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The Inn Thing: My Beautiful Bed & Breakfast

March 30, 2003|JOEL GROSSMAN

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that there are no second acts in American lives. But then, it never occurred to Fitzgerald to ditch the Hollywood snake pit and open a bed & breakfast in a fetching corner of America. Meet a few former California residents with better sense.

Full Circle Ranch

Cave Creek, Ariz., one hour north of Phoenix

Your Host Since 1995: Jim Langan, Altadena/Pasadena native, aka "host, cook, maid, servant and friend."

Past Life: 21 years as an aerospace engineer; five years as a landscape architect and interior designer.

Telling Quote: "My accountant told me to retire, and I just near went nuts. So I became an innkeeper."

Highlights: 1960s ranch house with fireplaces, spas and pool; three guest rooms and two casitas; ranch breakfasts and dinners cooked by the host himself.

Full Circle Ranch, (623) 465-7570, Rates: $160 to $260.


O'Casey's Bed & Breakfast

San Antonio, Texas

Your Hosts Since 1995: John Casey, born in Alhambra and raised in San Gabriel; wife Linda Fay Casey, Highland Park native. UC Santa Barbara alumni, Class of 1963.

Past Lives: (John) music teacher; (Linda Fay) piano accompanist.

Telling Quote: (John) "I do miss the Pacific Ocean more than anything else."

Highlights: Blocks from Trinity University and two miles north of downtown's Riverwalk in the Monte Vista Historic District. Seven guest rooms. Look for the five leprechaun murals left by a theatrical troupe.

O'Casey's Bed & Breakfast, (210) 738-1378, (800) 738-1378, Rates: $79 to $99. Children and pets welcome.


Laughing Horse Inn

Taos, N.M.

Your Host Since 1996: Bob Bodenhamer, born in Ventura.

Past Life: Newspaperman whose writing and editing credits include a 20-year stint at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Telling Quote: "The [Press Democrat] was bought out by the New York Times and that brought two extra layers of bureaucracy on top of our already oppressive homegrown bureaucracy. That's what pushed me over the edge to Taos."

Highlights: The 1887 adobe on the banks of the Rio Pueblo sports an earthship-style rooftop penthouse and kiva lofts built by Mike Reynolds, celebrated architect and onetime Taos hippie carpenter. Lofts are stereo-equipped and enclosed by a greenhouse.

Laughing Horse Inn, (505) 758-8350, (800) 776-0161, Rates: $54 to $150. Children and pets welcome.


The Red Brick Inn of Panguitch

Panguitch, Utah

Your Hosts Since 2000: Brett and Peggy Egan.

Past Lives: (Peggy) office manager; Brett remains a deputy building inspector in Southern California.

Telling Quote: (Peggy) "We just couldn't resist this house."

Highlights: The two-story 1930s Dutch colonial inn is loved by Panguitch locals, many of whom were born or lived in the building during its prior incarnations as a midwifery hospital and boardinghouse for newlyweds. The inn holds Saturday high teas and weekend retreats for women. Seven units, some two- and three-bedroom suites. Basement features a three-bedroom red brick hideout.

Red Brick Inn of Panguitch, (866) 733-2745, Rates: $65 to $175. Children and small pets welcome.


Old Mulberry Inn

Jefferson, Texas, a former steamboat port near the Louisiana and Arkansas borders

Your Hosts Since 1997: Donald and Gloria Degn, formerly of Pacific Grove, Calif.

Past Lives: (Donald) home and garden editor, Monterey County Herald; (Gloria) schoolteacher and B&B employee.

Telling Quote: (Donald) "You can still burn leaves here. It's small-town America."

Highlights: Cottage-plantation-style house newly built by the Degns in 1996. Donald harvests mulberries from his giant old tree to bake mulberry coffeecake for breakfast. He also made the duvet covers and window treatments that complement the David Lance Goines posters in the California Dreamin' room.

Old Mulberry Inn, (903) 665-1945, (800) 263-5319, Rates: $80 to $169.

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