Cedar House – A Bed & Breakfast Celebration

Somehow, when writing about other Florida Bed & Breakfast inns, I overlooked the Cedar House. I noticed on an independent B & B website that all 32 reviews about the House were positive. So it is time that I made amends and presented this inn as one of the finest lodging establishments in America’s oldest city: St. Augustine. The home was built in 1893 and has been restored to its original charm and Victorian elegance, boasting a cozy, spacious parlor, a sunny dining room, a wedding garden, a gazebo, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and seven perfectly decorated Old Florida bedrooms, wrapped in picturesque porches and balconies.

Cedar House has been featured in the Palm Beach Post, the Charlotte Herald, Birmingham-England’s Post, the Orlando Sentinel, and Southern Living magazine. In a field of over thirty Bed & Breakfast inns, a poll conducted by the St. Augustine Record ranked the Cedar House the best inn for both 2008 and 2009. In addition, it has been voted one of the top 15 “Most Romantic Hideaways and Best Weekend Escapes in Florida.”

Lodging prices vary by season, but in the off-season it is possible to book a room at Cedar House for as little as $139 per night. That, of course, includes personal service, luxurious accommodations, and a lavish gourmet breakfast served on elegant china and lace. If you think about it, that is approximately the price you’d pay at a fair to middling hotel that offers, at best, a mediocre continental breakfast.

Now permit me to get down to the most important thing about this inn: the owner, Cynthia Humphrey. At the time of this writing she has only been the grande matriarch of the place for about six months, but she definitely hit the ground running. Contrary to most B & Bs, the place is attracting at least as many young adults as senior adults, and close to 70 percent originate within 100 miles of St. Augustine. Imagine what will happen as word spreads.

Perhaps the most fitting word to describe Cedar House is celebratory. Cynthia spent ten years planning events for the Ritz-Carlton so she came in with an invaluable skill set in that field. She loves to go the extra mile in helping people celebrate birthdays, reunions, family gatherings, vow renewals, and weddings. She described a family event in which they took over the entire inn for a pajama party. What a blast! And in her first six months at the House she has assisted in 30 weddings. I don’t mean wedding receptions, I mean weddings. The lady is amazing.

Now for the little touches that distinguish an exemplary inn from a good one. The staff at the Cedar House provide top drawer service, including little bonus extras that take guests by surprise. There are always fresh home-baked cookies sitting out and a favorite seems to be the coconut, oatmeal chocolate chippers dipped in Ghirardelli chocolate. Breakfast is an elegant, sumptuous two-course event and if you were to stay overnight for twelve nights, you would not eat the same thing for breakfast twice. Signature dishes include Apple-Pear-Pecan Bread Pudding drizzled with maple syrup and cinnamon butter, Cheddar-Artichoke Souffle with a mixed sausage grill, or perhaps Banana Royale which features homemade banana bread stuffed with bananas foster and topped with whipped cream and crushed praline. These are not your mama’s Bisquick flapjacks.

What would make your birthday or anniversary special: a deluxe personalized cake, roses and St. Augustine chocolates, a quaint horse and carriage ride, or maybe a fabulous gourmet picnic? Cynthia wants to make any special day one you will remember forever. Better get ready-you’re bound to hear more good stuff about this bed & breakfast, and it will be well-deserved.

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