In the past, I've been disappointed to book a stay at a hospitable-sounding B&B lovingly created by a fascinating individual or couple--only to arrive and discover that individual or couple is rarely (or never) on the premises. Imagine you are invited for a weekend at the White House, only to arrive and learn that the First Family is off at Camp David. It's nice, but... something's missing.
Such is not the case at the Sugar Maple Trailside Inn. Craig and Kathy (you'll soon be on a first-name basis, too) are the Inn and the Inn is Craig and Kathy. With only two guest rooms, a stay at the Inn feels much more like visiting your friends, Craig and Kathy, in their home. Make sure you get them to relate the history of the house and it's restoration. Kathy combines the renovator's vision with the innkeeper's charm. Craig is a font of information on the history of the house; of Florence, Mass (who knew?); of local railroads; and of the conversion of abandoned railroads into bike/ped trails all over New England. If you're into biking, Craig can give you some great suggestions for your next trip.
My wife and I have stayed here on several occasions, in different seasons, over the years and find it a perfect "base camp" for accessing the Pioneer Valley's combination of recreation, culture, dining and history. After tanking up on Kathy's breakfast, we grab our bikes or our boots and explore the ever-expanding network of bike/ped trails in the region. (It's all of 8 feet from the Inn to the trail.) If it rains, there's always some museum, performance or event at one of the nearby Five Colleges to substitute pedagogy for pedaling.
Late afternoon finds us relaxing back at the Inn. In the summer, we gravitate toward the patio; in the fall, to the sun porch; and at night or in the winter to the cozy living room.
While the gustatory charms of Northampton are a scant two miles away and Amherst is not much farther, try to have at least one meal at the nearby (two blocks) Miss Florence Diner. "Miss Flo's" as she is known, is a classic institution that has been slingin' hash at the same location for decades. (Don't miss the pies.)
Now, a couple of caveats: the Inn was built as a house in the 1850s and reflects the smaller scale of that era. As other reviewers have noted, the guest rooms are not huge. One person's "cozy" could well be another person's "cramped." Since my wife and I do little more than sleep and shower in the guest rooms, it's never been an issue for us. Second, since Smith College is quite close, the Inn is often sold out. If your stay is in conjunction with some event at Smith, book well in advance.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.