After a day of sight-seeing Philadelphia’s historic landmarks, a B&B stay that fit into Philadelphia’s repertoire of historical places was a fine idea. The Gables Bed & Breakfast is a reason to cheer for people who buy a historic property and restore it back to its glory days splendor. This is what owners Don Caskey and Warren Cederholm did after they bought the Victorian era property in 1993.
When the two men got hold of it, the house, built in 1889, had just begun its journey back from its stints as a boarding house for Catholic nuns and then a home for Jesuits. The Jesuits had modernized the place by switching out the Victorian era decorations and details for wall-to -wall carpeting, painted woodwork and florescent lighting.
Step into the house today and it’s a step back to the look when Dr. Eagan and his family, the first owners lived there. The wall-to-wall carpeting? Gone. Ditto, the florescent lighting and painted woodwork. The Victorian era is back. The cherry and oak features gleam again and lighting is now soft and welcoming.
Casky and Cederholm are antique buffs whose attention to detail earned the B&B the Outstanding Preservation Award by the University City Historical Society. Each guest bedroom and common areas are artfully filled with antiques arranged the way the Eagans might have showcased their belongings. Instead of the Egan family members featured in the picture frames on the piano, however, the pictures are of Caskey and Cedarholm’s families. This touch is one that gives Gables an “our house is your house” appeal.
The make yourself at home feel is throughout. On a tour of the common areas, Warren showed us the pantry where snacks, coffee and tea are kept. These are complimentary. Sodas, found in the refrigerator, cost 50 cents.
After putting my things in the East Room that my friend and I shared, I headed downstairs to one of the parlors where I settled into an over-sized chair to read. A few guests sat in another room visiting.
At breakfast, a lovely assortment of pastries, an egg dish, sausage, yogurt, fresh fruit, juice and coffee (or tea if you prefer) served buffet-style in the dining room, we found out how diverse the guest list is on a normal basis. Because Gables Bed and Breakfast is located in University City, the section of Philadelphia where several universities and colleges are, its not unusual to meet people from overseas. Our breakfast companions were from Poland, Mexico and China. Everyone traded details of their Philadelphia must-see favorites.
Before we left, we headed outside to the garden to enjoy another cup of coffee and the flowers. The garden is as lovely as the house. If I hadn’t had a plane to catch, I would have been tempted to hang out at the Gables Bed & Breakfast all day.
Room rates currently range from $135 to $185 depending on the size of the room and if there is a private bathroom. Our room shared a bathroom with another room on the other end of the hall, although we did have a sink in our room. The shared bath arrangement worked out well. Plush terry cloth robes, a hair dryer, an alarm clock, an iron and an ironing board are some of the appreciated amenities. Also, Wi-Fi is free. So is parking.
Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein