This B&B is situated on the Calvert Creek near the Potomac River’s junction with the Chesapeake Bay. What is your basic reason for staying at a B&B? Assuming comfort and beauty are the first considerations, the second “B” is still an important part of the equation. This one disappointed us on that count –especially the first day. This historic manor is a beautiful-appearing B&B, well landscaped, and in an incredible natural setting. The suites, both in the main house and in the offset building, are roomy with bed, bath and sitting room areas. Basic housekeeping services however, were hit-and-miss on our visit. The local area is rich with history extending from the 17th century days of the founding of the country through the civil war. From the B&B, there is easy access to the MD Point State Park (it was self-pay when we went, so a map had to be requested from the park headquarters; sadly, there is also a great deal of trash all over the park, much of it obviously left by recent park visitors) and two small public parks with monuments to the Confederate prison camp internees held there. Nearby to the north, is Historic St. Mary’s Village – a small scale living history experience with artisans in costume, a neat old ship, the Maryland Dove, and several reconstructed buildings from the early 17th century era. The access lane to the B&B is about .7 of a mile, and unpaved. We drove for 4 hours to get there the first day; so of course we built in a small time cushion for navigating the Baltimore beltway and trying to arrive near the 3:00 PM check in time. Our host, Jim Grube, explained that our room was not ready when we made it there at 2:30 PM. The weather was damp, cool and spitting rain. Mr. Grube suggested we take a drive to allow enough time for the room to be prepped. At any other B&B, one would expect an offer to sit and wait in a comfortable common area or great room, with a cup of tea or coffee, but instead we set off again to kill 30-45 minutes of time. Fortunately we found a nice First District Community Park (CGI Park?) and availed ourselves of a short walk and their restroom facilities. We gave the B&B an hour to allow sufficient time to ready our room. That first afternoon and the next morning were a disappointment compared to other B&Bs that we’ve stayed at over the years. My primary concern goes to the condition of our suite, in a building offset from the main house, upon our arrival. While there were the nice complimentary soaps, shampoo and conditioner and the sitting area even had a handy little refrigerator, our prepaid rooms had not been fully cleaned, dusted or vacuumed. We were too tired at that point in the trip to be too picky. Though the mirrors seemed clean, chrome faucets on the bath wall and vanity, were unpolished, dull and spotty. The whole time we were there, I saw no dedicated cleaning staff. Breakfast, we were told, was at 8:30 AM which differed from the “time of your choice” at the B&B website. Without having a bathmat for the shower, one stepped directly on a small cotton throw rug. I sincerely hope they wash it between guests. The doubtful condition of our room – unpleasant even for paying at a discount rate, was further undermined. Basics such as a small box of facial tissues and a bathroom glass, were not provided. Nor were there, as there as one would expect, in-room rocks or wine glasses. No option to get beverage ice was offered by our host. At least the bath linens were clean and a cushy, generous size. The somewhat outdated TV worked OK; a satellite channel guide (even on paper) would have been helpful. The little fridge was passable – but needed to be wiped out (which should have been done the guests who left the mess). There were no ice trays for the mini-fridge and its freezer door was broken. The B&B has WiFi and the signal strength is good. There is no en suite coffee station so bring your own little coffee maker if you like a cup of java before the breakfast over the manor house.Tired from our first day travels (and our extra hour’s drive after arriving) we followed our host’s advice and went to Courtney’s for dinner, a local seafood dive about a mile down the road. It has dubious décor, but nice enough people and edible if not fancy, food. Check out the pictures on the wall. Don’t expect gourmet. Dress casually. Have a bottle of beer – there’s none on tap – or a glass of wine and relax. The seafood is very fresh since the owner fishes every day. In the morning, our host filled our juice glasses, but our first breakfast was basically continental style and self-serve: coffee, store-bought mini muffins and pastry, a bit of mixed fruit, a skosh of granola with milk and some bagels (but no cream cheese). The dining area is bright, with a lovely view, and was nicely appointed. We took a self-guided tour of the fascinating historic home. For evening dinner, our host recommended the prix fixe menu at Café Des Artistes in Leonardtown, about 20 miles north of the Woodlawn. During the day, we explored Point Park. Following that we drove to the historic St. Mary’s Village, purchased tickets and spent the afternoon there. Our wine tasting was set for 4:30 PM. When we came back to the Woodlawn at about 3:15 hoping to freshen up and take a quick rest, our room was untouched – the bed was unmade; the used bath linens were still gathered on the bathroom floor. Wherever we stay, we try to accommodate cleaning staff by repacking our personal care items and leaving the bathroom counters, and suite tables and dresser tops clear for what we assume will be daily cleaning, dusting and vacuuming. This was not supposed to be indoor camping! I went and got our host, who, to his credit, arrived at our cottage quickly and did a few quick swipes with some spray cleaner. He made the bed and brought clean bath linens. The other two couples either had their rooms cleaned or were less choosy (or less familiar with B&B experiences?) than us.
The wine tasting was pleasant. We enjoyed trying some of the Slack wine repertoire – none of which were overly sweet or mouth-puckeringly dry. Mr. Grube talked with great enthusiasm and pride about the wine making skills of his wife Maggie and son Tucker. That evening, Mr. Grube’s dinner recommendation was spot on; we loved Café Des Artistes. The prix fixe menu had plenty of options and our food was delicious. It was dark on the 30 minute drive back, so my husband drove back with care; we’d seen very active white tail deer in the area. The morning of our departure, the breakfast was better, but still continental. The explanation for the light fare is that the B&B does not meet MD state requirements to provide hot meals. That is disappointing indeed. Like the disorganized, poor housekeeping, it detracts from the guests’ experience. The owner seems nice; I hope for Woodlawn’s success. It was obvious they are understaffed – maybe even un-staffed – for guest service management and cleaning personnel. Is this time of year considered off season by folks down there? If so, it’s a shame because there are lots of travelers who enjoy the outdoor fall weather and leaf peeping opportunities. Bottom line: We have no plans to hurry back in the near future.
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- Also Known As:
- The Woodlawn Historic Bed And Breakfast
- The Woodlawn Historic Hotel Ridge