Bed and Breakfasts for a Road-Trip Experience Takes a Drive on the Open Road and the Interstate

Gas prices have come down a bit and currency exchange rates are low, making this election year a great time to cancel that flight to Paris and take a road trip within the continental United States. Looking out the car window at the lakes, mountains, rivers, deserts, plains and roadside oddities our fair country has to offer may make you wonder why you ever wanted to leave. Staying at a bed and breakfast is a more comfortable and surprisingly economical choice than the standard roadside motel. Booking an inn with is easy because the Google Maps feature allows you to see your next stop on a map before you book your room. Here are some favorite spots close to the interstate highway system.

Open-Road Experience South of I-70
sunnylandroundbedThe drive through Kansas is a true open-road experience and it’s worth a stop for the friendly people and great food. Rising up in the Garden City skyline like a charming, historic neon sign is The Sunnyland Bed & Breakfast, the best-maintained Victorian home in town. Owners Fred and Kathryn Askren spent six months restoring the three-story, 1909 Queen Anne treasure to its original beauty and made it an elegant bed and breakfast with a ballroom perfect for receptions and tea parties. The gourmet, three-course breakfast served amid lively conversation in the dining hall provides excellent fuel for the road. Soak in the whirlpool tubs or a walk around the wrap-around porch to ease stiff muscles from driving. Literary buffs may appreciate the home’s proximity to the town that inspired Truman Capote’s true crime thriller, “In Cold Blood.”  There’s also a zoo nearby with such low traffic that the animals are happy to pose for a picture. The inn is just south of I-70.

Near I-80 in Eastern Iowa
Bridge pic 4The Mason House Inn of BentonsportIowa was custom made for road, rail and river travelers. Mormon craftsmen from Illinois built the inn to fund their trip to Salt Lake City. Completed in 1846, the hotel was a stopping point for steamboat travelers along the Des Moines River. Floods, fires, and the decline of steamboat travel moved traffic away from Bentonsport, but most of the buildings remained unchanged, making the town a sort of living museum. The Mason Hotel retains its original brick structure with much of its furniture brought from New York by its second owners, the Mason family. Current owners Chuck and Joy Hanson added an antique railroad caboose converted into a lovely cottage complete with a kitchenette and Internet access. Bentonsport is in Eastern Iowa not too far from I-80. It’s a great place to hunt for pottery, ironwork and weaving made by local craftsmen.

Chicago Comforts and Conveniences
chinadollhouseNext, leave the past behind and continue along I-80 to Chicago, where the comforts of a bed and breakfast are paired with modern conveniences. The China Doll Guesthouse offers three fully furnished apartments including a home office with all the trimmings. Depending on how dedicated you are to document your trip, this is your chance to upload photos, update your blog or work on a slide show. All three apartments have computers with high-speed cable access and China Doll III has a conference room with an overhead projector. If you’re worried you won’t be able to book a room from the road, you might be surprised.  The innkeepers offer discounts for last-minute reservations and when the China Doll fills up, overflow guests are accommodated aboard the Chi Lin, a 29-foot sailboat docked downtown.

Art and Americana in Pennsylvania
buhl-fallIf you’re still on I-80 when you get to Pennsylvania, take exit 4-B for a pampering stay at the Buhl Mansion Guest House in Sharon. Amenities like soft robes, down comforters and Jacuzzis in every room make this bed and breakfast an oasis for weary travelers. Schedule a rejuvenating onsite massage. This luxurious castle of an inn also holds an interesting bit of Americana: the original building was restored to its current splendor by James E. Winner Jr, creator of The Club anti-theft device. Even more surprising is the inn’s art museum: Donna Winner commissioned artists to replicate the works of Michelangelo, Monet, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, Whistler, Cezanne, Goya, and Picasso for guests of the inn to enjoy.

That’s four continental states down, and forty-four to go. Happy trails and be sure to use the “Search by Region” tool at to help you find the bed and breakfast nearest your route. Browse through the 19,000 bed and breakfasts and country inns. Some of the properties listed above may be in the best-selling bed and breakfast guidebook Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns with a Buy-One-Night-Get-One-Night-Free Certificate. I Love Inns also offers Bed and Breakfast Gift Certificates, a perfect solution to help celebrate any occasion.