Captain Montague's Press
Captain Montague’s – perfect for your next getaway
"Hidden in plain sight might be one way to describe this delightful B&B in downtown Huron, Ohio. Over the years, thousands of Clevelanders have passed Captain Montague’s on their way to Cedar Point, but most likely never knew what charm could be found beyond the white picket fence, past the impressive white pillars, and inside those stately white walls."
This article provided courtesy of Steve Stephens and the Columbus Dispatch
Columbus Dispatch Travel
INN FOR THE NIGHT
Huron bed-and-breakfast provides safe harbor for Lake Erie visitors
By Steve Stephens
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
HURON, Ohio -- Most travelers probably think of Ohio's North Coast as a place for a summer getaway. But late fall is also a great time to visit Lake Erie, especially if you can find a harbor as snug and friendly as Captain Montague's bed-and-breakfast.
The inn, in Huron's historic Old Plat neighborhood, was built in the 1870s by a shipbuilder and owner of a Huron lumberyard, who spared no expense on oak and mahogany floors, walnut mantels and staircases, and decorative plaster crown molding -- beautiful touches that remain today.
Great Lakes boat captain Charles Montague bought the house in 1890, giving it the name it retains to this day.
The house was later converted into apartments and then into offices. Fortunately, much of the original architectural features were salvageable, and the building was turned into a B&B in 1980. Today it features five guest rooms.
Captain Montague's B&B has been owned for the past 15 years by Mike and Judy Tann, who have continued to restore the Italianate structure to its original glory.
"Mike and I were actually looking for a condo," Mrs. Tann said with a grin.
"But we felt this grand old house deserved restoration. We like to say, 'Welcome to our maintenance-free, yardwork-free condo!' "
The Tanns are like walking guidebooks for the area, and no wonder: They owned an Irish pub in Huron for many years "in a past life," noted Mrs. Tann, and Mr. Tann was once Huron city manager.
Sure, visitors probably won't be venturing out onto the lake, but there's still plenty for them to do and see, Mrs. Tann said.
"In November, the Ohio Wine Producers are doing a super Lake Erie wine trail tour, featuring 10 wineries along the lake. And we're really in the middle of those wineries.
"And the nature preserves we have nearby -- people probably enjoy those as much in the fall as in the summer. In Huron, we have two wildlife sanctuaries, including Old Woman Creek, which is a nationally acclaimed estuary preserve."
The wildlife areas are prime bird-watching sites, especially during spring and fall migrations.
Or, just sit around the B&B, enjoying the comfortable furniture, the aroma of fresh-baked Irish scones and the plentiful holiday decorations -- including more than 200 Santas of every variety (about 20 of which are displayed year-round).
"There's always warm Irish hospitality here," Mrs. Tann said.
(As for the scones, "They'll warm the cockles of your heart," she promised.)
Most of the guest rooms are named for members of Capt. Montague's family.
I stayed in Edith's Room, named for a Montague daughter. The room is a mix of soft yellows and greens made even more cheerful by the morning sun shining through the east-facing windows. Like every room in the inn, mine contained several interesting historical features, notably an original combination gas/electric light fixture and an original marble sink in the bathroom.
In other guest rooms, visitors might find an original fireplace and mantel, or, in the Captain's Quarters, the original parlor chandelier.
All of the furniture has been selected to fit the decor of the individual rooms, and every bed is bedecked with high-quality linens and decorative bedspreads.
Most of the rooms also feature plenty of sitting space, but I always prefer the common areas, especially in a place as homey as Captain Montague's.
The vivid green Victorian-style main parlor even features a restored 1880 pump organ that capable guests are encouraged to play. (Alas, I abandoned my piano lessons years ago, and there wasn't a ukulele in sight -- which, on balance, was probably a blessing for the other guests.)
The dining room table seats 10 for breakfasts that include treats such as banana cinnamon pancakes and Captain's Eggpuffs, a light and fluffy quichelike creation (if guests have room after filling up on scones).
The dining room also features a restored high ceiling with original plaster crown molding, and, like the parlor, a fireplace with a black walnut mantel. And that chandelier? Yes, it's Waterford crystal, with facets that reflect sunlight in a multitude of colors around the room.
The adjoining cranberry parlor was once the Captain's billiards room. Now it's a great place to relax in a cozy chair with a book from the inn's library and a cup of tea or coffee from the "guest's galley."
Outside, the big yard covers a full city block -- well-landscaped and certainly not "yardwork-free." Although late-season guests won't be able to enjoy it, a large in-ground swimming pool -- a real rarity in the world of B&Bs -- offers a good reason to return next summer. But if it's not too chilly, guests still might want to try out the wicker swing in the beautiful gazebo.
The surrounding Old Plat neighborhood has dozens of historic homes and churches. A self-guided walking tour, available at the inn, takes visitors past buildings constructed in a variety of architectural styles, including Greek revival, Queen Anne and American Foursquare -- several constructed as early as the 1830s.
Huron and the surrounding area also offer several good dining options, some within walking distance of Captain Montague's.
And even if the weather is chilly, guests might want to make the two-block walk to Lake Erie, perhaps to watch the late-autumn weather turn dramatic out over the lake -- as long as they have a warm, dry retreat planned in full.
This story on Captain Montague's is part of an occasional Columbus Dispatch series profiling inns across the region.
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If you go
CAPTAIN MONTAGUE'S BED-AND-BREAKFAST
This Italianate five-bedroom inn in Huron near Lake Erie was constructed in the 1870s and retains much of the original detail that made the house an architectural gem. The inn was deemed "the best in the Midwest" in 2008-09 by www.BedandBreakfast.com.
Huron is about 110 miles north of Columbus. Allow at least 2 hours for the drive.
Room prices begin at $125 a night and include a full hot breakfast plus beverages and snacks. Specials and packages are available.
The inn can't accommodate pets or young children.
Call 1-800-276-4756 or visit www.captainmontagues.com.
Captain Montague's is within walking distance of several restaurants, parks and the Lake Erie waterfront.
Huron is also at the center of an abundance of interesting sites and travel destinations including several wineries, wildlife refuges, museums and lighthouses. For more information, call the Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Center at 1-800-255-3743 or visit www.shoresandislands.com.
Or visit the Huron Chamber of Commerce website at www.huron.net.
(c) copyright 2009 Captain Montagues Bed&Breakfast All Rights Reserved
Call for more information, or to make your reservations today! (800) 276-4756