A Victorian lady reborn

Monkton B&B is a dream come true for couple

February 07, 2007|By Cassandra A. Fortin | Cassandra A. Fortin,Special to The Sun

More than four-years ago, Philip Tagliaferri and his wife, Nancy Wallis, were traveling through rural Baltimore County when they noticed a for-sale sign in front of a large white house on Old York Road in Monkton.

Tagliaferri told his wife: "That's a bed-and-breakfast."

She agreed.

A few months later, the two were the owners of the Victorian home, built in 1902.

Turning the home into a bed-and-breakfast, however, wasn't easy.

After spending four years and $3.5 million restoring the exterior, renovating parts of the interior, upgrading the heating and electrical systems, adding a sprinkler system, landscaping, and redecorating the house, Tagliaferri said they have started taking reservations. They were to open the doors to Slade's Inn Bed and Breakfast this month.

"We are so excited to finally be opening," said Tagliaferri, 56, who is in the mortgage business. "It took a lot of sleepless nights to get us here."

The grand opening was a dream the couple shared since they were married at a bed-and-breakfast 12 years ago.

"We have wanted to open a B&B for a long time but considered opening a place in Colorado," said Wallis. "But I have horses and we live here, so when this place came available, we bought it."

Fewer than a handful of bed-and-breakfasts exist in the county, according to the Baltimore County Conference and Visitor's Bureau.

"There are a lot of hotels in Baltimore County," said Marge Saunders, sales manager for the visitor's bureau. "Although B&Bs are beautiful, they haven't caught on here like they have in places such as Cape Cod and in New Jersey."

The three-story structure has eight suites in the main house, and two handicapped-accessible rooms in the adjoining carriage house. The main house also has some original woodwork, flooring and stained-glass windows, Tagliaferri said.

The couple have added such features as a stained-glass window from the B&O railroad station in Philadelphia, crystal chandeliers, a vaulted turret in one of the guest rooms, a swinging bookcase and mahogany accents.

The house was full of hidden treasures, said Tagliaferri.

"We discovered hidden fireplaces behind walls and the original cedar under the siding when we gutted the place," he said. "The house was structurally sound and didn't have any infestations."

The guest rooms have names that relate to foxhunting, such as Foxhound, Whipper In and Huntsman.

"We wanted the rooms to be different," said Wallis. "So we hired a couple of people, and I decorated some of the rooms myself."

Each suite, ranging in price from $250 to $300 per night, contains a queen-size bed, a gas fireplace and a private bathroom that includes either a clawfoot tub or a Jacuzzi. Some guest rooms also include marble tile showers with glass doors.

"We asked people what they look for when they go to a bed-and-breakfast," said Wallis, 50. "Jacuzzis and food are two things people want most."

Included in the price of the room is a breakfast featuring pecan-crusted cinnamon Belgian waffles with Vermont maple syrup and Virginia ham, and a three-egg omelet with jumbo fresh crab meat, mascarpone, fresh chives and toasted brioche.

"Our inn manager was a gourmet chef," said Tagliaferri. "She's in charge of pampering the guests."

Although passers-by are curious about what's behind the newly renovated doors, many know the history of the land.

The location boasts ties to George Washington that are documented in files compiled by a state commission formed for the bicentennial of Washington's birth.

A document detailing the findings of the commission states: "Washington and Lafayette stayed at Slades Tavern, that was built around 1746, during the Revolution." The tavern was torn down in 1900 to make room for the house that stands now.

Mark Greene, owner of Manor Tavern, said having a bed-and-breakfast in the area is "a great addition to the community, especially one of the caliber of the Slade's Inn." Manor Tavern, a restaurant and catering business, is across the road from Slade's Inn.

"We have been telling our catering and banquet guests about the place," said Greene.

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