Burlington's Willis Graves Bed &Breakfast Inn
Table Of Contents
BE OUR GUEST!
12 minutes from Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport, 20 minutes from downtown Cincinnati & Covington and 25 minutes from the Newport Aquarium
Welcome to Burlington's Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn. Experience a taste of sophisticated charm and relaxed country living at the edge of this small rural town. We encourage you to stay at our inn as part of your travel plans and to explore the town and country feel of the surrounding historic area. Choose between our two masterfully restored early and mid-1800s buildings: the 1850s William Rouse log cabin and the 1830s Willis Graves Federal brick homestead.
For leisure and business travelers, our accommodations go far beyond traditional hotel lodging. Details such as triple sheeting with luxury linens, down comforters, extra pillows, plush robes and towels, and fresh baked cookies are already in place when you arrive. For your convenience, guests may also enjoy wireless high-speed Internet, cable television and DVD players, and our comprehensive movie collection.
In every detail, from the luxurious whirlpool baths and steam showers to our full gourmet breakfast served on individual tables dressed in white linens, your comfort is our top priority. Explore our website to learn more about our amenities, additional pampering is available upon request.
Other intriguing 19th century landmarks and the "big city" lights of Cincinnati, Ohio, await you just moments away. Skiing, riverboat gambling, Newport Aquarium, historical museums, shopping, fine dining, and other attractions are all within close proximity to our inn. Click here for more information about area attractions and things to do during your stay.
Our pledge is to make your visit as enjoyable as possible and to help you get the rest and relaxation you need. We hope you will find yourself returning again and again.
Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn is your ideal Northen Kentucky lodging choice whether you select one of our rooms or suites, the inn offers luxurious surroundings for rest and relaxation.
It is our hope that guests leave with a desire to return again and again. Because your comfort is our main concern, we provide steam showers, air-jet whirlpool bathtubs, fireplaces, top quality mattresses, fine luxury linens, and soft robes. Both residences have central air-conditioning and heating to maintain comfort year round. For your convenience, we also provide high-speed Internet access, televisions, DVD and CD players, and telephone service.
The Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn offers an exceptional value in Northern Kentucky lodging.
Pampering - Our pledge is to make your visit as enjoyable as possible and to help you get the rest and relaxation you need.
Each room includes:
- Plush cotton terry robes
- Thick, thirsty towels
- Mattresses and bedding of the highest quality
- Homemade cookies on your pillow
- A full gourmet breakfast individualized to meet your dietary needs
- A variety of DVDs, magazines, and books for your entertainment
Special add-on options are available to enhance your stay and may be added to any reservation request. Visit our Specials & Packages page to learn about various selections such as chocolate covered strawberries, in-room massage therapy, picnic lunches, and fresh flower arrangements.
Breakfast at this Northern Kentucky Bed and Breakfast is Special for many reasons. Maybe it’s the antique wooden tables dressed in white linen tablecloths and blue china. Perhaps it’s the rich, hot coffee aroma from freshly brewed French Roast or possibly the soft music playing in the background. Whatever the reason, breakfast at the Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast Inn is a perfect compliment to your stay.
Your choice of a full gourmet or quick continental breakfast is included each morning.
You can choose among such favorites as crème brûlée French toast, lemon waffles with blackberries, baked eggs and mushrooms in ham crisps, or a side dish of fresh fruit arranged in rainbow colors with homemade granola. All our dishes reflect our effort to present your meal with an artistic, attractive flair.
We have a wide and varied menu and do our best to accommodate your dietary requests. If you are interested in recipes visit our blog at www.willisgraves.blogspot.com or contact us to purchase a copy of Room at the Table, the new Bed and Breakfast Association of Kentucky cookbook.
About the Innkeepers
Things have a way of working out. If Nancy and Bob Swartzel had to guess early on, they would have never dreamed they would be living in Boone County or running a bed and breakfast. After the complete restoration of the Federal house in 1995, Nancy's parents became the innkeepers. By 2001, it had gotten to be too much for Nancy's parents to run. Nancy and Bob had to make a decision.
