Bed & Breakfasts

  • 5 things to look for in a B&B

    Everyone looks for something different in a B&B. Some people just want to relax in fancy environs, and their search is relatively easy: Look for high-end inns and be willing to pay for them. I'm always on the move when I stay at a B&B, so I look for one that's near whatever I plan to do — biking, hiking, touring. If the proprietor is reasonably friendly and the room clean and comfortable, I'm happy. But I like inns best if they have a unique character and reflect their surroundings. When we stayed at the Silver Star Inn in Spring Green, Wis., one May, for example, the owner didn't lavish wine or chocolate on us.

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  • How to find a bed-and-breakfast

    Long before Chaucer wrote "The Canterbury Tales,'' inns were a place to meet interesting people. They still are. When travelers gather for breakfast, or for evening drinks and hors d'oeuvres, they tell stories and trade tips that pave the way for the next day's travel. They've certainly helped me over the years. Sometimes, I feel like the Blanche DuBois of travel journalism: Wherever I go, I depend on the kindness of strangers.

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  • Rooms with a view

    There are a lot of good views in the world — from observation towers, skyscrapers, bluff-top parks. But the best view always is the one you can admire from your own room. Many places in the Upper Midwest have a lovely window on the world — cabins on lakes, hotels on rivers, B&Bs in the bluffs. But some rise above the others, often literally.

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  • Living like a millionaire

    In 1890, Duluth was a treasure chest waiting to be opened. It sat at the foot of Lake Superior, connected to the steel mills and cities of the East by water. White-pine forests lay to the south and west, and rich veins of iron ore to the north.  It couldn’t fail to make money for the men who came to tap its riches, and it didn’t.

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  • Lodgings in Lanesboro

    Before the Root River State Trail was built, the only places to stay in Lanesboro were some small hunters' cabins near the city park. With visitors pouring in, Lanesboro also has become the bed-and-breakfast capital of the Minnesota, with more B&Bs than any other town, plus several small inns.

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  • Original inns

    Once, four walls and a little Victorian frippery were all innkeepers needed to attract guests. Then, they got creative. Now, there's an inn room with eight walls, and a room with just one. There's a room with bars and a steel door. There are rooms on water and on wheels.

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  • Rooms for romance

    When anniversaries, birthdays and Valentine's Day roll around, swains everywhere wonder where to take their sweethearts to celebrate. Of course, it has to be somewhere romantic. But what's romantic? To many, it's the floral Laura Ashley look, with lots of lace, patterned wallpaper and antiques. To others, it's a rustic cabin in the forest, minus the heart-shaped whirlpool but with loads of privacy and atmosphere.

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