Bed & Breakfast Inns: Class, Comfort & Color

The next time you plan a trip, consider lodging at a place more intimate than a hotel or resort. A getaway at a black-owned bed and breakfast or independent inn can make your journey a unique experience.  “Each inn has its own flair, and most reflect our African-American culture,” says Monica Edwards, co-owner of the Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast in Durham, N.C. “Some inns pay homage to writers or musicians and their rooms are decorated in certain themes.”

Bed and breakfast establishments are private residences that provide lodging in an atmosphere more like a family home. The properties often offer romantic or historical settings for guests to enjoy. The average number of guest rooms is six and some include private baths. Most B&Bs serve breakfast to their guests and may offer other amenities. Inns are generally larger than B&Bs with more rooms. They may provide lunch and dinner in addition to breakfast service.

Edwards takes a particular interest in black ownership of inns and B&Bs as a member of the Association of African American Innkeepers International (AAAii).  By her count, the B&B she and her husband Daniel operate is one of fewer than 30 establishments owned by African- Americans. “I attend trade conferences with other innkeepers and I am always looking to meet other innkeepers of color. We do stick out at a conference,” says Edwards.

Keeping a tally of black-owned inns and B&Bs is made more challenging by the nature of the industry. The majority of B&Bs and inns are family-run businesses operated by couples who live on the premises. Many of the smaller establishments have no other employees.

About 17,000 bed and breakfast inns are currently operating in the U.S., according to a June 2017 Quarterly Update posted on First Research Industry Profiles. Black proprietors own a minuscule number of B&Bs, less than one percent of the total in business by some estimates. Edwards says AAAii has 13 members and is actively seeking to expand its membership. “In light of the current trend to support black-owned businesses, we have seen more interest in black-owned inns. Interestingly, some inns refused to join because they didn’t want to be known as a ‘black inn.’”

AAAii and the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers both have information about black-owned B&Bs and inns in the U.S. and other countries. Here are some options for spending your travel dollars on a cozy getaway at one of them.

Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C. | akwaaba.com
Contact: 866.466.3855 or reservations@akwaaba.com

The Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns are considered to be the gold standard by many people who have experienced the hominess and intimacy of the B&Bs, including industry reviewers. The jewel in the Akwaaba B&Bs is the Mansion at Noble Lane in Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains. The 25,000-square-foot mansion features 14 guestrooms, a spa and a state-of-the-art recreational building with an Olympic-sized heated swimming pool.

Arbor View House
East Marion, New York | arborviewhouse.com
Contact: 800.963.8777, 631.477.8440 or innkeeper@arborviewhouse.com

Innkeepers Veda Daley Joseph and Wilfred Joseph are proud of the work they have put into preserving this old house while updating it with modern amenities. It is listed by the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities and is an excellent example of Victorian architecture.  Each of the guest bedrooms has its own bathroom, high-speed wireless Internet service and flat screen televisions.

Captain Ferris House
Cape Cod, Massachusetts | captainfarris.com
Contact: 508.760.2818 or cfhinnkeepers@captainfarris.com

A romantic and peaceful environment awaits guests at this beautifully restored bed and breakfast inn. Jeff and Carol Watson fulfilled a decade-long dream when they bought the home listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Antiques and sophisticated touches surround guests. The beautiful restoration of the home built in 1845 reflects the warmth and history of that era while providing such modern amenities as Jacuzzis and cable TVs.

Darryl Haley Bed and Breakfast Retreat
Luray, Virginia | darrylhaleybnb.net
Contact: 540.843.4800

This B&B combines romance, fun and fitness with the beauty of a manicured setting away from city life. Former NFL player Darryl Haley offers individual guests or groups a place to unwind or take in outdoor activities.  Haley became an innkeeper to combine his passions for fitness, healthy eating and relaxation. Visitors can take in an awesome sunrise, tour wineries or go antique shopping while staying in one of the villa’s well-furnished rooms with private baths. No credit cards accepted. Pay with cash or a pre-deposited cleared check.

Henderson House Bed & Breakfast
Columbus, Ohio | africanamericaninns.com/ohio.html
Contact: 614.258.3463 or lhende8787@aol.com

Former Ohio Governor and U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes once owned the historic Henderson House. The farmhouse, located close to downtown Columbus, is the first B&B owned by an African-American in the state of Ohio.  Former model Lee Henderson Johnson transformed the home, which has been in her family for generations, into a bed and breakfast in 1994.

