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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

One of the most obvious signs of spring in the Brandywine Valley is a visit to the Longwood Gardens. This year marks a particularly special occasion since it is the reopening of the world famous fountain garden. Dubbed the “Summer of Spectacle,” the Main Fountain Garden showcase premieres on May 27 and runs through September 30. As part of the most significant fountain collection in the country, and they are quite a sight to see! Inspired by the great fountains of Europe, this five-acre masterpiece was created in the early 20th century by Longwood Gardens’ founder, Pierre S. du Pont. It has been closed for a two-year revitalization project, but will now once again thrill guests with its grand allées, hand-carved Italian limestone, undulating boxwood, and more than 1,700 fountain jets and streams. It also now includes dynamic new spinning and spiraling fountain features, jets propelling water as high as 175 feet, new fountain lighting, plus a more inviting and immersive garden experience. Because this event will be in high demand, only timed tickets will be sold. However, our friends at Pennsbury Inn in Chadds Ford, PA can provide you with unlimited discounted and untimed tickets when you book with them!

Located just minutes from Longwood Gardens, Delaware, and Philadelphia, Pennsbury Inn seamlessly blends Colonial heritage with country sophistication. This cozy inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features eight acres of sculptured grounds (complete with four acres of its own lush gardens), which are bordered by woodland trails. In addition to comfy accommodations and private baths, Pennsbury Inn has a large living room with big open fireplace, a library, a music room, and a private conference room. Guests who love antiquing will be overjoyed with the selection of shops in the region, while art enthusiasts will be thrilled to find the Barnes Foundation with its stunning collection of art just 50 minutes away. Amish farmlands are within a 40-minute scenic drive, while horseback riding, canoeing, and golfing are located nearby for sports lovers looking to get outdoors and get active.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

From fresh goat cheese salads to tropical breakfast sorbets, we’ve rounded up our top 8 spring recipes to help celebrate the season. Check out the slideshow below!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cosmos were the calling card drink of the “Sex in the City” girls during the iconic TV show’s heyday, and just like fashion, everything comes back in style eventually (including drinks!) – especially when they’re upgraded. That’s why we’re so excited about our latest cocktail on the blog, the Springpolitan from our friends at the family-owned Shelter Island House in Shelter Island Heights, NY.

You already know this gorgeous inn has played host to some high-level celebs (hello, Jessica Chastain!) from our recent interview with innkeeper Janet Rogler last month, but did you also know the top-rated Tavern Restaurant onsite serves an amazing New American-style menu, complemented by handcrafted cocktails, world beers, and an expertly curated wine list? The result is an exceptional dining experience you won’t soon forget. Menus are seasonally driven, and guests can dine alfresco or fireside (depending on the weather) within the inn’s stylish surroundings.

Shelter Island House features lavish modern beach flair throughout; luxurious accommodations with spa bathrooms, chic décor, and local art; and a wealth of exceptional complimentary amenities (in addition to the restaurant) including continental breakfast, Wi-Fi, a pool, a bar, and a bakery. This boutique hotel also boasts architecture that seamlessly combines historic details with chic elegance and sophistication, plus a location close to area attractions with the beach just one block away. And of course, after a day at the beach, nothing beats a cocktail – especially the Springpolitan!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Now that the weather is getting warmer, it’s time to think about spring and enjoying the great outdoors. One thing that pairs perfectly with the season is brewery tours. From New Hampshire to Minnesota, there are plenty of inns offering awesome packages for beer enthusiasts who want to enjoy a sip and stay getaway. Here is a handful of some of our faves to help inspire your upcoming travels based on imbibing good brews…

Woodstock Inn Station & BreweryWoodstock Inn Station & Brewery

At Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery in North Woodstock, NH, guests can indulge in an enticing educational journey with brewery tours that take them behind the scenes of one of the two breweries onsite. From now through Columbus Day, the once-daily tours take place at 12PM, with an additional option of 4PM on Saturdays. During these famously fun excursions, attendees learn about the history of the facility, starting from a small, seven-barrel brewery in the mid 90′s to present day – that finds them as a highly successful regional brewery with sales spanning throughout New England. During the tour, the brewer explains the process and ingredients for crafting their delectable ales, and he answers any beer-related inquiries. If you’re lucky, he might also reveal a few insider local secrets! The tour concludes with a tasting of five selected samples. The price is just $9, which includes the tasting and a pint glass.

