Lodging With Bedtime Stories

Books at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn focus on art.
Books at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn focus on art. (Greenville Arms 1889 Inn)
Sunday, April 1, 2007

Settle in with great and quirky books at some of our favorite reading spots. Bed, and often free breakfast, included:

* There has been a "working library" at Arizona Inn (2200 E. Elm St., Tucson, 800-933-1093, since it was built in 1930 by Arizona's first female U.S. representative, Isabella Greenway. The collection has expanded during generations of family ownership. Isabella's great-grandson, Will Conroy, has been filling the shelves with fiction and poetry by writers loved by his late father, Frank, author and director of the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop for nearly 20 years.

Conroy has discovered that readers rarely walk off with the inn's books; those who do usually send them back with apologies. "It seems civility lives on among book lovers. Every time I get confirmation of this out here in the desert, I feel good and think of my dad," Conroy says. Double rooms range from $169 to $319 per night.

* Frank Conroy's influence is present, too, at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Coralville, Iowa (300 E. Ninth St., 319-688-4000, Adjacent to the University of Iowa, the hotel's Iowa Writers' Library has books by authors who have taught or studied at the school's Writers' Workshop, from Robert Penn Warren to Michael Cunningham, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer for "The Hours." Double rooms range from $109 to $259.

* Bougainvillea House in the French Quarter (924 Governor Nicholls St., New Orleans, 504-522-5000, catalogues fiction and nonfiction with New Orleans themes, and publications on Hurricane Katrina, which this popular B&B -- sometimes booked months in advance -- survived intact. Double rooms begin at $125.

* Across Lake Pontchartrain, in the college town of Hammond, La., Hughes House (300 N. Holly St., 985-542-0148, has signed volumes by writers, including Eudora Welty. An eclectic mix includes books on bookbinding, furniture, porcelain and silver, early American cut crystal and the Orient. ("My husband in early years was a mercenary in the Chinese army," explains innkeeper Lee Collins.) Double rooms begin at $95.

* All rooms at the Sylvia Beach Hotel (267 NW Cliff St., Newport, Ore., 541-265-5428, are named for famous writers. The hotel overlooks a beach, but not a beach named Sylvia. The hotel is named after the Sylvia Beach who was the confidante of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and other American writers who gathered at her Paris bookshop, Shakespeare & Co. The cliff-top hotel's "Classics" rooms honor the likes of Mark Twain, Agatha Christie and Colette with appropriate books, and have decks and fireplaces. "Best Sellers" rooms face north with views of the sea and a lighthouse and books by Jane Austen, Alice Walker and others. There's coffee in a book-filled Reading Room; dinner is served in the Tables of Content restaurant, where menus list dishes in chapters, not courses. Double rooms range from about $68 to $183.

* Linda Greenlaw, Stephen King and other Maine-based writers, past and present, are at home in the library of the Berry Manor Inn in Rockland, Maine (81 Talbot Ave., 800-774-5692, This historic house near the harbor also has a vintage set of Nancy Drew mysteries and its own volunteer librarian, a regular guest who organizes the library by topic and author and puts the books she likes best in prominent positions. Double rooms range from $115 to $360, depending on room size and season.

* Rooms at the Finger Lakes region's Desired Haven Bed and Breakfast in Bloomfield, N.Y. (9138 Dugway Rd., 585-624-3904, are stocked with books keyed to guests' interests. ( You'll be asked when you book a room.) Innkeeper Lianna Houck also deploys "old Life magazines, children's books dating to the early 1900s, silly joke books, even an old 1950s McCall's pattern book." Suites, for two to four, are $195 or $225.

* Buffalo's Beau Fleuve Bed & Breakfast Inn (242 Linwood Ave., 716-882-6116, takes a cue from the city's Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Books on Wright and the Arts and Crafts movement accompany volumes on the Erie Canal, historic Buffalo and Victorian houses. Guest room books are geographically assorted: Joyce in the Irish Room, the doges of Venice in the Italian Room, etc. Double rooms range from $105 to $145.

* Near the Sacandaga River, the Saratoga Rose Inn and Restaurant (4136 Rockwell St., Hadley, N.Y., 800-942-5025, devotes much of its library space to travel literature, but a lot of eccentric stuff, too, such as 100-year-old how-to books. Double rooms range from $165 to $205.

* Art is the focus of the library at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn (Routes 32 and 81, Greenville, N.Y., 888-665-0044, The site of the Hudson Valley Art Workshops, the inn has collected several hundred volumes on art, including signed copies by many who have taught there. Double rooms range from $115 to $235.

-- C.M.

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