February 2008 Issue
Romantic Retreats - University Circle Bed and Breakfast
Choose your escape, from a relaxing, historic inn to a big-city B&B surrounded by arts and culture.
Even the most enthusiastic warm-weather reveler has to appreciate February. When else but during this month does the calendar encourage us to while away the day keeping warm with the ones we love?
Thankfully, Ohio boasts plenty of places where travelers can escape both winter’s chill and life’s stresses on Valentine’s Day, if not longer — from cozy spots with rich histories in Mason and Grand Rapids, to attractive retreats with intriguing surroundings in Cleveland and Granville.
Pampering, entertainment and alone time are a given at the four B&Bs and inns we spotlight here. The newfound affection you’ll develop for our state’s getaways is simply a bonus that’s perfect for the season.
Escape in the City
When covered by a blanket of snow, the winding streets of Cleveland’s busy University Circle beg couples to slow down.
But that relaxed pace this time of year belies all that’s available to visitors. Fifty arts and cultural institutions call this east-side neighborhood home, including the Cleveland Botanical Garden, Severance Hall (home of the Cleveland Orchestra) and the Western Reserve Historical Society — not to mention a grand little place to stay called the University Circle Bed and Breakfast, which offers a cozy launching point for a weekend spent exploring the area.
The section of East 108th Street on which the B&B is located hugs the campus of Case Western Reserve University and features a lovely lineup of turn-of-the-19th-century mini-mansions. Originally built to house the wealthy, many now serve as offices for nonprofit institutions. Thanks to a renovation in 2001, the 108-year-old University Circle B&B displays its original Victorian grandeur.
Guests enter through a courtyard and deck and stroll into a formal dining room, an area whose air of sophistication is enhanced in the evenings when the owner sets out delectable wines and cheeses. A 12-foot beamed ceiling looms overhead, oak wainscoting abounds, and, at this time of year, icicles glisten while melting in the daylight outside the windows of a sunroom — an intimate spot for a private breakfast.
A familiar yet charming creak is heard as visitors make their way up a wooden staircase to the second floor’s five bedrooms. There, guests are greeted by an antique décor — largely furnished by items found in the Larchmere-Shaker Antique District — four-poster beds, and such convenient amenities as personal robes, mini-fridges and wireless Internet access.
It’s just a short walk from the B&B to all those surrounding cultural amenities. In mid-February, grab your warm coat and hat and head for the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Orchid Mania show, which offers a much-needed dose of color and light in winter. And, if your stay at the B&B falls on a Wednesday, don’t miss a romantic opportunity to gaze at the night sky at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History: Its observatory operates on Wednesday nights through the end of the month.
Of course, any day of the week is a fine time to take in the museum’s amazing gem collection — particularly for couples looking for gift ideas and meaning in special stones. — Miriam Carey
University Circle Bed and Breakfast, 1575 E. 108th St., Cleveland, 866/721-8968. www.universitycirclebedandbreakfast.com.
Noteworthy Stops Nearby …
Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland, 216/721-1600. www.cbgarden.org. This facility, located in the heart of University Circle, includes 10 acres of gardens and an 18,000-square-foot conservatory.
Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Dr., Cleveland, 216/231-3600. www.cmnh.org. From skeletal replicas of a triceratops and tyrannosaur, to an observatory that houses a 105-year-old telescope, the museum attempts to instill a deeper understanding of nature.
Barking Spider Tavern, 11310 Juniper Rd., Cleveland, 216/421-2863. www.barkingspidertavern.com. Jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass â€” all manner of live music is served up seven nights a week, along with an extensive selection of beer and wines.