Editor’s Escape: 8 Four Diamond Bed and Breakfasts Worth Visiting
I was bitten by the bed and breakfast bug 24 years ago. My husband and I spent our first anniversary at a lovely B & B in Wilmington. I was smitten with the homey feel, the freshly made breakfasts, and the personalized service we received there. We actually still have photos somewhere of the other guests — new friends we made during our weekend there (is that weird?) and a delicious breakfast casserole recipe the innkeeper shared with us.
Today, that B & B is now a private home, so we can’t stay there (that would definitely be weird). However, there are plenty of fantastic bed and breakfasts in the Carolinas to discover. Even better, is the number of AAA Four Diamond rated bed and breakfasts to choose from. Here are eight you should check out:
The Duke Mansion Historic Inn and Meeting Place, Charlotte
The Duke Mansion was originally built in 1915 by Zeb Taylor. James Buchanan Duke purchased the property four years later and promptly tripled its size. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s still one of the best examples of Colonial Revival Architecture around today.
The mansion is an idyllic Charlotte retreat close to the city’s cultural district and convenient to Charlotte attractions. Guests can choose from 20 elegantly furnished guest rooms replete with original art, rich fabrics and six with spacious sleeping porches. In addition, you can meander around four and a half acres of lush gardens, enjoy a full breakfast each morning and catch up on your reading in the guest library.
Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast Inn and Spa, Asheville
Tucked within Asheville’s historic Montford District, the Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast Inn and Spa provides a welcome respite for guests both inside and outside. All eight cozy, well-appointed rooms and suites boast a whirlpool tub and shower, as well as a working fireplace. Along the property’s grounds you’ll find eight beautifully tended gardens, including a vegetable garden that provides fresh produce for each morning’s bountiful breakfast.
Designed in 1908 by one of Biltmore Estate’s architects, Richard Sharp Smith, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. While the property still exudes a homey and historic feel, modern amenities like the on-site spa, individual room climate control and high speed Wi-Fi certainly add to its appeal.
One of my favorite aspects of Abbington Green is that most of the products they use in the spa were made in Asheville and incorporate native plants. In addition, the spa walls showcase the work of local photographer, David Simchock. (Photo by Rodney Smith)
The King’s Daughters Inn, Durham
This lovely bed and breakfast sits along the oak-lined streets of Duke’s East Campus in the historic neighborhood of Trinity Park. It was first built in 1911 and completely renovated in 2009 by Deanna and Colin Crossman — the result, a nice blend of first-class amenities and historic inn charm. Each of the 17 luxury rooms and suites is uniquely designed and decorated with a classic or Art Deco 1920s flair. Here you can savor gourmet breakfasts and enjoy afternoon teas with freshly made snacks, gourmet teas or the inn’s own signature blend coffee. Turndown service and optional in-room spa services are other perks.
The Crossmans’ commitment to sustainable lodging is commendable. They participate in the area’s recycling program, buy and use locally-grown and produced products, and installed low-flow faucets and shower heads in every room. In addition, they use a 10,000-gallon rain water cistern for irrigation and outdoor watering.
The Verandas, Wilmington
This striking 8,500 square-foot antebellum home was originally built by Benjamin Beery, a sea captain and shipbuilder, in 1853. It suffered considerable fire and water damage in 1992, but thanks to the sturdy mortise-and-tenon style construction techniques Beery used, the nearly two-foot thick exterior walls survived.
The boarded up and decaying mansion was purchased in 1995 and painstakingly restored to its original glory. Listed on the National Registry for Historic Places, The Verandas also received the Award for Interior Restoration by the Historic Wilmington Foundation.
Situated in the heart of Wilmington’s historic district, it’s convenient to the Battleship North Carolina and other area diversions. All eight rooms are corner rooms that boast antique light fixtures, marble floored bathrooms with garden tubs and showers, and built-in nightlights. Guests can also climb to the mansion’s enclosed rooftop cupola for sweeping views of the Wilmington skyline and stunning sunsets. Morning meals are served on antique china and silver, and guests can make use of a fully stocked butler’s pantry.
