A warm vacation spot was out of the question so plans were made to take the retreat at a Bed and Breakfast. A Bed and Breakfast? Never been to one; always wanted to. Hot dog! What are the rules?
The Lily Inn, located in Burlington, NJ, is a hidden gem. To say that it is fantastic is an understatement. The owners, Murray and Eugenia Sonstein, are area natives (she is a 3rd-generation- Burlingtonian; he is a son of Philadelphia) and very gracious hosts. Harold, makes your stay a delight. He luvs bacon!
The inn is a renovated Federal-style, three-level building, within a block of the Delaware River. Why the name, Lily, you ask? It is named for her mother, Lillian, a respected interior decorator in the Burlington area. I saw the building, while visiting an arts and crafts festival in downtown Burlington, many years ago. They had just started the repairs and what a job they did. I learned from the waiter at the elegant restaurant across the street that the back of the building had to be shored up; it was in such disrepair. Murray, taking us on a tour, indicated that they had removed kitchens and rerouted stairwells, etc. What a job! And I moan about the repairs being done at Serendipity.
The floors are wide-plank, white pine floors, with the original nails. Beautifully finished. The decor is formal, as befits a building of that age. The Sonsteins captured the feel of an historical home but you just sink in and feel at home. Beautiful antiques, four-poster tester beds in some rooms, original fireplaces, modern baths, and a lovely patio and garden area. Each trip through a room revealed something else to ooh and aah over. Go to the web site and check out the interior; Missy forgot (for the first time ever) her camera. I couldn't believe it!
Between Murray and his wife, we were given the history of Burlington (such a font of knowledge); things that I never learned in the history books. It was once a major port during colonial times; the home of James Fenimore Cooper; Abe Lincoln came to visit and engaged in an arm-wrestling contest; the temporary home of Grant during the Civil War. Cannon balls are still being found in some of the buildings from previous wars. The library is one of two in the world with an original King George seal. My, my, I could have listened for hours.
Breakfast was great with the most scrumptious pancakes I have ever tasted. (Gene, if you read this post, I need the name of the pancake mix and the syrup.) Harold positions himself beside you and waits very patiently, very politely, for his share of the bacon (and anything else you choose to share). He has a special bark which alerts his owners to when he needs to go out and another for when he wants to come in. I had never seen or heard of a full size Yorkie but he is absolutely beautiful. Soulful eyes. If I could have sneaked him out, I would have.
My brother and Shoppette drove over from Harrisburg and joined us for a very enjoyable evening consisting of dinner and a trip to the Masonic Lodge. Midge chose the room with the very high tester bed, complete with step stool, for their stay. Murray informed them that the room came with everything but "fall out of the bed" insurance. Boys and girls...it is high! Serious injuries if you make the wrong move. I wanted to know how many mattresses were on the bed and learned that those beds are made at that height. Something else I learned. The next morning, my brother confessed that he forgot about the height when he got up and, while not falling, it took a quick step or two to gain his balance. I would have loved to have seen that!
If you are looking for a delightful space to stay within a 40-minute-drive of Philadelphia, or an hour or so of Atlantic City, The Lily Inn, is highly recommended. I certainly intend to return.
Be Safe. Be Blessed.