Bed, Breakfast And Beyond

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Set on two acres filled with looming oak trees, flower gardens, a fountain and a gazebo, Dickey House combines the convenience of a hotel with the intimacy of a B and B. The three rooms in the mansion and four suites in cottages on the grounds are all equipped with private bath, TV and vcr, and are decorated with elegant Victorian antiques.

There's fun to be had outside the grounds too. Local attractions include antiques shops, wineries, a replica of the Hubble Space Telescope and a regular round of arts festivals. If that's not enough, Branson, Mo., just an hour away, bills itself as the "live-entertainment capital of the world." Then again, the peace and quiet of the Dickey House may be a welcome respite 417-468-3000). --By Harriet Barovick

Peace and Quiet and Open Air
There are plenty of serene spaces in the northern reaches of Michigan's lower peninsula: lakeside beaches, towering dunes, fragrant pine forests, golf courses and some of the best bicycling trails in the U.S. Lovers of Victorian architecture revel in the quaint charms of the small towns, and in one of these, Petoskey, visitors can find the Serenity Bed-and-Breakfast.

The house, acquired this year by former guests David and Peggy Vermeesch, has three luxurious guest rooms in soothing shades, all with views of Little Traverse Bay. "We wanted to make the place very light as a contrast to the more traditional dark Victorians," says Peggy. The garden is filled with perennials, spring tulips and fall mums.

Many people discover Petoskey on their way to car-free Mackinac Island, 35 miles away, a legendary summer community rich in nature and history. Petoskey, the area from which the state stone, an ancient coral, originates, also has its festivals, summer concerts and historic buildings. But when the ferries shut down and the snow begins to fall, there's still plenty to do in Petoskey: skiing, sledding, ice hockey and skating in its Winter Sports Park, and a Winter Carnival every February; 231-347-6171). --By Melissa Breault

One Town That Won't Let You Down
It's all Chicago, all the time, at the Windy City Bed-and-Breakfast Inn, a Victorian house built in 1886 in the Lincoln Park section of town. Owners Andy Shaw, a reporter for the local ABC-TV station, and Mary Shaw celebrate the city in every possible way, save handing out White Sox to their guests.

Ann Sather's famous Scandinavian cinnamon buns appear regularly on the breakfast tray, bottles of Goose Island beer cool in the fridge, and Chicago-style blues, jazz and Irish music waft through the house. One almost expects to see Cubs, Bears and Bulls out in the garden, landscaped with indigenous flowers by the Chicago Botanical Garden.

The Shaws pay their greatest homage, though, to Chicago writers. A guest can curl up in the queen-size bed in the Sara Paretsky Room and get lost in a V.I. Warshawski mystery. Or creep in on little cat feet to the Carl Sandburg Room. The Mike Royko Room, with its antique three-quarter bed, is best suited for the lone traveler, while the Studs Turkel Suite in the carriage house provides a break from Working.

Lincoln Park itself, just blocks away, is a lovely urban oasis on the edge of Lake Michigan, with a zoo and a new nature museum. The bustling Lincoln Park neighborhood has movies, shopping, and restaurants that serve everything from tapas to Thai. The Windy City B and B is only two miles from downtown's North Michigan Avenue--known to serious shoppers as the Gold Coast--not to mention the Art Institute, the Sears Tower and the theater district; 800-375-7084). --M.B.

A Log Cabin of One's Own, Plus Hot Tub
It would be tough to overlook a bed-and-breakfast located in Jackson Hole, Wyo., 10 minutes from a buzzing town, five from the Jackson Hole Ski Area, 15 from Grand Teton National Park and just an hour from Yellowstone. But the Wildflower Inn, an actual log cabin built by owners Ken and Sherrie Jern, is a destination in its own right.

With its pedestal sinks, cathedral ceilings, luxurious down comforters and ample electricity, the log cabin is not one that Abe Lincoln would recognize. Each of the five guest rooms--named for local wildflowers that cover the property--has a handcrafted log bed and private bath. Four have decks or balconies, and all face the same view: the Teton mountains. The plushest suite, which extends from the main house, is practically a log cabin of one's own, complete with Jacuzzi, sitting room and gas fireplace. Common areas include a glass-enclosed solarium, filled with plants and a large hot tub from which to view the landscape. Meals are collective, and the Jerns are praised for delicious food and a homey, welcoming atmosphere.

Though most come for the great outdoors, there's lots to do indoors too. Jackson Hole is considered a world center for Western art, with the National Museum of Wildlife Art and lots of galleries. Says a devotee who recently left Wildflower with recipe cards and a reservation for next winter: "I can't wait to see the place all covered in snow"; 307-733-4710). --By Deborah Edler Brown

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