Taking delight in little retreats around the state

UP FRONT

Quick getaways: From Ocean City to Deep Creek Lake, we look at 10 Maryland bed-and-breakfasts good for an August break.

July 27, 2000|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Here it is, almost August, and suddenly that summer vacation you're not taking this year is slamming you with a severe case of deprivation. Or that vacation you took waaaay back in June feels like it happened last year. Getting away for a full week in August is out of the question. But a couple of days, well, that you could manage to squeeze in. But you need to really get away fast; you don't want to spend gobs of time just traveling to get someplace.

Maryland is chock full of great bed-and-breakfast getaways. You'll find them in every corner of the state, even right here in Baltimore. We've chosen 10 places to get you on your way. Each is located in a different part of the state and offers something that makes it a standout.

Current double-occupancy rates per night include a full breakfast cooked on the premises. All rooms or suites include private baths and all have adults-only, nonsmoking and no-pet policies unless noted. Rates and August availability may change.

INN ON THE OCEAN, 10th Avenue and the Boardwalk, Ocean City. Six rooms/suites. Mostly midweek August availability. $185-$290. Two-night minimum on weekends. 888-226-6223, 877-466-6662, 410-289-8894. www.ocean-city.com/innontheocean.htm.

You're walking along Ocean City's famously frenzied Boardwalk, and suddenly you're looking at a white picket fence, a bright blue-and-white striped awning, and an old-fashioned front porch decorated with elegant outdoor furniture and pots of pansies. A sense of cozy calm envelops you. It's hard to believe the hub of O.C.'s hubbub ends about a block away.

The Inn on the Ocean didn't get its nickname - "an oasis in the chaos" - for nothing. This seaside beach house embraces you with its charm - from the baby grand and plaid wicker sofa in the living room to the homey matching comforters and pillows in the bedrooms and suites. Each room has a king- or queen-size bed, color TV, VCR and ceiling fan. Four also have whirlpools.

Summer breakfast - with offerings including blueberry pancakes, sauteed fresh peaches and French toast - is generally served on the veranda, which overlooks the beach.

In the afternoon, guests are also offered homemade refreshments such as ice tea (complete with home-grown mint sprig) and tea cake. No wonder some folks have made the inn their annual destination "down the ocean" for years!

BRAMPTON INN, 25227 Chestertown Road, one mile south of Chestertown. Ten rooms/suites. Weekend and weekday August availability. $105-$215. Two-night minimum for Saturday-night stays. 410-778-1860. Web site: www.bramptoninn.com.

Set on 35 acres of fields, orchards and marshes, this Greek-revival-style mansion is the epitome of pleasant living. While the owners have taken care to retain most of the building's original details - decorating mostly with antiques and period reproductions - they have also added modern-day amenities to make a 21st-century guest feel properly pampered.

Many of the rooms have canopy beds, wood-burning fireplaces and a sitting area or separate sitting room. Some even offer double whirlpool bathtubs and a private garden or patio.

In addition to breakfast (your choice of an entrM-ie such as eggs, French toast or pancakes), you can also enjoy the inn's afternoon tea, featuring light refreshments such as lemonade, blueberry crisp or cheese and crackers.

Most Brampton guests come to take it easy: sit on the front porch and read or browse Chestertown's quaint little stores before enjoying a good meal at one of the area's many restaurants.

COMBSBERRY, 4837 Evergreen Road, Oxford. Seven rooms/suites. Weekend and weekday August availability. Children over age 12 welcome. $250-$395 a night. 410-226-5353. www.combsberry.com.

This 1730 brick English manor house is nestled on the banks of Brigham's Cove off the Choptank River. So if you have a boat, you just might want to use it to get to the Combsberry, which has its own pier where you can dock.

Once here, relax in one of the Adirondack chairs set out on the five acres of lawn and watch the world gurgle by.

The house was updated about four years ago. Rooms are tastefully and traditionally decorated, and all have water views. Some added attractions include canopy beds, whirlpool tubs and private balconies. The carriage house has its own kitchen, living room, brick patio, two bedrooms with fireplaces and a pet-friendly atmosphere.

For guests who prefer a little activity with their down time, the Combsberry has two canoes.

THE ANNAPOLIS INN, 144 Prince George St., Annapolis. Three suites. Mostly weekday August availability. $250-$375. 410-295-5200. www.annapolis- inn.com.

Who would have thought that behind the doors of this 1770 Georgian townhouse would lie what the owners describe as an adult Disney World? This is opulence at its most magnificent - crystal chandeliers, gold-leafed moldings, marble fireplaces, tapestries, sculptures and Oriental rugs.

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