BEST BED & BREAKFAST - 2000
Mrs B's Historic Lanesboro Inn
Regardless of whether B&Bs represent the middle-class rendition of hourly motels, they're an institution in this state, and especially in sleepy Lanesboro, where no fewer than ten quaint inns compete for the attentions of romance-seeking travelers. Of those ten, none is more genuinely comfy and historically sound than Mrs. B's, an old favorite whose business methods have been updated hardly at all in the past 18 years. (The inn hasn't yet adopted its own Web site, and it doesn't take credit cards, either--and we love them for it.) Located on the banks of the Root River, about 125 miles southeast of the Cities (close enough to reach without burden, but distant enough to allow the feeling of escape), this 1872 limestone inn is a clean, quiet, classic B&B with ten Victorian-style rooms (none of which costs more than $95 per night), boasting amenities like sleigh and canopy beds, fireplaces, balconies, and views of the river. Its unexpectedly high ceilings and moody parlor (complete with well-stocked library and baby grand piano), make you feel welcomed immediately, though not necessarily encouraged to talk; the hospitality is not at all pushy. Along with the hearty complimentary breakfasts, the inn's trump card is its optional evening dining: a five-course prix-fixe ($24.50) extravaganza available Wednesday through Sunday that stretches to two hours in the consumption. From the bread to the soup to the dressings, every single ingredient is made from scratch, and the inn's new chef, Steve Rumpel, is happy to prepare special meals for vegans and others with particular needs. A midweek visit in the dead of winter is liable to give you the entire inn to yourself. For those who desire a little exercise outside of bed, 60 miles of paved biking, hiking, and skiing trails are located right outside the front door (not to mention canoeing and trout fishing in seasonable weather).