For most of our travels, we stay at hotels. Having worked in the hospitality industry for a hotel company, my wife and I took advantage of the employee discounts when we traveled. Disneyland. Disney World. St. Louis. Chicago. All over. Then, those jobs went away during the Great Recession of 2008. So, we were faced with finding nice hotels at affordable rates. My wife decided on one of our trips that we should stay at a bed and breakfast. What? I had become a hotel snob. I’ve stayed at some of the best Hyatts, Sheratons, Westins, Fairmonts in the world. Why would I want to crash at a hostel (my view of bed and breakfasts at the time)?
Well, my wife convinced me to try a bed and breakfast. I told her I didn’t want to stay at one if it meant having to share a bathroom (again, I viewed all bed and breakfasts as hostels). We decided to try a bed and breakfast in Milwaukee. One hitch: We’d have to share a bathroom with another room. “Ugh,” I thought. Well, I checked out the place online. It looked interesting. An old mansion, not far from Marquette University. The neighborhood was older and quaint. I reluctantly agreed. Much to my shock, I loved it! Our stay at the Schuster Mansion was a success. The owners were fabulous people. The breakfasts were amazing. Our room was outstanding. Oh, the bathroom thing? We never saw our “partners” until our last night at the mansion, as we were coming in for the night and they were leaving. After that, I told Lisa that when she booked places, have fun with it, though I preferred our own bathroom.
Since that trip seven years ago, we have enjoyed several stays at bed and breakfast inns around the country, as well as Airbnbs. Between personal travels and hosted stays, I’ve gone from a hotel snob to a bed and breakfast convert and would love to share with you a few of the outstanding bed and breakfasts where we’ve had the pleasure of staying.
1. Schuster Mansion
Located in the Marquette University neighborhood, the 130-year-old Schuster Mansion has welcomed guests as a bed and breakfast for two decades. Previously, it was an apartment building after the Schuster family sold it. With four suites and three single rooms, the Schuster Mansion offers three levels of service: a full bed and breakfast experience, which includes a room, breakfast, and concierge service to help plan your sightseeing; a room and breakfast, all of the services without the concierge; or room-only, which excludes breakfast and the concierge service. But, when staying at a bed and breakfast, it’s a must to enjoy breakfast, as the hosts create amazing dishes to start your day. Each themed suite or room has a private bathroom, except for the Lone Star and Prairie Sky, which share a bath. Schuster Mansion is only a few miles from Milwaukee attractions, such as the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Harley-Davidson Museum, and Miller Park baseball stadium.
For more Milwaukee inspiration, read our tips for a weekend getaway in Milwaukee.
2. Shakespeare Chateau Inn And Gardens
St. Joseph, Missouri
Located on St. Joseph’s Millionaires’ Row, Shakespeare Chateau Inn and Gardens is among the more scenic mansions in the northwest Missouri city. Atop a hill overlooking the city and the Missouri River Valley, a stay at the Shakespeare Chateau offers a walk among the playwright’s works. With five elegantly decorated suites named for Shakespeare’s plays, a stay at the bed and breakfast makes you feel like you’re in a different era. Built in 1885, the mansion features mahogany, walnut, and cherry woodwork, as well as almost 50 stained-glass windows. Each of the five suites, such as the Romeo and Juliet, includes a king or queen bed, a seating area, and a private bath. However, depending on which suite you reserve, you may also have a jacuzzi tub or jet tub. Breakfast is always a special experience at the Shakespeare, with gourmet-style dishes served each morning.
Minutes from St. Joseph attractions, such as the Pony Express National Museum and Walter Cronkite Memorial, the bed and breakfast offers a central location for your visit. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, consider reserving dinner at the JC Wyatt House, a Victorian-era house where you’ll enjoy a three-course dinner prepared by a former New York chef.
3. Historic Argo Hotel
A converted hotel, the Historic Argo Hotel Bed and Breakfast offers a walk through history. About 2.5 hours northwest of Omaha, the Crofton bed and breakfast features nine suites and rooms, each with a private bath. The former railroad hotel has experienced quite the life, including time as a medical clinic, and is full of stories. It was the childhood summertime home of actress Leslie Brooks and is reportedly inhabited by ghosts. People say they have heard children’s voices in the dark and seen figures move in the hallways. Ghosts aside, breakfast, served in the main dining room, is always amazing and is served with freshly ground coffee. The owners lead a morning tour of the bed and breakfast, during which you’ll see a major library, home to literary classics and beautiful furniture.
