Bed and breakfast owners and managers know the area around them, who serves the best crab cakes (always subjective), how to discover a local artist at a nearby cooperative, where to find a last-minute seamstress or florist, and a super secret spot that’s perfect for a marriage proposal. Many have lovely gardens that make a perfect setting for a wedding; a vow renewal; or the retreat for before, during and after the ceremonies. They have knowledge that reflects a lifetime of living in the area and are eager to share what they know to make your stay memorable.
In St. Mary’s County, where the Potomac and the Chesapeake meet, The Inn at Brome-Howard is an idyllic place for an afternoon tea or a stroll through thirty acres of formal gardens and walking trails. This updated 1840s farmhouse in St. Mary’s City has four rooms with heirloom furniture, each with a private bath. Among the special attractions of each room, Calvert’s Retreat, or the red room, has its own fireplace; the Arc and Dove Suite is comprised of two adjoining rooms tucked under the third-floor eaves; the Mistress Brent Eventide or green room has a king bed and gorgeous views; and Arundel’s Hideaway has a private staircase to take you to a secluded oasis with windows on three walls so you can watch the sky from sunrise to sunset. The inn is available for a whole house wedding, including a Friday night rehearsal dinner, a Saturday ceremony and a Sunday brunch, or however you want to schedule your magical marriage memories.
Leigh Matheny, with a hospitality background, and her husband, James, started managing the home in November 2011 and live on the property. She says they’ve been doing some much-needed repairs to the roof and other renovations, including painting and replacing wallpaper. Because the state owns the property and it is part of Historic St. Mary’s City, volunteers have been a godsend with their help. A restaurant is in the works, while Expressions of St. Mary’s has the contract for catered functions.
With as much open space as St. Mary’s County has, people are still surprised to see the Greenwell Foundation’s Francis Knott Lodge, outside of Hollywood, located within the 596-acre Greenwell State Park. This large and airy lodge is available all year and great for family reunions, relaxing business retreats and other group getaways. Fully accessible, the lodge has eight bedrooms, 17 beds, five baths, a great room with a fireplace, a sunroom with dining tables for two dozen people, and a fully equipped kitchen. It’s like roughing it without the rough part. Walk outdoors and you can picnic, hike, ride horses, fish (with the appropriate license), hunt (in season), canoe and kayak, and swim from the beach area (where there is no lifeguard on duty).
In Calvert County, creative Carol Pennock extends her artistic flair to every corner of her home and property. From her artwork – oils, watercolors and stained glass – decorating her Back Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast in Solomons, to the inventive ways she displays colors in her garden, to the élan that’s in the breakfast menu, there’s a piece of Pennock wherever you go or look. The home, on the banks of Back Creek, was built by Captain Benjamin Woodburn in the late 1880s and stayed a private home for the next hundred years.
Seven rooms, each with a private bath and complimentary Wi-Fi – which is also available in the garden – offer a range of accommodation options. Choose from Rosemary (on the ground floor, near any activity that’s happening in the inn), Tansy (with the Back Creek sunrise out your window), Chamomile (the original master bedroom), Sweet Marjoram (with cozy, warm butter-yellow walls), Thyme (the secret quarters with a gas fireplace and patio), Peppermint (with a private entrance and screened-in porch), or Lavender Cottage (a private cottage with rocking chairs on the screened-in porch). With so many rooms, a full wedding party could stay here and enjoy the downtown between events.
If you’re planning to boat to Solomons, Pennock has two slips available at the edge of her property. The bed and breakfast is within walking or biking (complimentary bikes are available) distance of Calvert Marine Museum, restaurants, shops and other island attractions, but far enough off the main road to be delightfully secluded. As Pennock says, no shoes required. Bring your office staff with you and meet in the indoor space or on the waterfront lawn for a creative retreat.
Over the Patuxent River in Charles County, period antiques fill the Part of Plenty Bed and Breakfast, set in a restored 1850 farmhouse that owners Lynne and Henry Abrittain renovated in 1996. While the attractions and crowds of Washington, D.C., are less than 30 miles away (a Metro station is only 20 miles), the four acres of this Port Tobacco property let you know you’re returning to nature. On the second floor of the main home, choose from the Mellor Room (queen bed), the Garden Room (double bed) or the Bettison Room (queen bed), or pick the separate Carriage House with a full kitchen that sleeps up to five people. Each room has a private bath. Downstairs, the Cozy Corner is a cute little efficiency. Enjoy the backyard pool in the summertime; the parlor, covered front porch and dining room are always available for just relaxing. Drive a little to fish for championship bass in the nearby Potomac River or stop by the Mattawoman Creek Art Center, Thomas Stone National Historical Site and St. Ignatius Catholic Church, the oldest continuously functioning Jesuit church in the country.
