|New England Bed-and-Breakfast Inns|
|The bed-and-breakfast house, long popular in Europe, came to America in the 1980s as travelers discovered they could get charming accommodations at a "B&B." New England has many charming, affordable B&Bs.|
Taking in travelers and lodging them in a spare bedroom is a very old practice, of course, but it's relatively new in the USA.
After World War I, the rapid proliferation of motorcars led to the opening of "tourist homes:" residences with spare bedrooms for travelers. Some meals might be provided, according to the homeowners' wishes.
After World War II, American tourists flocked to Europe and the United Kingdom, often staying at pensions and bed-and-breakfast houses: adequate, congenial family accommodations at low prices.
(In 1966 I stayed in a B&B in central London for £1 [US$3] per night, full English breakfast included—but that was in the days of Europe on $5 a Day.)
Returning tourists brought the B&B to America, but local conditions and customs produced not a simple-but-adequate, low-cost lodging, but rather a homey, congenial family-atmosphere inn at moderate to higher prices.
B&B vs. Motel
America's true budget travel lodging is the motel, not the B&B. Motel virtues are speed, economy, anonymity, convenience and predictable comfort and services.
The B&B's virtues are a cozy family atmosphere, quiet residential location, and one-of-a-kind accommodations.
Some B&Bs have a half-dozen rooms, others only one or two; some serve a full, hearty sausage-and-eggs breakfast, others provide home-baked muffins and rolls; a few guesthouses provide no breakfast (making them B&B's, I guess.)
Guest rooms may be large or small, with a view or without—in short, nothing is standard, which is part of the charm.
Look at the Room!
Though one can describe hotel, motel, and inn rooms, which are usually of a certain standard, the only sure way to know what you're getting at a B&B is to look at the room yourself.
You can use this handy Hotel Search Box to find B&Bs as well:
—by Tom Brosnahan