Bed Check: Grace Manor B&B in York, Pa.
By Nancy Trejos,
I’d never seen such an impressive collection of DVDs in a B&B.
The armoire in my suite at Grace Manor Bed and Breakfast in York, Pa., held at least a dozen. There were film festival favorites (“Hotel Rwanda”), family movies (“Elf”), documentaries (“Bowling for Columbine”) and obscure foreign films (“Under the Bombs,” about the war between Israel and Lebanon).
I inserted the last one into the DVD player, but nothing happened when I pressed “play.” Oh well. Guess I’ll have to put it on my Netflix list.
Grace Manor is still a work in progress. Only three of the five planned guest rooms have been completed, and a third-floor common area is still unfurnished. Owner Joanne Ekeledo, a Baltimore native, bought the four-story, circa 1900 home four years ago after a two-decade search for the right property for her B&B.
I couldn’t blame Ekeledo for taking her time to primp the place. She’s that rare breed of B&B owner who not only runs everything herself but also has a full-time job as a fundraiser. Even with her hectic schedule, she was an attentive host, rushing back from work to make sure I got settled in. Before heading back to the office, she played concierge, calling a couple of restaurants to find out whether they were open that Monday night. The next morning, she whipped up an elaborate breakfast of French toast, eggs and bacon (and literally whipped the cream for the fresh berries she served on the side).
Ekeledo’s side work as an interior decorator shows in every suite. The four-room French suite features Corinthian columns, pocket doors and ornate mantels. A Parisian parlor boasts a five-foot chandelier that Ekeledo brought back from New Orleans. A daybed is buried beneath a mountain of pillows. Behind the curved door of the Moulin Rouge oval sitting room is a mural by a local artist, its depiction of Parisian can-can dancers evoking the era of Toulouse-Lautrec. A leopard-print chaise longue straddles the windows. It was all a bit over the top for my taste, but I was impressed with the attention to detail.
Walk into the Mexican suite, and you’re walking on handmade, sun-baked Saltillo tiles from Mexico. The art and accessories pay tribute to Frida Kahlo. The bathroom sports a tile mosaic of a bullfight and a red heart-shaped air-jet tub. Ekeledo has plans for a Caribbean suite and a Swiss chalet.
My suite was the two-room Malaysian. Ekeledo was clearly inspired by the opera “Madama Butterfly” when she decorated the Japanese lounge area. A geisha tapestry adorns one wall, a vintage MadamaButterfly poster another. A shower cased in river rocks and a glass vessel sink are the highlights of the Japanese-inspired bathroom.
The bedroom is even more decadent. I felt like a queen sleeping in the hand-carved Malaysian canopy bed with its jewel-tone silk pillows. The bed was so high that I had to step on a stool to hoist myself up, which made a bathroom break in the middle of the night a slightly harrowing experience. Not only did I bang my head on the canopy on the way there and back, but I almost missed the stool and narrowly escaped a fall.
A mini-water fountain by my bed that I know was intended to lull me to sleep then proceeded to keep me awake. Unable to find the switch, I pulled the cord out of the socket. Madama Butterfly might not have approved of my action, but Sleeping Beauty would have been proud.
Grace Manor Bed and Breakfast
258 W. Market St.
Rates from $129 to $299.