In an age where people travel to eat, there’s a heightened focus on food—both quality and diversity—even among the smallest bed and breakfasts . Whether sourcing from their own gardens or partnering with local farms to create a well-balanced menu, more and more innkeepers are committing to creating a sustainable dining program for their guests to enjoy. From Europe to New England—and everywhere in between—these B&Bs raise the bar when it comes to their offerings and the top-notch service they provide.
Applewood Inn, Restaurant and Spa, Guerneville, California
This classic Mediterranean-style B&B boasts a mix of 19 rooms and suites, many with their own patio or balcony overlooking the green surroundings. A stone’s throw from the Napa Valley in Sonoma County’s adjacent wine region, Russian River Valley, Applewood Inn’s commitment to culinary excellence comes as no real surprise, and its restaurant—awarded a Michelin Star in 2011 and 2012—is a true showstopper.
Applewood Inn Dessert
Breakfast is a set appetizer and main course (such as eggs Benedict or frittata with chicken apple sausage) which rotates daily, while dinner is an amalgamation of creative dishes like a cocoa nib-crusted lamb chop drizzled in mint chimichurri or a California king salmon. The tasting menu—five courses for $75 (plus another $35 for wine pairings)—is where the restaurant’s artistry really shines; those staying through the weekend can try out the abbreviated three-course menu via the Russian River on Sundays feasts.
Gustavus Inn, Gustavus, Alaska
Gustavus Inn occupies prime real estate just a few miles beyond the entrance to Glacier Bay National Park and promises visitors a true Alaskan experience with its rustic, homestead vibe. Dubbed an "America's Classic" by the James Beard Foundation in 2010, this historic charmer has been operating since 1965, and the staff prepares all dishes using ingredients harvested from both the ocean and the on-site garden.
Located just a quarter of a mile from the Salmon River, the inn's restaurant features seafood prominently, and each meal—all of which are included in the cost of the stay—is served family style in the dining room. Breakfast might entail homemade granola with rhubarb sauce or sourdough pancakes, while lunch can be an Alaskan picnic, prepared to order, for those who choose to dine al fresco. When dinner rolls around, guests can choose from the likes of salmon or halibut caught that very day and wash it all down with a selection of local craft beers in the inn's cozy bar.
Herb Garden School of Cooking and B&B, Jefferson, Ohio
This quaint, three-room farmhouse built in 1848 provides guests with tasty treats upon check-in and a well-balanced, gourmet breakfast each morning—many ingredients are sourced directly from the inn's own gardens. Additionally, for the budding sous chef, there's an option of private cooking classes with varying themes like herb dishes, soup for supper and the best meals using thyme.
The Inn at the Round Barn Farm, Waitsfield, Vermont
For a true rural retreat off the beaten path, there's hardly a more relaxing spot than the lush 245 acres outside of Burlington that serve as the backdrop for the Inn at Round Barn Farm's 12 well-appointed rooms.
Breakfast each morning is a very hearty, three-course farm-to-table meal served in a sun-drenched room with views of the neighboring hills. Many ingredients are sourced from the inn's four-acre organic garden and dishes could include crab cakes with chipotle aioli, rhubarb streusel muffins or a blackberry waffle bread pudding. For those who have always wanted to learn to make cheese—and let's be honest, who hasn't?—the inn also offers a wildly popular artisanal cheese making course that teaches just that.
Lookout Point Lakeside Inn, Hot Springs, Arkansas
Rural Arkansas might not seem like an immediately obvious choice for a long weekend getaway, but a mere night at this pleasant inn tucked away in the Ouachita Mountains is worth every mile traveled. The 13 carefully thought out rooms overlook peaceful Lake Hamilton, and guests can spend their days enjoying a number of active pursuits like mountain biking, kayaking, birding, boating, golfing and horseback riding. Breakfast is served on the patio by the waterfalls, and the afternoon Innkeepers Reception features a different dessert, appetizer and glass of wine daily. While Lookout Point doesn’t serve lunch or dinner, those who want to channel their inner Emeril can enroll in one of its cooking schools ($60 for guests of the B&B); monthly themes run the gamut from gluten-free cooking to bacon bonanza, cookies and cupcakes for kids to chocolate lovers delight.
Wickwood Inn, Saugatuck, Michigan
Located just a few blocks from the shores of Lake Michigan, Wickwood Inn has a lot going for it: pleasing interiors with 11 unique and well-appointed rooms, a convenient post in the heart of downtown historic Saugatuck, and an owner, Julee Rosso, who not only understands the value of a guest's dining experiences but prepares the daily, three-course champagne brunch and afternoon hors d'oeuvres from her own cookbook. She's had half a dozen published in her career as a food writer, including the best-selling Silver Palate Cookbook, which she co-authored.
Rosso sources whatever ingredients are in season to make flavorful farm-to-table masterpieces such as sugar and spice popovers, asparagus and chèvre frittata or pistachio breakfast sausage. Complimentary afternoon nibbles might include a hearty charcuterie plate and various savory tarts and crostini, and she doesn't skimp on sweets either, making sure guests always have a way to indulge a sweet tooth by leaving out freshly baked goods like gooey cookies, brownie bites or her special Razzle Dazzle Raspberry Cake, served with piping hot coffee and tea.
2015 Best B&B Breakfast Tournament Winner: Farmers Guest House, Galena, IL
Make sure to also check out the 2015 Best B&B Breakfast tournament winner, Farmers Guest House in Galena, IL. Their winning dish, apple cheese stuffed french toast with midwest berry sauce features local ingredients.
"Locally sourced breakfast is a priority for us here at Farmers Guest House and this recipe is a fine example of tasty ingredients found in the Great Lakes region of the Midwest contributing to this local favorite. Apple Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Midwest Berry Sauce showcases our local sources."