Burlington's Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast Inn

5825 N. Jefferson Street, Burlington, Kentucky 41005
Innkeeper(s): Nancy & Bob Swartzel

We are Open during 4th of July Week for the first time in years! 1 Jun 2015, 11:12 am

Join us at the bed and breakfast during the 4th of July week (June 29 going through July 5) - for the first time in many years we will be open for the holiday and Cincinnati is a great place to celebrate Independence Day! 

Ideas from CincinnatiUSA.com:

Below is a list of events that usually occur around the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Check back at CincinnatiUSA.com closer to the holiday for specific event info including dates and times once they are set by the community. 
Larosa’s Balloon Glow at Coney Island – Spend the day enjoying Sunlite pool, live music, family entertainment and classic rides. In the evening, the sky illuminates when hot air balloons of every color glow for all to see from 8-10pm. At 10:00pm, the grand finale is a spectacular Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks display over the banks of Lake Como.
4th of July Bash on Fountain Square –  Fountain Square provides nightly entertainment throughout the summer. At 10:00pm, experience a dazzling Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks display overtop of the square and Macy’s downtown store.
Ault Park Independence Day Celebration - A full day of family-friendly fun including: Children's Parade, Food, Festivities and Music. The event starts at 11am and concludes after the fireworks at 10pm.
Fireworks at Kings Island – Starting at 10pm, this colorful pageant in the sky will be 10 times the size & scope of the traditional nightly fireworks display at the park. The park stays open until midnight on the 4th to enjoy even more thrills.
Fireworks Friday at Great American Ball Park – Attend the Cincinnati Reds game at 7:10pm, then stay for the post-game fireworks show with soundtrack starting approximately 15 minutes after the end of the game. If you can’t make it to the ballpark, the fireworks will be visible nearby on both sides of the river. Try Smale Riverfront Park or Newport on the Levee for great views. 
Florence Freedom Post-Game Fireworks – Enjoy the World Famous Rozzi's Fireworks Show following the 6:35pm Florence Freedom baseball game versus the Washington Wild. 
Red, White and Blue Ash – Celebrate Independence Day in the northern suburb of Blue Ash with free live entertainment by national acts and Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks at 10pm.
Red, White, and Boom! – The Cincinnati Pops presents all-American favorites alongside May Festival Chorus and Classical Roots Community Mass Choir at Riverbend Music Center. Then stick around for post-concert fireworks!
Welcome Home: A Salute to Service - An all-day celebration of veterans at Sawyer Point that includes a parade, festival for veterans, children's activities, music, food, and concludes with fireworks.
Fourth of July Fireworks at Washington Park. Spend the day enjoying this newly renovated public park in historic Over-the-Rhine, then watch as the sky lights up with fireworks at dusk.

Best Breakfast Recipe and YOUR chance today to win a $500 BedandBreakfast.com Gift Card 30 Mar 2015, 12:57 am

Nancy's signature Three Cheese Tart was recently selected as a finalist in the 4th Annual Best Breakfast contest sponsored by BedandBreakfast.com, and today it is up for vote as the public decides the winner through a series of brackets (a la March Madness tournament-style). We could use your help by taking a minute to vote - and your vote enters YOU to win a $500 BedandBreakfast.com Gift Card!

How to enter your vote:
Step 1 - "Like" the BedandBreakfast.com Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BedandBreakfastcom
Step 2 - Then CLICK HERE FOR THE TOURNAMENT and vote for Three Cheese Tart!

This is the first bracket as a finalist, if we win will will advance to the next round. Thank you for your time, support - and your vote!


"Years ago I figured out that blending Feta, Parmesan and Gruyère cheeses makes a unique taste that almost no one can resist when baked in a quiche. Even guests who typically overlook the words 'tart' or 'quiche' on a menu absolutely love it! Using the same cheese and herb measurements will allow for adding vegetables as written in the base recipe, or you can substitute anything from your local farmer. My weekly trip to Eagle Bend Farm for eggs makes me relax alongside innkeeping, and our guests can experience this haven too since Eagle Bend is open by appointment. They raise alpacas and wonderful chickens, so many different kinds of chickens, and there is even a fiber studio with knitting classes. The chickens who lay our favorite blue eggs are called Araucana. This original recipe is special to us since it has been a guest favorite for so many years, and we hope you can enjoy making it at home now too. If you host any out-of-town guests for a Kentucky Derby party this Spring, consider preparing this tart for brunch and use Kentucky country ham to create a true regional specialty. The ham makes it even better. Enjoy!” - Nancy Swartzel

