Bed and breakfast
While traveling, I like the concept of staying at a bed and breakfast, but I must admit to being a little leery of them at the same time.
I like to decide what and when I eat, so ceding control of a meal is one issue. Sometimes I don’t want a big breakfast, and often I like to have my morning repast as early as 6 a.m. And while one part of me likes being around fine and/or antique furniture, another part fears I’ll flatten a priceless chair by sitting in it or accidentally destroy some irreplaceable knickknack.
One final issue can be the owners. It’s nice having people around but not every time you open your door. In a place we stayed several years ago, you had to pass by the owners each time you went to or from your room. The owners were overly helpful and wanted to know what you were doing so they could assist. I found myself not wanting to leave the room.
On our most recent trip bicycling the Katy Trail, we stayed in four B&Bs and enjoyed them all.
In Hartsburg we stayed at the Hartsburg Inn. The room was how I like it: simple, clean, and comfortable. The breakfast was also simple: a coffee maker, milk, yogurt, juice, fruit bars and cereal. Nothing exceptional about the room or the food, but then the price was reasonable as well. One thing that was exceptional about the experience was that the owner offered me her car to make a food run (the local restaurant was closed on the evening we arrived).
The Katy Trail Bed and Breakfast in Rocheport was exceptional in several ways. First of all reservations were made over the phone, and instead of a key we were given an access code. Once at the house you simply let yourself in. A well-stocked refrigerator was provided, pay as you go by putting money in the cup on the top. There was even a washer and dryer– honor system again. Breakfast was similar to the Hartsburg Inn. A tiny addition that made the visit special was a calico kitten that followed us around as we enjoyed the grounds. Again, we felt the price of the room was a good value.
The best value of the trip was also the most expensive: The Apple Gate Inn in Augusta. For the price of a room we received a suite of four rooms complete with fireplace, deluxe shower and kitchenette. Breakfast was a delicious baked egg dish, and the owner didn’t blink when we said we’d like to eat at 7 a.m. The price was a bit more than the other places but we received much more. It would be a great place for a long weekend.
My personal favorite of the trip was the Rendleman Home in Bluffton, run by Doug Rendleman.
As Sabra pointed out, this was the first B&B we had ever stayed at run by a man and it showed. This was a bachelor’s pad, and Doug was proud of it. Furniture and décor was chosen for function and not esthetics. The lock boxes from a defunct post office, for example, were wedged into a wall between studs. On one side of the wall it served as a spice rack for the kitchen, on the other side a medicine cabinet for the bathroom. High art was a burlap sack with Slick Willie imprinted over the top of a photo of Bill Clinton against a backdrop of a giant marijuana leaf. My absolute favorite was a package of Jiffy Pop hung high on the wall atop the stairwell– a Missouri fire detector.
Doug turned out to be an excellent cook and host as well. During the off-season he travels to warmer climes, and he had plenty of stories to tell.
My favorite didn’t involve travel but his family.
His grandfather, it somehow turned up in the conversation, had an affair with Amelia Earhart. Her death so unhinged his grandfather that he soon took ill and died also. But before he passed, he wrote a song of his love for the female aviator.
It went something like this:
“My eyes are all red
I’m half out of my head
I’ve escaped reality