Romantic B & B in Pennsylvania Countryside
When Wendy Codd decided to open a bed and breakfast, she spent months searching for the right property and location, with no luck. Then, one Sunday morning while reading the newspaper in Baltimore, a two-line ad jumped out at her: “200-year-old house. Could make a bed-and-breakfast.” The open house was taking place later that day, so Codd made the 64-mile drive to have a look. “The house just called to me,” she says. “I had an idea of what it could be.”
She bought the five-story, Federal-style house and added seven bathrooms, central air conditioning, and entirely new décor. Since 1800, the house has been a private residence, an all-girls’ academy, and a general store. It’s now known as the Ascot House Bed & Breakfast and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Codd, the English-born owner and self-taught chef, is a natural host. “I love to take care of people,” she says. And guests at the Ascot are certainly pampered, with offerings ranging from evening hors d’oeuvres to gourmet breakfasts served on Wedgwood china. The morning meal typically includes homemade muffins, croissants and preserves, scrambled eggs, eggs benedict, savory crepes, and fresh fruit. With this Groupon, you can also enjoy a selection of cheeses and fruit, an English afternoon tea service, and a dining credit to the nearby Accomac Inn, which serves seasonal farm-to-table cuisine for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
The inn’s guest rooms are named after counties in Codd’s native England, and each includes a fireplace. The Surrey, Bedford, and Suffolk rooms are outfitted with a queen-size four-poster bed and either a two-person tub or jacuzzi, while the Essex room features a private entrance as well as a balcony overlooking the garden.
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: Crossroads of Amish Culture and German Heritage
Lancaster County sits in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. A number of Amish families—many of them descendants of the German immigrants who settled in the region in the 18th and 19th centuries—still farm the land here, living and working by the same timeless principles and unadorned methods they've been using for generations. On a drive through the area, you'll see covered bridges spanning the Conestoga River and probably share the road with a horse-drawn buggy or two.
At stops such as Kitchen Kettle Village, you can watch experts canning jellies, jams, and relishes and sample homemade baked goods. The Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum houses more than 3,700 artifacts, including a number of antique Amish quilts. The building itself is a Beaux Arts gem previously used as a bank.
To tour the countryside in style, take a ride aboard a coal-burning steam locomotive on the Strasburg Rail Road. As the train chugs past farmers tending fields and cattle grazing on hay and strudel, parlor-car attendants serve cocktails and snacks to passengers in the dining car or in first class. Across the street from the station in Strasburg, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania chronicles the history of the track via rotating exhibits and more than 100 locomotives and railcars.
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