With so much of today’s life lived at breakneck speed, it is comforting to know you can check out occasionally. There is no better place in Missouri to do this than Garth Woodside Mansion, a fabulously renovated bed & breakfast inn in Hannibal.
You don’t have to be a fan of famous author Samuel Clemens (better known by his pen name Mark Twain) to enjoy Hannibal, Missouri. It is, however, challenging to escape the great raconteur’s presence while in the area. Garth Woodside Mansion is one place you can immerse yourself in Clemens’ world of wit and provocation. A frequent guest to the inn, Clemens inspired a room named after him, as was the Garth Room, named after the original owner. As bed and breakfast inns go in the state of Missouri, few top the Garth.
Magnificent 18th-century architecture that is described as Second Italianate, it has the look and feel of a Classical Victorian home boasting its beauty from every window, trellis, and gable. High ceilings, a wraparound porch, and topped off with railings and spire, the Mansion is a beautiful rendition of yesterday’s opulence still vibrant today.
Approaching this splendid home from the outside imbues visitors with a deep sense of a bygone era. Upon entering the main foyer, this sense of easing back in time a century or more only grows stronger.
Each room is extravagantly appointed. Twelve hundred thread count sheets convey that hosts John and Julie have spared no expense. Contrasting this ultra-modern touch, many of the furnishings throughout the inn are original pieces dating back to the home’s construction in the early 1870s.
Looking for the ultimate romantic getaway? Book one of the three private cottages on the grounds and you’ll have your very own mini-mansion. Complete with en suite jetted tub and/or hot tub and private patios, you’ll quickly surrender to the charms of these delightful cottages and the upscale amenities that abound.
Located on the banks of the great Mississippi River in Northeastern Missouri, Hannibal (population 18,000) still has the small-town feel of the days when Clemens roamed the streets. Large enough, though, to provide all the shopping, services, and entertainment one could want in a decent-sized Midwestern city.
Garth Woodside Mansion was built in 1871 by successful businessman John Garth, a long-time friend of Clemens’. It remained a private residence until 1987 when it was transformed into an operational B&B. Much care was taken in preserving the antiquity of the museum-quality furnishings and the original ambiance so visitors can truly experience a respite from today’s world.
Most guests to a beautiful retreat like the Garth have one thing on their mind, rest and relaxation. These are served up in spades with all the luxury available. But R&R doesn’t mean activity is off-limits. It’s always insightful to get a behind-the-scenes look at someone as creative as Samuel Clemens and a visit to the Mark Twain Cave does just that.
Located not far from his boyhood home, he spent countless hours playing and exploring here. The secretive inner workings of the caves left an indelible impression upon Clemens, so much so that he frequently referenced his hideaway in many of his works. And that home? Built in the mid-1840s, the Clemens family lived here for a decade before leaving town. In the following years, it operated as a rental property before becoming a museum bearing his name. Surely worth a visit.
There’s also Karlock’s Kars and Pop Culture Museum where you can get a glimpse of decades past and the memorabilia generated by a small Midwestern town. With its proximity to such a large and vital commercial waterway as the Mississippi, it’s no surprise to find a lighthouse named after their famous author. Mark Twain Lighthouse is an excellent spot to view the river and surrounding landscape. Make sure your camera is charged!
For miniature train enthusiasts, a definite stop is Big River Train Town. Up for satire and acerbic wit? Planters Barn Theater provides endless recitations, dramas, poetry readings, and more, many of which center around Twain’s writings. He was a master storyteller often capturing the attention of an audience, sometimes with nothing more than an extremely pregnant pause strategically implemented during a talk. Brilliant.
The measure of a chef’s acclaim is often gauged by their ability to coerce their guests out of high-end luxury like a feather bed and amazingly soft sheets. Julie is an expert at this, starting with the fresh-brewed coffee and minutes-old pastries. Vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, or some other particular need? No problem.
Using only the freshest locally-sourced meats, fruits, and vegetables, as well as ingredients and made-from-scratch batters, your day is guaranteed to start off right. Even if you decide to have breakfast in bed.
With a bit of advance notice, she can have even special dietary needs deliciously prepared. She’s never met a culinary challenge she didn’t meet and exceed!
A visit to Garth Woodside Mansion is defined by its decadence, and surely a salute to luxury in all its glory. After your stay with John and Julie, you’ll definitely have something to write home about.
Garth Woodside Mansion is a member of the bnbfinder Diamond Collection and accepts bnbfinder bed and breakfast Gift Cards. The bnbfinder Diamond Collection is an exclusive group of professionally inspected and/or highly rated luxury bed and breakfasts and inns. Each member of the bnbfinder Diamond Collection is required to have passed a professional inspection from a third-party industry-recognized inspection agency or achieved a high traveler review rating consecutively for each of the past three years.
Members of this program offer guests exceptional experiences and levels of service in line with today’s discerning travelers’ highest expectations. bnbfinder invites you to peruse each of our Diamond Collection members. Remember to be sure and tell the innkeeper you found them via the bnbfinder Diamond Collection!