With so many options in the tri-county area, you don’t have to look far for a special retreat. Suggest one of our bed and breakfasts to your out-of-town friends, or stay for a weekend yourself. They’re the best way to experience unique, down-home hospitality with a touch of local charm. ✦
Local Bed & Breakfasts
Back Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast
210 Alexander Lane, Solomons
Seven rooms and a home decorated with artistic flair.
Blue Heron Bed & Breakfast
14614 Solomons Island Rd., Solomons
A colonial home where owners Amanda and Chris Comer can handle private events (including weddings) for up to 60-70 people. New this year is the 20-seat Bistro Belle Maison, with chef Amanda (Le Cordon Bleu Paris and Culinary Institute of America training) working on a chalkboard menu of fresh, local food cooked properly.
Heron’s Rest Guest Cottage
4104 3rd St., North Beach
A 1940s beach cottage, one-half block from the bay, beach and boardwalk. Enjoy complimentary breakfast from a local North Beach bakery.
Jeff’s Bed & Fix Your Own Breakfast
6027 Bayview Rd., St. Leonard
(Property No. 119031)
This large home sleeps 12, with children’s quarters, beach and views of the bay. Fix what you want for breakfast in the equipped kitchen.
Open Gates Farm Bed & Breakfast
6525 Huntingtown Rd., Huntingtown
A certified “green” bed and breakfast, featuring a single cottage suite with private bath and kitchenette. The “Old Gibson Place” farmhouse was built in 1945 with planks hewn from on-property oak trees.
Seahorse Guest Cottage and Artist Retreat
8811 Dayton Ave., North Beach
A renovated 1930s cottage within walking distance to boardwalk, pier, beach, restaurants and shopping, with a separate artist’s studio.
Solomons Victorian Inn
125 Charles St., Solomons
Seven rooms and suites, and a private spa room for a relaxing and therapeutic massage.
The Cottages of Governors Run
2847 Governors Run Rd., Port Republic
Spectacular Chesapeake Bay views, beachfront cottages, nearby community pier and boat ramp.
The Farm Stay at Monnett Farms
4825 Dennis Monnett Rd., Prince Frederick
Benson and Jamie Tiralla operate this Cape Cod-style farmhouse that has been in his family for four generations. The working farm has a small herd of grass-fed Angus cattle and some goats for that farm experience.
7535 Poplar St., Charlotte Hall
Part of Plenty Bed & Breakfast
8664 Port Tobacco Rd., La Plata; 301-934-0707 www.partofplentybedandbreakfast.com
A restored 1850 farmhouse with period antiques and reproductions.
7825 Locust Pl., Port Tobacco
St. Mary’s County
Colton’s Shipping Point Farm Cottage
39244 Burch Rd., Avenue; 301-807-0988
Two-bedroom cottage with kitchen and water views.
Greenwell Foundation Francis Knott Lodge
25420 Rosedale Manor Lane, Hollywood
301-373-9775/800-830-3974; www.dnr.state.md.us/ publiclands/southern/greenwell.asp
Fully accessible and fully equipped lodge that’s great for families or small parties and reunions.
Nekadesh Farm Bed & Breakfast
20520 Wellington Ct., Colton’s Point
Small retreat for pastors, ministers, bishops and Christian laypersons, or intimate showers and
St. Michael’s Manor Bed & Breakfast
50200 St. Michaels Manor Way, Scotland
Combine a bed and breakfast stay with a visit to the on-grounds St. Michael’s Vineyard and a sampling of the five varieties of grapes grown here.
The Inn at Brome-Howard
18281 Rosecroft Rd., St. Mary’s City
On the grounds of Historic St. Mary’s City, with whole-house rentals for weddings.
The Victorian Candle
25065 Peregrine Way, Hollywood
Think Victorian turrets and a porch with plenty of scenic room for indoor and outdoor weddings, with in-house catering.
Trent Hall Bed & Breakfast
29350 Trent Hall Rd., Mechanicsville
Two rooms are available at this working 300-acre farm on the Patuxent River with three miles of shoreline, beaches, walking trails, marshes and restored wetlands.
Woodlawn Estate and Bed & Breakfast
16040 Woodlawn Lane, Ridge
Five cottage suites and two suites in the historic house, all with water views. Home of Slack Winery.