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Our Favorite Midwest B&Bs

These top Midwest bed-and-breakfasts all offer excellent service, location, amenities and dining.
Photo Courtesy of Sweetgrass Cove Guesthouse and Bodywork Studio

Sweetgrass Cove Guesthouse and Bodywork Studio, Grand Portage, Minnesota

Active guests come to this Zen-like Lake Superior spot intending to hike and kayak. But the Finnish sauna, hot tub and massages lull people into languid stays, fueled by hearty breakfasts, organic juices and fresh scones. See reviews and ratings. (866) 475-2421; sweetgrasscove.com

 

Vrooman Mansion, Bloomington, Illinois

Spend an evening in this 1869 home and imagine the visits from Eleanor Roosevelt and Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan. Breakfast stuns: a menu of seasonal fruit sprinkled with crystallized ginger, whole-grain waffles and eggs baked in a slew of herbs. See reviews and ratings. (877) 346-6488; vroomanmansion.com

 

 

The Davie School Inn, Anna, Illinois

No more school, no more books--only pleasantly appointed former classrooms (still with chalkboards!) for your overnight accommodations. Guests stay in airy suites complete with kitchenettes, whirlpool tubs and Wi-Fi in this 1910 school-turned-B&B off the Great River Road National Scenic Byway. See reviews and ratings. (618) 833-2377; davieschoolinn.com

 

Beall Mansion, Alton, Illinois

A concierge e-mail when you book, a glass of champagne or sparkling cider when you arrive, a 24-hour chocolate buffet when a late-night craving kicks in? We could get used to this kind of service (and to the huge bathrooms with whirlpools and showers). See reviews and ratings. (866) 843-2325; beallmansion.com

 

 

Chestnut Street Inn, Sheffield, Illinois

You won't know what's more stunning--the $30 four-course dinner or that you found it in this little central Illinois town of 950. No matter. Just pace yourself as you sample huge fresh popovers, buttery-garlicky shrimp scampi, tender chicken Parmesan covered in fresh buffalo mozzarella, and creme brulee flavored with orange blossom water. See reviews and ratings. (800) 537-1304; chestnut-inn.com

 

Copperstone Inn, Rockton, Illinois

Opened in 2008, this 1858 limestone home has blossomed into a sophisticated wonder, with guests enjoying a home theater, a you-pick organic apple orchard and hiking trails that weave through an oak grove. See reviews and ratings. (815) 629-9999; copperstoneinn.com

 

Chicago-area B&Bs

Flemish House of Chicago Bed and Breakfast Apartments (pictured) From the doorstep of this four-story Gold Coast gem, Chicago unfolds like an exquisite tapestry. Flemish House's come-and-go-as-you-please vibe is a perfect fit; after a busy day of sightseeing, you'll be happy that you can just let yourself in and curl up in bed. A kitchen comes stocked with munchies, so there's plenty to fuel up for a day in the city. See ratings and reviews. (312) 664-9981; innchicago.com

Harvey House Bed and Breakfast, Oak Park Chic bunny touches inspired by the 1950s Jimmy Stewart film Harvey deck this three-story brick B&B 8 miles west of Chicago's Loop. Guests also enjoy in-room massages and luxe suites. See reviews and ratings. (708) 848-6810; harveyhousebb.com

Wicker Park Inn, Chicago Bright lights, big-city ambience and the rumble of the El are just steps away from this 1890s row house, in easy walking distance of the vibrant intersection of Milwaukee Avenue, Ashland Avenue and Division Street. If you love the clatter of the El, ask for the Blue Line Studio room; otherwise, opt for one of five other slightly quieter rooms in the two-story brick building. See reviews and ratings. (773) 486-2743; wickerparkinn.com

