(April 30-May 3, 2014)
The Kenwood Inn was as amazing as I’d remembered. I visited 25 years earlier – half a lifetime ago – with my mother and grandmother, so I had few distinct memories, but I did remember that we loved our time there.
So, when I decided to revisit America’s oldest city, I took a chance that the Kenwood had stood the test of time. It has. The bed-and-breakfast is well maintained by the current owners, Pat and Ted Dobosz, who were hospitality executives in a former life.
The three-story inn, built between 1865 and 1886, has 13 rooms or suites and, on the ground floor, a cozy living room with baby grand piano, plus a sunroom and formal dining room. Outside, you’ll find a sparkling, saltwater pool – a rarity in St. Augustine and at B&Bs in general – surrounded by a brick privacy wall.
We stayed in the Brass Room, on the second floor, offering a view of historic Bridge Street, where horse and carriage tours could be heard clip-clopping by. The room is small – mostly taken up by the queen-sized bed – but comfortable, and tastefully decorated in burgundy and gold with dark, wood furniture.
The bathroom was a modern surprise. The owners recently redid it, adding a lovely glass vessel sink and a glass-walled shower with showerheads on both ends.
A delicious hot breakfast greeted us each morning, before we set out on cobblestone streets for a day of shopping, eating and exploring days gone by.
The Kenwood Inn’s location, only a few blocks from the center of town and the picturesque waterfront, is a major selling point. During a three-day visit, we never needed our car.
The city offers a wonderful trolley system, complete with friendly narrators; buy a three-day pass and get on and off whenever you like. Take the beach trolley to cross the Bridge of Lions and tour the 1874 lighthouse – climbing 219 steps, if you’re able, for a view of St. Augustine from the city’s oldest surviving brick structure. (There’s no shame if you don’t make it to the top. I didn’t.)
As most Floridians know, a visit to St. Augustine is a must for history buffs. The Kenwood Inn, the city’s first licensed bed-and-breakfast and its oldest continuously operating inn, serves as an ideal home-away-from-home.
(Note: I accepted no money or other compensation in exchange for writing this review, and did not reveal my intentions to the innkeepers.)