For this Rochester B&B, the writer will reconsider allegiances
08/01/2014 12:00 AM
08/02/2014 4:48 PM
By staying at the Edward Harris House Bed and Breakfast in Rochester, N.Y., I was going outside my comfort zone. How far outside? Try from one side of the English Channel to the other. All right, I exaggerate. A little.
When I’m looking for overnight accommodations, I’m drawn to bed-and-breakfasts. When I’m looking for bed-and-breakfasts, I’m drawn to anything British.
But then I came across the circa 1896 Edward Harris House and its sweet-looking Madelyn room, described online as a “light and airy French-inspired room.” I fell a little in love with it — the fireplace, the wrought-iron bed (French, of course).
After a quick mental apology to Queen E., I had no reservations about making a two-night reservation.
Ah, mon cheri, she was beautiful.
The centerpiece, of course, was that gorgeous bed. Just as swoon-worthy: the original French doors across from the foot of the bed. I could imagine them opening onto my own little Parisian terrace. Instead, they led to the bathroom. A girl can dream, right?
But a lovely bathroom it was, equipped with all the niceties that make being on the road feel a little more like home, if not better. I discovered Gilchrist & Soames toiletries, a towel warmer (which I tried and failed to get to work, though the effort was a bit half-hearted), a jar with cotton swabs, a black makeup cloth and a full-size bottle of banana-vanilla lotion that I didn’t hesitate to use in large quantities.
The interior, with decor that felt French, was undeniably enchanting, but hunger pangs and the lovely Upstate New York weather lured me outdoors to explore the surrounding leafy, restaurant-laden Park Avenue neighborhood. After I finished dinner at a ramen joint just a few blocks away, I walked around admiring all the other late 19th- and early 20th-century mansions, many of which have been converted into apartments or condos.
The B&B welcomed me back with soft music and a jar of chocolate chip cookies in the elegant periwinkle-walled living room.
Further culinary delights greeted me the next morning, as the innkeeper, Heather Ingianni, whipped up quite possibly the most gorgeous omelet I’ve ever eaten. The next morning, she brought out a baked French toast that she said she was making for the first time.
We chatted about all kinds of things in between courses and her kitchen duties. She told me about the chickens she was raising, and I told her about all my sightseeing plans in Rochester. She endorsed the top item on my agenda, the George Eastman House, the nearby lavish estate built by the Kodak founder.
Reluctant to leave after being made to feel so comfortable and spoiled, I didn’t want to say goodbye. Somehow, au revoir was a little bit easier.• Edward Harris House Bed and Breakfast: 35 Argyle St., Rochester, N.Y.; 800-419-1213; www.edwardharrishouse.com. Rooms from $169.
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