Local inns: Feel a part of the neighborhood

Bed and breakfast inns are not the common sort of lodgings one would expect to find in the urban areas of North Seattle, but a few B&B's in local neighborhoods have thrived for years. Hidden in the Fremont and University District neighborhoods are the Chelsea Station on the Park and the Chambered Nautilus Bed and Breakfast Inn.

The attraction is simple; Guests are looking for a more personal touch, a friendly atmosphere and the chance to stay in homes that are close to 100 years old.

The Chambered Nautilus

One of Seattle's first B&B's, the Chambered Nautilus Bed & Breakfast Inn, at 5005 22nd Ave. N.E., is in a 1915 Georgian colonial home. Perched on a hill in the University District, the inn is surrounded by trees and a healthy garden. It's been around as a B&B since the '80s and has earned notable recommendations in more than 19 Seattle guidebooks.

A three-course breakfast, homemade treats, free Internet connection, free parking, television and private baths are among some of the amenities.

A city person, innkeeper Joyce Schulte refers to the Inn as an "urban oasis." It offers an escape to many travelers from an urban environment that can seem hectic and impersonal.

"We are becoming increasingly attractive to business travelers," she said. "They are looking for the security of an inn; somebody notices if they show up or if they don't."

One of Schulte's employees, Heather Burnett, feels it's the atmosphere that draws people to an urban bed and breakfast inn.

"It's not like a hotel, it's a really personal feeling. It's kind of like you are staying in somebody's home," Burnett said.

The Chambered Nautilus has a rich history with a series of different owners. Originally built by Herbert Gowen, a professor at the University of Washington, he and his family lived in the three-story home until the 1940s.

Ten years ago Schulte and her husband bought the structure and they continue to discover details of its past.

Chelsea Station on the Park

Owner Carolanne Watness of Chelsea Station on the Park also provides lodging for people seeking a more personal touch.

Located at 4915 Linden Ave. N., near the Woodland Park Zoo, the building previously was an apartment complex built in 1929. In 1984 it became a B&B. Watness and her husband bought it almost 20 years later.

They bought the existing B & B because they enjoyed the neighborhood. While it is hidden amid its neighboring homes, it had already proved itself to be successful. Chelsea Station offers such amenities as a homemade breakfast, snacks, television, private baths, free parking and Internet access.

Both Schulte and Watness have found that visitors tend to seek out B&B's.

"It's a personal style preference...Just the high touch personal attention that you get, you get to stay in somebody's pretty house and you get to meet the innkeeper that can help you find the conveniences of the neighborhood" said Watness.

85th Street Guesthouse

While not a bed and breakfast, another unique accommodation that might go unnoticed in North Seattle is the 85th Street Guesthouse. The guesthouse, at 731 N. 85th St., was built in 1928. A furnished home available for rental, the Guesthouse lacks the attractive amenities provided by a bed and breakfast, such as an innkeeper, a cleaning service, or meals, but substitutes other benefits.

According to owner, T. H. Monroe, "It's like renting a house on the beach."

Like a rental home or condo in a destination area, large groups are able to stay together in a furnished home for extended periods at cheaper rates than a hotel or inn. Monroe caters to people who might be attending a wedding, reunion, or a graduation and want to stay together.[[In-content Ad]]