Find the Secret Staircases, Tunnels and Rooms at a Bed and Breakfast Near You
American Historic Inns Reveals Historic Treasures in American Architecture
By Shirley Anitra Swagerty
Travelers who want adventure and a restorative getaway will enjoy these recommendations from the travel writers at America’s highest rated Bed and Breakfast directory, iLoveInns.com. They have selected several historic Bed and Breakfasts and Country Inns that preserve the architectural art of the secret room, underground tunnel or hidden staircases. Travelers can explore this secret architecture in bed and breakfasts at inns in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Illinois. These and other inns are also featured in a Secret Tunnels, Secret Rooms and Secret Staircases section of a number of B&B publications by American Historic Inns.
The Ashley Manor Bed and Breakfast www.ashleymanor.net, originally built in 1699 in Barnstable on Cape Cod, Massachusetts offers guests who book into Queen Charlotte’s Suite a secret staircase that slips up through the second floor and into the attic. During the Revolutionary War, Tories had to find hiding places and this was thought to be one of them. This guest room also features an elegant fireplace and canopy bed. Spring is a perfect time to enjoy the history and romance and also wander among the blossoming cherry and apple trees or play on the inn’s tennis courts.
Experience another era at historic Woodfield Inn B&B www.woodfieldinn.com in Flat Rock, North Carolina. Explore the secret room where Confederate soldiers hid jewelry and gold and where the ladies of the house hid from renegades and Union troops during the Civil War. Written on one wall was the formula for making gun powder. There is also much to discover outdoors with 23 scenic acres of walking trails, gardens, tennis courts and other sports.
The Great Valley House of Valley Forge www.greatvalleyhouse.com, circa 1690, is one of America’s oldest. Owner and innkeeper Pattye Benson avidly shares local history, especially the many interesting stories of hidden rooms at this inn where she has lived for 23 years. If you look up while eating a gourmet breakfast by candlelight in the “olde kitchen” a ladder and trap door leads to a loft where children slept at night. A tunnel from the main house, originally built to keep vegetables, was later prepared as an escape should the British attack the house during the Revolutionary War. It was not needed then, but in the 19th century it was used to house two slaves moving north along the Underground Railway system. Two green doors remain as an important tribute.
Many other Bed & Breakfast Inns were part of the Underground Railroad. The Steamboat House Bed and Breakfast www.thesteamboathouse.com in Galena, Illinois was built in 1855 by a steamboat captain whose wife Sarah was a doctor. There is a tunnel under the mansion which was part of the Underground Railroad.
All of these inns have been preserved and restored by private families who offer these rich historical treasures to the public for lodging. Traveling via the historic inn in America allows visitors the experience of sleeping in unique historic homes that truly hold secrets of the past. Adventurous travelers can learn about and enter these secret tunnels and climb the secret staircases.
Many of the properties listed above are also in the best-selling bed and breakfast guidebook Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns with Buy-One-Night-Get-One-Night-Free Certificate.