February 2008 Issue
Romantic Retreats - Kirkwood Inn
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 winterâ€™s chill and lifeâ€™s stresses on Valentineâ€™s Day, if not longer â€“â€“ 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 youâ€™ll develop for our stateâ€™s getaways is simply a bonus thatâ€™s perfect for the season.
A House With History
There are so many comforting features at the Kirkwood Inn in Mason, it's hard to choose the best one.
For couples eager to rejuvenate, it's likely the amenity that begins with a gentle rap on their guest-room door, followed by a greeting from husband-and-wife massage therapist team Jan and Greg Plummer. While simultaneous couplesâ€™ massages are a luxury that can be hard to find at overnight spots around the state, the soothing treatment is commonplace for the many honeymooners who flock to Kirkwood Inn.Â
However, for those who simply long to escape the frantic pace of home and work, setting foot on the grounds of the combination inn and farmhouse is luxury enough.
The modern world falls away at the establishment â€“â€“ and not just because of the Williamsburg-style fabrics, furniture and artwork that decorate its interior. This spot has welcomed travelers on U.S. Rte. 42 for more than two centuries, ever since Judge Jacob D. Lowe first opened the doors of his 1799 farmhouse to the regionâ€™s many stagecoach passengers.
â€œHis son, Ralph, loved to hear the horn blow on the stagecoach, hoping it was Congressman Henry Clay,â€� says Sandra Eves, Kirkwoodâ€™s innkeeper (along with husband David) and an amateur historian. â€œHe was the boyâ€™s favorite overnight guest.â€�
Today, Kirkwood maintains its time-honored hospitality, while also supplying the touches of comfort and convenience modern travelers expect.
The inn features 48 elegantly appointed rooms and deluxe suites, including some with Jacuzzis and others with cozy fireplaces â€“â€“ perfect for snuggling up with a significant other on a winter day.
Additionally, the Kirkwood Inn offers a range of packages that cater to romantics, including â€œEnchanted Evening,â€� which includes a private dinner prepared by Kirkwoodâ€™s personal chef and elegantly served in the propertyâ€™s Historic Kirkwood House; the â€œSweetheart Package,â€� which promises breakfast in bed, as well as chocolate-covered strawberries and fresh fruit; and â€œFit for a King,â€� which includes a coupleâ€™s massage, a nightâ€™s lodging in one of the Jacuzzi rooms, and a gift certificate to the Montgomery Inn, a nearby restaurant known for its slow-roasted, tangy ribs.
In the morning, guests are lured to the Historic Kirkwood House, reserved as both a party center and breakfast spot, where they indulge in hearty meals of scrambled eggs, country ham, quiche, biscuits and poppy seed bread with homemade peach preserves.
But the Kirkwood House isnâ€™t just the site of the tasty morning spreads. Like most of the property, virtually every room recalls the past.
â€œStand here and you have three centuries,â€� Sandra marvels just inside the Kirkwood House door. She notes that the hearth and kitchen date to the 18th century, the dining room recalls the 19th century, and a back room was built in the 20th.
Surrounded by such rich history at the Kirkwood Inn, itâ€™s no wonder so many vacationing couples enjoy spending the rest of their day together prowling the numerous antiques shops in nearby Lebanon, Waynesville and Springboro. â€“â€“ Betsa Marsh
Kirkwood Inn, 4027 U.S. Rte. 42, Mason, 800/732-4741. www.kirkwoodinn.com
Noteworthy Stops Nearby â€¦
La Comedia, 765 W. Central Ave., Springboro, 800/677-9505. www.lacomedia.com. The only professional dinner theater in southwest Ohio and one of the nationâ€™s largest, La Comedia produces six Broadway shows a year, with a gourmet buffet served before each performance.
Fort Ancient State Memorial, 6123 St. Rte. 350, Oregonia, 800/283-8904. www.ohiohistory.org/places/ftancien/. Visitors can walk the scenic trails and view the remains of earthen walls built 2,000 years ago by American Indians, then peruse the museumâ€™s 9,000 square feet of exhibits.
Waynesville, â€œThe Antiques Capital of the Midwest,â€� 513/897-8855, www.waynesvilleshops.com. Older than the state of Ohio, Waynesville has long been known for it wealth of offerings for antiques hunters. Its charming Main Street alone is home to more than a half-dozen popular antiques shops.