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Maryland B&Bs offer encounters with local history and culture



Innkeepers also provide 'insider' tourism tips


BALTIMORE (Feb. 10) – Savor old-world charm and modern comforts at a Maryland bed and breakfast (B&B), says the Maryland Office of Tourism, and enjoy a uniquely "local" experience.

"B&Bs appeal to a wide range of travelers," says Margot Amelia, executive director of the tourism office. "A 2011 industry survey revealed that leisure travelers who stayed at B&Bs and inns during the previous year liked the unique, authentic experiences that these accommodations offer. And, about two-thirds of those surveyed liked the private, less crowded, quiet atmosphere of a small inn or B&B."

Getting a better sense of local culture and staying at a place with unique décor and interesting architecture also resonate well with travelers in the survey, Amelia points out. She notes that travelers who stay at a B&B in Annapolis, for instance, are apt to "feel the historical lure of this colonial seaport where the U.S. Naval Academy is steps away from more 18th-century buildings still in use than any other place in the country."

Another example is Southern Maryland, where B&Bs afford opportunities to stay in a lush peninsular region bounded by the Patuxent and Potomac rivers that is home to the Religious Freedom National Scenic Byway, the start of the Star-Spangled Banner Trail (the route the British used in their invasion of Maryland during the War of 1812) and the Patuxent Wine Trail(a collection of six wineries).

B&Bs and inns often suggest the feeling of the Victorian or other historical eras through their architectural look, period antiques and afternoon tea. Yet, in many instances, they provide their guests with an array of modern touches.

"Some B&Bs offer exquisite, yet comfortable rooms with exceptional amenities: king beds with high-end linens, private baths with spa tubs, jetted showers, working fireplaces, free Wi-Fi and a wonderful breakfast at no extra cost," says Danielle Hanscom, president of the Maryland Bed and Breakfast Association and co-owner of Brampton Bed and Breakfast Inn, an updated 1860 plantation house on 35 acres just outside Chestertown.

Speaking of B&B proprietors, Amelia says travelers appreciate the personalized service and attentiveness that proprietors offer. "B&Bs and inns are the epitome of small-business enterprises – and small businesses are the backbone of Maryland's tourism industry. Moreover, when travelers stay at a B&B, they get inside information about what to do or where to go in the area from local tourism experts – the innkeepers."

Here is a sampling of B&Bs and inns – reflecting a range of amenities – with historical roots across Maryland's five regions:

Western Maryland

Inn Boonsboro (Washington County) – This upscale B&B – with room names that evoke romantic couples of literary fiction – occupies the site of The Eagle, a hotel built in the 1790s. It was one of two stone buildings in a town that became known for the first monument to honor George Washington – a rugged stone tower erected in 1827 four miles outside of town. The hotel changed hands multiple times, eventually becoming The Boone Hotel in the late 1930s. Author Nora Roberts acquired the property this decade as a vacant building with the intent of transforming it into a B&B. After total re-building, Inn Boonsboro opened in 2009 – with some of the masonry from The Eagle still intact.

The Deer Park Inn, Deer Park (Garrett County) – Built in 1889 as Pennington Cottage – the 17-room summer home of Baltimore architect Josiah Pennington – this property stands on the grounds where the once-prominent Deer Park Hotel stood. The dining room offers seasonal fare and uses produce from nearby Amish farms. French chef Pascal Fontaine, formerly executive chef of the Westin Hotel in Washington, D.C., is co-owner of the inn. Furnishings include Victorian antiques from the original cottage.

Capital Region

Pleasant Springs Farm, Boyds (Montgomery County) – A 1768 log cabin offers accommodations on a secluded 30-acre property with gardens, woodlands and pastures. Sheep graze nearby. A shepherd makes handspun-yarn products with dyes from the garden, along with goat cheese, soap, candles and hot pepper jelly. Proprietors are launching a buy-local food program with neighboring farms this year. English High Tea is available.

The Inn at Buckeystown (Frederick County) – Located near the Monocacy River and the historic town of Frederick, the inn occupies an 1897 mansion in an area steeped with pre-American Revolution history and the influence of the Civil War. It's a four-star national award winner for food, ambiance and hospitality. Serendipity, the inn's tea room, serves 30 varieties of teas. Five of the guest rooms have private baths.

Central Maryland

Admiral Fell Inn, Baltimore – Located in historic Fell's Point, a lively waterfront community, the inn consists of seven adjoining buildings – some date back to the late 1700s. It has served as a ship chandlery, theater, boarding house for sailors, and later, a seaman's YMCA. Edgar Allan Poe reportedly had his last drink at a saloon a few doors away. After total renovation in the mid-1980s and expansion in 1996, the inn transformed into an 80-room facility that is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Hotels of America program.

Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel, Taneytown (Carroll County) – Once a thriving plantation, this 24-acre property includes a restored mansion with nine guestrooms and other buildings that house another 31 rooms. Each has a fireplace. Antrim was built in 1844 and is in the National Register of Historic Places. It's located by the Catoctin Mountains, between Westminster and Gettysburg in a region infused with Civil War history. Rooms are named for famous figures of the Civil War and other historical eras. Smokehouse Restaurant offers a unique six-course meal every night. The wine cellar, which has 22,000 bottles, also offers food service.

Historic Inns of Annapolis (Anne Arundel County) – This collection of three boutique hotels – The Maryland Inn (44 rooms), Governor Calvert House (51 rooms) and Robert Johnson House (29 rooms) – date back to the 1700s. Members of Congress stayed at the Maryland Inn (44 rooms) when George Washington came to Annapolis in December 1783 and resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. As its name implies, the original structure at the location of the Governor Calvert House was the home of Charles Calvert, Maryland's governor from 1720 to 1727. Fire destroyed much of the building in 1764. What remained became part of new Georgian-style building at the time. Robert Johnson House (actually three joined houses) overlooks the State House and Government House. In 1772, Annapolis barber Robert Johnson bought the property. His grandson built a house a year later.

Le Cle D'or Guesthouse, Havre de Grace (Harford County) – Henry Harrison Hopkins (cousin of Johns Hopkins) built this Victorian-style property in 1868, the start of America's Gilded Age. A report for Maryland Historical Trust in 1977 said the house &qu
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