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Bed and Breakfasts Create Homey, Warm Atmospheres

Kane Manor Inn
Kane Manor Inn

Staying at a bed and breakfast is a much more personal experience than lodging at a traditional hotel or an Airbnb. At a B&B, a homemade breakfast is served in a common dining room, and guests are able to meet each other, while proprietors often interact with guests as well. There are many charmingly beautiful bed and breakfast options within a two-to-three-hour drive from Pittsburgh, many of which are situated on historic land in historic buildings and are convenient to local attractions.

Kane Manor Inn, Kane, PA

2 ½ hours from Pittsburgh

This spectacular mansion with ten guest rooms, just on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, was originally built as a family home of General Thomas L. Kane, a Civil War general. Though the general died before the house was finished in 1896, four generations of his family occupied the home well into the 1980s. The house has served as a bed and breakfast, though, since 1931, which, according to present owner, Dr. Debra Miller, is most likely the oldest continuously running bed and breakfast in Pennsylvania. Five additional rooms are available for rent in the guest house across the street. Rotating delectable breakfasts, like the cinnamon swirl pancakes, overnight French toast and breakfast burritos, keep guests coming back. The area also has many outdoor opportunities. “We have hiking trails, mountain biking, snowmobiles, and cross-country skiing, which are linked via an amazing trail system. We’re lucky to have those options right here on the property, and a block and a half away from a rails-to-trails biking trail,” said Miller, who said that business is growing each year. Kane Manor Inn gets especially busy in fall, when many people flock to the nearby Kinzua Bridge State Park for a spectacular fall foliage view.

Golden Eagle Inn, Bedford, PA

2 hours from Pittsburgh

Golden Eagle Inn, Bedford, PA

Located in the center of Bedford, the Golden Eagle Inn, built in 1794, was the former home of Dr. John Anderson, a doctor who built the Bedford Springs resort just outside of town—the same town where George Washington had his headquarters during the infamous Whiskey Rebellion. Tom Salmon and his wife Mary Jane bought the property, which includes 10 rooms as well as a basement pub and restaurant, in 2013. “We’re known for our substantial breakfasts. We have several beers on tap. Often, my wife will use beer in the mix for pancakes or French toast,” said Salmon. He said they source fresh ingredients from local farms for other dishes. Salmon said people are drawn to the area for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to indulge in the history of the inn and of the town. From cookie tours to wine walks to fall foliage, Bedford, a destination for many Pittsburghers, is also a stop on the Pennsylvania Whiskey Rebellion Trail.

Lake Pointe Inn, McHenry, MD

2 hours from Pittsburgh

The luxury bed and breakfast in the Deep Creek Lake area of western Maryland is named after Dr. James McHenry, George Washington’s Secretary of War, and is located on the same lot as his summer home. The current structure, a former farmhouse, was built in 1895 and predates Deep Creek Lake by 35 years. The building was rebuilt as a 12-room inn in the early 1990s and was bought by Scott Lack eight years ago. “It is one of the nicest places to stay in western Maryland,” said Lack, who counts dignitaries and members of Congress among his guests. Although they get some visitors during the winter ski season, the lake and summer activities are the biggest draws to Deep Creek. “We have a population of 15 million within a three-hour drive,” he added. The breakfasts range from sourdough waffles, avocado toast and quesadillas to traditional bacon and eggs. Lack said that people choose B&Bs versus conventional hotels because of the more intimate setting. “At a B&B, you become part of the community for a couple of days. People sit together at the fire pit and see each other at breakfast. It’s a more personal stay. My favorite thing is coming in in the morning and talking to the guests at breakfast time. In the winter mornings, we have a big old fireplace in the living room; people come down to drink coffee, sit and visit,” he said.

Hillbrook Inn, Charles Town, WV

3 ½ hours from Pittsburgh

Hillbrook Inn, a Tudor-like estate on 17 sprawling acres, sits on a parcel of land that George Washington bought in the mid 1700s. The inn itself, built a century ago to resemble an inn in Normandy, was a private home that once belonged to Brigadier General Frank E. Bamford. Today, the inn, along with two nearby companion properties, offers 19 rooms and is owned by Carissa Zanella, a Pittsburgh native, and her husband. In addition to such breakfast delicacies as homemade glazed donut holes, the luxurious property also offers an elevated experience to guests, such as a spa, a restaurant and it even hosts weddings and retreats. Many people come to the area for nearby Harpers Ferry, a national historical park, or to visit Antietam National Battlefields. Other area activities include hiking, ziplining and tubing. “We are close to wineries and breweries in Northern Virginia,” said Zanella. She added that the reason people choose inns versus hotels is for the warm and welcoming homey feeling.

Lakehouse Inn Retreat, Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH

2 hours from Pittsburgh

Lakehouse Inn Retreat in Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH - Photo credit Martello Photography
Lakehouse Inn Retreat in Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH - Photo credit Martello Photography

Between water activities, such as kayaking, paddle boarding and sailing, or shopping and dining at Historic Ashtabula Harbor, Geneva-on-the-Lake, along the southern shore of Lake Erie, is an especially popular destination between May and October. However, said Andrea Bushweiler, whose family has owned the Lakehouse Inn Retreat for over 20 years, people come all year round to experience the Ohio Wine Country. “The biggest draw to our area is the wineries; we are within 20 minutes of 20+ wineries.” And many of those people choose to stay at her bed and breakfast, in part because it is full-service. “It has a restaurant and a day spa, which is also open to the public. We also have a small winery, so guests can sample our wines. We also have one of the best locations on the water,” she said. The quaint inn features eight rooms, as well as three cottages and three premiere suites; it has been operated as a bed and breakfast since the 1940s. Unlike some traditional B&Bs, Covid prompted the Lakehouse Inn Retreat to pivot by delivering breakfast baskets to guests in their rooms. Because the guests enjoyed the flexibility of eating in their rooms or taking their baskets outdoors, that breakfast model is ongoing.

The Great Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast, Mayville, NY

2 ¼ hours from Pittsburgh

Great Tree Inn in Mayville, NY

Breakfasts at the Great Tree Inn are literally farm fresh; the property, which dates back to 1850, was a working dairy farm when Mark Dowhy and his wife purchased it 12 years ago. “We decided we’d try a B&B; it just happened to come with a farm,” he said. Though it is no longer a dairy farm, Dowhy raises free-range chickens, ducks, pigs and also has four Belgian Draft horses on the property, which he breeds. Guests, about one-third of whom hail from western PA, have a choice of seven rooms, the décor of which reflects the countryside. Located between Lake Erie Wine Country and Lake Chautauqua, visitors to this bustling region of western New York have no shortage of things to do in the area all year round, from programming at the world-famous Chautauqua Institution, water activities on the lake or driving through the nearby Amish country. Bordering the property is a rail to trails path that heads right to the lake. Over 22 wineries are in the region. Jamestown, the home of Lucille Ball, is at the other end of the lake and features both the Lucille Ball Museum and the National Comedy Center.

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