Tag Archives: hotel review

The Historic Gettysburg Hotel

A Hotel Review: Gettysburg Hotel

While visiting Pennsylvania,  my grandchildren and I stayed at the recently renovated Gettysburg Hotel.  Talk about a strategic location, this hotel is the epicenter of downtown and right in the middle of the action.  We could walk all to sites of interest, restaurants, tours or shops.  The only time a car is needed is if you choose to drive to distant battlefields and the National Military Park Headquarters.

The Gettysburg Hotel
The Gettysburg Hotel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

The Gettysburg Hotel has a delightful new Tavern/restaurant where we ended up grabbing a quick bite before a ghost tour. The food was far above tavern quality, including a hand-made hamburger patty and delicious made from scratch soup. We sat at a high top table in the bar area and received prompt, friendly service.


Pancakes at One Lincoln restaurant in the Gettysburg Hotel

Breakfast the next morning at One Lincoln (within the hotel) was worthy of praise.The decor included wallpaper with graphic lettering from the Gettysburg Address and the ceiling is copper penny colored pressed-tin  My grandson’s order of pancakes could have fed a whole battalion. I chose Eggs Benedict and the poached eggs were done to perfection- still gooey in the middle but not undercooked.


Eggs Benedict at One Lincoln in the Gettysburg Hotel

Our rooms were airy and spacious, beautifully color coordinated with lots of light blue and grey, and a bathroom that allowed us to spread out. My room had a microwave and mini refrigerator, ideal for the traveler. I appreciated the complimentary high-speed Internet service in my room and throughout the hotel






The history of this hotel is fascinating; it was established in 1797 as the Scott Tavern. In 1809, William McClellan purchased the inn and changed the name to Indian Queen.


During the Civil War, the Tenth New York Calvary wintered in Gettysburg and the Quartermaster took a room at the hotel which he used for the transaction of business. After the battle, the hotel parlors were turned over to the Sisters of Charity who  nursed the wounded soldiers.


As the town prepared for the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery  in November 18, 1863, every hotel was filled to capacity. The Gettysburg Hotel was so full that people had to sleep in the lobbies and the bar. President Lincoln stayed in the David Wills House directly across the street from the hotel.

One of the stylish lobbies in the Gettysburg Hotel

Today the Gettysburg Hotel is owned by Gettysburg College and operated by the Waterford Hotel Group.  The facility is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. I highly recommend this hotel for fine lodging in the town of Gettysburg. More information at: www.hotelgettysburg.com


Disclosure:  Thanks to the  Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Gettysburg Hotel for my visit.

Casablanca Inn: Shining Star of St. Augustine

A Hotel Review

In 2011, National Geographic named St. Augustine, Florida one of the top ten places in the world to see Christmas lights. That’s a high honor indeed for my current hometown. The 144-square-block historic district truly sparkles with excitement from over three million tiny white bulbs (each white, per city ordinance) strewn along the ancient streets and historic buildings.

Nights of LightsPhoto by: http://www.floridashistoriccoast.com
Nights of Lights
Photo by: http://www.floridashistoriccoast.com

The “Nights of Lights” traces its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a lighted white candle during the Christmas holidays.

Should you happen to arrive in town along the bayfront, and pass the 17th-century fort called Castillo de San Carlos, you will undoubtedly notice the Casablanca Inn. The Bed and Breakfast outshines all the other buildings;  it radiantly glows with warm hospitality, hundreds and hundreds of white lights and tiki torches. The Inn is surrounded by a two-level elegant verandah, which is typically graced with visitors and locals chatting over drinks. You see the Casablanca Inn is also the home of the Tini Martini Bar; a watering hole so popular folks overflow on the porch and patio.

Casablanca Inn, St. Augustine, FL
Casablanca Inn, St. Augustine, FL

When I moved to St. Augustine a year ago, the bar attracted me like a powerful magnet. I stopped in and was greeted by friendly bartenders who mix a mean martini. And…one that is anything but teeny. Choose from the menu that features “Classy Tinis,” specialty Tini’s like “Espress-oh-Tinis” and a big selection of “Fruitinis.” Or just ask the bartender to shake, not stir, one to your specifications. By the way, overnight guests receive a $15 bar credit each day.

A gorgeous martini from the Tini Martini Bar
A gorgeous martini from the Tini Martini Bar

The Tini Martini Bar also serves 32 vintages by the glass, and several fine single malt Scotch choices. Beer aficionados won’t be disappointed either, with 28 distinctive brews to choose from. Live jazz or blues adds to the convivial atmosphere on Thursday through Saturday evenings.

I recently had the opportunity to spend two nights as a guest at the Casablanca. What fun to be a tourist in my own city. I learned the 1914 building is a Mediterranean revival historic home listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I also found the ambiance very romantic, except I was unfortunately staying alone!

My room would seduce any couple with its multi-pillow adorned queen bed, antique furnishings and a Jacuzzi tub. Sleeping in luxury was more than heavenly, I felt like I was starring in the Princess and the Pea fable. Owner Michael Miles explained: “We only want the best for our guests. (So) We have insured a superbly beautiful and comfortable night’s sleep with our Select Comfort Sleep Number Pillow Top Bed. They are topped with an Isotonic pillow-top mattress cover. The next layer is a feather bed cover (hypoallergenic)…then nearly at the top are 400-count cotton sateen sheets & pillow cases (silky and smooth). The pinnacle is designer duvet covers and isotonic pillows.”


The room sat on the second floor, one of 23 suites and rooms available, and included a balcony overlooking cobblestone Charlotte Street, the road behind the Inn.  How lovely to escape to this hideaway with morning coffee or an afternoon drink and enjoy the city’s charm–even by myself!

Breakfast begins at 8:15 and guests are served much more than a continental style buffet. They sit down in the dining room and order from the menu or choose the gourmet special of the day. I splurged with a fresh fruit cup, banana bread and Eggs Benedict.

Eggs Benedict at the Casablanca
Eggs Benedict at the Casablanca Inn

Since St. Augustine is a walking town, once you park your car (the Inn has a lot for guests) you won’t need it again. The Casablanca rests on the main thoroughfare and within a stones throw of many foodie-worthy restaurants. Consider jovial Meehan’s Irish Pub –practically next-door, tapas at the Tasting Room around the corner, or authentic French fare at Bistro de Leon a block away. If you desperately need early morning coffee- try Crucial Coffee on Charlotte Street and later wander into the adjoining courtyard restaurant, The Gourmet Hut, for lunch.

Although Christmas is now over, St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights continue through the end of January. Should that not fit into your calendar, visit later. Come stroll around the fort; visit historic homes and cemeteries, the Lightner Museum, St. Augustine Lighthouse or just walk over the famed Bridge of Lions. From that vantage point you have the ultimate view of the Casablanca Inn shining as a welcoming star in a city.

Casablanca Inn Sign
Casablanca Inn Sign

And don’t just take my word for it. This year Forbes named the nation’s oldest city one of the prettiest towns in America and National Geographic Traveler Magazine declared St. Augustine one of the 20 Must-See Places for 2013. How lucky am I to live there.

The Green Palm Inn: Savannah, Georgia

Entrance to The Green Palm Inn

A Hotel Review


In colonial America, hostesses set out a fresh pineapple, a prized and valuable commodity, when visitors joined them.  Over the years, the pineapple came to symbolize hospitality. Today we recognize all sorts of symbols such as the Nike swoosh meaning Just Do It or the green and white Starbucks cup of coffee. To me, a palm tree seems to say oasis: a respite from the sun, a place to fall asleep and a place to nourish our bodies. Certainly palm trees have provided coconuts to sustain the lives of many.


So, it is no surprise that the Green Palm Inn in Savannah, Georgia uses the palm tree as a symbol, or that the Inn offers the finest shelter or lodgings and scrumptious breakfasts and snacks around. It’s a true oasis.

Innkeeper, Diane McCray

The Green Palm Inn is owned by Diane and Gary Crews, but let’s gives Diane credit; she runs the place because Gary’s job often takes him away. As Innkeeper, Diane welcomes guests like family, sits down with them and introduces her southern city. Diane is a prized pineapple; she is hospitality personified. She’ll provide you will a cool drink,  share her knowledge of history, and whisper insider tips, like the best tour guides, shuttle services, taxi drivers and restaurants..


I stayed in the Green Palm’s elegant Sable Palm Suite which could easily be a honeymoon haven. The gorgeous carved four-poster king-size bed makes a bold statement and commands your attention. You need a step stool to climb onto the elevated bed. There’s a bounty of pillows and high thread count linens to caress your skin with the softest touch.

King Sized Bed in the Sable Palm Suite

Talk about romance, this suite has two fireplaces; one near the bed and the other in the bathroom. I also enjoyed the large open seating area with a settee, chair and antique wardrobe. But, you’ve got a modern small refrigerator in the corner and coffee machine.


Diane bakes extraordinary breakfast selections, a meal that will keep you going as you walk around Savannah’s streets, gardens and squares. The sensuous city drips with Spanish moss hanging from live oak trees, many over a hundred years old. Fountains are everywhere and provide a cool touch, even on a hot day.


More than likely you will return to the Green Palm in the late afternoon and find refreshments- freshly baked cookies or sweets, perhaps cheese and crackers, lemonade and wine. You can sit and chat with the other guests in the parlor or take your goblet up to your room for some quiet time.



The Green Palm Inn is cozy with just four rooms and also quiet. It’s just steps from Green Square (how appropriate is that) but actually named for Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene and sits about four blocks from the riverfront. Should you choose to walk to this touristy area instead of the historic downtown, you are ideally situated.



The rates are remarkable low for a top of the line Bed and Breakfast and once you stay, you will return and likely tell others. Just be sure to book your room well in advance because the reputation of this oasis in Savannah is spreading


Forsyth Park Fountain in the early morning

For information on The Green Palm Inn please visit:



Parlor- Green Palm Inn, Savannah, GA

 For information about Savannah: www.VisitSavannah.com