Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My First Elegant Bed and Breakfast Experience

This past weekend I summoned my powers of self employment and declared it a second straight long weekend. Since it was the week of my lovely wife's birthday, I decided it was only right to continue to birthday celebrationing into the weekend. Then it came a matter of finding the best place to go for a romantic weekend that also wasn't too far away from home (so, we didn't spend half the weekend driving to it).

I voted Niagara-on-the-Lake as the romantic stop, partly because it had the history of being our honeymoon spot. The place has some fond memories, and we haven't been to the downtown since our honeymoon, which was three plus years ago. It seemed like the best location for a mini vacation.

I then had to figure out where we wanted to stay. I voted a bed and breakfast, because I've heard them mentioned several times when people talk abut having a nice romantic getaway. The problem is that I've never done a bed and breakfast, and didn't really know what to expect. I know they're the location for 'romantic retreats' in films I've watched or in books I've read, But I've also learned that you shouldn't really base your location choices on movies or novels, especially if you tend to enjoy a lot of horror and supernatural fiction.

I did my research and came to the conclusion a little bed and breakfast called In Elegance was my best choice. I made my reservation, but really wasn't sure if it would end up being a magical and romantic weekend or not.

I've done hotels. I've done resorts. I wasn't sure where bed and breakfast measured up to them. I viewed it as staying in the bedroom of somebody's country home, and they give you a few waffles when you wake up. But Emily seemed to enjoy the idea of a Bed and Breakfast, and so I trusted her instinct.

Let it be known, my wife is right once again.

Our stay at the In Elegance was exactly what I hoped -- magical, romantic, and well, elegant. It was a lovely weekend just spending time with my beautiful wife, but the stay at the bed and breakfast made it that much more magnificent.

I knew I made the right choice once I arrived at the gorgeous bed and breakfast. The host Dana warmly greeted us and treated us like old friends. I had only mentioned my name and hometown during the reservation process, but she took the time to memorize both when I arrived. She greeted me by name, and asked us how the drive down had been. I'm used to staying at hotels, where they want to take care of the payment as quickly as possible. Dana didn't even mention the money owed when we first arrived. Instead, she asked what our plans for the night were, she recommended places for us to have dinner, and asked us if we had any dietary needs. She made us feel like we were extremely important and she put our needs ahead of everything else. It was at that moment I knew it was going to be an enjoyable stay.

We stayed in the room with the king-sized bed, because giant beds where you need to pack a lunch in order to roll over to your spouse is apparently romantic. I am still not sold on the wonders of a king-sized bed, but the rest of the room was majestic. It was really roomy and incredibly clean. As a nice touch, there was a bowl of delicious hard candies. I ended probably sampling far too many throughout the weekend. It has comfy chairs and a plush bed. It was the type of room that you could spend a very relaxing weekend in.

The house also had to other areas that the guest could relax, in case they didn't want to spend an entire weekend in a bedroom. The living room seemed really nice with a selection of books and seemingly comfortable furniture. We ended up never spending any time there though. It was also the place you were to stay before breakfast was served (and drink some tea or coffee), but we always did a good job of sleeping right until it was time to come down for breakfast.

The other great area for relaxing was the backyard, which had a pretty patio surrounded by a beautiful garden. We ended up spending some time relaxing there in the afternoon, and it was a very tranquil place. It was another spot to add the beauty of the entire site (as well as an additional place of beauty in the always stunning and peaceful Niagara-on-the-Lake).

What makes the In Elegance such a fantastic place is Dana herself. She is incredibly warm, friendly, and caring. Despite all the work she must have to do with running the bed and breakfast, she spends her time talking and laughing with you. You can tell she loves serving, and she is extremely hospitable. She always wants to make sure you are enjoying your time in the town she loves. She'll give you coupons for wine tours or recommend the best attractions. She will regale you with stories of her family and life. You feel at home. She does whatever it takes to make sure your stay is wonderful.

It is a bed and breakfast, and so you probably want to know how the breakfast portion is. Well, Dana is more than just a friendly person. She is an extraordinary cook. Her breakfasts were gourmet feasts. Almost everything was home made, and what wasn't you could understand (I didn't expect her to kill us a pig). The spread was unbelievable. We had everything from home made granola (with yogurt and fresh fruit inside) cheese souffle, sausages, banana bread, bacon, assorted fresh fruits, eggs, and countless other delights. It was probably two of the best breakfast meals I've ever had. There was so much food. We ate to the point that we didn't need to have lunch. You really get to enjoy your time eating, as Dana is content to talk and pour you coffee -- rather than rush you out, so she can start cleaning. Both times, we probably ate for close to an hour and half, while enjoying time with Dana and the other guests. It was a real delight.

If you want to take a nice vacation to Niagara-on-the-Lake, and you would like to try a bed and breakfast. You really should go to In Elegance. This was my first ever bed and breakfast experience, but I know it will make it hard for any other to top. It was was a magical weekend, and I give much of the thanks to our wonderful time at the In Elegance Bed and Breakfast.

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