Friday, 27 November 2015

Ladies' Weekend at the Inn Boonsoboro (or The Weekend We Lived Inside a Book)

Does it make me officially an 80s housewife if I'm in love with Nora Roberts books? I remember my mother reading them when I was growing up. Earlier this year one of the women in my book club asked us, almost in a hushed tone, if any of us had ever read one. We hadn't, and so she proceeded to tell us about the trilogy she was reading called The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy. Reading a romance novel was on my 2015 Read Harder list, so I picked it up.

From the first page I knew I was totally going to love this book. It's a guilty pleasure at its finest. The first book in the trilogy is about Beckett Montgomery. He owns his own construction company. He's in love with the young, widowed mother who runs the local bookstore. He's rebuilding the inn across the street with his brothers. I think you get the idea.

My co-worker, Dani, and I devoured this trilogy and many other Nora Roberts books over the summer. Move aside 50 Shades of Grey. There's a new romance trend in town, even if we have to bring it back all by ourselves. Lovely, sweet, romance stories with healthy relationships and happy endings. That's what I want to read about before bed. (Plus, Rob really can't complain about my newest favourite book genre. I think he's reaping a few extra benefits from it all.)

In August, I get a text from Dani and the conversation went something like this:
Dani - Did you know the Inn Boonsboro is a real place?
Me - What?! No way! We have to go there.   (...not even knowing where on Earth it is.)
Dani - Yes!

I checked online and yes, it actually was a real inn. Better still, the inn was owned by Nora Roberts herself! And the bookstore from the trilogy was real - Turn the Page. As was the pizzeria from the trilogy, Vesta. As was the gym from the trilogy, Fit in Boonsboro. As was the gift store. These were all real places. It was like seeing a book coming to life.

Dani and I booked a room at the Inn Boonsboro and officially declared a road trip planned. To say we completely loved it would be a massive understatement. It was only 2 nights, but has gone down as one of my all-time favourite vacations. Here's a bit of a photo essay from our trip, and you'll see why. Even if you're not a Nora Roberts fan, this inn is absolutely a worthwhile trip for a weekend away. (Travel tip - book well in advance! We booked in August for a November trip and got one of the last 2 rooms available.)

To Do: Drive 430 miles, spend the weekend reading books and drinking wine

The drive from Toronto to Boonsboro, Maryland was just over 8 hours and really a beautiful drive in the fall. I wouldn't make the drive in the winter though. We saw quite a few "watch out for icy roads" signs.

The drive was so lovely. Most of our drive looked like this. Just keep your eyes above the shoulders of the roads. I've never seen so much roadkill in my entire life than during this drive in Pennsylvania and Maryland. An insane amount. Both ways. Consider yourself warned.

So what do you do when you have an 8 hour drive ahead of you to the inn from a Nora Roberts book? Listen to Nora Roberts audiobooks of course! #soawkward #stillamazing

The Inn Boonsboro

This is the front porch of the inn. The front door is actually the front door used on the cover of the first book in the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy - The Next Always.

The Inn Boonsboro has 8 unique guest rooms, each named after a famous literary couple. We stayed in Nick & Nora (from The Thin Man). Photos do not do these rooms justice. We had seen pictures online and were so blown away by how beautiful everything was throughout the whole inn. As an aside, the inn has a number of themed packages you can add onto your stay. They also do in house massages. We didn't book a package only because our single goal for the weekend was to sit in the library and read books all day.

The bathroom in our bedroom was incredible. It was a bathroom that bathroom dreams are made of. There were heated floors, heated towel racks, a massive bathtub, and an enormous shower that had 7 different shower heads.

Each room has its own signature scent and signature tea. Ours was green tea and ginger. All of the tea and products are available for purchase at the gift store across the street (or online).

Every night from 6-7pm there is wine and cheese in the lounge. We took our wine to sit beside one of the two beautiful gas fireplaces in the common areas (Two of the guest rooms also have guest fireplaces).

The first night of our trip, we got some pizza from Vesta and brought it back to eat in the open kitchen. We had our pizza, some wine, and played a Pride and Prejudice board game that we found in the lounge. Then we went back to our room and watched a Nora Roberts DVD. The inn has a lot of romantic comedies or classic romance DVDs available to watch at anytime.

Across the street from the inn there are a few cute gift shops and Turn the Page bookstore (where Nora Roberts books reign high, but there are also a number of other great books to buy and a small children's section, so you can pick up a gift for your little one to bring back after mama's weekend away).

There are balconies around the inn and a large terrace out back that would be beautiful in the summer, but mostly for the weekend we lived here, the library.

We got up each morning, made some tea and read here until it was time for the gourmet breakfast that is prepared for inn guests each morning. After breakfast, we came back here and basically read all day long.

In the afternoon we switched from tea to wine and enjoyed some of the fresh baked goods that are available each day.

And then continued to read...

If you prefer whiskey, there is a crystal whiskey decanter of Jameson in the library available for guests whenever they'd like to enjoy a glass or two. And make sure you add a pin to the map on the wall of where you've traveled from!

Eventually we did pull ourselves away from the inn later in the afternoon because we had booked a wine tour and tasting at a new winery just outside of Boonsboro called Big Cork Vineyards.

Big Cork Vineyards also has a restaurant and terrace for dinner. Plus, on our tour they also told us we could bring blankets and food and just set up a picnic near the vineyards in the summer if we'd like as well. I'd absolutely go back and either have dinner there or bring a picnic. (One more dinner tip - we had booked reservations at Dan's Restaurant and Taphouse and were a bit disappointed. It's really just a pub, so if you're looking for a pub, Dan's is fine, but if you want a nicer place for dinner, go try the winery.)

One more library shot in the morning before we headed back home....

This weekend was like a mini fantasy. We felt like we were living inside a book the entire time. It was so incredibly relaxing and lovely. I feel like my new bucket list in life is to stay in each room at some point. Even if it takes me the next 30 years. I know my mother would love it here, so I foresee a mother-daughter trip in our future. I also really really want to re-read The Boonsboro Inn Trilogy because now that I've been to the inn, I can read the stories and picture them actually happening in these rooms.

The Inn Boonsboro is highly recommended! Thank you so much to everyone at the inn who made our stay so wonderful. (Seriously, the innkeeper went out at 7 in the morning to get me milk for my tea because they were out).

I really hope you get a chance to visit this beautiful place.

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