Pictured: Hubbard Mansion Bed & Breakfast

Hubbard Mansion Bed & Breakfast
New Orleans, Louisiana | hubbardmansion.com
Contact: 504.897.3535 or hubbardmansion@yahoo.com

This elegant Greek revival home offers guests modern luxuries in rooms with suite combinations reminiscent of 19th century New Orleans. Don Hubbard built the Mansion with his late wife Rose, and they filled the five beautiful suites with antiques and precious heirlooms.  Hubbard and his partner Shelia Collins provide southern hospitality in a setting rich with history and culture.

Inn at Folkston
Folkston, Georgia | innatfolkston.com
Contact: 912.496.6256 or 888.509.6246 or info@innatfolkston.com

Innkeepers Ted and Alease Kelly fulfilled the dream of a lifetime when they became the owners of this luxurious bed and breakfast. The inn is located in the southeastern part of Georgia known as the Gateway to the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge. The owners strive to provide a welcoming atmosphere for all of their guests. The inn has four guest rooms that are equipped with such amenities as down comforters, central air, bathrobes and hot beverage makers. The two deluxe guest rooms have gas log fireplaces.

Pictured: Inn of Treasured Memories (Michael and Suz Karchmer)

The Inn of Treasured Memories
Cape Cod, Massachusetts | innoftreasuredmemories.com
Contact: 774.408.7719 or info@innoftreasuredmemories.com

Create special memories at this quiet, comforting B&B in Harwich, Massachusetts. The Cape Cod location is perfect for scenic bike rides or relaxing by the heated pool.  Innkeepers Jane Teixeira-Henry and Col. George Henry, Jr. USAF (Ret.), offer lodging in one of three luxurious guest rooms equipped with hair dryers, irons and more. You can relax with a book in one of several sitting areas or play cards in the Nook. The inn has intriguing hints of the innkeepers’ world travels and an elevator to ease the journey to your room.

Lady Neptune Inn at Shirley’s Beach House
Hampton, Virginia | ladyneptuneinn.com
Contact: 757.870.0569 or 757.325.2385

Surround yourself with the beauty of nature at this B&B located near Buckroe Beach.  Innkeepers Shirley and Johnny McQueen look forward to providing your home away from home in the beautiful setting of preserved wetlands. They serve a scrumptious breakfast on the deck. You can also wind down your day with the afternoon tea and 5 o’clock cheese, crackers and wine before heading out to dinner.

Ma Margaret’s House B&B
Reedville, Virginia | mamargaretshouse.com/home
Contact: 804.453.9110 or info@mamargaretshouse.com

This house built in 1914 is a place in the country with a modern touch. Innkeeper Alva Jackson’s grandparents once owned the home located just around the corner from Highway 360 in Reedville. The expansion of the house where the Jacksons hosted big family dinners and special gatherings is a larger, restored version with modern amenities. The innkeeper wants guests to experience the same generous hospitality that family members cherished for decades.

The Magnolia House Inn
Hampton, Virginia | maghousehampton.com
757.722.2888 or stay@MagHouseHampton.com

The owners of this bed and breakfast offer a unique opportunity for couples to get married while staying at Magnolia House Inn on the southeastern tip of the Virginia peninsula.  Innkeepers Joyce and Lankford Blair are ordained ministers who have married more than 77 couples. The B&B operates a wedding chapel and specializes in small weddings.  Magnolia House is located in the downtown waterfront area of Hampton and is convenient for business and leisure travelers.

Pictured: Moorehead Manor Bed & Breakfast

Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast
Durham, North Carolina | moreheadmanor.com
Contact: 888.437.6333, 919.687.4366 or info@moreheadmanor.com

This splendidly redecorated Colonial Revival style home is an 8,000-square-foot property where elegance and hospitality meet. It is within walking distance of downtown and the Durham Performing Arts Center.  Owners Daniel and Monica Edwards have devoted almost 20 years to demonstrating excellent service in B&B lodging. Morehead Manor has four spacious guest rooms with private baths. Lodgers can spend their time relaxing in the common areas or visit nearby Duke University.

