Travel: Bed, Breakfast and Beyond

Charming houses, elegant ambiance and genial hosts make B and Bs sweeter than home for those on the road

Americans have a wide array of lodgings to choose from when they take a vacation: high-rise hotels, rustic resorts, motels by the bay. Yet more and more people are flocking to bed-and-breakfast inns, the most old-fashioned homes away from home. Just 20 years ago, there were only 1,000 B and Bs, as they are nicknamed, scattered throughout the country. Today there are more than 28,000 serving more than 50 million guests each year.

What's the appeal? Bed-and-breakfasts, often situated in elegant, historic homes, tap into everyone's fantasy of living another life. Many have been lovingly renovated with period decorations, inviting...

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