Nancy and Bob lived in Edgewood, Kentucky (suburbia), a no weeds in the yard kind of place. They knew that they didn't want an empty house. Their two children, at the time in college, were not living at home. Nancy and Bob asked them what they thought about selling the house that they were raised in, and they were fine with the idea. (Now the kids say, "Never sell the bed and breakfast.")
The decision to become innkeepers came at the perfect time. Years before, it would have been difficult to sell the house in Edgewood with so many memories, but one day it became the right thing to do. They don't regret selling the house, maybe because the bed and breakfast has so many memories as well. It was an easy adjustment - Nancy says the hardest part was getting rid of all the stuff that accumulates over the years.
These days, life sure is different compared to living in Edgewood. Nancy says that innkeeping requires 3 major things: You need to be a morning person, like people, and have lots of energy. Everyday these three things are necessary, along with a multitude of other skills.
Their daughter, who now lives in a big city, says that everything smells "green and good" when she comes home. Their son, who is in the Navy, helps with just about anything mechanical. He is responsible for the pleasant sound of music all around the house, inside and out, along with other home improvement projects. His Weimaraner, Lola, lives with the Swartzels.
Nancy and Bob's kid's rooms may be long gone, but there are plenty of rooms for guests visiting the bed and breakfast, many of whom find themselves returning again and again to this special place.
You have restored the Americana I have long admired in an authentic and gracious way. Thanks for making my weekend! - Terre Haute, IN
Lovely retreat and absolutely beautiful breakfast. - Lima, OH
I love your place. Thank you so much for making us feel so welcome. - Warren, OH
This was absolutely perfect. Very friendly, clean, quiet and romantic. The nicest little getaway. - Cincinnati, OH
Beautiful and historic, charming and quiet. I feel spoiled! Thank you! - Portland, OR
I've stayed in five-star hotels in Asia, Europe, and the USA, but would rate this as the best any day. - Chicago, IL
I travel on business a lot and finding a place like this to call home for a night is more than one could hope for. - California
This place is amazing...feels more like a vacation than work. I will be back. - Lexington, KY
And I've been staying in a hotel for 2 years!? What a nice change, I'll see you next week. - Princeton, IN
We look forward to coming back, and each time your home is more beautiful. And of course, the food is always excellent. -Santa Ava, CA
What a fantastic place for our wedding night. Thanks for making our night special. - Cincinnati, OH
Thank you kindly! - Bonnieux, France
This is by far my favorite place to stay. Thanks for making it so special. Hope to be back. - Hilo, HI
Wonderful hospitality. A home away from home, thank you. - Windermere, England
Here's just a few of the many reasons to choose the Burlington's Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn as your Northern Kentucky vacation getaway:
- If you live in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area, we offer the perfect place for a last minute reservation or mini-vacation.
- Wish an upcoming birthday, anniversary, or reunion could be truly memorable? We can help.
- Perhaps you are just married, about to ask, or are finally empty nesting. Our guests tell us we provide a truly romantic getaway.
- Our inn property is traversed by a meandering little creek and borders the Boone County Fairgrounds. The annual county fair, several horse shows, and seven nationally known antique shows take place at the fairgrounds each year.
- The Cabin Arts and Quilt Shop, around the bend from our inn, is one of several small merchants who do business in the quiet town of Burlington.
At our Kentucky bed and breakfast inn we understand what business travelers need. But don't just take our word for it, read what other Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky business travelers have to say about the Burlington’s Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn:
"This escape into an evening of luxury and comfort was the perfect medicine for a frequent business traveler. I travel weekly in various states and the generic hotel chains make the nights away from home seem long. This evening was a sheer treat. Thank you for all the big and small touches that add to make an evening at your B&B a delight. I will look for a reason to return and refer others. This was a welcome night which gave me the refreshment I needed."
