B&B in Bloomington, Illinois

Bloomington is a growing midwestern town (population 75,000) in central Illinois, home to Illinois Wesleyan University and State Farm Insurance, among other notable institutions. We're in a midst of a Christmas visit with family. Where to stay in Bloomington-Normal? While there are the usual cookie-cutter motel chains near the airport, I enjoy the homeliness and intimacy of an excellent B&B when given the chance.

We are at the Burr House, an historic 1864 home located on the southwest corner of Franklin Park. A wooded park four blocks in area, Franklin Park is bordered by gracious 19th century Victorian homes, including the former residences of Adlai Stevenson (former Presidential Candidate) and "Private Joe" Fifer (former Governor of Illinois). Our room, the Queen Anne Suite, has a large and attractive bedroom and separate living room on the corner of the house. Our bedroom overlooks the snow-covered park (Bloomington had a white Christmas this year), and our living room faces the front of the house.

The Burr House is a nice, homey, and comfortable place that doesn't pretend to be a five star hotel. Rooms are attractively decorated in period style, and an excellent breakfast is cooked and served by Mary Ann in her dining room. Mary Ann is a very gracious and accommodating hostess who will take care of any special requests. You will get to know her and your fellow guests while in residence, which is part of the charm of a B&B. I wish the water pressure in the shower were a bit stronger and the water hotter — and a pillowtop mattress would be a great addition to the queen size bed, but the Burr House is a charming and historical B&B. We have stayed here twice and very much enjoyed the hospitality.

copyright (c) 2009 by David J. Ourisman. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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