Lang House Bed and Breakfast, Chicago A 1919 beauty on Sheridan Road in Rogers Park, this B&B blends old-mansion appeal with modern amenities. Co-owners Bob and Susan Patrick carefully renovated the Arts and Crafts-style house in 2009, incorporating stained-glass windows, heated bathroom floors, glass-enclosed showers, wall-mounted flat-screen TVs and towel warmers in the two-story, five-bedroom home. See reviews and ratings. (773) 764-9851; catscradlechicago.com

Ray's Bucktown B&B, Chicago Inside the ivy-covered brick walls, owner Ray Reiss has created an 11-guest-room refuge filled with idiosyncratic art, a kind of a domestic version of the one-of-a-kind, upstart boutiques and galleries Bucktown is known for. The inn is as comfortable as it is striking--fluffy-cloud beds; a sauna and a steam room that are open 24/7; and divine blueberry-banana pancakes for breakfast. See reviews and ratings. (773) 384-3245; raysbucktownbandb.com

 

Beiger Mansion, Mishawaka, Indiana

A solarium, an outdoor pool and a workout room eventually pulled us away from the sleigh bed, the layers of pillows and custom-made bathrobes at this Neoclassical limestone home. Eventually. See reviews and ratings. (800) 437-0131; beigermansion.com

 

 

Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast, Valparaiso, Indiana

Breakfasts start with plated decor of fresh-cut flowers and herbs from the garden—all to showcase glazed poached pears, fresh scones, French toast souffle and Bananas Barbara, a not-as-sweet take on the classic dessert and named for the owner. See reviews and ratings. (877) 766-4273; songbirdprairie.com

 

Schenck Mansion Bed and Breakfast, Vevay, Indiana

From a town that overlooks the Ohio River, this renovated 1874 mansion has four airy guest rooms; a three-room suite with a king-size sleigh bed, two fireplaces and a claw-foot tub; and a vineyard for strolling. Playful ghosts are said to haunt the home, switching off lights and appearing in guests' photos.  See reviews and ratings. (877) 594-2876; schenckmansion.com

 

 

Butler House on Grand, Des Moines

Across from the art museum, this B&B sports decor provided courtesy of designers who have worked for Better Homes and Gardens®. Turndown service, plus two-person jetted tubs and soaps wrapped in gingham squares, all show attention to detail. See reviews and ratings. (866) 455-4096; butlerhouseongrand.com

 

 

B&B on Broadway, Decorah, Iowa

Built by a Norwegian immigrant in 1910, this three-story home blends Victorian charm with modern luxury. Head to the Royal Suite on the third floor for the largest and most lavish accommodations, including a therapeutic unit (light, aroma, heat and water therapy) plus a reading nook in a turret overlooking downtown Decorah. See reviews and ratings. (563) 382-1420; bandbonbroadway.com

 

 

Circle S Ranch and Country Inn, Lawrence, Kansas

It looks like a rustic barn, but we know pioneers didn't have waffle-weave robes, double-sided fireplaces and facials. Still, we love the soothing porch rockers and the apricots picked from the owner's great-grandmother's tree. (800) 625-2839; circlesranch.com

 

Lyons Twin Mansions, Fort Scott, Kansas

Enjoy comfortable accommodations, great food, and a spa and a fitness center at these twin Victorian mansions in a leafy Fort Scott neighborhood. Lushly decorated, spacious rooms include amenities such as Wi-Fi, stocked mini fridges and plasma TVs. See reviews and ratings. (620) 223-3644; lyonstwinmansions.com

 

Wickwood Inn, Saugatuck, Michigan

Owner Julee Rosso, the coauthor of The Silver Palate Cookbook, treats her B&B guests to an abundant champagne brunch, playful afternoon sweets and an evening hors d'oeuvres buffet. See reviews and ratings. (800) 385-1174; wickwoodinn.com

 

Castle in the Country, Allegan, Michigan

Luxurious accommodations, an on-site spa, country views and attentive staff draw visitors to this lodging nestled on 65 wooded acres with a lake and small pond. Guests stay in either the Castle, a magnificently restored 1906 home, or the Castle Keep, a contemporary lodging. Both feature whirlpool/fireplace suites and a gourmet breakfast. See reviews and ratings. (888) 673-8054; castleinthecountry.com