"I’ve stayed in five-star hotels in Asia, Europe, and the USA, but would rate this as the best any day." - Chicago, IL
"I travel on business a lot and finding a place like this to call home for a night is more than one could hope for." - California
"This place is amazing…feels more like a vacation than work. I will be back.” - Lexington, KY
"And I’ve been staying in a hotel for 2 years!? What a nice change, I’ll see you next week." - Princeton, IN
The corporate rate is $105 (plus tax). It is valid for any room Sunday through Thursday, single occupancy.
Consider how it will feel to stay somewhere that offers the following:
- Fresh baked cookies on pillows
- Excellent coffee and teas
- Full menu including heart healthy options
- Whirlpools, steam showers, and fireplaces
- High-speed Internet access/and plug in
- Desk for writing and computer use
- Fan in each guest room
- Iron and ironing board
- Excellent furnishings and top quality mattresses
- Cable tv and DVD player with free on-site movies
- CD players in all rooms
- Refrigerators and microwaves
- Triple sheeting
- Down comforters or alternative type
- Two types of pillows
- Soft robes and towels
- Flexible check in times
- Choice of a quick continental or full gourmet breakfast
- Early breakfast times available, guests dine at their own table or in suites
- Private parking lot
- Owner/innkeeper live on property in their own private innkeeper’s space (not shared with guests)
- Historic Town and Country atmosphere
- A dog on property (in owner/innkeeper's private living space)
- Relaxing porches
- 9 miles to Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati International Airport
- Taxi and laundry service just around the corner
- Restaurants and shopping within minutes
- Perfect location for small meetings
- Frequent guests may take advantage of the Golden Quill Loyalty Travel Program offered by Select Registry
- Helpful Innkeepers
History of Burlington's Willis Graves
Originally founded as Craigs Camp in 1799, the settlement was renamed Wilmington in 1800. Around 1816, it changed to Burlington and became the county seat of Boone County, Kentucky.
Willis Graves was a prominent political figure in county government at the time, and served as county clerk during the new century's early decades. Sometime in the 1830s, he built an attractive federal brick home that featured Flemish bond brickwork and federal style mantels. This was the future home of Burlington's Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast Inn.
Diamond in the Rough
For many years, Cincinnatians Nancy and Bob Swartzel routinely passed the Willis Graves home, without a glance, on their way to the Burlington Antique Show at the Boone County Fairgrounds.
By then, the house was sporting dirty, white siding and a hip roof over the front porch.
One day a "For Sale" sign appeared in the yard and they took a closer look. In December of 1991, the Swartzels bought the property and began renovation under the direction of Master-carpenter Bob Brames.
Brames and his wife Jean (who are Nancy's parents) worked with Nancy and Bob as they all poured sweat and determination into the project. In August 1995, the inn opened for business. It was declared a National Register of Historic Places Home on June 19, 1979.
About ten years after purchasing the Federal house, the Swartzels made another purchase - for $1 - to salvage a second historic landmark. This time it was an 1850s log cabin, originally owned by farmer William C. Rouse.
The cabin sat squarely in the middle of a proposed runway at the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. It was wrapped in battered white siding and lined with layers of faded wallpaper. Nancy and Bob arranged to have the two hundred and sixteen poplar logs dismantled and hauled on flat bed trucks over four miles to their inn. After two years of reassembly and renovation, their log cabin getaway opened to guests in November 2004.
Holidays at Burlington's Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn
During the holidays, there is no shortage of decorations at Burlington's Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn. It takes everyone almost two weeks to decorate the main house and log cabin. Rooms are available during the holidays unless otherwise posted.
