Truth be told, we didn’t know what to expect when booking a room at the Bristol House B&B, what with it being a couple miles out of downtown Bristol, Rhode Island and all its shops, restaurants, and boutiques. It’s smack dab in the middle of a very pleasant little neighborhood off Route 114, so it seemed a little out of the way.
Expectations were blown away when we set foot in this East Bay B&B, comfortably ensconced in the home of its owner, Kathleen Seguin. It is welcoming and warm, beautifully kept and appointed, with three rooms upstairs and a larger suite downstairs, the common living area wide open and framed with cozy chairs fronting a fireplace. A huge breakfast room is in back (24-hour access to coffee, snacks and beverages) and beyond that an immaculate yard with patio dining for breakfast in good weather.
In short, Bristol House is a gem of a bed and breakfast. And Seguin is no slouch when it comes to marketing it, with the brand on hats, homemade cookies and granola, toiletries and Christmas ornaments, all for sale. No surprise that this self-proclaimed “Army brat” was in marketing for giants like Hasbro and Disney, quitting the corporate rat race several years ago to open her business. And she knows the value of giving back: she is on the board of Discover Newport and is active in the Bristol Merchants Associations and other agencies.
We had the “Harbor Suite,” a neat little room upstairs with one of the most comfortable beds we’ve ever slept in, with 600-count fine linen. The bathroom entry is through a cedar closet, and in the bath are locally sourced products, such as lotion and body wash by Harbor Bath and Body, shampoo and conditioner by Heart and Soul Salon, and skin-care products by Spa Yadira – all Bristol companies. Towels are from Matouk, a Fall River company.
As wonderful as the inn is, breakfast is even better. Seguin is mostly self-taught, learning from family as a child, and taking some training at the Culinary Institute of America. Whatever her background, it shines through in her breakfast, which is far beyond usual B&B fare. We had roasted grapes with lemon verbena (which she grows on her small property along with other herbs and veggies), yogurt cream and chopped pecan, followed by a light-as-a-feather scallion-and-parmesan baked egg soufflé.
She also makes baked Rhode Island eggs with sun-dried tomatoes; potato bacon gratin with roasted cherry tomatoes; and berry croustade, a delicate puff pastry with fresh fruit dusted with vanilla sugar and topped with yogurt and mint. Healthy stuff, but just in case, the East Bay Bike Path is right around the corner to ride or walk it all off.
With all that Bristol House has to offer, it’s no shocker that from 2013-2015 it’s been a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence winner, and that in 2012 it was winner of “Best Breakfast” from Yankee magazine. What might be a little bit of a pleasant surprise is that this house in a quaint neighborhood two miles from downtown Bristol is as elegant a B&B as you will find anywhere in New England.
(All photos courtesy of Bristol House)