Brewery tours are a popular activity in Duluth, MN, and The Duluth Experience is a celebrated specialty that the innkeepers Tim and Angie Allen at A G Thomson House Bed and Breakfast coordinate for their beer-loving guests. It includes a choice of four different behind-the-scenes brewery tours where attendees meet the brewers, learn about how their systems work, sample their beer, and establish a personal connection to the North Shore Craft Beer Scene. All of the driving takes place via The Duluth Experience’s chauffeured 14-passenger bus, and guests also get to chow down on an amazing meal at a locally owned restaurant! Tim and Angie will arrange for spots on the tour via online booking or phone. Be sure to allow two weeks’ advanced notice to secure a reservation.

Topside InnTopside Inn

Boothbay, ME is the destination for one of the state’s top local breweries, Boothbay Craft Brewery. With a getaway to Topside Inn, beer lovers can indulge in the enticing VIP Local Brewery Tour, which includes sampling a wide range of craft beers and much more. With it, guests receive more than $70 of value for a price of $50. The palate-pleasing package for two includes the Boothbay Craft Brewery VIP Brewery Tour, a beer tasting, lunch or dinner at the adjoining restaurant, Watershed Tavern (via $50 gift certificate), and $10 worth of wooden coins to spend on brewery merchandise. Innkeepers Mark Osborn and Buzz Makarewicz also have suggestions for two other facilities in the region beer lovers might want to seek out as well: Monhegan Brewing Company and Oxbow Brewing Company.

Bed & Breakfast at Oliver Phelps in Canandaigua, NY is situated in the heart of the Finger Lakes. Although the region is synonymous with wine, it’s celebrated for beer as well. With nearly 80 craft breweries and brew pubs in the area, enthusiasts have plenty to discover, and at the inn, they don’t have to drive themselves to do it either! Partnering with Crush on Canandaigua Wine & Beer Tours, guests have the option of planned routes or do-it-yourself (DYI) itineraries. For planned routes, innkeepers Lynne and Bill Keiper will put them in touch with Russell, an experienced local guide, to schedule their experience. All tasting fees are included. For those who opt to DYI, a limousine pickup can be arranged at the inn following breakfast, and Lynne and Bill (who “force” themselves to survey local offerings regularly during downtime) will offer recommendations based on guests’ tastes and experiences. “If guests prefer to stroll the historic city of Canandaigua, there are three craft breweries within two miles of the inn,” says Bill. “With settings varying from a lakefront cottage to a vintage train depot, the ambiance enhances the flavor of some great beer.” Area breweries include Peacemaker Brewing, Twisted Rail, Three Huskies, and a fourth coming this fall: War Horse Brewing.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

While we await the arrival of spring (and our new website!), I want to keep you in the know about new properties who have signed on with us – just in time for the warmer seasons coming our way. This month’s beautiful B&B’s are both located on the East Coast and offer some amazing guest amenities.

First we have The Inn at Pleasant Lake in New London, NH. Centrally situated in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region, this lakefront inn combines luxury accommodations featuring en-suite baths, high-speed internet access, and central air conditioning, with a hearty, daily country breakfast and afternoon tea. There is also a full-service, award-winning restaurant onsite, along with an extensive wine cellar and bar. The location is convenient to area shopping, artistic venues, and plenty of outdoor activities. Additionally, because of the inn’s direct lake access, water enthusiasts can enjoy paddling on the lake with the complimentary use of boats and boating equipment. Guests also have access to a private community beach or can opt to relax on the inn’s patio to take in all of the breathtaking views. A Tesla/electric car charging station is available for eco-conscious guests’ convenience as well.

