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Book Review: New England: Charming Inns and Itineraries

Author: Jack Bullard

Publisher: Karen Brown's Guides, San Mateo, CA

Rating: ****

I've always adored New England, and have spent some of my most romantic and memorable sojourns in the inns and B&Bs of these six northeastern United States.

Jack Bullard, a New England native, clearly shares my enthusiasm for this area, as his descriptions of more than 100 accommodations attest. His thoroughness inspires such trust that I would not hesitate to stay at any of the places he describes, nor to follow his well organized itineraries, complete with maps and suggested activities. He also supplies a useful overview of inn travel, covers unique aspects of each state and provides a good sense of trip timing and pacing.

Bullard limits his review of each inn and B&B to one page, topping it off with contact information, rates and a pencil sketch of the place. He crams in all kinds of information about food, wine, decor, ambiance and activities, including some of his favorite discoveries:

  • a bath with a two-person whirlpool tub and a shower with two showerheads;
  • a world-class restaurant on the premises with a 34,000-bottle wine cellar;
  • thoughtful touches like transforming your bedroom with candlelight and soft music when you return to it after dinner;
  • themed rooms such as The School Room, The Lodge, The Hayloft, and so on.

Some of Bullard's selections also have fascinating histories, among them:

  • The Manor on Golden Pond, Holderness, NH (on Squam Lake, site of the movie)
  • Cliffside Inn, Newport, RI (where artist Beatrice Turner lived for 40 years)
  • Historic Jacob Hill Farm B&B Inn, Providence, RI (once patronized by the Vanderbilts).

New England is "open" all year round. Spring and summer offer water sports, gardens and amazing beaches, complete with rose-draped sand dunes. In the fall, "there is nowhere on earth where you can experience nature's colors as you can here," notes Bullard. And winter provides some of North America's best alpine and cross-country skiing. Golf is a three-season game here, and antique-hunting and shopping tempt visitors all year round.

While New England Charming Inns and Itineraries is a small book (a 220-page 7x7-inch paperback that can fit easily into a handbag), it contains enough information to keep you vacationing in the region for years. For additional details about this and other Karen Brown's guides, visit www.karenbrown.com