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Guests expect their own bed and breakfast and bath and beyond

Bathe yourself with views of the Green Mountains and the town of Newfane, Vt., from Suite Four at Four Columns Inn. Bathe yourself with views of the Green Mountains and the town of Newfane, Vt., from Suite Four at Four Columns Inn. (Photo courtesy of Four Columns Inn)
Email|Print| Text size + By Richard P. Carpenter
Globe Correspondent / July 22, 2007

There was a time when bed-and-breakfast inns meant charm, comfort, and a bathroom down the hall. For many, having to share a bathroom outweighed all the pluses of a B&B.

But that was then. Although the misconception lingers that nearly all bed-and-breakfasts still have shared bathrooms, those in the industry say that nowadays about 99 percent have private baths. In a news release titled "A View From the Loo," Sandy Soule, editor of BedandBreakfast.com and a veteran B&B guidebook and website author, puts it this way: "Savvy inngoers expect luxurious surroundings beyond the bedroom. Our industry has long been on the cutting edge of pampering hospitality."

Now that we've got that squared away, look at what a few New England B&Bs have in the way of palatial bathrooms:

The Belfry Inne & Bistro in Sandwich, which includes a renovated church, features bathrooms with everything from stained glass windows to ultra-massage whirlpool tubs built into the former bell tower. While there, you can take in views of the town and beyond. Rates begin at $115 a night.

Visit belfryinn.com or call 800-844-4542 or 508-888-8550 .

At the Inn at Southwest in Southwest Harbor, Maine , you may find yourself singing "By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea" while in the private bath of the Egg Rock Room. The vista from this second-floor loo looks out over the harbor filled with fishing and lobster boats. Rates start at $105.

Visit innatsouthwest.com or call 207-244-3835 .

Chez Sven Bed & Breakfast in Wellfleet likewise has a loo with a view. The Seagull Cottage 's recently renovated bath features Mexican tiles, a large soaking tub, and views of chickadees eating at the feeders and the woods beyond. Rates begin at $160 a night.

Visit chezsven.com or call 508-349-6823 .

Suite Four at Four Columns Inn in Newfane, Vt., has the best loo view in the house. From the bathroom's big Federal-style windows you can see the town and the Green Mountains beyond. There is also a fireplace, a two-person spa tub, and a marble shower with a 12-head all-body massage spray. Rates begin at $315.

Visit fourcolumnsinn.com or call 800-787-6633 .

Rooms at the Woodstocker Inn in Woodstock, Vt., have all been retrofitted, with a priority placed on bathrooms. Each has different features, from his and her claw-foot tubs (two in one bathroom) to showers with body sprays and rain forest shower heads. All baths have radiant floor heating, ecologically friendly air-conditioning units, low flush toilets, and cotton shower curtains. Rates begin at $110.

Visit woodstockervt.com or call 866-662-1439 or 802-457-3896 .

For more details, visit bedandbreakfast.com . In New England, starting rates are usually for seasons other than summer.

Minneapolis-to-the-Mall
Although public transportation is usually the cheapest way to get around, it is not always the most pleasant. Especially for visitors, the transit system can be confusing and time-consuming. Not so in Minneapolis. Visitors who want to go to the Mall of America some 15 miles away in Bloomington need only board the Metro Transit Hiawatha Line downtown for a quick and quiet light-rail ride to the biggest mall in the country. Fares each way are $1.50-$2 for adults, depending on whether it is rush hour. Those ages 6-12 or 65 and older pay 50 cents-$2.

Visit metrotransit.org .

Paying the tab
Money magazine recommends against travelers checks and prepaid cards in countries that use the euro. The magazine cites poor exchange rates, other fees, and the fact that merchants will not always accept the checks or cards. Paying with your credit or debit card is best, the magazine says, and getting cash from an ATM is second-best.

Weather report on hand
Google will text-message cellphone users the weather at home, at your destination, or anywhere else. Write "w" and the ZIP code or city and state where you want to know the weather and send it to GOOGLE. There is no fee beyond what your wireless carrier charges for text messages. Yahoo and a company called 4INFO (4info.net ) have similar services at no extra charge.

Most prices quoted are for double occupancy; solo travelers will usually pay more. Offers are subject to availability and there may be blackout dates. Richard P. Carpenter can be reached at carpenter@globe.com.

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