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Bed and Breakfast Owners

History

Though initially considered nothing more than a bed for weary travelers, inns became, over the centuries, clean and comfortable establishments that provided good rest and good food and served as important community centers. Some of the first Elizabethan theaters were simply the courtyards of English lodges. The lodging houses of the first American colonies were styled after these English inns and were considered so necessary that a law in 18th-century Massachusetts required that towns provide roadside lodging.

These early examples of bed and breakfasts thrived for years, until the development of the railroad. Large luxury hotels popped up next to railroad stations and did a booming business. Some inns survived, but many became more like hotels in the process, adding rooms and giving less personal service. Other inns became boarding houses, renting rooms by the week and the month. When people took to the highways in automobiles, lodging changed once again, inspiring the development of motels and tourist camps. It has only been in the last 25 years or so that inns have become popular forms of lodging again, with bed and breakfasts opening up in historic houses and towns. In 1980, there were approximately 5,000 inns in the country; today, there are about 17,000 inns.

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