Who would expect to find an 80-year-old Princess Anne-style mansion only a few blocks from Disneyland? Orange County's first bed-and-breakfast guest house--Anaheim County Inn--opened in December, 1983. The house was built in 1910 by lima bean rancher James Cook on what was previously a citrus farm.
Lois Ramont and Marilyn Watson, owners/innkeepers, bought the two-story building and at a price of about $500,000 restored it to its original look. "We wanted it to look the way it did when it was built by the owner," Watson says.
From the moment you walk up the steps, past two white, concrete lions and land on the gray, wooden porch steps, you feel you've stepped back in time. The tall, wide, beveled-glass windows and the old door with a turnstyle bell recall a time long past.
Just inside the entrance, the aroma of cinnamon and spices will engulf you, distracting attention from the rare Persian rugs underfoot. A left turn puts the visitor in the double parlor, with its antique Weaver pump organ--made in 1898. To the right is a curving staircase to the four upstairs bedrooms, baths and balcony. At the rear of the house, there are four more bedrooms, two shared baths and a second set of stairs to the second floor. All bedrooms are equipped with antique poster beds; basins and pitchers sit on nightstands.
Although smoking is not permitted inside, two porches and a rear patio with white rattan chairs and a double-seated swing are easily accessible.
The entire house has been furnished with Victorian and post-Victorian furniture. Televisions didn't exist in that era, nor do they at the Anaheim Country Inn.
"I stay here about four times a year," said Norm Latimer, an engineer from Vancouver. "This place makes me feel like I'm in the country. In the evenings, I can sit out back here and see the light show at Disneyland. When I come here I work in L.A. but have people drive me back and forth."
As Marilyn Watson was taking a pan of cinnamon buns out of the oven, getting ready for the next day's breakfast, Latimer licked his lips, smiled, and added, "and the breakfast here is delicious."
Hours: Check-in time, 3 p.m.; checkout time, noon
Address: 856 S. Walnut St., Anaheim
Telephone: (714) 778-0150
Price: $60 to $75 per night. Available for small weddings (75 people). Reserve noon to 5 p.m. for $1,000 or the entire inn for 24 hours for $1,450.
Note: No pets allowed.