Midwest Living Review
Guests looking for a relaxing romantic lakeside retreat with plenty of privacy will appreciate innkeeper Linda Horn's attention to detail and hands-off treatment. The 1880 farmhouse is often described as Victorian, but its clean lines, oversize eaves and flatter roof make Italianate a better description. Bright blue siding, somewhere between aqua and azure, creates a feeling of whimsy. The landscaping -- including a winding brick pathway, plenty of wildflowers, a waterfall and koi pond -- is just as playful. Some seating areas, like the wrought-iron bench on the hillside or the hammock between the two "whispering" pines, are intimate. Others, like the hilltop fire pit for roasting s'mores or the cluster of brightly colored Adirondack chairs, are a touch more social. There are nine guest bedrooms tailored for romance. Each features a private bath, a two-person whirlpool tub (in the bedroom, not the bathroom), a sitting area, Bose music system and electric fireplace. Most have a private balcony or patio access. The range of amenities in the guest rooms is impressive. You'll get bath and beauty needs (spa robes, shampoo and soaps, make-up mirror, hair dryer, and separate towels for shower and tub), plus some nice conveniences (corkscrew and glasses, stereo, phone and Wi-Fi). Downstairs, there is a large sunroom that serves as the dining room, a game room, a butler's pantry and communal kitchen. Linda is friendly but more focused on making her guests' stay comfortable and complete than on getting to know visitors. From the umbrellas and slippers near the front door to the flashlights in the bedrooms, she seems to have planned for every need. Slips of paper with directions to just about every nearby attraction are available next to the maps, menus and pamphlets. With guests given the access code to the front door, there's no "I better not be out late or I'll upset the innkeeper" fear. Breakfast is anytime between 9 and 10:30. And it is a treat. Sitting at tables for two (or four) in the sunroom, you can watch the lake and not worry about chatting with other guests. Typical B&B morning offerings are done right here with fresh ingredients and made-to-order entrees. Specialty pancakes, waffles, French toast or an egg dish are possibilities. All are served with a side of bacon, sausage or ham. Pure Ohio maple syrup is on every table. Keep your fingers crossed for the banana crunch pancakes on your visit; they're good enough to please pancake-haters. The decor at Whispering Pines is somewhat confused. Antiques aficionados will appreciate the large collection of late-19th- and early-20th-century pieces, including a 600-piece glass top hat collection. But they might be disappointed to see these treasures overwhelmed by dated paint colors, loud wallpaper and mismatched (or misguided) accessories. From $179 to $245, depending on season.