So why choose to stay at
    a Bed and Breakfast?

When it’s time to plan for a trip, there are a number of things to consider. How will you get to your destination? Will you be going by plane, train, or automobile? You need to figure out how much and what to pack. These are important questions that often take time and effort to plan out.

In the process of planning, you might be tempted to reserve a room at a decent hotel and call it a day. It’s a strong temptation, and certainly understandable. Hotels are businesses that are specifically designed to make sure your stay is comfortable. You’ll usually get a decent bed in a nice room, at a reasonable price. However, it’s not the only option, and in fact, it’s not even the best one.

How is a Bed and Breakfast different From a Hotel?
Bed and Breakfast

A hotel may have nice amenities, it may be clean and well-tended, and it may have good customer service however, the staff is just that, staff. It’s a place where you go to stay for a few days, ignoring the world around you and often having the world ignore you right back. You may be able to use their pool, or their gym, or one of their other facilities but at no time is a hotel ever going to go out of their way to make you feel like their room could be your home. For some people, the idea of staying at a place that tries to feel like home is unnecessary. They just want a clean bed and a television, and perhaps internet access. As long as they have that, they’re fine.

But it’s always nice to have a choice and a Bed and Breakfast does exactly that by offering a warmer, more personal option. It’s much more than simply a room in which to stay, it’s actually a place that usually feels like home (minus the laundry, leaky faucet, etc.). A B&B accomplishes this with special amenities like complimentary WiFi, a glass of wine on arrival and home cooked breakfasts, local itineraries and pleasant surroundings. Though peaceful solitude is always an option you may find sitting in one of the common areas and talking with other guests or staff members is just what you need.

A Little History about Bed and Breakfast / inns…

The custom of opening one’s home to travelers dates back to Colonial America. Lodging establishments were few and far between and wayfarers relied on the kindness of strangers to provide a bed for the night. Hotels became more common with the advent of the railroad and later the automobile and most towns had at least one prominent hotel at this point in time.

Through the years there have been several steps to the evolution of today’s Bed and Breakfast Inn. In the 1980s and 1990s, B&B’s increased rapidly in numbers and evolved from homestay B&B’s with shared baths and simple furnishings to beautifully renovated homes and historic mansions with luxurious décor and amenities. By the mid-1990s, the Internet made it more affordable for innkeepers to promote their properties worldwide; it provided on-line reservation software and allowed travelers to view detailed photos, videos, and reviews.

B&B and Inn owners have been adding amenities such as wireless Internet access, free parking, spa services or nightly wine and cheese hours. To stay competitive with the rest of the lodging industry, larger bed and breakfast inns have expanded to offer wedding services, business conference facilities, and meeting spaces as well as many other services a large hotel might offer.

Innkeepers

      Sue & Dave Labrie Innkeepers ~ Inn at Harbor Hill Marina

Today there are hundreds of thousands of B&B’s throughout the world. In the United States, B&B’s are found in all states, in major cities and remote rural areas, occupying everything from modest cottages to opulent mansions and in restored structures from schools to cabooses to churches.

Check out the benefits to staying in a bed and breakfast

Staying at a bed and breakfast is a wonderful alternative to the traditional hotel stay. Gardens are often lush and offer comfortable seating, and rooms range from cozy to luxurious. Staying in a B&B can be a really unique travel experience and not one to be missed. Check out the following benefits of staying while making your decision.

