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1890 Caroline House B&B
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Reviewed 27 April 2012

The 1890 Caroline House was originally built in 1890, on Caroline Street, hence the name, then redone from 2006 over 4 years, returned to it's original grandeur, and opened as a B&B in 2010. The house is absolutely beautiful! The attention to detail in the decor and architecture is just spectacular. The assistant manager said it is often referred to as "Jackie's dollhouse", referring to one of the owners, Jackie Leopold, and Jackie has managed to make this house feel like you are literally walking through a wonderful Victorian dollhouse which, from the reconstruction pictures, was no small feat! From the furnishings to the oriental rugs, mirrors, chandeliers,all the way down to the door hardware, every small detail is perfect! The kitchen is gorgeous, and has a Keurig coffee maker for patron use. We stayed in the William Wiley suite, which, while not "Victorian", was sooo incredibly comfortable. The king size wrought iron bed with great supersoft blanket and comforter, along with the double sided fireplace facing into the bedroom and also into the huge living area, were fantastic. The chairs in the living area of the suite were very comfortable to watch TV, and we had our own private entrance to both the courtyard as well as to the side street. The bathroom had a jacuzzi tub and 2 separate vanities in one room, and a very nice glass enclosed full large shower, bidet and many amenities available, i.e., different perfumes, bath gels, bath salts, etc in the 2nd room of the bathroom. This suite is more "masculine", with zebra prints, browns, and a tropical feel scattered throughout the suite , but not overdone. The room also had stereo CD music available throughout the suite and into the courtyard, and blue ray DVD player. 2 TVs were back to back over the double sided fireplace, with many good CD's and DVD's available for use. It was, unfortunately, cold and rainy the entire 3 days we were there, so not a great time to take advantage of Old Town Fredericksburg's great shopping and boutiques, right outside of our door, but we have been there before, so really just wanted to have this trip to relax anyway, and relax we did in such a comfortable suite. Breakfast on Monday was down 1 & 1/2 city blocks at their "sister" B&B, The Richard Johnston Inn, with a continental breakfast. My hubbie and I are both diabetic, so the lady there, Laura, who was so incredibly sweet and helpful there, was kind enough to make us a little something extra so not so much carbs. We had also spoken to Laura on the phone before arriving and she was so nice, informative, and just made us feel welcome before we even arrived. On Tuesday the assistant manager at Caroline House, Lindi, made us a full breakfast that was very good, as well as giving us a little more history on the house itself.

Fredericksburg itself has great restaurants, and the street the Caroline house is on, Caroline Street, is several blocks worth of great antique shopping, small shops with very unique gifts, and a fantastic bakery, Eileen's. We had to stop there on the way out of town to bring home some great goodies and sandwiches. All the places on a good weather day are within easy walking distance, and the streets are so nice to walk along as well as dog-friendly. We also had dinner at the Bistro Betham, which has an ever changing menu based on what the Chef finds fresh and locally available, farm to fork. There is also an old Carl's ice cream "walk-up" down the road, by car, that has the BEST custard ever! We have also had dinner at the Brock restaurant, also within walking distance, which was very good, and has music on the weekends on the patio.

We decided to visit the Mary Washington House this visit, which was really nice, one or two streets over, which is the house that George Washington gave to his mother before he became president, and came to get her blessing when he was elected. There is also the Rising Sun Tavern on Caroline Street. Both places had many historic figures visiting there, including Lafayette, James Madison, James Monroe, and later Abraham Lincoln, etc.Also an old Apothecary shop a few blocks down that was interesting to tour. There is also the Kenmore Estate, owned by George Washington's sister, which had Garden Week going on, Ferry Farms, where George Washington grew up, and the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery as well as the Fredericksburg National Cemetery. There is a trolley tour, and also horse carriage tours. Lots of history in Fredericksburg that is well worth the visit. The Caroline House has a book with alot of great pix of the history of Fredericksburg in the parlor/living room which is great to look thru and get a sense of the history and original Fredericksburg.

The only "down" side to the house, to me, was we were a little put off at the initial check-in. The assistant manager asked for the payment, which was fine,but then also said, "and my gratuity, which is generally $15, I will collect that now". I was a little shocked, to say the least. We stay at ALOT of B&B's, and I have NEVER been TOLD I "owe" a gratuity, or EVER even been ASKED for one. I suggested to her that I would prefer to give it to her later, as I may even want to give "more". She said, "that's fine, I will collect it Tuesday at breakfast then", which she did bring up again then and collect. I KNOW a "gratuity" is for "great/good service RENDERED", not owed as part of the stay, and certainly not demanded before the service has even begun. To Insure Promptness-i.e. a "TIP". Why would someone say they are "owed" a tip before they have even done anything? She did have to come down from the other inn , in the rain, to help us with the DVD equipment, so I actually gave her a larger tip in the end, but I was somewhat put off by this action. If it is "owed", then it is part of the price of the room, not a tip, so the price should just reflect this extra salary for her, not be demanded as a 'gratuity'. This really did throw me off, but she did help us, and the breakfast was good, as well as the background history information. Aside from this really unusual request, Lindi was quite helpful, and , just as we were leaving, and giving her the keys back, my bloodsugar suddenly plummeted, and she immediately grabbed some juice and fruit for me so that I didn't pass out, which was greatly appreciated.

The home is a must see, and really a great trip, and just across from the Amtrak station, so you actually could get off the train, walk to the House, and never need a car for the entire stay! Wonderful as a weekend getaway, or for a full week if you really want to see everything and also get to relax. All in all, a really beautiful home to see, to stay, and to enjoy!

Room Tip: The Wiley Suite is very secluded, very roomy,(3 full rooms) private access to the courtyard and to the side street, double sided fireplace.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank loving-bears
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2012

what a beautiful property.
this was our first stay in Fredericksburg, And we had purchased an on-line Living Social weekend at the 1890 Caroline House... Good move on our part.
It was like spending a weekend in our own private history museum, The Home is decorated with beautiful antique collections.. we spent several hours of our time just looking at all the amazing furnishings in all the public rooms, we even had a private courtyard to sit out and enjoy a cocktail and /or coffee.. just too great!!
Walk out the door and your right on historic Caroline Street, with all the neat shops, taverns, and one block from the visitor center( old trolley tour was great..
And to top it off We had our own Private Chef in "Bonnie" . She cooked a fantastic Breakfast each morning for the couples staying at the Inn, And we found ourselves hanging around when the dishes were cleared for another cup of coffee (and maybe another little slice of her HummingBird Pie) Just to visit with Bonnie a bit longer about the History of the Inn. She was Charming, and so was our entire experience at the 1890 Caroline House.

Room Tip: Three suites, all with there own Jacuzzi tubs for two!!! more rooms available at their other Inn across the street.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Thank Philip A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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