Nov 042011

One of my favorite things about bed and breakfasts, is of course, the breakfast.

Last spring, Mike surprised tried to surprise me with a weekend getaway. He told me to keep a particular weekend free because he had something planned, but I’m just awful with surprises. Now if I didn’t know there was something coming, I would be pleasantly shocked when the unexpected revealed itself.  But if I know there is a surprise, I want to know what it is. I’m like a six-year old in that regard. We spent hours debating how he could have actually surprised me, and I think it comes down to a fake plan and lying, which is probably not the best solution.

Anyhow, things at work were six-days-a-week busy to the point that on Sundays all that we did was laundry, necessary errands, and watch movies. Mike wanted to do something fun, so he booked us a stay at the top-ranked B&B up in Mystic Connecticut where we could visit the Aquarium and explore the town on bikes. He picked this one because of the rave reviews for their breakfasts. (I think the boy might know me pretty well…) Little did Mike realize, March in Mystic is in the realm of freezing temperatures.  No bike riding for us, but bundled up in winter gear with gloves, we did visit the aquarium and penguins.

  I spent an inordinate amount of time petting rays and sharks for a person in their mid-twenties…

I found Nemo…

And I spent at least an hour staring at jellyfish.  They reminded me of snorkeling in Italy, one of my absolute favorite memories of my life.

The Mermaid Inn was a beautiful place with charm plus the comforts of home.  The innkeeper was a lovely woman named Josephine who had fun snacks out all day (think mid-afternoon cookies and popcorn in the evenings in case you want to borrow a DVD.  Yes, we had to watch Mystic Pizza in all its terrible, 80s, rom-com glory.) Breakfast was highly rated on every website Mike checked out, and after experiencing said breakfast, the words that come to mind for me are

decadent and rich.

If you have gallbladder problems, this probably isn’t the breakfast for you. I’m certain people who called these dishes “healthy” on review sites clearly couldn’t taste the butter content.

By checking off our choices on a little card the night before, we were able to personalize our culinary adventure. First course: Yogurt, homemade granola, and flax seed.  Haven’t ventured into the land of flax seed yet, so I had a tiny bit of granola and yogurt to start, but I knew from the previous morning’s pear tart in puff pastry and french toast that the second and third courses would be incredibly filling.

Second course: baked apple with homemade whipped cream. Warm and sweet.

Third course: fresh Belgian waffle with strawberries and real maple syrup. Again, warm and sweet.

I enjoyed my excessive breakfast, knowing it was (a) a rare occasion, (b) following a day with miles of walking, and (c) made with a bunch of wholesome fruit. Our room was also stocked with drinks and chocolates, all of which were included. Brandy, anyone? Didn’t think so. The apples and bottled water for our drive home were unexpected and a nice touch, as well as a step back into healthful normalcy.

Fast forward six months: for Anita and Jeff’s September wedding, the bridal party took over an entire B&B in Saratoga Springs upstate New York.  It was a neat concept, and fun because we had the run of the house.  It felt like being back in college with everyone right next door to each other, sharing stuff, popping into each others rooms to ask questions, and staying up late just hanging out. In the morning, each sleepy person awoke and stumbled down into the main room where there was a beautiful spread.  It was great getting to talk to everyone, feeling like it was one big sleepover without strangers or waiters around.

The breakfast served was a buffet style with fruit, yogurt, baked goods, eggs, coffee, tea, and juice. On Sunday, there wasn’t an egg option for me as it had sausage baked in, which was a shame because the asparagus and goat cheese frittata the day before was heavenly.  But there was no shortage of fruit, and some tasty little blueberry scones.

With some tea, yogurt, and granola, I had a perfect breakfast.  Disclaimer: I did go back for a cinnamon raisin english muffin and a bit more fruit.

Based on my experiences, B&Bs may not provide options as healthy as you may find at home, but they are comparable if not better than many restaurant offerings. Chances are, if you’re staying in a B&B you’re on a little getaway vacation and a bit of indulgence is in order anyway, so make the best choices available and enjoy!

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