I can’t start my day by seeing strangers in their bathrobes. I don’t want to exchange pleasantries before I’ve wiped all of the sleep from my eyes. This is why I never understood the allure of B&Bs. There’s a fine line between quaint and awkward and, frankly, hearing the nocturnal sounds of people with whom I’m sharing an old house is more of the latter. This past weekend, however, I stayed at a B&B for the first time in several years and found myself relishing the coziness. Was I completely wrong about these intimate accommodations?
Bucks County, Pennsylvania is B&B country. Houses dating back to the 19th century with their wrap-around porches and adorably painted shingles line the winding roads and lure you in with promises of fresh scones. I prefer biscuits to scones, but when you stay at inn, you relinquish control of your breakfast carbs. I had chosen to stay at the 1740 House in New Hope, Pennsylvania because most of my friends attending the same wedding had booked rooms there, including the groom. I assumed that if I knew the majority of the guests, that a B&B could only present so many unpleasant social interactions.
I was immediately relieved to see the large size of 1740 House. With 24 rooms spread out over several wings, this was hardly a cramped space. Winding hallways kept entrances at a distance and created the feeling that you weren’t sleeping on top of everyone else. I never heard a single noise coming from any of the occupied guest rooms on our floor. While the balconies were shared, no guests were staying in room immediately next to ours, leaving us free to enjoy the views of the Delaware River in private.
I was already feeling at ease with my decision to stay at a B&B before I heard that there was pie for breakfast. It was the very pie that I had seen the innkeeper baking when we had checked in the day before. How had I written off an entire category of hospitality that serves pie for breakfast?
Our stay was short and we spent the majority of our time attending wedding events away from the inn. Ultimately, it was a place to shower, change clothes, and sleep. That’s how most people spend their time at B&Bs, though those just happen to be the most intimate moments of our daily lives.
On our last day, we attempted to get an early start as we headed back to New York City. We were awake and in the lobby before breakfast dining hours. However, the innkeeper offered us eggs and some hash – a new recipe that she was eager to test – and hurried the rest of the offerings out of the kitchen to make sure that we weren’t hungry on our drive. A hotel might have had its breakfast prepared earlier and kept the dining room open longer, but it wouldn’t have served homemade lemon ricotta pancakes.
Am I a B&B convert? Not entirely. I’m still wary of tiny inns with cramped rooms and communal tables. I’m not ready to share my personal space early in the morning or late at night. And some of those old houses just look so drafty.
Honestly, strangers in robes will always make me uncomfortable, but pie for breakfast can never be bad.
Where do you stand on B&Bs? Do you enjoy the cozy quarters or are you turned off by the lack of personal boundaries? Share your thoughts and B&B stories in the comments!
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