Holiday in Town
Bed, Breakfast, and a Whole Lot More
Summit House1204 Summit, 78741
Back home in my native Ireland, the bed & breakfast experience is nothing short of a national institution -- in cozy old cottages or elegant Georgian townhouses the cead mile failte (Gaelic for 100,000 welcomes) is as generous as the full Irish breakfast in the morning. So I was curious (and I must admit a little apprehensive) about bed & breakfasting in the land that gave the world the Holiday Inn. Staying at the wonderful Summit House Bed & Breakfast, I realized I didn't have to worry; it seems the cead mile failte is alive and well in Austin.
Located off Riverside on Summit Street, from which it gets its name, Summit House is steeped in history. One hundred-year-old oak trees and a fragrant herb garden shade the house, which stands on an ancient Indian campground. Inside, the house is a veritable display case for an eclectic décor which includes antique Chinese silk wall hangings, Scottish clocks from the 1920s, and owner David's own handcrafted stained glass, pieces of which adorn every window. I stayed in the Barbara Jordan Room, dedicated to the inimitable Texas stateswoman whose portrait hangs on the wall. The huge windows which make up the entire east wall of the room ensured a flood of soft morning light highlighting the native-limestone fireplace, the oak floors, and the freshly cut flowers on the table. The Blue Room, a private suite in which shades of peaceful blues are picked out in everything from the quilt on the king-sized bed to the
stained-glass windows, enjoys its own private cactus garden. Freshly baked whole-grain bread, coils of herbed sausages, and David's delicious variations on Eggs Benedict made with organic eggs and fresh herbs from his garden succeeded in testing and winning over my loyalty to the Irish breakfast (whose artery-clogging excesses I had never really appreciated anyway). David sat with us at breakfast telling us tales and stories about his adopted Austin, a place he knows like a native. Full of anecdotes and interesting recommendations, he is the perfect host. Of course, no description of Summit House would be complete without mentioning Sugar, David's ever-vigilant, ever-friendly residents canine charmer. Whether bounding toward you in welcome or staring at you with liquid eyes, Sugar is definitely part of the Summit House experience.
For friendly down-home hospitality, an intimate relaxing atmosphere, and delicious morning meal, Summit House definitely impressed this fussy Irish writer. So when you stay at Summit House, don't forget to say hello to Sugar for me!