The Inn at Lake PleasantThe Inn at Lake Pleasant

Next we have Windemere Inn By The Sea in Indialantic, FL. This romantic, beachfront inn includes four luxury properties – The Main House, The Carriage House, The Cottage, and 805 Beachside – offering a wide range of individually designed accommodations, all set in casual Caribbean-style tropical surroundings. In addition to the gorgeous accommodations with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV’s with DVD players, and full baths (some with Jacuzzi tubs and oceanfront views!), guests enjoy a complimentary gourmet breakfast, a massage room, and a social hour (by request from 5-6PM). There is a range of resort-type amenities, including airport shuttle service, and Tesla/electric car charging stations. The location close to several area attractions, such as the Historic Downtown district, plus Melbourne International Airport.

Windemere Inn By The SeaWindemere Inn By The Sea

Expect more new properties next month, plus an update about our new website coming soon!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Photo courtesy PixabayPhoto courtesy Pixabay

As the temperatures rise, so too does our excitement at the prospect of heading outdoors to enjoy a host of our favorite activities. Whether on water or land, there are so many things to do in spring  – we’re not sure where to begin! That’s where our network of local experts comes in handy. Take for example, what travelers can experience in the breathtaking surroundings of the Pine Tree State.

A part of the Appalachian Trail Corridor, Gulf Hagas is a gorge located in the mountains of central Maine that is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of the East. “It’s a hiking and kayaking paradise,” says innkeeper Mark Stephens of The Brewster Inn in Dexter. “However, there is more than one way to get there.” Luckily for us, Mark revealed an insider secret. “Guidebooks direct visitors to the South Entrance,” he explains, “but guests of the inn enter at the North Entrance. Why? Not only is the road much better (the road to the South Entrance is pothole-ridden), but then they also avoid wading through a river crossing.”

The Brewster InnThe Brewster Inn

After a long day of exploring the landscape, travelers will definitely want to sit back, relax, and recharge, and of course The Brewster Inn offers the ideal accommodations. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this property features 9 guestrooms with comfy beds, private baths, all-season fireplaces, flat-panel TV’s, complimentary Wi-Fi, independent in-room heating, and i-Phone docking stations. There are also gorgeous gardens, a screened-in porch and patio, and a full breakfast is served daily that includes a freshly prepared main course that might be sweet or savory depending on the day. The stress-free atmosphere is also convenient to plenty of area attractions including the city of Bangor, Mt. Katahdin, and the Moosehead Lake region. Innkeeper Mark’s expertise in the area is an integral part in making every guest’s stay an unforgettable getaway, so make sure to enlist his help when you are headed to the region!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Q: Do you have a favorite movie or TV show based on hospitality/travel?

A: Sadly, we don’t really watch “regular” TV… so I’m not familiar with the shows or the characters.  But if there was to be a character associated with what we do in some very SMALL way, it would be the innkeeper from Groundhog Day! As all innkeepers know, every day (although different) is exactly the same. The only change is with the guests staying at the time. I have to preface this point most importantly, Marc and I are absolutely nothing like the innkeeper from the movie in personality or demeanor.

Q: What is one thing you wish that potential guests knew about bed and breakfasts?

A: That staying at a bed and breakfast is an amazing opportunity. When you research, talk to, and reserve the right type of B&B for your style of travel, the innkeepers are the best go-to source for what’s happening, local info, tips, and much more. The innkeepers are there to help you have an amazing getaway in their area.  The amenities at B&Bs are also a huge benefit to your travel budget, including free parking, delicious and well-prepared breakfasts, common and private spaces to relax, local information, attention to details and a super clean environment, and complimentary items such as tea, coffee, hot cocoa, baked item, and  WiFi/office needs.

Q: What has been your strangest guest request or experience as an innkeeper?

A: I have two. 1) A male guest who needed me to get a piece of clothing out of his room while he was in court and clean them because he had a problem arise. 2) A couple who stayed with us was married to her previous husband at a different time and were clients of my catering company several years prior. She was with a new gentleman at our inn (weird).

Q: If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?

A: Certainly not Meryl Streep! That’s a tough one. Some say I look like Debra Winger, but not sure she’s the right actress to play me.

