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Harvey House Is What A B&B Should Be
When’s the last time you held a real guest book in your hands, put pen to paper, and read the entries from guests before you?
“What a glorious place you have here, filled with such positive energy and life!”
“A peaceful hide-away after a day in the Big City!”
“Thanks so much for your fabulous hospitality! You have set the bar very high for the next B&B we visit.”
These are just a few of the comments found in the guest book of the Chalet room at Harvey House Bed & Breakfast. That was the room my boyfriend and I stayed in for our anniversary, and we couldn’t agree more.
Harvey House is a luxurious yet comfortable B&B in Oak Park. It’s part of Select Registry Distinguished Inns of America, a collection of independently owned upscale bed and breakfasts, and Harvey House is one of the more intimate properties in their portfolio. Its 6,000 square feet are filled with antiques and oriental rugs; its five guest rooms are distinct, each with its own personality. Rabbits are everywhere, lending a quirkiness that adds to the feeling of comfort guests experience.
Owner Beth Harvey is a key part of of that comfort. You feel like you’re being welcomed into her home, and you are. We arrived early evening and after a quick tour of the deceptively large house we moved our bags into the Chalet. This is a spacious room on the third floor with cathedral ceilings, a jacuzzi tub, fireplace, a kitchenette with refrigerator and microwave, and a copy of the movie Harvey. We joined Beth again in the kitchen and she offered us a glass of wine and some cheese in the open kitchen. While another couple looked through menus in front of the fireplace in the large open common area Beth told us why the movie is in each room and why rabbits are part of the decor. It has less to do with her name and more to do with the lesson she gets from it: that instead of judging others people should pay attention to character.
This sentiment of comfort and acceptance fairly well permeates the house and we were almost reluctant to leave for dinner, but we finally chose a nearby Greek restaurant. Papaspiros would have been within walking distance if it weren’t for the inches of snow on the ground. We had a delightful meal in front of their Christmas tree (which made me feel better that ours was still up!) and returned to the room to enjoy the fireplace.
Breakfast the next morning was a goat cheese, asparagus, tomato and baby corn fritatta, bacon, and cinnamon raisin French toast with real maple syrup. My boyfriend had a slight migraine, so Beth personally carried a tray to him when he was able to eat, then told us we were welcome to stay later and there was no hurry.
Harvey House was the perfect way to spend our anniversary, and would be a romantic getaway no matter what the occasion. It’s a block from the green line and close enough to the shops and restaurants of Oak Park to negate the need for a car.
As I read through the guest book before leaving I saw the water color pictured above within its pages and other drawings, and pages and pages of sentiments that reflected our own. But I think my favorite entries were these:
“Thank you for this beautiful room and making our wedding night a lovely night to remember. We can’t wait to come back for our 1-year anniversary.
Nancy and Ken*”
And a year later…
“There’s no place we’d rather be celebrating our 1-year anniversary.
Nancy, Ken, and Baby Steve*”
This family loved the food so much they included this sketch!