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Which President Stayed at Your Favorite Bed and Breakfast

Jun 6, 2008
With its private, mountain location and gracious hospitality its no wonder that the Gold Mountain Manor in Big Bear, Calif., has been the choice of many a celebrity. In fact, Clark Gable and his wife, Carole Lombard, chose the romantic bed and breakfast for their honeymoon spot.

History and hospitality are what sets bed and breakfast inns apart from the average cookie-cutter hotel or motel. That history often includes the many influential and important guests that have stayed at the inn. After all, many of us would be understandably in awe to have an innkeeper explain that presidents and award-winning writers stayed in the same rooms as we do today.

For instance, guests staying at the opulent John Rutledge House Inn in Charleston, S.C., may proclaim not only that George Washington once dined there, but that first drafts of the U.S. Constitution were drawn up in the mansion's ballroom. The home's builder, John Rutledge, was no slouch himself in the context of American history. Rutledge, was not only a writer and signer of the Constitution, he also served as South Carolina's first governor and a Supreme Court justice. A stay at Rutledge's home is to experience a little piece of American history.

Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt both enjoyed a stayed at the Vichy Hot Springs Resort & Inn in Ukiah, Calif. The guest list also boasts famed writers such a Robert Lewis Stevenson, Mark Twain and Jack London. Today's guests stay in newer lodging, but can still soak in the same soothing mineral waters as presidents, writers and other famous folk have enjoy for more than 150 years.

It's not surprising that many an artist visited Hacienda del Sol, an 1810 adobe home located in Taos, N.M. Among the famous guests were Georgia O'Keefe, who painted here, and D.H. Lawrence. The home is a restful place, set among huge cottonwoods, blue spruce and Ponderosa pines, with an uninterrupted view of the mountains across 95,000 acres of Native American lands.

The Colonel Taylor Inn B&B and Gift Shop is named after Colonel Joseph D. Taylor, a four-term U.S. Congressman and Civil War veteran who built the house in 1878. Although he fought in the Battle of Fredericksburg against General Lee and his troops, he advised his superior, General Ambrose Burnside, against the attack, telling the General, "The carrying out of your plan will be murder, not warfare." He became friends with President William McKinley, whose hometown of Niles, Ohio was in the 17th district that Colonel Taylor represented. McKinley has been verifed as a guest here; President Garfield and Hayes are said to have visted as well.

With its picturesque location and period dcor, history truly comes to life at The General Lewis, an 1834 Federal-style home now serving as a relaxing bed and breakfast. Among the notable guest book signers are Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. An authentic 19th-century stagecoach rests under an arbor, still looking as though it is ready to transport guests to hot springs on the James River.

Any of these historic bed and breakfasts stand alone on their hospitality, amenities and beauty, but it's hard to deny the added ambiance of staying in a place where some of the most illustrious names of the past worked, relaxed, dined and slept.
About the Author
Jane Leisteiner has traveled to many B&B inns and loves writing about them. For more information on South Carolina bed and breakfast inns or Ohio bed and breakfasts, check out the American Historic Inns website.
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