By Kathy Vogeltanz

Whether you have friends and family coming in for the holidays or looking for a romantic getaway, one of Intown’s bed and breakfast establishments might be the perfect alternative to a hotel or motel. Each B&B has its own unique personality and history, and affords the opportunity to make new friends while being close to top restaurants, shows and events.


Gaslight Inn

Located in Virginia Highland, rates range from $115 to $215 a night, plus tax, based on the size of the room and the amenities. In-room amenities include cable TV, coffee makers, microwaves and refrigerators (three rooms have full kitchens.), CD players, teddy bears on the beds and, of course, rubber duckies in rooms with bathtubs. WiFi is available in all rooms; a computer with DSL is located in the den, available to all guests. Continental breakfast included and complimentary beer, bottled water, soft drinks, juice and wine available.


Built in 1913, The Gaslight Inn is a craftsman style home. The original granite step at curbside, used by passengers to disembark from horse-drawn carriages, is the first clue of the historic charm. Flickering gas lanterns are still outside; inside, guests find original gas lighting and several working fireplaces.


Mark Hall and partner Emory Boone purchased the Inn in 2003. “We’ve always enjoyed staying in B&Bs and made the decision to become innkeepers,” said Hall, who runs the day to day of the inn, though Emory helps with the chores.


“Our motto is: ‘Arrive as a guest, leave as part of our family.’ We feel it’s essential that each guest feels comfortable. The furniture is beautiful, but we want people to be at ease, grab a book, take off their shoes and relax. And we’re never too busy to help with directions or recommend a nice place for dinner.”
1001 St. Charles Ave.

404) 875-1001, www.gaslightinn.com.

King-Keith House Bed & Breakfast
Nestled in historic Inman Park, rates range from $120 to $225 a night, plus tax. In-room amenities vary, but all rooms are spacious with private baths, authentic period antiques, cable TV and phone. For romantic interludes, the private Cottage located in the garden includes vaulted ceilings, gas fireplace and Jacuzzi tub for two. The Queen Anne-style house boasts three tremendous porches, carved fireplaces and an elegant baby grand piano.


George E. King, owner of Atlanta’s King Hardware, hardware magnate and brother to Clyde King of King Plow, built the King-Keith House for his large family in 1890 as one of first houses in the new suburb of Inman Park. Over the years, the Kings’ former showcase was turned into a boarding house, then suffered a fire in 1974. Now completely restored, the rooms are very much in their original manner.


One of the most photographed houses in Atlanta, the King-Keith House has a garden that’s been on the Perennial Society Garden Tour and the High Museum Art in the Garden Tour. Each Sunday at 2p.m., the Atlanta Preservation Center begins their walking tour of Inman Park at King-Keith.


Owners Jan and Windell Keith moved to Atlanta from Orlando in 1974 and have renovated/restored four homes since then. They took possession of the King-Keith House in 1990, and it’s been their residence and a B&B for the last 15 years.


An architect, Windell concentrates on historic residential projects in town when he’s not managing the daily operations. “Running a B&B can be a 24/7 job, but the guests make it all worthwhile,” Windell said. “We meet such interesting people and we really enjoy and cherish that. Often, we host soldiers coming home to their significant others for a special renewal and rest.” 889 Edgewood Ave. (404) 688-7330, www.kingkeith.com.


Ponce de Leon Place Bed & Breakfast
Rates for this Virginia Highland neighborhood range from $110 to $195 a night; some special rates for seniors. Owner will work with guests to fit their needs and budget. Ponce de Leon Place B&B was built in 1987 as a residence for the present owner and innkeeper, Lana Allibone. These days, she says the house lets her do what she loves – enjoying people and helping them have a great time.


There are three suites and one bed-and-bath, all quiet, secluded and romantic. Each room is different, filled with books, music, DVDs and unique items of interest. Some suites include Jacuzzi tubs and fireplaces. Guests enter their suites directly; there’s no main house to go through. Full breakfasts are provided, delivered to the suites, when guests request. Dietary restrictions are no problem.


“This is a very romantic house,” Allibone said. “My guests bring the romance and I supply the backdrop.” She’s happy to recommend the perfect place for superb dining or share information on local attractions. 929 Ponce de Leon Place. (404) 873-6267, www.poncedeleonplace.com.

Stonehurst Place

Located in Midtown close to Piedmont Park, this relative newcomer has earned a raft of awards (including being named one of eight Best Urban Inns for 2009-10 worldwide by BedandBreakfast.com) and also appeals to the eco-conscious. Rates start at $139 weekday and peak at $429 weekends for über-deluxe Master Suite. (Stonehurst lowered their rates in 2009 to make stays more affordable.)


