While planning a visit to Vevay, Indiana, recently, I was invited to stay at a local bed and breakfast. Never one to turn down an open invitation to try out something new, I accepted…I’m like that. First, though, I decided to determine the difference between a regular, everyday lodging and a B&B.
According to my research, a bed and breakfast separates itself from hotels, motels and hostels by providing breakfast after the night’s lodging. Hmmm, I have stayed in numerous fine hotels, many of which also served food in the morning, so that couldn’t be the only difference.
I continued researching.
Aaah, B&B establishments are traditionally a private home renovated into a place for travelers to sleep. The owners may live on or off-site and may rent out all the bedrooms, or as few as one, in the home. Using a residence, whether historic or modern, gives the weary vacationer a sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar location.
Okay, that explanation works for me.
Driving up the curved drive led me to understand the welcoming nature of the surroundings fairly quickly. The shrub-lined driveway slipped through the grounds like an extension of the home itself.
Lounging gracefully alongside the Ohio River, Rosemont Inn is as historic and beautiful as a Victorian lady from the year 1881. Standing solidly, unwilling to relinquish herself to her true age, the lady welcomes all who care to cross her doorstep. She beckons to you; sit upon my porch, sip a glass of cool refreshment, become one with your surroundings and leave your fingerprint upon me as I am leaving my mark on you. Our souls will, forever, be intertwined, as a family member or friend who always waits with open arms.
Never one to stand around, translation...I’m always getting into things; I decided to check out the exterior. A chance to look behind the curtains, so to speak, before the owner notices me. Within mere feet of the 10 foot, stained glass front door, I turned instead toward the panoramic view of the river. I found a hot tub, fire pit and gazebo enticing me to forget my luggage in the trunk, to meander a little, and then reason set in.
I am a travel writer; I had a job to do. Determinedly, I turned my back on the shimmering water and entered the red brick mansion.
Howard Awand, one half of the couple who own this particular Hoosier
B&B, welcomed me rather warmly. Perhaps he had forgotten I was here to review, translation critique, his establishment? No, he simply was that relaxed. When one is in euphoria, they do not think twice about anyone who may, or may not, understand it. I followed Howard as he guided me through the aged house, giving an informative lesson in the history of the town of Vevay, as well as the Victorian home.
I found my bags had been placed in the James K. Polk bedroom which overlooks the picturesque river. With a private bath, robe, slippers and working fireplace, I was beginning to catch a glimmer of why people would find a bed and breakfast more enticing than, say, a beside-the-interstate lodging choice.
Aaaah, but what about the food, I wondered? Downy-soft beds are marvelous, antiques surrounding me are enchanting, and a fireplace is absolutely charming, but staving off hunger pains is important, also. Breakfast was assured, but what about dinner? Not all do, but this B&B offers dinner as an option.
Both proprietor and chef, Awand waved a magic wand and produced a gourmet feast I did not expect at a small-town lodging. After dining on filet mignon medallions of beef with garlic red wine reduction, we sat beside the parlor’s fireplace and chatted into the evening. Personable, and certain of all things, the quiet man discussed life. When you get to a certain age, he explained, you realize that life is every moment. The things you thought were important become insignificant. Being with someone who loves you is what truly matters.
So where does a vacation-destination proprietor go on vacation? Well, in his case, Awand goes to his other home, The Inn at Seven Springs in Stowe, Vermont. When he and his charming wife Linda are not in Vevay, one or both can be found tending to the needs of guests in their mountain-view resort. Hmmm, river view in Indiana; mountain view in Vermont; I’m sensing a pattern.
The sweeping staircase, the swaying of the front- porch swing and the mellow attitude of the southern Indiana establishment created a sense of calm within me. I packed my car’s trunk the next morning, after feasting on maple sausage and cooked-to-order eggs.
Then I exhaled, certain that it was just a fleeting mirage which would slip away as I slipped out of town.
Seemingly a million moons later, I secretly relive the contentment felt at the bosom of the Victorian lady. I jealously guard the memories from my very first B&B visit.
Now I can say with certainty, I understand the attraction.
That whole B&B thing...I Get It.
And now, I am ready to start traveling the B&B trail, meeting each one and learning its character and cherishing the memories I will gather from my visits.
If you have a unique place or event you would like reviewed, e-mail elizabeth @gottago.us. Me, I’ll be right here, thinking about the wine cellar awaiting me in Vermont; now where’s my GPS?
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, theater critic, and travel writer. You can now follow her on facebook or Twitter and catch her as Indy's Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC's Saturday Morning News Show, giving her quick Gotta Go list of things to do in the Indy area, including restaurants, festivals, events, theater and films.*Photos by Izzy Evans
This post was originally published under "Gotta Go" in the West Side Community News in Indianapolis, and the West Indianapolis Community News.