as seen in: the best places to bed and breakfast in ontario by janette higgins

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One of the best bed and breakfasts
in Haliburton Highlands Ontario,
as recommended by Janette Higgins:

Wild Swan Bed and Breakfast Inn

It all adds up to a 'fine romance' at this bed and breakfast in Ontario's Haliburton Highlands.

Review by Janette Higgins

author of The Best Places to B&B in Ontario: A Selective Guide Six editions of the book were published to critical and popular acclaim. Janette now publishes her B&B reviews and holiday reports online.
Note 1 to reader: Every Ontario bed and breakfast receives my consideration. I travel incognito, pay where I stay and write reviews of the top 5%. Here is one I recommend. Janette Higgins

To find the Wild Swan bed and breakfast inn you'll follow a quiet road along the Gull River and pull into the long drive leading up to the house. When we arrived we were greeted by host and inn-keeper Bob Baynton Smith. Bob hails from the area and in fact his ancestors settled here in 1848. He's now returned to the Haliburton Highlands for his 'retirement'. We signed in and paid (well, yes, this is more of an inn than a typical B&B home) and Bob checked off our preferences for breakfast such as coffee or tea, toast or croissant, juice or not, and which jam we'd like.

Upstairs, our room was exquisite, as are they all. The muted bird's egg colours, the fine linens, the antique furnishings, the cotton bathrobes; even the in-room marble washstands and whirlpool tubs for two are beautifully designed and suit the ambience. In keeping with the romantic theme, all of the rooms, except for the Country Room, have dining areas for intimate breakfasts for two if you so choose. Otherwise breakfast is taken in the dining room or on the riverview verandah in season. It all adds up to a 'fine romance'.

The largest bed & breakfast guestroom is the Highlands Room done in creamy hues, which offset the drama of the large carved Victorian headboard and armoire. From the room's dining area you gaze through arched windows to views of lawn and woods. Another arched window in the Riverview Room again with carved armoire and headboard. The serene Country Room has pine furnishings and a waffle-weave duvet cover on its four-poster bed. The most secluded room is called The Retreat. It's at the back of the house in former servant's quarters. Here you'll find a Victorian-style wicker headboard and beautiful hand-carved armoire.

After we’d settled in we headed straight for the wicker-furnished front verandah. There we imbibed a glass or two along with some hor d’ouvres we’d picked up at the local supermarket. As I settled into the cushions and put my feet up I couldn’t help but think of that old cliché, “This is the life.” We went out for dinner but Bob now serves 3-course dinners as long as he has 72 hours notice. Mains include southern fried chicken with pepper-pineapple jelly and stuffed salmon with crab and shrimp, among others. See his website or call for details.

Next morning, we took breakfast in the dining room. We had juice, croissants, fresh fruit and scrambled eggs with peameal bacon. Or as our American friends know it; Canadian bacon. Had we stayed a second night Bob would have offered quiche with mushrooms or asparagus. After, you're welcome to borrow canoes or bikes from Bob at no charge. Launch the canoe on the Gull River right out front or take the bikes to explore the nearby cycling trails. In winter, B&B guests can use the inn's snowshoes for adventures around the estate or in the adjacent Township Park.

Note 2 to reader: I appreciate your support of the continuation of my research by letting the hosts know you read my review of their bed and breakfast. Many thanks! Janette Higgins, Travel Writer

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