Q: When you’re not busy hosting guests, what are some things you enjoy doing in your free time?

A: Sleep, reading, gardening, studio/art projects, trying some new recipes in the kitchen, or making something for guests when they have a special occasion (as a surprise!).

Q: What is the best compliment you’ve received from a guest?

A: When we have guests who were clients of both of ours in previous businesses and referrals.

Q: Do you have an inspiring song that you frequently listen to, or do you have a song that starts your day on a good note?

A: Some days I love high-spirited music when cleaning or good rock and roll. Other days, I enjoy pure quiet. Marc must have music going on his headset because when he’s vacuuming, he’s in a groove…

Q: What would you say is the most difficult part about owning a B&B?

A: Personal space can be challenging, of course, as even the most relaxed guests need/want your attention in some form. Also reaching out with marketing, when the methods of marketing change so quickly and there is no manual.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Continuing on our quest to find the best cocktails for the upcoming spring and summer season, this week we are headed to exquisite oceanfront York Harbor Inn in York Harbor, ME. This certified Maine Green lodging property features three dining venues: 1637 Restaurant, Ship’s Cellar Pub, and Tavern at Chapman Cottage. Because the inn works with regional purveyors and serves both local patrons and guests, they keep busy year-round. (You may remember our blog back in August about their fall Lobster Lover’s Weekend, a must for your B&B bucket list if you’re a seafood enthusiast!)

In addition to top-notch dining, York Harbor Inn offers a range of beautiful accommodations in the Main Inn, the Yorkshire Building (sometimes referred to as “The Carriage House”), the Harbor Hill Inn, and the Harbor Cliffs Bed & Breakfast, ranging from nicely decorated double bedrooms and those with partial ocean views, to luxury units that showcase ocean view decks, fireplaces, and/or Jacuzzi spa tubs, plus a three-room suite (a favorite for bridal parties). The ideal accommodations are matched only by the inn’s location, which is convenient to the popular Long Sands and Short Sands Beaches; the secluded Cape Neddick Beach; and the quiet Harbor Beach, situated mere steps from the property. Additional attractions include Maine’s largest zoo and amusement park, nestled in the heart of York Beach; The Old York Historical Society, which has a community museum and the oldest jail in the U.S.; and of course, the Nubble Lighthouse, one of the most beautiful and frequently photographed lighthouses in America.

After taking in all of the area attractions, kicking back and relaxing with a cocktail is a great way to wrap up the day. Martha’s Garden is a perfect choice, and it’s got a great origin story. “Martha’s Garden is a tip of the hat to our inn’s gardener, Martha Donnell, who has been our master gardener for several years,” explains innkeeper Garry Dominguez. “Each year she plants the inn not only with flowers but edibles as well, which we use in cooking and cocktail recipes.” We raise our glass to that!

Want even more inside info on York Harbor Inn? Check out this recent feature about them, “Staying Local and Loyal,” in Food & Drink International Magazine!

All images courtesy of York Harbor Inn.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Located on the Monterey Peninsula, the quintessentially charming beach village of Carmel, California is the definition of a coastal travelers dream. From its European-style and picturesque white-sand beaches, this small but cosmopolitan city has an undeniable aesthetic allure; each artfully designed home boasts a pristine magic garden. As a city started by artists, Carmel still boasts a booming art scene and retains its identity as a self-consciously quaint village. Aside from the cities sprawling beaches and picturesque naturescapes, Carmel is home to countless boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and wineries, which means it’s perfect for a romantic getaway, girls trip, or even a family getaway. We’ve rounded up some of the things you can’t miss, and the best places to stay while visiting.


Since 1959, the premier boutique hotel, Tradewinds Carmel, has been a luxurious landmark in the heart of the village. The inn architects, Richard and Caitlin, who spent seven years living in Japan, built and designed the property with the idea of redefining luxury in downtown Carmel. In 2004, their daughter and current owner, Susan Stilwell, remodeled the property. From the complimentary kimono robes made specifically for guests in Bali, to the tranquil Buddha Meditation Garden, the impression of their previous home in Asia is evident in the details. There is, of course, some tropical flair thrown in. Appointed with 28 guest rooms, all of which are furnished with exquisite decor and detail, the bedrooms at Tradewinds offer guests some of the finer things: fine linens, down pillows and featherbeds, custom-made organic bath products, and more. Many rooms also offer gorgeous Pacific Ocean views and fireplaces, perfect for those chilly Northern California nights.