While in Crofton, you may want to check out the downtown Lewis and Clark Pulley Museum, an odd but interesting attraction, and make a trip to the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, where you can swim, fish, and boat along the South Dakota border. Yankton, South Dakota, is about a 15-minute drive and offers antique shopping and tourism options, including walking across the Missouri River on Meridian Bridge, a converted double-decker auto bridge.
4. Tuck U Inn Bed And Breakfast
With six well-appointed suites, you may feel like you’re staying inside a museum at the Tuck U Inn at Glick Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Atchison, Kansas. Once the home of George W. Glick, the ninth governor of Kansas, the bed and breakfast is a beautiful place to stay. Bathrooms are located in a hallway, but each is assigned to a themed suite, such as the Eisenhower or Amelia (named after Atchison native Amelia Earhart). The mansion is located on a small hill and faces the Sallie House, considered one of the most haunted houses in the United States. Each day at the Tuck U Inn begins with freshly-brewed coffee, followed by a gourmet breakfast.
Located a few minutes from downtown Atchison, the Tuck U Inn is the perfect place to stay, as you can walk or drive to attractions, including Amelia Earhart’s childhood home, the Santa Fe train depot, and Benedictine College, which is home to impressive public art and an immaculate chapel.
5. The Homestead 1854
The Homestead 1854 isn’t your typical bed and breakfast. Used as a wedding and events facility, The Homestead 1854 has a large outdoor reception area. With a well-maintained large labyrinth on the property, you can challenge yourself to navigate the garden attraction. The property’s large grounds feature aged trees and floral and botanical gardens. Inside the Tuscan-style home, there are six guest rooms, each uniquely designed. Breakfast is an adventure that will challenge your palate, with tasty entrees and sides. The Homestead 1854 differs from other bed and breakfasts in that they welcome children.
The Homestead 1854 is centrally located. Stay here, and you are only a few minutes from downtown Plano, which was used as the hometown of Clark Kent in the movie Man of Steel. You can also visit the Oswego Brewing Company and Fox Valley Winery, both in nearby Oswego.
6. Seasons Of The Fox
You know you’re in for a treat when you reach the outskirts of Lindsborg and the sign says Valkommen till Lindsborg (Swedish for “Welcome to Lindsborg”). The Swedish flavor carries over to the Seasons of the Fox Bed and Breakfast. Using the owners’ last name, Seasons of the Fox is home to four guest rooms, each named for the seasons of the year. Decorated for that season, you’ll find a Christmas theme in the Winter Room, fall colors in the Autumn Room, and festive decor in the Spring and Summer Rooms. A hosted Happy Hour features hand-cut vegetables and other treats. Each day begins with a handmade breakfast, often featuring Swedish lingonberries as a side or topping.
Lindsborg is known as Little Sweden USA and promotes its Scandinavian heritage with decorated dala horses along the main street, a Swedish gift shop where you can watch dalas being painted, and a stone castle that recognizes the Spanish exploration of the area.
7. Cotton Mansion
You may think you’re in a British castle at the Cotton Mansion Bed and Breakfast, and the decor certainly adds to the romantic vibe. The Duluth mansion has served as a romantic getaway for about 20 years and features five suites and guest rooms in the main house plus two honeymoon suites in the carriage house. Most rooms have a fireplace as well as a private bath. You won’t find a television in your room, but you can program the radio to play your preferred music. Breakfast, served in a classic dining room, is astounding. The only thing missing is the small bell to ring for the help (just kidding). The estate’s grounds are immaculate and well-groomed with flowers and plants highlighting the design.
Not far from anywhere in Duluth, you can find yourself walking along Lake Superior at Canal Park, touring Glensheen Mansion, or hiking Enger Park within minutes. Learn about these attractions and more in “Duluth, Minnesota: How To Enjoy A Perfect Weekend,” and, if you’re pining for more bed and breakfast content, read “Second Act: From CPA To Vermont Innkeeper” for great bed and breakfast inspiration.