Willis Graves' Three Cheese Tart

1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced fresh cherry tomatoes
1 (9-inch) homemade pie crust or high-quality, store-bought version
Salt and black pepper to taste
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 3/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
8 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese
4 local eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white wine
Dash ground cayenne red pepper for a little kick
Fresh herbs to taste, such as thyme or rosemary
Extra shredded Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of tart
Freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley springs for garnish

Also known as quiche or breakfast pie, this tart is a perfect way to showcase regional, in-season vegetables and goods from the farmer’s market. The mushrooms and tomatoes can be substituted with an equivalent amount of produce and/or breakfast meats. When possible, our eggs are sourced from nearby Eagle Bend Farm in Burlington; their fresh golden yolks yield a wonderful flavor.

Bake the empty pie crust at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, remove from oven and let cool for approximately 10 minutes before adding other ingredients. Once the pie crust is cool, place mushrooms and tomatoes (or substitutions) in the bottom of the pie crust and season with salt and pepper. Layer all three cheeses on top of the vegetables.

In a separate bowl, mix local eggs, heavy cream, white wine, fresh herbs, and cayenne pepper. Be careful with the cayenne pepper - a little goes a long way! Slowly pour egg mixture over the pie and sprinkle the extra shredded Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. To serve, garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Looking forward to Spring! 21 Feb 2015, 5:14 pm

On a snowy Saturday, we sure are looking forward to Spring being just around the corner, what about you? While going through photos this week, we found this favorite memory of special guests enjoying the weather in front of the Graves' Suite. One day soon all of this snow will give way to our green gardens - hope to see you!

Our New Driveway and Snow Day Inspiration 17 Feb 2015, 2:16 pm

One of the fun aspects of inn-keeping is that there are always new projects! Cleared from under the snow we've seen this winter is our newly paved parking area for guests. You may remember this was a gravel lot, but it was professionally paved last year...

This update even adds function to the guest experience - now your luggage will roll a little easier to your cars!

And in honor of the snow on the way, a link to our winter video is below. The cover photo features a time when our inn was snow drenched several years ago. It's a cozy place to spend a snow day with coffee, magazines, comfortable beds, and the air-jet tubs!

Just click on the photo link below to watch the video on Facebook. 
Best wishes to you as you stay warm and safe!

Friday the 13th Catharine's Room Available ($135) AND Gift Ideas for Your Special Valentine - or Yourself! 12 Feb 2015, 9:29 pm

Read on for last-minute room availability TONIGHT and other gift ideas like how you can custom order our comfortable pillows, purchase gift certificates for a future getaway - or use the following recipe to bake up our chocolate chip cookies for your Valentine this weekend... 


It's not too late to have Valentine's Day plans! Our cozy Catharine's Room is available today, Friday the 13th, for $135 (plus tax). Call us today at 888-226-5096 to surprise your Valentine with a special night at the inn!

Don't have time for a getaway this weekend, but need gifts ideas? We have personalized gift certificates available for any amount beginning at $25, and we are sharing our signature chocolate chip cookie recipe below in case you want to cook up something for yourself or a loved one to celebrate the big day.

If you want to recreate the comfort at the inn while at home, don't forget that you can special order our pillows and robes for use in your own home. Just last week a previous guest emailed after receiving her new pillows, she took a photo of her guest room, and said she loved the new pillows!

Just ask us if you have any questions or need additional information to place an order. We have a PDF with details and information about some of the inn's favorite pillows:

And if you like to bake in the kitchen - you can make our made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookies! These are the same signature treats that we have waiting for guests on their pillows each evening during their stay. Enjoy!

Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon high quality vanilla extract
11 1/2 ounces Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, cream butter with sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie onto ungreased cookie sheets. We bake ours in a convection oven at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. If you are baking them in a regular oven, adjust the bake setting to 375 degrees.

Winter Getaway in Burlington - Dates released during Christmas Break! 25 Nov 2014, 5:02 am

Greetings from Burlington! Thinking about a winter getaway during Christmas break? We are delighted to let you know we just had some dates in December open up for reservations. Now December 21 and 22 and December 26 and 27 all have rooms and suites available. The latter weekend all rooms and suites are available, so it is a perfect opportunity for a full-house rental if you want to getaway and reconnect with friends and family. And an added bonus is that the house will be decorated for the holidays! We are happy to help with any questions you may have, please contact inn@burligrave.com for more information or give us a call at 888-226-5096.

Photos from Christmas Past...

