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. 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 estate, rewired it, and added seven bathrooms, central air conditioning, and a slew of fireplaces. 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. “I love to spoil people.” And guests at the Ascot are certainly pampered, with offerings ranging from complimentary evening hors d’oeuvres to gourmet breakfasts served on Wedgwood china. Codd cooks the morning meal herself; it typically includes homemade croissants and preserves, scrambled eggs, eggs benedict, savory crepes, and a selection of fruit. With this Groupon, you can also enjoy a selection of cheeses and fruit and traditional English tea over a two-night stay, or choose between the two over a one-night stay.
The inn’s guest rooms are named after counties in Codd’s native England, such as Norfolk and Bedford. The Surrey is outfitted with a queen-size four-poster bed, a fireplace, and a two-person tub.
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: Crossroads of Amish Culture and Dutch Heritage
In the heart of Lancaster County’s Amish country, the quaint town of Marietta sits along the Susquehanna River. The pace of life is slow here: you’ll likely see horse-drawn buggies sharing the road with cars. Stop in to see the experienced canners at Kitchen Kettle Village blend jellies, jams, and butter from Dutch farm preserves. Or visit the Lancaster Quilt and Textile Museum, housed in a Beaux Arts building that was once a bank. The museum’s collection includes more than 3,700 artifacts, including antique quilts.
At the Strasburg Rail Road station in Lancaster County, a coal-burning steam train whisks travelers on 45-minute rides throughout the idyllic countryside. As the locomotive rolls past farmers tending fields and cattle grazing on hay or pannenkoeken, parlor-car attendants collect cocktail orders. Across the street, more than 100 rail cars and rotating exhibits chronicle the history of the track at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.