Owners Eve and Jim Jackson opened the Inn at Irwin Gardens just last spring, but the building was home to one of Columbus' most prominent families for nearly 150 years. It's still a work in progress, although things are in pretty good shape. Surrounded by some of the city's most innovative architectural structures (which makes for interesting walking tours), the spectacular Italianate-style inn offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of another era. Filled with scrupulously maintained original furnishings, the interior features English oak woodwork, first-edition books lining the walls and stained-glass family crests in the windows. Our suite was ridiculously large -- an enormous parlor/sitting room with fireplace, a small walk-through bathroom (ours was the only one without a tub), a bedroom with a wall of filled bookcases, a walk-through closet, and an enclosed sun porch overlooking the gardens. Wow. Our room didn't have a TV, but we did see some in a couple of the other bedrooms. Built to resemble the ancient ruins of Pompeii, the beautiful sunken gardens are a pleasure. Century-old wisteria vines wind their way over brick pergolas, and an impressive tiered fountain climbs up to a lovely outdoor tearoom. Water features, sculptures, peaceful seating areas, an herb garden and lots of blooms fill in the rest. Breakfast is a formal but cozy affair, and no ordinary Continental offering. Eve and Jim whip up a hearty spread of freshly baked rolls, egg dishes and fruit-and-yogurt parfaits to send their guests off sated and happy. From $225.