Looking to stay as close to the beach as possible? Stay at the quaint Edgemere Cottages where you’ll be only steps away from the sand. Featuring three charming, private and unique cottages, the inn provides the perfect amount of seclusion and romance with something to offer for every Carmel traveler. Built in the early 1920’s, the property blends European-style architecture with the beauty of its natural surroundings. Before heading out to explore the city, delight in the continental breakfast in a warm atmosphere with garden views and classical music. P.S…If you listen closely, you’ll be able to hear the therapeutic sound of waves crash on the shore at night.

Both spacious yet private, the Carmel Country Inn is the perfect place to stay for those looking to experience an intimate getaway. With the perfect balance of luxury, convenience, and amour, the property exudes romantic enchantment. Surrounded by colorful gardens and the rugged beauty of the Pacific coastline, it’s not hard to see why. The inn’s spacious suites and studios, complete with separate garden entrances, provide secluded comfort. The only reason one would contemplate getting out of their plush beds would be to indulge in the inns delicious gourmet breakfast buffet each morning, which is served fireside in the kitchen, as well as on the patio.

Located 3.5 blocks north of the cities main street, Ocean Avenue, the Hofsas House Hotel is just a short walking distance from Carmel Beach, shops, art galleries, wine tasting rooms, restaurants and city parks. The family-owned, 38-room property offers spacious accommodations and wonderful amenities. Opening up the Dutch doors of your bedroom invites you to take in the beauty of Carmel: glorious sunsets over the Pacific, ocean views overlooking the pines in the village, etc. Most suites also feature in-room fireplaces and private balconies, wet bars or kitchens.


When you visit a beach town, the first thing you should probably do is…visit the beach. Locals agree that an early morning stroll along the pristine Carmel Beach is a must. Plus, it’s been ranked as one of the nation’s cleanest and most beautiful beaches, according to the city’s tourism board. Insider tip: At night, return to experience a majestic Carmel sunset over the water.

For top-notch luxury shopping, head over to Carmel Plaza, where you can splurge (or window-shop) at four-star retailers and boutiques. After working up an appetite, take advantage of some gourmet cuisine at the plazas fabulous eateries, which include Bistro Beaujolais and Carmel Coffee & Cocoa Bar.

From muesli and salads, freshly baked cookies, jams, and so much more, you’ll find countless delicious and organic goods and greens at The Earthbound Farm Market and Farm Stand. Set on two-and-a-half acres, this famous farmers market is the perfect place to sample the freshest foods, roam in the herb gardens, and admire the manicured rows of planted veggies and flowers. You’ll even find a quaint lunch counter towards the back, where you can hop in line to make your own salad and try out the “Panini of the day”.

One of the best parts about visiting Carmel is the chance to take in the beautiful surroundings and experience the great outdoors. Luckily, there seems to be no shortage of state and national parks to hike along the Big Sur coast, from Limekiln in the south to Point Lobos in the north. Whether you want to partake in a leisurely stroll or break a sweat and tackle some serious mountain-interior hiking, Garland Ranch Regional Park, the “granddaddy” of the MPRPD properties, representing the District’s first parkland acquisition, is where it’s at.

Try one of the world’s best golf courses at Pebble Beach Golf Links, which was given the title of the “best public golf course in America” by Golf Digest. With its fairways and greens set right on the coast, you can take in some of the most scenic views while playing an afternoon round. Designed in 1919, this famous course has remained a fixture on the professional golf circuit.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It’s officially sugar season in Vermont! In celebration of the annual Maple Open House Weekend happening March 25th & 26th, we’ve put together a slideshow of our top Vermont inns.

For more information on the Maple Open House Weekend click here or check out the events Facebook page for highlighted event features of individual sugarhouses and partners.

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