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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

9 Things to Know About the Inn at 202 Dover

Photo courtesy of MDInns.com
Even though the Inn at 202 Dover in Easton, Maryland looks rather formidable from the outside, on the interior, the place is nothing but homey and cozy. The warm atmosphere is largely due to the presence of owners Ron and Shelby Mitchell. along with all of the quirky touches dotting the mansion. And, of course, there are the bathtubs. But more on those later.

Here are 9 things to know...and love...about the Inn at 202 Dover. Sorry if I cannot curb my enthusiasm.*

1. Our story starts in 2005, when a Brooklyn-born couple, escapees from the worlds of DC law and advertising, buys a bed and breakfast. Mad Man Ron espies a sagging dowager, circa 1874, fading away at 202 Dover Street in Easton. He immediately calls his Legal Eagle wife. She sees it. They buy it. They do a serious nip/tuck. Two million-plus dollars and a little more than a year later, the former boarding house is transformed into a luxury inn, the only AAA Four-Diamond inn/restaurant combo in the state of Maryland.

2. The five rooms are designed by geographic themes. There is a Safari Suite, an Asian Suite, a French Suite, an English Suite, and a more petite Victorian Room. I stayed in the English Suite, the largest of the bunch. But upon examining the details in all of the rooms, I wish I had opted to take the Safari. Check out this sink and towel stand. Ladies, if you are on the hunt for a B and B that doesn't make your manly-man squirm, go all Dr. Livingstone on him and presume to book this room. Your stay will be goodall around.

3. Of course, not all couples are he-and-she. The Inn at 202 Dover is gay-friendly and even hosts gay (and straight) weddings.

4. Normally, when you visit a bed and breakfast, the interior design is 50 Shades of Tacky. You know what I mean---cats, stuffed Teddy Bears, ghastly trinkets, lots of lace and the like. The Inn at 202 Dover spares us from such horrors.The thought and attention paid to every detail is extraordinary. The public area of the inn could be a museum, filled with tasteful, yet playful items. There is a whimsical collection of shadowboxes; a set of pewter Revolutionary War action figures; and various other menageries. Some of the furniture, like this cello chair, is also quite entertaining.

5. Speaking of detail, check this out. As every room has its own theme, every bathroom has a unique bar of  bath soap. Soap in the Asian Suite has hints of exotic spices, while the Safari Suite serves up a hefty Shea butter block. Lathering up in the French and English Suites will leave you smelling like a rose.

6. The shower and the bath in each room require one page of instructions per plumbing fixture. The showers have a steamer option, which I didn't attempt. But the air-jet bath, complete with bubbles on steroids and chromotherapy, was well worth wading through the wealth of words to decipher. My only beef with the massive vat--no head pillow.

Asian Suite Bed

7. Ahhh, the bed...and breakfast. So comfy,so yummy, respectively. The mattresses, like butter. Plus, the linens smell so good that you are tempted to lick them. But instead of yielding to that temptation, wait for breakfast to exercise your taste buds. You'll indulge in a gourmet homemade breakfast crafted by Ron and one of the best cups of coffee ever.

8. For more gourmet cuisine, book a table for dinner. Douglas Potts is the chef of the Inn's spectacular Peacock Restaurant and Lounge.

*9. I would be remiss not to mention that Ron Mitchell is the doppelganger of one Larry David. Although this picture does not do the likeness justice, let it be said that he could be Larry David's stunt double. He looks like Larry David. He sounds like Larry David. He's quirky like Larry David. However, he does not share Larry David's recalcitrant demeanor. Instead, he's buoyant and effervescent, which are far better qualities for an innkeeper. Meanwhile, wife Shelby is lovely in all ways, and coincidentally reminiscent of a slightly-older Cheryl Hines.

I could write up nine more things to know and love about this inn, but instead, let me steer you to the independent reviews of the place over at TripAdvisor  (average rating--5 out of 5 stars).

The Inn at 202 Dover (866-450-7600) is just 59 miles from Baltimore, 73 miles from Washington, DC and 215 miles from New York City. Rack rates for suites run between $450-$500. The Victorian Room starts at $289. 

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