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Travel

How to Have a Getaway But Feel Like You’re Home

A B &B is great for R & R

I stretched out on the huge bed and enjoyed the warmth of the fireplace in our room on my bare toes. We were staying in a 1,000-square-foot suite that included a separate bedroom – perfect for friends or kids – a bathroom with a marble jetted tub big enough for several people and a bedroom that overlooked a quiet residential street in the ritzy Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.

We had a wonderful breakfast every morning and there was food in the fridge to which we could help ourselves at any time. We could make fresh, hot paninis in the panini maker or from-scratch pizzas in the pizza oven. All this was included in the price. Were we staying in a luxury hotel? Far from it. Where was this completely fabulous, idyllic place? It was the Villa D’Citta Bed and Breakfast.

For much less than the price of a hotel and much more comfort, you can often stay in a very comfortable B & B in most cities. The price always includes breakfast, which really helps with your travel expenses.

One disadvantage is that some B & B locations present you with a breakfast and no other choices, so if you don’t care for what they are offering, you are out of luck. But most B & Bs almost always have cereal, bread and fruit available, and it has been our experience that most will prepare you something else if you just ask.

Another disadvantage to staying in a B & B is that you are often expected to be social because the owners and other guests are often friendly, convivial people who enjoy getting to know strangers. But if this does not appeal to you, it’s pretty easy to be polite but distant, as we often prefer to do. We normally have a very busy schedule when we travel so it’s our routine to grab breakfast, then avoid everyone else the rest of the time. However, if you want to get to know people, a B & B is perfect.

Although we have been overall very lucky in our B & B choices, you sometimes end up in accommodations that are not precisely what you had in mind. We both kept knocking our heads on the slanted ceiling of an attic room we stayed in when visiting Vancouver, and we were dismayed when our suite in Seattle turned out to be a completely separate and rather shabby apartment in a building next door to the B & B.

But our stay in Tucson, AZ, at the historic Inns at El Rancho Merlita (in the former summer home of the cosmetics queen Merle Norman) was absolutely incomparable. With our own private entrance and terrace overlooking a beautifully landscaped, desert-like backyard, great breakfasts and freshly baked treats every afternoon, we were very content.

To find B & B locations wherever you are headed, check out the Web site http://www.bedandbreakfast.com. For honest reviews of places you’re thinking of visiting, be sure to read http://www.tripadvisor.com, which has B & B locations listed as a special category under the “hotels” tab.

By Jan Ross, Staff Writer

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