Issue: December 2002
Go Ahead, Indulge

At the Charles Inn in Annapolis, the beds are like clouds and pampering is the rule.


     Annapolis is such a lovely harbor with so many great marinas, why would anyone want to come here, jump ship and stay in a bed and breakfast? Well for one thing, sometimes the V-berth gets a little old. And maybe hot. Or cold, depending on the season. Whatever your excuse, when the time comes to indulge in a little luxury, sleep on a cloud and have someone make breakfast for you, the Charles Inn is the place. It’s within walking distance of everything downtown, and if your boat is hanging off a harbor mooring you can dinghy to the inn’s little dock tucked into the north side of Spa Creek, or even take the water taxi. You also could anchor just offshore and dinghy in (the dock is too small and shallow for tying up most boats over runabout size).

     Innkeepers Paula Ginnetty and John Hartman (along with their numerous cats and two dogs) made me feel right at home. Their Civil War era house is tall and narrow, clad outside in cedar siding and inside with romantic finery. Ginnetty has spent years landscaping the backyard, and her work has created a lovely, quiet spot thick with the scent of roses and embraced in greenery. Hartman has placed subtle outdoor speakers around the garden if you’re in the mood for music, and a cobblestone, lighted path leads from the garden to the dock, where you can sit with a glass of vino and watch the boat parade on Spa Creek, or simply enjoy some sun.

     Inside, the parlor downstairs is decked out lace, velvet and other elegant finery, and a centrally located fireplace, (original to the house but now fired with natural gas rather than wood) serves both the parlor and the adjacent dining room. The Charles Inn has three guest rooms, and Ginnetty has truly outdone herself when it comes to the inn’s beds. I stayed in the Abbey on the top floor-extravagance defined with its in-room Jacuzzi tub surrounded by scented candles, and a featherbed so soft it was like sleeping in a fluffy cloud. With its heavy, elegant window treatments, plush towels and robes and luxury all around, this room was like the inside of a Victoria’s Secret gift box. The other two rooms also have their own baths, and both have beautiful canopied, curtained beds. Breakfast Sunday morning was a culinary version of the same kind of indulgence-waffles piled high with whipped cream and fresh berries.

     It takes a lot to entice me off my boat, but every now and then a person needs to indulge. If you’re in Annapolis, the Charles Inn is the place for that.