 

Alexander Mansion Historic Bed and Breakfast, Winona, Minnesota

CD players hide in phonographs at this 1886 Victorian mansion. It's run by innkeepers who welcome you graciously, cook amazing frittatas and disappear when you need one-on-one time. All four tasteful guest rooms in this Mississippi River town B&B deliver sumptuous stays. See ratings and reviews. (507) 474-4224

 

AG Thomson House Historic Bed and Breakfast Inn, Duluth

Wi-Fi, iPod docks, gas fireplaces and a hydromassage whirlpool tub outfit the restored 1909 Dutch Colonial. The delicious French toast comes served on a Minnesota wild rice patty. See reviews and ratings. (877) 807-8077; thomsonhouse.biz

 

Sweetgrass Cove Guesthouse and Bodywork Studio, Grand Portage, Minnesota

Active guests come to this Zen-like Lake Superior spot intending to hike and kayak. But the Finnish sauna, hot tub and massages lull people into languid stays, fueled by hearty breakfasts, organic juices and fresh scones. See reviews and ratings. (866) 475-2421; sweetgrasscove.com

 

Habberstad House, Lanesboro, Minnesota

Located in a quiet neighborhood, this Victorian home makes a good base for exploring charming Lanesboro and the surrounding Root River Valley. Themed rooms offer a variety of settings; the Scandinavian Suite, for instance, comes with ironed linens, Nordic decor and pine floors. See reviews and ratings. (507) 467-3560; habberstadhouse.com

 

Fleur-de-Lys Mansion, St. Louis

Drink in the view of the historic neighborhood from the balcony hot tub at this 1913 Tudor Revival or just unwind under a silk comforter. For breakfast, guests sink into eggs baked with Brie before walking to the lovely--and Victorian-feeling--Tower Grove Park. See reviews and ratings. (888) 693-3500; thefleurdelys.com

 

Southmoreland on the Plaza, Kansas City

A short walk from Country Club Plaza, Southmoreland's guests can sip strawberry-mango frappes on Saturday mornings before the barbecue breakfast begins: molasses-brined pork chops and croissant French toast glazed with maple-pecan-bourbon sauce. See ratings and reviews. (816) 531-7979; southmoreland.com

 

 

Boone's Colonial Inn, Saint Charles, Missouri

This B&B strikes a pitch-perfect balance of history and luxury in its side-by-side 1800s-era buildings. Three quiet guest rooms offer modern amenities, such as king-size beds, gas fireplaces and jetted tubs, as well as historical touches: colonial-style nightshirts, lanterns for an evening stroll, a candlelit breakfast and a take-home gift of beeswax candles. See reviews and ratings. (888) 377-0003; boonescolonialinn.com

 

North Dakota B&Bs

Dakotah Rose Bed and Breakfast, Minot, North Dakota (pictured) Away from the highways and the mall, the 1906 Dakotah Rose has leaded-glass windows and carefully inlaid hardwood floors--plus king beds, flat-screen TVs and spacious baths. For breakfast: parfaits and baked peach French toast. See reviews and ratings. (701) 838-3548; dakotahrose.com

Eagle Ridge Lodge, Medora, North Dakota Open year-round, this classy bed-and-breakfast with sweeping badlands views caters to couples, scrapbookers and quilters. You'll get a steak dinner and a hot breakfast with your stay at this quiet retreat 7 miles southwest of Medora. See reviews and ratings. (866) 863-2453; eagleridgelodge.com

 

The Rooster's Nest, Winchester, Ohio

Set inside a tiny historic log cabin, Rooster's Nest uses roosters throughout its rustic interior. The patchwork quilts on the beds fit the area's Amish influence, and the homey breakfast, complete with raspberry-stuffed French toast, is a sweet treat. See reviews and ratings. (877) 386-3302; roostersnest.net