  • Although B&B rooms can be priced higher than hotels, they usually offer a better value overall. More amenities are included such as breakfast and free Internet, you get much better service, and the experience tends to be more unique than an average hotel stay.
  • You’ll get more personal service. At a B&B, there are only a small group of guests, giving you a much more personal experience. Typically, your concierge is the owner and thus is invested in making sure you have a great stay.
  • Breakfast is included. It’s a wonderful amenity usually including special homemade offerings like coffee breads and cakes with everything from a continental spread to a hot breakfast with entrée.
  • You’ll encounter unexpected luxuries. B&B’s tend to offer all those special extra touches that can make your stay feel pampering. Some facilities even offer snacks and beverages (often to include wine) in the common areas for your enjoyment and convenience.
  • A B&B is the perfect romantic getaway. In fact, B&B’s have become so popular for couples that many cater to this romantic angle, offering special romantic packages. These may include pre-planned events or excursions that are included in your stay.
  • You can get a taste of the local flavor and lifestyle. B&B’s are usually established and run by locals, and tend to have their own character. Even better, B&B owners often have lots of tips concerning the best things to do and see in the local area.
  • Many B&B’s offer additional recreational activities in their regular packages. Depending on the location, you may be able to enjoy boating, biking, hiking, canoeing, golfing, or skiing.
  • Unlike hotels, B&B’s are often located in out-of-the-way areas or off the beaten path. This provides you with a great opportunity to see less traveled parts of the community that you would otherwise miss.
  • At a B&B, there are fewer people coming and going. With less going on, B&B owners tend to keep a much higher standard of security than a hotel property with a typical hotel staff.
  • You get the privacy and peace and quiet you desire. A B&B tends to be more exclusive with fewer guests and usually don’t often cater to families but are more popular among couples. If you’re looking for a place to spend a quiet weekend, a B&B may be your best bet.

So why stay at our Inn at Harbor Hill Marina B&B?

Well, here at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina we absolutely love what we do and that has been the driving force behind the inn experience that we’ve created, from the staff and team that we’ve chosen to all the little extras that we provide. We are committed to providing exactly what we value when we are traveling, and have also added important, unique items from our own traveling ‘wish list.’ At the bare minimum we all look for clean and well-appointed rooms, pleasant, accommodating and knowledgeable staff, good food and beautiful surroundings – and as you know we often don’t get them all.

However, here at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina we strive each and every day to exceed all standards and also offer our 24 hour complimentary snacks and beverages, fresh, home baked warm cookies in the evening and best of all accessibility to us, our staff and our incomparable knowledge of the Mystic Country region. We take great pride in being able to make tried and true recommendations for all things Connecticut Shoreline, providing custom itineraries of things to see and do or you can peruse our restaurant book and let us help you make those very important dining decisions. Perhaps you’re looking to spend some time at the beach, and if so, we provide you with everything that you’ll need to enjoy your day. All of these things are important to our commitment to exceptional customer service and offering you the experience of a lifetime here at our B&B.

The sign below and in our Gathering Room beautifully sums up perfectly:
Enter Strangers Leave Friends

So, if you’re planning on taking a vacation anytime soon, and if you have never stayed at a bed and breakfast before, then you just might find the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina a better choice, and a better way to stay!
We hope to see you soon.

Come Experience a Traditional Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride

Just hear those sleigh bells ringin’, jing-jing-jing-a-ling too ~ come on its lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you!

If you’re looking for something unique to do this winter to help celebrate your anniversary, a special birthday or simply are simply seeking a new winter adventure, let us help you. Sure, we’re known more for our summer time activities here on the Connecticut shoreline, but we must say it is every bit as beautiful and relaxing even in the winter. And, with rooms being more available with our quiet season rates in effect, it’s no wonder so many people still come to visit and stay with us. And why not, we have so many romantic and exciting ideas to make your experience unique and enjoyable – including traditional horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Whether you are looking for romance, relaxation, or a splendid taste of the New England countryside, enjoy it in an authentic horse driven sleigh or open carriage. Bring along a heart for adventure and some cozy companionship, and we’ll do the rest! There is nothing so enchanting as the sound of sleigh bells and the whisper of runners on fresh snow! Come have a “Currier and Ives” experience as you bundle up in furry lap robes and hand muffs, and let the sleigh take you from this bustling century to a more tranquil time of the past.

Now in their fourth decade, our local Allegra Farm is the largest authentic “livery stable” in Connecticut, catering solely to those who desire a unique experience with a bygone era. Located on beautiful Lake Hayward in East Haddam, Connecticut (just 35-40 minutes from our inn), Allegra Farms offers scenic romantic horse-drawn carriage rides around the lake or antique sleighs offering an invigorating ride through the New England snow.

Allegra 002

While it’s true the 19th century is well over 100 years behind us now, our good friend John Allegra and Allegra Farm are keeping this era alive with the restoration of vintage horse drawn carriages, sleighs, wagons and equipment. Allegra Farm is home to the Horse Drawn Carriage and Sleigh Museum of New England, and full time carriage service is their only business. From the carriages to the horses, proper attire to proper etiquette, the meticulous eye for historical detail will carry you away to the Victorian Age.