Shop Online: Gift Certificates Available to Personalize for $25+ 22 Nov 2014, 8:12 am

Shop in your pajamas this year and leave the crowds behind! 

Give your friends and family the gift of a memorable experience by ordering a personalized Gift Certificate for a relaxing getaway at our Inn!

Gift Certificates start at $25 and can be purchased on our website by clicking hereor call us at 888-226-5096 to order by phone. A personalized certificate will be created and mailed directly to you or the recipient!

We can customize gift certificates for any amount over $25 to be used toward a relaxing stay.  The recipient can choose between two masterfully restored early and mid-1800s buildings: the 1850s log cabin and the 1830s Federal brick homestead. Our goal has always been to understand our guests and deliver a lasting impression that involves all five senses: the sight of antiques and comfortable surroundings, the sound of soft music, the touch of plush towels, the smell of the freshly ironed sheets, and the memorable taste of homemade cookies.

Call us today at 888-226-5096 to give a gift of relaxation this Christmas!
And to view what your gift recipient will experience, click on the photo link below to watch our winter video on Facebook:

Looking for Fall Events in Cincinnati? #FallinCincy 22 Nov 2014, 8:11 am

For up-to-date ideas about Fall events and things to do during your stay at Burlington's Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn, check out CincinnatiUSA.com's new hashtag #FallinCincy on social media platforms to see how other locals and tourists are experiencing our area in real-time. (And be sure to read up on their contest if you want to enter your own photos for prizes: http://cincinnatiusa.com/contest). The Cincinnati tourism site is highlighting #FallinCincy posts used on Instagram and Twitter accounts by re-posting top examples on their Facebook page (facebook.com/CincinnatiUSA).

Recent examples on include:

Photo source: Facebook.com/cincinnatiusa
Photo source: Facebook.com/cincinnatiusa
As you can see, the leaves are changing, and Fall events are in full swing if you are looking for a getaway. For a full listing of Fall Events, be sure to check out their calendar: http://cincinnatiusa.com/things-to-do/fall/?season=24.

And if you like Tasty Treats, this article highlights Fall fare in Cincinnati: http://cincinnatiusa.com/article/tasty-fall-treats-cincinnati-nky

Summer Fun and Attractions 5 Jun 2014, 4:11 am

It's the time of the year for summer getaways, and to help get the fun started, here are a few links to some of our favorite attractions in/near Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Enjoy!

Northern Kentucky Links
MainStrasse Village www.mainstrasse.org
Newport Aquarium www.newportaquarium.com
Newport on the Levee www.newportonthelevee.com
Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau www.nkycvb.com

Cincinnati Links
Cincinnati Zoo www.cincyzoo.org
Cincinnati Reds Baseball www.cincinnatireds.com
Cincinnati Bengals Football www.bengals.com
Cincinnati Art Museum www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org
Cincinnati Museum Center www.cincymuseum.org
King's Island www.pki.com
The Taft Museum of Art www.taftmuseum.org
Cincinnati Jazz Festival www.qlzprod.com
Taste of Cincinnati Festival www.tasteofcincinnati.com
Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati www.oktoberfest-zinzinnati.com
Regional Tourism www.cincinnatiusa.com

Antique Shows
  • Burlington Antique Show - Held the 3rd Sunday of the month (April - October), the Burlington Antique Show has been visited by producers from the Antiques Roadshow and American Pickers. www.burlingtonantiqueshow.com
  • Tri-State Antique Market - At the Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, six times each year (1st Sunday of the month, May thru October) browse for antiques and collectables. www.queencityshows.com
  • MainStrasse Village Antiques Marketplace - Held seven times each year (4th Sunday of the month, April thru October) in Covington, Kentucky. www.mainstrasse.org
  • Cincinnati Antiques Festival - Sharonville Convention Center, October Dates TBA. www.cincinnatiantiquesfestival.org
Antique Shops (Northern KY/Cincinnati)
Antique Shops (Lebanon, Ohio area)
  • Ambassador's Antiques 513-934-5677
  • Broadway Antique Mall 513-932-1410
  • Gerhardt Tribal Art 513-932-9946
  • The Lemon Tree Antiques 513-934-3077
  • Miller's Antique Market 513-932-8710
  • Oh Suzanna 513-932-8246
  • William & Mary 513-932-4030
  • Website for all: www.historicdowntownlebanon.com
Antique Shops (Waynesville, Ohio)  
Waynesville, twenty minutes northeast of Lebanon, is 
the home of Benner’s Colonial Traditions, who crafted the custom kitchen cabinets in our kitchen and several bedroom furniture pieces.
BB Riverboats 
Located in Covington, Kentucky, BB Riverboats offers lunch and dinner cruises on the Ohio River. www.bbriverboats.com

