As my husband's and my fortieth wedding anniversary approached in June, we decided to celebrate by returning to Pennsylvania where we spent a memorable week of our wedding trip. In June 1968, when we honeymooned in Pennsylvania's Poconos Mountains, my groom and I stayed at a newly built honeymoon resort I read about in Bride's magazine and considered oh-so-cool because each private cottage had a hexagon-shaped bed and a hexagon-shaped sunken tub. And, except for the annoying recreational director (at a honeymoon resort??), it was everything we hoped it would be.
But in 2008, after almost four decades of staying in outstanding bed and breakfast inns, I guess I have become somewhat of a "travel snob"—no other type of lodging seems to suit me anymore. These days I am more interested in upscale amenities and services than cutesy hexagon-shaped beds and sunken hexagon-shaped tubs. I wanted to spend our fortieth anniversary some place really special, and I wanted to stay at a bed and breakfast inn extraordinaire in Pennsylvania.
A view of The Inn at Bowman's Hill
I began my quest by going to BedandBreakfast.com's website where I knew I could find B&Bs in the area I was interested in visiting as well as detailed information on each (including personal reviews by previous guests of the inn). As I was perusing Pennsylvania inns near The Poconos, I came across The Inn at Bowman's Hill in New Hope, PA, and remembered how impressed Rose Ciccone (another BedandBreakfast.com Associate Editor) had been when she and her husband stayed there. So, based upon Rose’s positive experience, I proceeded to make reservations for spending our fortieth wedding anniversary at The Inn at Bowman's Hill. I could not have made a better choice, and it proved to be one my most outstanding bed and breakfast experiences ever! In fact, I decided to feature this amazing B&B on the cover of the July 2008 edition of my B&B newsletter,The INNside Scoop, where a full review may be read online: "The Inn at Bowman’s Hill Truly Exemplifies an Inn Extraordinaire."
This is the mesmerizing view we had while having breakfast on our private balcony the morning of our 40th anniversary
New Hope, PA is noted by BedandBreakfast.com as a top-rated destination and located in a gorgeous, pastoral area of Pennsylvania. A funky art community, New Hope is chock-full of shops and excellent places to dine. While in New Hope, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Marsha Brown’s Restaurant, Zoubi’s, and La Bonne Auberge. I highly recommend each of these restaurants, but La Bonne Auberge was our favorite and provided a perfect setting for a quiet, intimate anniversary dinner. An award-winning restaurant (including AAA-Four Diamond rated and the Zagat Award of Distinction), La Bonne Auberge is located in a 250-year-old farmhouse and has been serving classic French cuisine since 1972. Our service was as superb as our meal.
A special anniversary dessert combo prepared for us by the chef at La Bonne Auberge
We also visited two others delightful B&Bs during our return to Pennsylvania, each within a three-hour drive from New Hope: Cornerstone Inn (situated in the midst of Pennsylvania's scenic Brandywine country) and Baladerry Inn (in historic Gettysburg).
Cornerstone Inn is housed in an early 18th century fieldstone manor
A visit to The Cornerstone Inn enables one to fully embrace our cherished American heritage in a magnifcent setting conveniently located to major destination points—including Longwood Gardens, Winterhur Museum and Gardens, Valley Forge National Historic Park, Brandywine River Museum, and Chaddsfords Winery. En route to Landenberg, we passed through some of Pennsylvania's Amish areas (such as Lancaster County, including the quaint village of Bird-in-Hand) where we were able to enjoy the unique culture, tasty Pennsylvania Dutch cooking at the Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant, and more beautiful countryside.
Cornerstone Room offers the ultimate in honeymoon lodging
We loved the Cornerstone Room, and it was definitely worth the climb to the top—definitely my "cuppa tea"! The beautiful (and super comfy) antique bed swathed in fine linens, the rich color scheme, the double-sided gas fireplace (between bedroom and the marble bath featuring a Jacuzzi for two), and a window seat overlooking lush countryside combine to create an "at the top" love nest for honeymooners or wanna-be-again honeymooners.
Cornerstone Inn's professionally trained innkeeper/chef, Andrew, prepares an excellent breakfast each morning which is both plentiful and attractively presented—each meal is personally prepared based upon selections made by guests from an impressive breakfast menu. For our evening meal, we drove over to The Farm House Restaurant, overlooking a manicured golf course, at nearby Loch Nairn.
I consider Cornerstone Inn an exceptional destination inn, one where fall foliage can be enjoyed to the hilt. It is definitely an inn I would like to revisit when I have the time to visit more of the sites in The Brandywine Valley.
Baladerry Inn offers a wonderful launching point for touring Gettysburg's historic Battlefield Park
My husband is a history buff, and so he was thrilled with the rich history of Baladerry Inn and its location. A handsome Federal-style home built in the early 1800s, the property served as a hospital during the War Between the Sates. A father, son, grandson trio were also visiting while we were there, and I thought: "What an ideal B&B to stay at with children old enough to learn about the history abounding in the Gettsyburg area!" The resident owner/innkeeper at Baladerry Inn is delightful and helpful, and she makes the most addictive cranberry oatmeal cookies I've ever eaten! In fact, I ate so many of these yummy cookies that I really wasn't hungry enough to go out for dinner that night. However, since my husband doesn't have the tendency to become the out-of-control cookie monster I do, he was hungry. At our innkeeper's suggestion, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at The Dobbin House Tavern, another property steeped in Civil War history and Colonial ambience.
I am so glad we decided to return to Pennsylvania for our celebratory anniversary trip. My only disappointment was that we weren't able to stay as long as I would liked to have stayed at each place. But, I have discovered other inviting Pennsylvania B&Bs I am anxious to experience, and so my mind is already churning with an excuse for another celebratory trip. I imagine I'll think of something—when it comes to cajoling up a reason to visit a new B&B, I can be pretty creative!