If you are already a YMCA member, you may work out at the new R.C. Durr YMCA, which is less than two miles from our inn. Members who live more than 50 miles away may workout at this YMCA up to three times per month for free (subsequent workouts are $6/visit). If you live within 50 miles of the YMCA, it is $6/visit. Visit www.myy.org/locations/rcdurr/index.shtml for a current list of operating hours.
Trails/Additional Workout Facilities
Runners and walkers may also want to visit England-Idlewild Park, located just 1/2-mile from of our inn, past the Boone County Fairgrounds. There are three miles of paved trails and eleven miles of wooded hiking/mountain biking trails. Our recent guest, Joe Belich, wrote a detailed review of the mountain bike trails that you can access on our blog, here Mountain Biker Review. If you are not a YMCA member and need a gym facility, anyone may purchase a day pass to Urban Active, located six miles from our inn. Day passes are $10/day and include access to their group exercise classes.
- Community Yellow Cab - Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. | 859-261-4400
- Executive Transportation Services, Inc. - Six-passenger Cadillac limousines, corporate sedans, and ten-passenger vans. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. | 859-261-8841
- Prime Time Limousines, Inc. - Late model Lincoln Town Cars and the largest limos in Cincinnati. | 606-344-1168
Laundry Services/Dry Cleaning
Braxton’s - 6025 Taylor Drive | 859-586-9595
Nearest P.O. is at 2600 Burlington Pike.
Beauty Salon/Spa Services
Sableúx - 2808 Turkeyfoot Road, Crestview Hills | 859-341-1656 | www.sableux.com
Local Pet Resort
Erlanger Pet Resort and Day Spa - 3404 Dixie Highway, Erlanger, KY | 859-727-3940 | www.erlangerpetresort.com
- 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)
- Florence Antique Mall (Florence, KY) www.florenceantiquemall.com
- Duck Creek (Cincinnati, Ohio) www.duckcreekantiquemall.com
- Grand Antique Mall (Reading, Ohio) www.grandantiquemall.com
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.
- Benner's Colonial Traditions www.bennerswoodworking.com
- List of additional Waynesville antique shops: www.waynesvilleohio.com
- Cowan’s Auctions (Cincinnati, Ohio) - www.cowanauctions.com
- Main Auction Galleries (Cincinnati, Ohio) - www.mainauctiongalleries.com
- Forsythes’ Auctions (Russellville, Ohio) - www.forsythesauctions.com
- Cox Auctioneers (Hamilton, Ohio) - www.coxauctioneers.com
- Marty Malette (Cincinnati, Ohio) - www.malletteandassociates.com
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
- 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 Alpaca 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
Perfect North Slopes
Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, has 17 trails, a 400-foot vertical drop, and lighting for night skiing. www.perfectnorth.com
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
Casino is located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. www.hollywoodindiana.com
Every three to six years, steamboats (paddle wheel boats) from around the country gather in Cincinnati for a unique, huge event. Tall Stacks 1988 was called one of the top ten events in the world that year. This Music, Arts, and Heritage Festival celebrates Ohio River culture and history. Tall Stacks was designated a signature event for Ohio's Bicentennial celebration. Don't miss it! According to Cincinnati Magazine, the next festival is tentatively scheduled for 2012, dates are TBA. www.tallstacks.com
Home of the Lane's End Stakes and Kentucky Cup Day of Champions. Live thoroughbred and simulcast horse racing. www.turfway.com
- 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 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
How to Find Us
- Our exit number from I-75/I-71 is #181. If traveling south on I-71/75, the exit before our exit is #182 and is called Turfway. If traveling north on I-71/75, the exit before our exit is #180 and is called Union.
- Take KY 18 West to center of Burlington.
- Turn right on Jefferson Street (Route 338).
- Follow to bed and breakfast (at 2nd bend in road on the left).
- Take I-275 West to Route 237 and go South.
- Continue to KY 18 and turn right.
- Go to center of Burlington and turn right on Jefferson Street (Route 338).
- Follow to bed and breakfast (at 2nd bend in road on the left).