Not your mom’s B&B vacation

She wants a quiet B&B vacation, he wants something a little unstructured and hip. What to do?


First, agree on the region you’re hoping to visit and dig up what travel information or tourism brochures that are available so you can weigh your options. Make sure you know what you’re looking for. Do you want doilies with beaten up antique furniture, a dour house-mistress who serves only tea and only at odd hours? Or are you hoping to find something more accommodating to your tastes? Are you interested in more privacy or a less private situation where you can meet others in front of a roaring fire but without stuffy mismatched porcelain collections in rickety sideboards that give you the Grandma’s house creeps?


While many B&Bs are friendly and easy-going, a few can be incredibly fussy. You get the idea when you see their awkwardly formatted web site and it insists that no children are allowed, mature couples will enjoy it most, you eat from Chippendale china, oh, and watch out for the antique ornaments around the house. One even said, “Keep your feet off the bed” – seems… hard to do somehow.


But there are lots of B&Bs that won’t make you feel like you’re in a hushed museum. You can find quality, non-biased vacation information at and also download a vacation brochure there from every state in the Union. If you see in it locations surrounded by farmland (think Amish country in Pennsylvania), likelihood is that it will be historic with good dining, but not fussy. If it talks about adventure holidays and welcoming visitors “of all types” (think Arizona), you won’t have to worry about snagging the throws on the furniture.


As you’re looking through options, beware phrases like “discriminating traveler”, or the lovely accommodation that has been “beautifully furnished and accessorized”. The furniture might be fine, but the accessories might cost you in breakage fees! Seek instead phrases such as “comfortable bed” and “relax with a cup of tea or coffee in the dining room”. Fussy places don’t ask you to relax. They just want you to admire!! One lovely B&B we looked at in Seattle, Washington, even urged you to “tinkle the ivories” on their grand piano (
Don’t think however, that the opposite of fussy is plain and basic. Actually, we think the opposite of stodgy is warm and appealing, an invitation to come in and make yourself at home. The Inn on the Paseo in New Mexico urges you to come to “An inviting haven of traditional Southwestern hospitality” with “friendly service” (


You can really separate the fussy from the warm and inviting by looking carefully at the pictures the B&B shows on its web-site. Check out the table setting (beware the lace) and what’s on the sideboard and counters (clean and open is good!).


B&Bs are a wonderful way to really connect with and experience local culture in a unique setting with individual ambience. Avoid the fussy; embrace the warm. Have a relaxing time!

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