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Sue and Dave enjoying an open air horse-drawn sleigh ride

 

Virtually every carriage, in addition to being a true antique, has a history of having transported famous actors or individuals in numerous movie or television productions. Movie productions are a specialty, including Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad”, “The Time Machine”, and “Kate and Leopold.” Television appearances have included, “Sex in the City”, and “Ed”. A number of Allegra Farm’s horses and carriages are often seen at Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut, virtually year round.

Allegra 013

A Sleigh ride is a wonderful way to take in the sights and sounds of winter, simply relax, and chase away the winter blues. As the snow starts to fall, it’s time to enjoy an adventure in the comfort of a horse-drawn sleigh. Bring your own refreshments to warm your body and spirit and just sit back and relax as you tour the countryside the way folks have for centuries. Experience a different sort of horsepower, as the sled runners glide across the snow and the sleigh bells jingle on. And if there’s no snow, don’t worry, Allegra Farms offers horse-drawn carriage rides around the beautiful Lake Hayward. Truth be told, there have been many wedding proposals made during the rides.

DINE Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride

So if you’re looking for that unique something to do this winter, give us a call and ask about a traditional horse-drawn sleigh ride at our local Allegra Farms. As its been sung, giddy-up giddy-up giddy-up let’s go,
come look at our show, you’ll be riding in a wonderland of snow; giddy-up giddy-up giddy-up it’s grand, just holding hands in our wintery fairyland….
Alright, alright enough already. Just give us a call at (860) 739-0331 to help arrange your horse-drawn sleigh ride.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us, and all of the romance we can possibly devote a day to, is the order of the day. Have you ever wondered what started this yearly declaration of devotion to the one(s) we love —interesting and surprising…

Truly, there are as many stories about St. Valentine as there are chocolates out there dipped and all ready for delivery. Most of these include stories of martyrdom and Christian saints named Valentinus. The one that strikes a chord with us is that of Saint Valentine of Rome who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to these persecuted under the Roman Empire. What a guy our St. Valentine… in order to be sure that true love prevailed he performed these marriages and was persecuted, jailed and eventually executed all in the name of love. However, it is believed that this day did not truly take on the importance of celebrating romantic love until Chaucer associated it in the Middle Ages and the tradition of courtly love flourished. So then in the 1300’s the idea of love and romance on this day is established. From here the Europeans began exchanging cards in the 1600’s and in 1840 the first mass produced Valentine cards were distributed in the United States. Through the years many symbols for love have emerged to include hearts, cherubs, flowers, chocolates and sugary confections, ribbon and lace greetings, love songs and poetry, romantic dinners and getaways, jewelry and champagne, these often lavish gifts are given by both sexes to the ones that they love the most.

Valentines at Inn at Harbor Hill Marina

          How will you celebrate Valentine’s this year?
                                Looking for Ideas?
Check out our Love is “Inn” the Air Valentine’s Package

Here are a couple of interesting pieces of Valentine trivia … 62% of all adults celebrate Valentine’s Day spending approximately $448 million on 58 million pounds of chocolate, 36 million of which are delivered in heart shaped gift boxes. But, the biggest seller at Valentine’s Day is sweethearts! Yes those little heart-shaped colored candy confections that all contain a sentiment appropriate to the day. “Be Mine”, “I Love You”, “Sweetest”, etc. are all written on the approximately 8 billion candies that are sold and could stretch from Rome Italy to Valentine, Arizona by way of Niantic, CT – 20 times over!

Valentine Chocolates

Here at the inn, we like to celebrate this special day throughout February… actually, throughout the entire year! Anytime and all the time is Valentine’s Day and perfect to celebrate with the one you love! There’s a lot of love going on here at the inn. We see guests arrive and fall in love with the sea, the views, the area, the beaches and the inn. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to share some very special memories with the folks that make them right here at the inn. We’re proud to say that more than one couple has chosen to become engaged here at the inn, most recently on New Year’s Eve. Guests come to us for so many reasons be it visiting family or romantic getaways for couples sharing a celebration of life, an anniversary, a special holiday or occasion and those that need to find a place to rest, relax and recharge their minds. Whatever the reason, we are always happy that you are here.

We love our guests – Happy Valentine’s Day!