 

Col. Taylor Inn, Cambridge, Ohio

In this Victorian palace once owned by U.S. Rep. Joseph D. Taylor, spa products pamper guests in rooms visited by Presidents Hayes, Garfield and McKinley. Breakfast is served by candlelight, with fine china and crystal. See reviews and ratings. (740) 432-7802; coltaylorinnbb.com

 

 

J. Palen House, Cleveland, Ohio

Primitive decor meets huge baths with rain showers at this B&B on the West Side. The innkeeper walks that service-privacy tightrope perfectly, knowing exactly when guests want some attention and when they don't. See reviews and ratings. (216) 664-0813; jpalenhouse.com

 

 

Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast, Dellroy, Ohio

Playful landscaping (including a koi pond), a hilltop fire pit for roasting s'mores and brightly colored Adirondack chairs welcome guests to this romantic hilltop retreat overlooking Atwood Lake. See reviews and ratings. (866) 452-5388; atwoodlake.com

 

Buffalo Rock Lodge, Keystone, South Dakota

Guests gaze out at Mount Rushmore as they nibble on garden-fresh veggies and bacon cooked with crushed pecans and brown sugar. The log cabin-style B&B with three guest rooms offers jetted tubs and a living room fireplace made of Black Hills stones. See reviews and ratings. (888) 564-5634; buffalorock.net

 

McCormick House Inn, Hayward, Wisconsin

A refined British sensibility and traditional English breakfasts stand out in a North Woods town known for its fishing. At this 1887 Victorian, patrons enjoy pillow-top mattresses, Egyptian cotton sheets, preprogrammed iPods, original artwork in the rooms, a reflecting pool and an English-style garden. See reviews and ratings. (715) 934-3339; mccormickhouseinn.com

 

Spider Lake Lodge, Hayward, Wisconsin

The lodge, built in the 1920s as a rustic fish camp, authentically mimics the style of century-old New York Adirondack camps with log construction, stonework and long, low roofline. Now run as a bed-and-breakfast, the lodge is beautifully furnished in North Woods style. Gorgeous views of Spider Lake and access to the docks remind you why the remote location is part of the charm. See reviews and ratings. (800) 653-9472; spiderlakelodge.com

 

Honeybee Inn Bed and Breakfast, Horicon, Wisconsin

Bird-watchers visit Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge then come to this Victorian to relax on four-poster feather beds and in showers with wall-mounted jet sprays. If you skip breakfast for early-morning birding, you can get fresh, hot muffins to go. See reviews and ratings. (920) 485-4855; honeybeeinn.com

 

Journey Inn, Maiden Rock, Wisconsin

Set on 66 acres, this modern farmhouse uses solar heating, aromatherapy, local food and organic decor to create an earth-friendly escape. Guests stay in four guest rooms and a one-bedroom cottage; weekend brunches feature a zucchini-egg-cheese frittata and edible nasturtiums, plus fresh blueberry pie. See reviews and ratings. (715) 448-2424; journeyinn.net

 

Inn at Cedar Crossing, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

An on-site bakery churns out locally famous morning buns, and guests have them with muffins and eggs Benedict. The food keeps coming all day: chocolate chip cookies in the afternoon, excellent dinners and popcorn in the evening. See ratings and reviews. (920) 743-4200; innatcedarcrossing.com

 

 

Old Rittenhouse Inn, Bayfield, Wisconsin

Stately Queen Anne architecture meets modern amenities on a hill overlooking Lake Superior. The exquisitely plush guest rooms seem to go on forever, and the dining room takes simple, seasonal dishes and infuses them with sophisticated flavor. See reviews and ratings. (800) 779-2129; rittenhouseinn.com

(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® May/June 2011. Prices and other details are subject to change; please check specifics before making travel plans.)

 

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