Oak Bluffs Inn
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts | oakbluffsinn.com
Contact: 800.955.6235, 508.693.7171 or bmyguest@oakbluffsinn.com

The elegant clapboard house features warm, refined guest rooms with free wireless Internet and designer toiletries. The Inn is a short walk from Inkwell Beach and two miles from Farm Neck Golf Club. Oak Bluffs is steps away from shopping, fine dining and nightlife.  Some of the guest rooms have hardwood floors or four-poster beds. There is also a two-bedroom suite with a living room and kitchenette. Free parking and loaner beach chairs are provided for guests.

Quintessentials Bed & Breakfast and Spa
East Marion, New York | quintessentialsinc.com
Contact: 631.477.9400 or innkeeper@quintessentialsinc.com

The journey to this B&B will take you past wineries, farm stands and beaches.  Owner Sylvia Daley is the innkeeper and director of the on-grounds spa. Guests can take advantage of the full-service spa while staying in one of the five comfortable rooms and suites appointed with fireplaces, private decks and Jacuzzi tubs.  Quintessentials is just two hours from New York City and an excellent choice for a romantic retreat, an intimate garden wedding or a spa weekend.

Shearer Cottage
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts | shearercottage.com
Contact: 508.693.4735, 508.693.4037 or innkeeper@shearercottage.com

African-American history and heritage are cornerstones of this B&B that opened its doors more than a century ago. The family-owned and operated establishment was the first landmark to receive a designation on the African-American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard.  Fourth-generation innkeeper Lee Jackson Van Allen welcomes guests to Shearer Cottage with help from members of her family’s fifth and sixth generations. The property is nestled in a woodsy area of the Highlands of East Chop in Oak Bluffs, in close proximity to beautiful beaches, picturesque trails, public golf courses and tennis courts.

Thee Matriarch Bed & Breakfast
Orangeburg, South Carolina | theematriarch.com
Contact: 803.937.4271 or info@TheeMatriarch.com

This boutique inn opened in 2012 with a new concept in bed and breakfast hospitality. Thee Matriarch offers space for meetings and special events with full catering provided. The B&B is located in historic downtown Orangeburg along the SC National Heritage Corridor Trail.  Husband and wife team Fred Holmes and Rachelle Jamerson-Holmes bought two 100-year-old generational homes to offer elegantly themed guest quarters to the public. Thee Matriarch pays homage to the remarkable women who influenced the lives of the owners.

Urban Cowboy Bed & Breakfast
Nashville, Tennessee and Brooklyn, New York | urbancowboybnb.com
Contact: 347.840.0525 or nashville@urbancowboybnb.com and brooklyn@urbancowboybnb.com

A community of travelers and artists from around the world have spent time in the magical place that opened in New York in May 2014.  Lyon Porter and Jersey Banks opened a dream house as a gathering place for Brooklyn culture before taking on their next project. Urban Cowboy Nashville is housed in a Victorian mansion. The Urban Cowboy Public House Bar & Kitchen is in the back of the B&B in the stable house.

Pictured: Welcome Inn Manor

Welcome Inn Manor
Chicago, Illinois | welcomeinnmanor.com
Contact: 312.493.2953 or mell@welcomeinnmanor.com

Housed in a Queen Anne historic home built in 1893, Welcome Manor Inn offers a quiet place for travelers to take in the sights and sounds of Chicago. The 7,200-square-feet of space provides a stunning setting for guests to enjoy a comfortable stay in the city.  Merrill “Mell” and Angie Monroe love taking care of their guests and suggesting places to hear live music, stroll through museums or hang out by Lake Michigan. They take pride in offering guests a fresh hot breakfast.

Pictured: Ye Olde Manor House

Ye Olde Manor House
Elkhorn, Wisconsin | yeoldemanorhouse.com
Contact: 262.742.2450 or innkeeper@yeoldemanorhouse.com

Ye Olde Manor House is known for its fabulous breakfast service. The innkeepers offer vegan selections for guests who do not eat meat or dairy products. The gorgeous setting gives lodgers serene options for relaxing outdoors or lounging in the well-appointed common areas.

John Anderson and Karen Fulbright-Anderson opened their establishment with the goal of providing the perfect place for guests to relax, renew and rejuvenate. Each of the eight bedrooms has a private bath.

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The joy of cooking became a part of her life when Phyllis was a child learning her way around the kitchen with her mother and grandmother. Her retirement from a demanding career in broadcast news has given her time to write about African-American chefs and restaurant owners as well as other black professionals succeeding in the travel and wine industries. Phyllis still loves to cook and try out new recipes.