BIRDERS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER AT
MIDWESTERN & GREAT LAKES STATES B&Bs
With over 70 million birdwatchers in America, it's no wonder that birding is one of the fastest growing activities of the new millennium. It's a sport you can enjoy almost anywhere; all you need is a good set of binoculars, a birder's field guide, and comfortable shoes. Complement days spent enjoying the great outdoors by nesting at America's bed and breakfasts; they offer ideal accommodations for more than just lovebirds. B&B travelers are finding everything from hummingbirds to herons and hawks as BedandBreakfast.com members welcome them with special packages and hallowed grounds for plentiful sightings. Those in search of fine-feathered friends are especially welcome at these birder-friendly BedandBreakfast.com member inns, and the Midwest and Great Lakes states offer the ideal spotting grounds for those in search of the bald eagle. With many BedandBreakfast.com members along the Mississippi fly-way, bald eagle observation platforms located near these B&Bs provide just the right lookout spot for these majestic birds. Looking for bird watching specials beyond the Midwest or Great Lakes states? Visit www.bedandbreakfast.com/specials/index.aspx?ctx=S for more bird watching specials throughout the country.
Beaver Lake Cottages, Eureka Springs, AR: Several hundred bald eagles nest on Beaver Lake in Eureka Springs during the winter months, and these cottages offer a haven for not only lovebirds but birdwatchers too. In January and February guests can board boat tours frequently narrated by the Corps of Engineers and other professionals just one mile away. The guided boat tours offer a close-up view of the eagle nesting sites. Afterward, spend the rest of the day in front of the fire or soaking in a double Jacuzzi while bird activity is viewed from these private glass-front cottages. Info: 1-800-421-8439 or www.beaverlakecottages.com.
Mountain Thyme Bed & Breakfast Inn, Jessieville, AR: Mountain Thyme's setting in the Ouachita Mountains north of Hot Springs is a favorite birdwatching spot. This B&B is home to a registered National Wildlife Backyard Habitat where plants are intentionally placed to attract birds and butterflies. Bird feeders, including six for hummingbirds, are placed throughout the grounds from April to October. Best of all, this B&B is located close to a migration and nesting place for American bald eagles where they roost during the winter months. Over a dozen bird books and field guides are available for guest use. Info: 888-820-5424 or www.MountainThyme.com.
Beall Mansion, Alton, Illinois: Each year between Christmas and Valentine's Day, Alton hosts the largest concentration of American bald eagles outside of Alaska. And, each year, Beall Mansion offers a number of packages featuring fabulous opportunities to see the eagles in splendor. Each package includes deluxe accommodations, champagne on arrival, nightly turndown service, imported chocolates, private baths with whirlpool for two or clawfoot tubs, continental breakfast, and an eagle tour. Prices vary from "the works" - a luxury stretch limo tour including a three hour narrated ride past eagle nesting spots with binoculars, to trolley or motorcoach-narrated tours with spotting scopes and lunch, to self-guided tours including a map of the best viewing spots, an "I Ogle Alton Eagles!" button, and a delicious hot lunch at a delightful area restaurant. One-night packages in 2003 ranged from $144 (for self guided) to $428 for "the works;" call for 2004 pricing. Info: 1-866-The-BEALL (866-843-2325) or www.beallmansion.com.
Isle of View Bed and Breakfast, Metropolis, IL: The area was featured recently on CBS This Morning as a prime birdwatching location. Located along the Mississippi flyway, guests can take advantage of the bald eagle observation platforms, or venture a little farther to the Grassy Lakes, renowned for first-rate birding. Info: 800-566-7491 or www.isle-of-view.net.
Golden Lantern Inn, Red Wing, MN: Red Wing is the end migration point for bald eagles, and hundreds of them can be viewed from the Mississippi River parks just a few blocks away from the Golden Lantern Inn. In late February, the "Eagle Spot" event features a full day of activities. In 2003, The Golden Lantern Inn offered a $79 B&B rate for bird watchers during the festival. Call for 2004 rates and availability. Info: 651-388-3315 or www.goldenlantern.com..
