Friday, Jun 23, 2017

Category: Lodging

Ashland Springs Hotel

I’ve been visiting Ashland long enough that I remember when this was the Mark Anthony Hotel, as well as when it was closed for several years. It’s long been on my list of places to stay, seeming to be an elegant yet comfortable option. My primary concerns about any hotel are: a comfy bed, quiet at night, a good shower, and clean.

The bed is a bit mixed. The mattress is very comfortable – firm, yet not stiff. The pillows, however, are dreadful. There are a lot of them (six I think) but they are all very soft and flat. We asked the Front desk if they have firm pillows and they sent us a housekeeper with three new pillows, all flat and soft, but made of polyester/foam instead of feathers. SO missing the point. When was it that the hotels decided that a good night’s sleep means great mattresses and flat pillows? The sheets are cotton, the blanket down, and there is a lovely heavy cotton blanket providing the color and extra warmth if needed.

Cowslip’s Belle Bed & Breakfast

One of Ashland’s original B&Bs, run by the same innkeepers since 1985 Cowslip’s Belle is truly luxurious accommodations – but won’t break your budget.

Located just three blocks from OSF theaters, this 1913 Craftsman bungalow provides travelers with vintage furnishings and modern comforts. Their breakfasts were, hands down, the best I’ve enjoyed in all my years of visiting. Scrumptious and served with a lot of interesting conversation and no sense of rushing. Jon & Carmen Reinhardt have been innkeepers for a long time, and they clearly enjoy their work.

The rooms are comfortably furnished with luxurious beds, private baths, air conditioning, ceiling fans, wifi, and private entrances.

This is one of the best places I’ve stayed in all my years of visiting Ashland.

Highly recommended.


Country Willows Bed & Breakfast Inn

Most of the time I’ve stayed in Ashland, I’ve stuck to places within walking distance to the theaters. But there are a number of lovely options outside of the downtown core, one of which is Country Willows Inn.

Set on five acres of farmland with gorgeous views and beautifully landscaped gardens, the Inn is a delight for visitors to enjoy. Most of the rooms are in the elegantly restored 1896 farmhouse, with a sumptious private cottage and barn. There is a family of goats and geese adding to the atmosphere.

The Inn has incredibly good breakfasts, and wonderful hiking (or biking, borrowing one of the loaners from the Inn) trails to help burn it off. The rooms are very comfortable, with one of the best beds I’ve ever slept on.

Highly recommended.

Shrew’s House Bed and Breakfast

One of the loveliest aspects of Ashland are the beautifully maintained Craftsman-style houses; it’s even better when you can stay in one. Shrew’s House B&B is a lovingly restored 1914 cottage, located just five blocks from OSF theaters.

The house is gorgeous, with wonderful common areas inside and out. As a special bonus, the pool is wonderful (and highly recommended during the summer months). There is a lot of privacy, each room has an outdoor sitting area and many have fireplaces and whirlpool baths. All of the rooms have wifi, private entrances, air conditioning, cable TV, and kitchenettes with microwave ovens and small fridges. A full breakfast is included.

This is a wonderful place, one of the best B&Bs in town.

Highly recommended.

Anne Hathaway’s B&B and Garden Suites

Every once in a while I like to visit Ashland with a very special girl, my dog Sasha. Since she’s a muscular 60-lbs, not some purse pooch, there aren’t a lot of options for us when we travel. Fortunately, Anne Hathaway’s B&B has pooch-friendly and comfortable rooms for the discriminating traveler.

Just a bit over four blocks from the theater, all of the rooms are air conditioned with private baths, wifi , and a subtle ‘green’ sensibility that adds to the excellence of this accommodation. Of special note are the hearty, healthy, tasty, breakfasts and the ample tea served at 4pm. Most of the food served is sourced from organic and local providers.

The B&B has fresh flowers in every one of its seven rooms. The nine Garden Suites have kitchenettes, private entrances, and decks overlooking the garden. Travelers staying in the  suites have a continental breakfast and most of the suites have Jacuzzi tubs. (They can also pay a bit more and join the regular breakfast.) The B&B and Suites are two separate properties caddy-corner from one another. It began life as a boarding house, and has been run by the friendly and informative Deedie and David Runkel since 2002. (Check out their lively reviews of each season’s plays on their website!)

The innkeepers are making changes with an eye toward making the inn as green as possible. For example, they’ve installed hot water on demand heaters and new windows in the Garden Suites. The (100% cotton and scent free) sheets are dried outside.

The rooms are spacious and quiet. The beds are comfortable and the location is great.

Highly recommended.


Abbott’s Cottages

If you’re looking for an alternative to a hotel, a cozy B&B, or a room at an inn, you will definitely enjoy staying at Abbott’s Cottages. This collection of mostly 2 and 3 bedroom accommodations (there is a single studio option) offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to enjoy Ashland on their own schedule. Over the years I have stayed in each of the three  (the studio, 2 bedroom, and three bedroom). Each unit offers a nicely appointed space, comfortable bed, kitchen (full size in the three bedroom, smaller in the other units).

Located on the north end of town, just off the main thoroughfare and surrounding a lovely courtyard, each unit also has a vine-covered outdoor seating area where you can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. It is surprisingly quiet (and you may be visited by the local cat, a friendly boy who will graciously accept your skritchins and then catch lizards for fun). The three bedrooms even have upstairs balconies to enjoy.

The Cottages are very clean and comfortable with air conditioning, wifi, cable, and barbeques. Julia and Mark Roupp have been the owners for many years now, and although they aren’t on site, they are just a phone call away.

No pets, no smoking, they don’t take credit cards, and a deposit is due with your reservation.


Highly recommended.