breakfast experience.

Bed & Breakfasts offer personalized services and home-like atmosphere but the amenities offered will vary from Inn to Inn. It is important to make a list of what is important to you and when you call for reservations be sure to ask questions.

  • Call ahead for reservations. Most Bed & Breakfasts only have a few rooms and they fill up quickly.
  • Be sure to ask if there is a private bath or if you will have to share a bathroom with other guests.
  • Ask about smoking policies.
  • Are the rooms airconditioned?
  • Are children and/or pets allowed?
  • Is breakfast included? What does the breakfast menu consist of?
  • How far is it from local attractions?
  • What is their policies on cancelations?
  • Is dining available at the Bed & Breakfast for meals other than breakfast?
These are just a few of the questions you should keep in mind when planning your stay. Once you stay at a Bed & Breakfast, you will never want to go back to a Hotel or Motel again!

If you have other tips or would like to recommend a GREAT Bed & Breakfast please leave a comment.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Biltmore House at Christmas

OK...so this isn't exactly a Bed & Breakfast, but it is so beautiful I just had to write about it. If you have never been to The Biltmore House before, you need to make plans to visit. One of the best times of the year to go there is at Christmas. There are candlelight tours from Nov. 4 - Dec. 31 which will take your breath away!

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Biltmore Estates is an amazing work of art. Built by George Vanderbilt over 100 years ago, it has acres of gardens, and managed forests.

There is much to do as you visit the vineyards, winery, farm village; or spend some time rafting, horse back riding, shopping or just enjoying the amazing architectural wonders. You can hike or bike as you enjoy the 8,000-acres that is The Biltmore Estate. Did I mention shopping? And don't worry, if you work up an appetite there are plenty of dining choices also; from a simple fresh-baked pastry or gormet ice cream to a full meal. There is even an Inn on the grounds.

If you can't make it in time for the Christmas tour...that's ok. No matter what time of year you visit The Biltmore House you are in for a special treat. There are rose gardens, and azaleas, shrub gardens and much more. Visit The Biltmore House Website for a calendar of events.

Breathtaking beauty is the best way to describe the 250 rooms and 65 fireplaces that make up the Biltmore House. An indoor pool and bowling alley are all part of the wonderful estate. There are pricless works of arts and antiques everywhere you look. America's largest home should be a must see as you plan your next vacation.

The Inn at Ragged Gardens

Here is another great Bed & Breakfast to stay at in the mountains of North Carolina. The Inn at Ragged Gardens is a warm, antique-filled, beautiful place to visit. The Hyatt family has restored this turn-of-the-century home in downtown Blowing Rock and your stay there will be memorable.

Every time we have tried to stay there it has been completely booked. So make your reservations well in advance. Some good friends of ours have stayed there and told us that they really loved it. We have taken a tour of the rooms and hopefully will get to stay there on our next trip to Blowing Rock. You can get a nice look at this lovely Bed & Breakfast on their website: The Inn at Ragged Gardens .

This charming Inn sits on an acre of enchanting gardens and their gourmet breakfast includes the use of herbs and flowers organically grown in their own gardens.

To find more information about Blowing Rock visit their website: Information on Blowing Rock, NC . If you know of a great Bed & Breakfast please share it and leave a comment.

Another Great Bed & Breakfast

Here is another great Bed & Breakfast located right on the waterfront in Manteo, North Carolina. The Tranquil House Inn is our favorite place to stay when we go to the Outer Banks. It's not far from Nagshead, and it is home of the 1587 Restaurant, with world-class chefs! What a wonderful dining experience, the food there is outstanding!

We have stayed there a couple of different times and really enjoyed it. My favorite thing about The Tranquil House Inn is the wine and cheese they serve in the afternoon on the back porch overlooking the water. It is so peaceful and refreshing to sit there and chat with the other guests as you nibble on cheese and drink some good wine.

Here is the link to their website: The Tranquil House Inn.

Manteo is a quaint little town and a great place for a walking tour and it's just a short ride to Nagshead, Kitty Hawk and other tourist attractions.