Round Barn Farm Bed and Breakfast, Red Wing, MN: Not only does Round Barn Farm offer 35 acres of meadow and woodland trails for great birding, the Red Wing community hosts a number of wonderful birding events for those in search of bald eagles and other indigenous species. The great Mississippi flyway bottlenecks at Red Wing, Minnesota where the Mississippi River pours into Lake Pepin, making for some of the best birding in the country. February is the month for Eagle watching with the "Eagle Spot" in nearby Colvill Park. May 9-11, 2003, the town offers another wonderful birding event called the Great River Birding Festival. Events include guided bird and flower walks, seminars and birding by boat and train. Throughout the summer months, take a guided B&B bird walk with local guide Kelly Larson, of the Feathered Friend too. Info: 866-763-2276 or www.roundbarnfarm.com.
KD's Botanical Guest House, Rolla, MO: This B&B is surrounded by four acres of botanical gardens, with perennial flowers and a diversity of trees to attract a wide variety of birds. Recently, the local Audubon Chapter purchased a large tract of land adjoining KD's to provide walking trails and a habitat area, adding to the appeal for birders of this lovely retreat. Just ten miles east is the Meramec Springs Conservation Area, offering birdwatchers another fine destination for spotting. At KD's Botanical Guest House, the tree top deck puts you at bird level, and offers not only the ideal roost for birders but a perfect spot for enjoying moonlit nights and constellation sightings. Info: 573-308-1013 or www.kdsguesthouse.com.
Campbell Cottage B&B, Kelleys Island OH: In the middle of Lake Erie, Kelleys Island is a "stepping stone" for migrating birds as they cross the lake to their Canadian summer breeding grounds. "Nest With The Birds" is a week-long celebration, May 11-17, 2003, that includes professionally-led daily programs, twice-daily bird hikes and evening woodcock watches, sponsored by Kelleys Island Audubon Club. Warblers (including the Kirtland warbler), shorebirds, hawks, owls, falcons, ducks are numerous. Island inns and local restaurants offer special prices to birders. Rooms at Campbell Cottage are specially priced for birders at $85 per night; transportation to birding events is offered May 11 - 16, 2003. Info: 877-746-2740 or www.campbellcottage.com.
Harbor Hill Inn, Bed & Brunch, Pepin, WI: Famed from its inclusion in Audubon Magazine's Discover America's Best Birding, it's no wonder that birders flock to this area. The Harbor Hill Inn is located just off the 13,000-acre Tiffany State Wildlife Area and The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Ideally situated on the Great River Birding Trail, Harbor Hill B&B innkeepers offer guests maps and guides to abundant birding locales. With more than 302 species of birds nesting or migrating through the Upper Mississippi River, exceptional opportunities abound year-round to spot such favorites as the bald eagle and numerous songbirds. Tundra swans and peregrine falcons draw large crowds during migration season too. With the National Eagle Center a short distance away, both the novice and experienced birder have unique access to educational programs and viewings. Info: 715-442-2002 or www.pepinsbest.com.
Trails End Bed and Breakfast, Kendall, Wisconsin: The innkeepers at this cabin B&B assisted in researching the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas, a five-year study of breeding birds in Wisconsin. During the study, over 130 different varieties of birds were seen on this property and more than 70 varieties nested on site. The cabin is nestled on 80 wooded acres with groomed birding trails winding through rugged hills and stream-lined valleys. Have breakfast with the hummingbirds on the private screened porch, then go in search of a favorite species. Located in southwest Wisconsin's unique Driftless Area, a two-or-more night stay for two people is $195 nightly. Info: 608-427-3877 or www.mwt.net/~cabin.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, prices quoted are for two people in a room, and are subject to change without notice. Any charges for tax and service are additional.
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