A-plus B&Bs

Posted on 31 Dec 2008 at 1:49pm
By Andrew Collins Contributing Travel Writer

Luxury inns along the East Coast provide glamorous getaways


COLONIAL QUAINT: Although opened within the last decade, Connecticut’s Inn at Stonington embodies the essence of an 18th century fishing village. The rooms offer 21st century amenities like deep two-occupant whirlpool tubs.

The Northeast has become increasingly popular with gays seeking B&Bs. We recently discussed great bargains, but what if you’re not pinching pennies? Here’s a sampling of romantic inns in the Northeast that offer cushy accommodations — at appropriately upscale prices.

Hob Knob Inn —
Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
A dignified, Gothic Revival inn on quaint Edgartown’s main drag, the Hob Knob contains 17 spacious and airy rooms. It’s large enough to feel like a small hotel but also homey enough to feel personal and low-keyed.

Fresh flowers brighten the accommodations, which are bathed in pastels and feature down comforters and pillows and a mix of well-chosen antiques. Most units overlook the lush gardens surrounding the property. A complimentary breakfast is cooked to order each morning.

The Hob Knob stays open year-round —a rarity on Martha’s Vineyard — and the off-season rates can be a great bargain. Martha’s Vineyard has developed a notable LGBT following in recent years, and although nightlife is tame and without specifically gay options, the island is highly welcoming.

Four Columns Inn —
Newfane, Vt.
In southeastern Vermont, less than three hours from Boston and four from New York City, the Four Columns Inn excels both as a top-notch accommodation and a terrific restaurant. There are 15 rooms, all with gas fireplaces and traditional Colonial or Shaker furnishings. Many of the marble bathrooms have in-room Jacuzzis, and some rooms have private decks overlooking the tranquil and stunning grounds, which are dotted with ponds and traversed by a mountain stream.

Newfane is a quiet village, and that’s a big part of the Four Columns’ appeal. If you do stay here, try to plan at least one evening in the acclaimed restaurant, where you might sample such creative fare as seared medium-rare breast of duck with a rhubarb-red currant-port sauce.

Inn at Stonington —
Stonington, Conn.
Little Stonington, a Colonial fishing village facing the frothy Atlantic Ocean (the rest of Connecticut’s coast, to the west, fringes milder Long Island Sound), is refreshingly free of crass commercialism or chain shops, and until the tony Inn at Stonington opened in the early 2000s, there were no accommodations here, either. But this 18-room property comprising two neighboring buildings has been a great success.

Within steps of four excellent restaurants, a charming beach and a small history museum installed inside an old lighthouse, the property looks superficially like one of Stonington’s well-preserved 18th century fishing captain’s mansions. Inside, however, rooms reflect a more contemporary style, from the deep two-person whirlpool tubs to gas fireplaces and central air-conditioning. Furnishings differ in each unit, but all have original artwork, beautiful custom-made wooden beds, and plush linens.

Inn at Sunrise Point —
Camden, Maine
Occupying one of coastal Maine’s classic shingle-style mansions — what wealthy summer folks referred to as "cottages" a century ago — this vintage inn anchors a 4-acre oceanfront estate on Penobscot Bay and contains three gorgeously furnished rooms. Each has a fireplace, DVD player and oversized tub and shower. Four posh cottages sit alongside the water — these are more secluded and romantic, with decks and two-person whirlpool tubs.

Accommodations are named for famed Maine residents, including painter Winslow Homer and lesbian poet May Sarton. A lavish breakfast is presented each morning in a sunny conservatory. A short drive away, the village of Camden, which buzzes with restaurants and shops, overlooks a yacht-filled harbor.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edtion January 2, 2009.

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