No matter where you travel, there will be special things about the destination and lodging to be found there. It's the reason you decided where to go and stay there in the first place. Maybe it's the scenic views, history, people, or attractions that make it a place you want to go to. And, when it comes to room accommodations, well, there are usually all sorts of rooms, beds, and services to fit just about every tourist's need.
But, for those of us who absolutely love breakfast and can't find enough ways in the world to experience it, there's nothing like a B&B to make sure your day starts off right. In fact, some folks choose a B&B based solely on the types of breakfasts they serve and the menus they create. Once a B&B gets a word-of-mouth reputation as a great place for breakfast, the world beats the reservation path to its door.
On the other hand, if you're visiting a B&B you've never been to before, the best way to find out what they serve for breakfast, and when they serve it, is simply to ask. Often this information is found on the B&B website, but if it's not, be sure to give the innkeeper a call. They can give you a sense of the type of breakfast they serve based on the time of week you're planning to visit. This sort of communication is particularly important if you have any food allergies that they need to be made aware of (or, other such issues as the need for dishes to be free of gluten or lactose, vegan or vegetarian, etc.).
There are also a range of dining styles that can be found in B&B's:
Buffets: Here, guests are served during a specific time to a variety of breakfast selections that may include traditional and specialty items, as well as fruit, breads cereals. Keep in mind, in this style of serving, guests who arrive later in the breakfast service time frame may find the yummies have been largely devoured by the early risers.
Continental: Somewhat similar to buffets, continental breakfast service differs in that it usually has a smaller array of food offerings. Whereas buffets might have casseroles, eggs or other entrees in addition to dishes like pancakes, potatoes, and hot cereals, continental type breakfasts are limited to pastries, muffins, toasts, juices, and coffee/tea. While certainly great tasting, expect lighter continental fare in a more casual atmosphere.
Family Style: Though a less frequently found breakfast service method, the family style breakfast is a B&B tradition going back to its very roots. Again, the innkeeper sets the time everyone is to arrive for breakfast. Then, dishes of food (sometime very deep and large!) are passed around and between guests. Family style breakfast service is as interesting as it sounds - a group of guests communing together over a meal.
Breakfast Made-to-Order: In a B&B that offers made-to-order breakfasts, guests have more flexibility about what they eat, and when they can eat it. Innkeepers offer breakfast during certain hours and, when the guest arrives, they can order from a limited number of entrees and a wide selection of other items such as pastries, fruits and even innkeeper specialties. The food is then prepared and brought out to you. Some B&B's will even provide second and third servings (the rule of thumb: Be sure to only order what you can actually eat!).
Breakfast in Bed: The ideal romantic notion. Some B&B's offer this as a matter of their routine, while some will do it for an additional charge. In all cases, breakfast in bed is quite the charming travel experience. With the breakfast in bed style, guests will order the night before from a menu. The next morning, at the desired time, breakfast is delivered to the room, and then cleaned up afterwards. No need to get dressed or, for that matter, even get out of bed. Again, check with your innkeeper to see if this is something they offer.
There you have it, a traveler's primer to B&B breakfast styles. However, as you can see, in the same way the accommodation qualities of each and every B&B are unique, so too are so their many breakfast styles.
Alas, so many breakfasts, so little time to try them all!
Victor Viser, Ph.D., is a corporate and political communications consultant, web content producer, and photographer.
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