Big Bone State Park
A short drive takes you to Union, Kentucky, where Big Bone State Park is located. Giant mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, and other prehistoric animals, driven southward towards the end of the Ice Age, were attracted to the salt and minerals found in the swamp area now known as Big Bone Lick. Many of these prehistoric creatures became trapped and perished in the quagmire surrounding the swamps' ancient sulfur springs. Today, there are hiking trails, camping and picnicking grounds, a gift shop/museum, and a herd of buffalo. Visit Website

Big Bone Lick - Jane's Saddlebag
Unique merchandise and gifts. www.bigbonelick.com

Boone County Fairgrounds 
Kentucky's Boone County Fairgrounds, located in Burlington, is home to the Boone County Fair, antique shows, horseshows, bluegrass festival, and car shows. Check schedule for events. www.boonecountyfair.org

Boone County Parks and Golf Courses
Boone Links and Lassing Point Golf Courses www.boonecountygolf.com
Boone County Parks www.boonecountyky.org/Parks

Cabin Arts and Quilt Shop 
Located down the street in Burlington, the Cabin Arts and Quilt shop has everything for your quilting and gift needs. 1,500 bolts of fabric, quilting supplies, handmade toys, quilt and craft classes, unique local handicrafts, quilted treasures old and new. www.cabinarts.com

Civil War
Harriet Beecher Stowe House www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org
Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum www.springgrove.org
Behringer-Crawford Museum www.bcmuseum.org

The Dinsmore Homestead
The Dinsmore Homestead, located in Burlington, is a living history site. Learn what rural life was like in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Check schedule for special events and operating days. www.dinsmorefarm.org 

Eagle Bend Farm
The Eagle Bend farm, located in Burlington, is where our inn gets the farm fresh eggs used at breakfast. It is also the largest alpaca farm in the state. Tours are available with advance notice. Their Fiber Workshop store is filled products for sale such as beautiful raw fleece and items made from the alpaca. www.eaglebendalpacas.com

Little Britain Farm
For horse lovers and those seeking an unique location, the Little Britain Carriage House is available for tea, weddings, receptions, and group functions. www.littlebritainhouse.com/links.htm

Rabbit Hash General Store 
In the nearby historic community of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, visit the General Store. Open every day, year-round, 8 AM to 7 PM. There you will find Bybee Pottery, Elmwood Inn Teas, Shortbreads, Curds, Berea Brooms, Sunflower Sundries, Soap, and other Kentucky-made products.

Riverbend Music Center
Cincinnati Ohio's premier outdoor concert facility.  Riverbend Music Center hosts many genres of music.  www.riverbend.org

Hollywood Casino
Casino is located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. www.hollywoodindiana.com

Turfway Park
Home of the Lane's End Stakes and Kentucky Cup Day of Champions. Live thoroughbred and simulcast horse racing. www.turfway.com

New Updates: Docking Stations, Graves' Suite TV, and a TOP 5 Disc Golf Park is just a 1/2 mile away 2 Jun 2014, 8:21 pm

With summer on its way, we have several new updates at the inn to share with our guests...

New Bluetooth Docking Stations added to all rooms and suites!
To help our guests be able to access their music libraries while on the road, we have new iHome NFC Bluetooth Wireless FM Clock Radios in each room with USB charging so you can sync it to your personal electronic devices.

New television in the Graves' Suite Bedroom
The Graves' Suite has always had a television in the living room area, but a new flat-screen television has recently been added to the bedroom too. Now with two televisions in this suite, couples can keep the peace and each watch your own favorite episodes in two separate rooms should the need arise. ;)

A National Top-5 Disc Golf Course is just 1/2-mile from the inn!
We have shared Idlewild-England Park with you before, but we didn't mention that one of the top disc golf parks in the country is located at this park, just 1/2 mile down the road from us. We keep hearing from our guests that it is one of the best, so you might want to add it to your to-do list the next time you visit. This Idlewood Disc Golf Facebook page shows some pics, and a score card and map is shown below. To get an idea about the course from an actual user, in an online review a poster with screen name "mdclc" writes about an April visit, "There's not a whole lot to say about Idlewild that hasn't already been said, so just know that it's a world-class course with stunning design that's worthy of its Top-5 status..." That sounds like quite an endorsement!

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