In-room amenities include luxury linens and bathrobes, concierge service, cable TV, WiFi and hi-speed Internet, LCD Flat Screen TV/DVD/CD Player and much, much more. Each suite is unique and beautifully furnished. This B&B is also pet-friendly and gay-owned.


The house has museum and gallery-quality art throughout, in the common areas as well as the suites. A fascinating array of books, DVDs and music is available for guest use. An exquisite masterpiece, the garden is “a work in process,” according to owner Barb Shadomy, an internationally educated interior and garden designer.


Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Stonehurst Place was built in 1896 by George Burch Hinman, an engineer originally from England who built several textile mills throughout the Southeast U.S. The house remained in the Hinman family until 1996. In 2007, Barb purchased the property and began an extensive restoration/renovation that included a wide range of aesthetic and eco-friendly improvements.


Stonehurst Place has a solar-thermal system that heats about 350 gallons of water daily as well as a water reclamation system that includes rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling. Even the 14-month renovation was done in such an ecologically responsible manner that it earned Stonehurst Place an EarthCraft Home designation and the EarthCraft and Southface (like LEED) Renovation Project of The Year Award in February 2009. Barb and the staff also use eco cleaning solutions, prepare meals with organic foods and stock the suites with low-impact personal care items. 923 Piedmont Ave. (404) 881-0722, www.stonehurstplace.com.


Sycamore House Bed & Breakfast
For those looking for a B&B in Decatur, this historic home has rates ranging from $120 for bedrooms, $145 for suite; the cottage, when available, is $175. Amenities include private baths, queen-size beds, cable TV and audio system. Guests are welcome to enjoy the secluded backyard, complete with deck, heated pool, hot tub/Jacuzzi, waterfall and lush garden filled with colorful, fragrant plants. Breakfast is specially prepared, something different every day, and offered on guests’ schedules.


Sycamore House was built circa 1905 and has served as a boarding house and nursing home in its history. According to co-owner Judy Manning, two 100-year old women lived there in the 1960s; they had been eye witnesses to Sherman’s march. The house is a typical American 4-square with neoclassical features, beveled glass, columns and fans.


Manning and her husband, Ren, get visitors from overseas and from just three blocks away. “It’s like a little sanctuary here. We’re very much like a European B&B,” Manning said. “We found this house and fell in love with it. The neighborhood is great and we’ve been so happy here.” 624 Sycamore St. (404) 378-0685 or email JPFM@bellsouth.net.


Sugar Magnolia Bed & Breakfast
Another Inman Park charmer, this B&B is adjusting its rates for 2010, with rooms ranging from $120 and $160 a night. Amenities include beautiful rooms, some with fireplaces and double-Jacuzzi tubs, WiFi, cable TV and all the modern conveniences in a Victorian setting. Business travelers take advantage of the meeting rooms and full business center, while families enjoy the sleeping loft and galley kitchen in the Cottage Suite.


Sugar Magnolia’s many unique features include a three-story turret and grand staircase, six fireplaces, oval beveled windows, hand-painted plasterwork and the front hall’s magnificent crystal chandelier. The house also offers amazing porches, a balcony, rooftop deck and fire pit in the gardens.


The Queen Anne Victorian style house, constructed in 1894 by prominent Atlanta businessman Col. T.W. Latham, has been lovingly restored to its original charm. In 1993, owners Debi Starnes and Jim Emshoff opened it as a B&B. Jim, a retired University of Georgia professor, named it Sugar Magnolia after the Grateful Dead tune. Also a musician, Jim often plays the piano, treating guests to his repertoire of jazz and blues tunes.
804 Edgewood Ave. (404) 222-0226, www.sugarmagnoliabb.com.


Virginia Highland B&B
Rates range from $119 to $179 year-round at the cozy Virginia Highland B&B. Amenities include free WiFi and flat screen TV/DVD. Probably the most impressive amenity is Adele, a wonderful cook and meticulous housekeeper who makes friends with everyone she meets.


A cozy, 1920s craftsman bungalow, Virginia Highland B&B was damaged in a 1995 house fire, but was fully restored/remodeled with the help of the architectural firm of Menefee + Winer. Adele has owned the home since 1973; it’s been a B&B for the past 13 years. The formal dining room features a fireplace and the screened porch includes a Pawley’s Island hammock and porch swing. The living room is furnished in 50s retro style, and the old-fashioned kitchen includes the original high back sink.


After settling here from Chicago in the late 60s, Adele became very active in the community. She’s a master gardener, and Virginia Highland B&B, known for it’s rose arbor, is one of the stops on the area’s Garden Tour. In 2006, the garden was designated an Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. “Our balconies look out into the treetops of the shade garden,” Adele said. “It’s a great place for birding – and the Botanical Gardens are just a short walk away!” 630 Orme Circle. (404) 892-2735,

www.virginiahighlandbb.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.