Update: Sadly, this business is now closed.
Have you ever liked a place so much you felt a bit reluctant to share the details because you don't want anyone else to go there? It's selfish, I know, but sometimes I can't help but feel protective about some of my favourite travel discoveries. What will happen when the word gets out and suddenly my secret hideaways are inundated with people?
One of those places is Palm Trees and Polar Bears Bed and Breakfast in Port Rowan, Ontario. Port Rowan is a small community on the shores of Lake Erie in southern Ontario. The region is famous for its provincial parks, beautiful beaches, and bird watching. I got to know the area first by camping at nearby Long Point Provincial Park, and then again on a repeat visit for kayaking. Year round camping isn't a possibility here - and for a lot of people I know, it's definitely not a summer option either! And for those who enjoy some creature-comforts when they explore nature, a B&B is a decidedly civilized option and Palm Trees and Polar Bears is definitely one of the best I've ever enjoyed.
B&Bs seem to have slipped off the travel radar in the last few years. The traditional format of a bed and breakfast - sleeping in a spare room in someone's home and joining them for breakfast in the morning - can feel too intimate and informal for some travelers. Meanwhile, others who might enjoy the experience are embracing more modern B&B incarnations like couch surfing or AirBnB.
There's more competition for value priced accommodations than ever before, and also more demands on proprietors as well traveled guests demand televisions, WiFi, and more. I think Palm Trees and Polar Bears has done an admirable job in charting these new waters while still staying true to their roots.
And this over-a-century old home does indeed have deep roots. It's a true Port Rowan landmark and it's well worth asking Sharron and Rudy to share a bit of the building's history. Visitors who prefer a high degree of privacy with their accommodations will be happy to know that the main part of the house is for guests only, while the owners have private quarters in the back. The B&B has just three bedrooms, so you can be assured the property will never be too loud or crowded.
Those who like a bit more personal interaction will love chatting with Sharron over breakfast. And WHAT a breakfast! I've long abandoned any notion of moderation or ladylike food consumption when I'm in Norfolk County, but these breakfasts were just fantastic. Imagine your classic full hot breakfast spread, but where everything had a little bit of a twist, like maple breakfast sausages or red pepper jelly spread over cream cheese and bagels. There were tons of breakfast staples, like fresh fruit and different kinds of toast, and plenty of coffee and juice.
I think what really make a B&B stand out from the pack are the little details that make it feel like a true home away from home. Some of the things I loved about Palm Trees and Polar Bears were the personalized rooms with different color pallets and themes. I had the flamingo room! I also loved that the dining room had a little station where you could make your own coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and help yourself to granola bars and snacks at any time of day. There's a small sitting room upstairs that was the perfect place to settle in with a snack.
Most visitors who come to Port Rowan spend several days in the area, enjoying outdoor activities and especially bird watching. Whenever I'm spending multiple nights in a destination, I want it to feel as much like home as possible and that makes a B&B like Palm Trees and Polar Bears the perfect fit. It's a thoroughly modern B&B with all the old fashioned touches that would earn it a spot on any travelers secret spot list.
We'd love to hear from you! Is staying in B&Bs a part of your travel plans?
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