Bed & Breakfasts
Tired of cooking for picky eaters? Annoying relatives got you down? Christmas songs making your ears bleed? Well, put down the spiked egg nog and look to one of the area’s many bed & breakfasts.
“Stay-cationers” have their pick – from a gingerbread Victorian mansion, to a renovated hayloft to a 170-year-old building with ties to Wheeling’s most famous escape artist. And some of them are offering special holiday rates. What’s not to love?
The Barn With Inn
Signature touch: Heated saltwater swimming pool
Tasty eats: Sugar cream pie
Rates: $125-$165 a night
Located in rural Brooke County not far from the Pennsylvania border, the Barn With Inn is a perfect place to commune with nature. Owned by retired professor Chatman Neely and veterinarian Dr. Harry Sanford, the 35-acre property features a butterfly garden, stocked fishing pond, 200-year-old farmhouse and a hiking trail.
It’s also home to a variety of rescued animals, including Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, horses, sheep, goats and pastured chickens. None of the animals is eaten save for chicken eggs, according to Neely. (Their rule is that nothing with a name is butchered.)
Guests have their pick of two smartly appointed rooms in a renovated barn – one in a former hayloft and the other in the old stable underneath. Or, they can choose to stay in the house. There are also a number of “rustic” camp sites available in the summer.
Neely is passionate about the farm-to-table movement, and prides himself on cooking real food made from local ingredients. A favorite dish is his sugar cream pie, a recipe for which he found in an old West Virginia cookbook.
“It’s an old southern recipe with brown sugar, white sugar, white flour and then two cups of cream,” Neely said. “I’ve modified it to add whatever berries are in season. We had guests last night and we gave them peaches that I baked into the pie.”
In addition to overnight stays, Barn With Inn is the perfect location for intimate weddings, fundraisers and other small events. In fact, events are how Neely and Sanford started out in the business. The bed and breakfast came later.
“Really, the B&B is a way to turn my farm into a classroom,” Neely said. “We’re teaching people about how to enjoy local food. And reminding people that there’s a lot going on with small farms in the panhandle.”
Lawrencefield Bed & Breakfast
Signature touch: Built by McColloch family
Tasty eats: Bananas Foster French toast
Rates: $125-$185 a night
When Betsy Phillips was working as a regulator for the state of Indiana, she often dreamed of working from home. So she began volunteering weekends at a bed and breakfast in her husband David’s native Columbus, Ind. The work suited her.
“I like to move around a lot,” she said. “I like to do decorating. I love to cook. And I love to bake. So all of these together kept me thinking, ‘Maybe I should open a bed and breakfast some day.'”
An Ohio Valley native, she began looking for real estate in the area in 2013. Trying to book the Lawrencefield B&B near Sandscrest simply looking for a place to stay, she was surprised when the owner told her that it was for sale. By August, it was hers after a whirlwind courtship.
“It is a McColloch family building,” she said. “The Samuel that leaped off the cliff? It was his nephew’s. The central part was built in 1845. And our four rooms are named after the McColloch brothers: Samuel, George, James and John.”
The rooms all feature private bathrooms, which allows her to host up to nine people in the main house. There also is a newly renovated cottage on the property with one bedroom, one bath and a foldout sleeper sofa. It’s pet-friendly and perfectly suited for a family, Phillps said.
She finds that most of her guests are travelers on Interstate 70 en route to another destination, who don’t want to stay in a generic hotel. In the two years she’s owned the property, she’s also found the B&B to be a meeting point for moms and daughters. Or two couples who want to spend the weekend together.
There is an event room that can hold up to 42 people for bridal showers and baby showers, she said. Full house rentals are also available.
So far, she’s found the life of an innkeeper to be to her liking.
“Sometimes the maintenance can get you down a little bit,” she said. “But overall the people that come here are wonderful.”
Magnolia House Bed & Breakfast
Location: New Martinsville
Signature touch: Italian marble fireplaces
Tasty eats: Blueberry danish
Rates: $100-$125 a night
Owner Joan Adkins had worked at the Magnolia House Bed & Breakfast for years before she purchased the property in 2009. Up until then, she had “worked around,” including a stint at Curves, to pay the bills.