Rhett House Inn, Beaufort
Ideally located within Beaufort’s historic district and bordering the Intracoastal Waterway, the Rhett House Inn provides easy access to the waterfront, varied shops, restaurants and tours. The 6,000 square-foot main house was built in 1820 as a summer home for wealthy planter and statesman, Thomas Smith Rhett. In 1846, the Cottage was built as a store for freed slaves to buy and sell goods. It also served as a school, then dormitory-style housing for seminary students.
There are 19 rooms in the main house and two cottages that feature antique furnishings and vibrant traditional fabrics. Many rooms include fireplaces and private balconies, and the inn’s sprawling verandahs make for relaxing wine-sipping, book-reading afternoons.
Guests can explore historic Beaufort via complimentary beach cruiser bicycles. Beach towels, sun umbrellas and beach chairs are also on hand for those lazy beachside days. You won’t go hungry during your stay here. Fuel up in the mornings with a gourmet Southern spread that will keep you sated for the day. Homemade cookies, iced tea and lemonade are also offered throughout the day, and hors d’oeuvres are served in the living room for a pre-dinner snack. Top off your evening with homemade desserts in the inn’s kitchen.
John Rutledge House Inn, Charleston
Built in 1763 by John Rutledge, governor of South Carolina and noted signer of the U.S. Constitution, the John Rutledge House Inn is a National Historic Landmark. Several drafts of the Constitution were penned within the walls of this elegant, Greek Revival antebellum home.
Its palatial 19 rooms include 12-foot ceilings, period furnishing, canopy or four-poster beds, original inlaid wood floors and Italian fireplaces create cozy environs for a romantic getaway. Here, guests can still enjoy modern conveniences like Tempur-Pedic beds, an in-room fridge, comfy robes, flat screen TVs and free Wi-Fi.
Opt for a continental or cooked breakfast in the ballroom or courtyard. Or, enjoy a relaxing morning meal in your room. Wind down from a day of exploring historic Charleston with a complimentary glass of brandy, port or cherry.
Red Horse Inn, Landrum
Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and in the heart of equestrian country, the Red Horse Inn sits on 190 sprawling acres with impressive views. It’s comprised of an inn and six charming Victorian cottages. The main inn provides two spacious, airy rooms. Each of the cottages includes a fireplace and a full kitchen. Some cottages also feature private outdoor hot tubs.
Up the romance factor with an in-room massage, a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries or a dozen roses, which can be arranged prior to your arrival.
On some Saturdays, guests can spend time watching the innkeepers tend to the resident horse, Little Secret, whose great grandfather was Secretariat. Planned excursions are also available through the inn. Visit area wineries and waterfalls, peruse local antiques stores or go zip lining. Or, just enjoy a little down time amidst the inn’s tranquil, idyllic setting.
Rosemary Inn Bed and Breakfast, North Augusta
Two mansions erected by the prominent Jackson family make up present day Rosemary Inn Bed and Breakfast – Rosemary Hall, built in 1902 by James U. Jackson, North Augusta’s founding father and Lookaway Hall, located just across the street, built by James’ brother Walt.
Rosemary Inn’s location is convenient to area attractions like the Augusta Riverwalk, the Morris Museum of Art, and the Augusta Canal Interpretive Center at Enterprise Mill.
Intricate woodwork, period fireplaces, original oil paintings and stunning architecture greet overnight guests.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Rosemary includes twenty-three beautifully appointed rooms and is the only AAA Four Diamond accommodation in North Augusta. Guests will enjoy a gourmet breakfast each morning, as well as a complimentary refreshment and snack station. Other amenities include feather top mattresses dressed with comfy overstuffed comforters, nightly turndown service, upscale bath products, and complimentary morning paper.
For more information about any of these bed and breakfasts, call your local AAA Travel Agent and plan your weekend getaway. Or, click here for our hotel search!