While you are there be sure to check out The Lost Colony, a musical theater under the stars, about the first English Colony here in NC that vanished without a trace! Here is website for The Lost Colony.

If you have a favorite Bed & Breakfast please leave a comment.

More About Bed & Breakfasts

Here is some more information about Bed & Breakfasts. This will be a continuing series of posts about the Bed & Breakfast Experience. Here are a few useful links:

Click Here to Locate a Bed & Breakfast - Directory for U.S. and Canada

10 Tips for First Time for First Time Bed & Breakfast Guests - Tips

Directory of World Wide Bed & Breakfasts - World Wide Directory

What every good Bed & Breakfast host should offer:

  • Friendly service and a great breakfast
  • Tips on where to go in the area to sightsee or to get a good meal
  • Historical information about the Inn or the surrounding area
  • Some hosts offer recipes they use in the Inn
  • A list of area churches and service times
  • Good conversation

We stayed at a The Inn On Main Street several years ago in Weaverville, North Carolina and without fail every year we get a friendly email from the owner thanking us for staying there and inviting us to come and visit again. That's a real nice touch.

Our stay there was wonderful. The Inn Keepers, Nancy and Dan, came out to great us as we arrived and were very warm and friendly. They showed us around their Bed & Breakfast and were very good hosts. We asked them where a good place to eat dinner was and they gave us several choices.

The Inn On Main Street was just a 15 minute drive away from The Biltmore House where we planned to visit the following day. Nancy and Dan told us the best way to go and also had some brochures available for us. After a day of walking around The Biltmore Estate and the streets of Asheville, it was great to come back to the quaint town of Weaverville and relax on the porch with the other guests at The Inn On Main Street.

The next morning we had a wonderful home cooked breakfast of frittatas, made-from-scratch muffins and fruit. We really didn't want to leave this wonderful place, but our weekend was over and we had to return to reality. We look forward to returning there again for another relaxing weekend sometime soon.

The Bed & Breakfast Experience

The Inn On Main Street - Weaverville, NCThe next time you are traveling, instead of the same old boring hotel or motel room, treat yourself to The Bed & Breakfast Experience. You will love it! My wife and I always stay at a Bed & Breakfast rather than a Hotel or Motel; it is a world of difference and a refreshing experience.

Pictured here is "The Inn On Main Street " in Weaverville, NC. We stayed there when we went to visit The Biltmore House, just a short drive from this wonderful Bed & Breakfast. (Coming soon a review of our stay there.)

What is a Bed & Breakfast?

Typically, a Bed & Breakfast is a privately owned home, which offers a place to stay for the night and a home-cooked breakfast in the morning. Thus the term, Bed & Breakfast. Usually the homes are older, historic homes and may only have 3 or 4 rooms available. Sometimes family members or other guests share the bathroom; however, many of the newer ones have private bathrooms now.

Bed & Breakfasts are usually very quiet and many will not accommodate children under 12, so if you have young children this may not be for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a nice romantic getaway...leave the kids at home and enjoy!

If it's a romantic inn that you are looking for go to: I Love Inns for a list of the top ten romantic Bed & Breakfasts in 2005.

Bed & Breakfasts have been around just about forever. Monasteries used to serve as Bed & Breakfasts and some still do. People in Europe and England have been staying at Bed & Breakfasts for centuries. Here in the United States, we can trace the Bed & Breakdfasts back to the days of Pioneers. Then during the Great Depression many families opened up their homes as "Boarding Houses" to earn extra money.

After Hotel and Motel chains starting popping up everywhere, the Bed & Breakfast kind of faded away. If you know where to look, you can still find a great Bed & Breakfast just about anywhere you plan to go, here or abroad! Once you have experienced the home-cooked breakfast and genuine hsopitality of the inn-keepers in a quaint little Bed & Breakfast, you will never want to stat at a Hotel or Motel Again!

Coming soon: Our favorite North Carolina Bed & Breakfasts

If you know of a great Bed & Breakfast, please leave a comment and share it with us.