“I stumbled right into it,” she said. “Never even thought of owning a bed and breakfast. Ever.”
Luckily it was a turnkey operation, with the vintage 1903 home in good shape and the current wallpaper, carpets and curtains already in place. The house was built by the Duerr family, and the street out front still bears their name.
The people who darken her door run the board, according to Adkins.
“It can be for weddings,” she said. “Reunions. Festivities. Workers during the week. I have people from Alaska that come every year to see the leaves change. Just all over. It’s really great.”
Adkins said her hosting style is giving people what they want. If it’s peace and quiet that her guests are after, that’s what they’ll get. If they want to chat about the area, she’s happy to lend her expertise. She also enjoys the cooking.
“I like to cook what I call the ‘one-plate breakfast,'” she said. “I fill up their plate with eggs, bacon, toast. We do the cinnamon rolls, too. But that’s usually families that are here on weekends.
Magnolia House is currently limited to renting out two rooms at a time because it has only two bathrooms.
The property is decorated for the holidays with bright red poinsettas out front and Christmas trees displayed throughout the house.
Bed & Breakfast
Location: Glen Dale
Signature touch: Interesting stained glass
Tasty eats: Ham and cheese souffle
Rates: $109-$139 a night
When Bonnie and Sid Grisell retired from their jobs as a school teacher and funeral home chief executive officer, respectively, they both decided that sitting around wasn’t for them.
“We’re both workaholics,” Sid Grisell said.
“And we’re PEOPLE persons,” Bonnie Grisell said. “And it all seemed to fit together.”
So 19 years ago, they opened the Bonnie Dwaine Bed & Breakfast.
“Bonnie and I have known each other all our lives,” Sid Grisell said. “Dwaine was my sister who was killed many, many years ago. So this is ‘Bonnie Dwaine.’ That’s why we chose the name.”
Dwaine is memorialized on a stained glass window in the stairwell.
The house, located on the main drag in Glen Dale, dates to between 1910 and 1920, Sid Grisell said.
“What we’re in now is new construction,” he said. “It was an eight-room house when we bought it. And we built onto it and made it our own.”
Bonnie Grisell said the B&B boasts a “tremendous list” of repeat customers, including corporate attorneys and guests of Marshall County Schools.
“We’re known for our gourmet breakfasts in the formal dining room by candlelight,” she said. “And we’re also known for providing extended continental breakfast during the week for our business clientele.”
Bonnie Grisell likes to manage the stove herself. In addition to her ham and cheese souffle, she likes to cook Austrian French toast and baked fruit puffs.
“I can make a variety of dishes,” she said.
Bonnie Dwaine Bed & Breakfast frequently runs specials so be sure to ask. A weekday rate of $99 per night was offered recently.
Bed & Breakfast
Location: Claysville, Pa.
Signature touch: Victorian tours
Tasty eats: Amish bake
Rates: $159-$179 a night
Shirly and Butch Smith are another case of accidental B&B owners. The couple was scouting out possible B&B properties for friends in Bethel Park, Pa. When they came across the house that would become Montgomery Mansion Bed & Breakfast, they decided to keep it for themselves.
“So we had no desire to live in Claysville,” Butch Smith said. “And we never had a desire to own a bed and breakfast. And it’s just – bingo – here we are.”
For the past six years, they’ve operated out of a home built between 1879 and 1880 for a woodworker named William Porter. (The structure – an amazing example of Second Empire Victorian architecture – was meant to showcase Porter’s wood.)
“And that’s why it’s also known as the gingerbread house,” Butch Smith said. “If you look on the outside of the house, you’ll see all of the tremendous ornamentation.”
In addition to the impressive woodwork, the home features stained glass windows, a copper claw-foot bathtub and a Victorian-era wraparound shower.
Although there are five rooms, they only rent out two: the “small room” and a two-room suite on the third floor.
Guests wake up to the aromas of a big, gourmet breakfast, Butch Smith said, including, but not limited to, quiche, Amish bake, “decadent” French toast, fresh fruit, muffins, coffee and tea.
“Generally speaking, the greatest part about having a bed and breakfast is meeting spectacular people,” he said.
Former guests have included test pilots, a man walking across the country and the judge advocate general of the Army.