When Flora Dooley and Joe Stevens opened their charming home to strangers four years ago, they never dreamed it would become Burlington’s most popular B&B.
Their cozy two and a half-storey red brick home, decorated with charming antiques, is full year round with visitors who come from as far away as Australia and France. The Heart of Burlington B&B is close to the lake and downtown, allowing tourists to enjoy a lakeside walk, or shopping and dining. “I wasn’t sure how we would do,” admits Flora, smiling. “But we have people coming from all over the world. I’m enjoying it thoroughly.”
The secret behind Flora and Joe’s success may well be in their complementary skills. Flora loves cooking and decorating, while Joe loves renovating rooms and refinishing furniture. His handiwork is evident in the gorgeous antique furniture and lovely bedrooms and bathrooms. Add one heavy dash of East Coast hospitality (Flora’s background) and it’s a winning combination.
From the beautifully refinished wingback chairs in the living room to the quaint chandeliers hanging in the French-inspired bathrooms, it’s little wonder they have so many repeat clients. One couple from France returns every year to visit their grown children who live nearby. They are usually booked for the Sound of Music Festival, and one couple even came for their honeymoon. They’re ideally situated close to the beach, and if you are interested, Burlington Beach Rentals offers a day package that includes a locker and beach spot rental complete with a large umbrella, paddleboat and two burger lunches!
Burlington has a wide range of B&Bs, from The Painted Door on Strathcona Drive, which is the midway point in the city, to Murphy’s Manor, one of the city’s oldest B&Bs, on the beautifully treed Ashland Drive. Both are a few blocks up from Lakeshore Road and near the Waterfront Trail, which is perfect for cyclists trekking downtown or east towards Oakville.
Many visitors come to Burlington at this time of year to take in the sights at the world-renowned Royal Botanical Gardens. One of the most popular draws is the Lilac Dell exhibit, which opens on June 7 and includes more than 600 species and cultivars of common lilacs. Lakeside dining is also popular in the picturesque waterfront restaurants such as Emma’s Back Porch, Pepperwood’s Bistro and Spencer’s on the Waterfront.
Oakville also has its share of B&Bs like the elegant Walnut House on Forsythe Street, which is close to downtown, the Sixteen Mile Creek and the Oakville Performing Arts Centre. In addition to guests enjoying the private courtyard and charming decor, the three-storey home also has an elevator so that it can accommodate guests needing wheelchair access.
The Melfort Cottage B&B is further east and has an inviting garden for guests. It’s not far from a wide range of tourist attractions such as Gairloch Gardens or The Glen Abbey Golf Club.
As for dining in downtown Oakville, there’s a fabulous selection, ranging from the homely but exquisite French bakery Patisserie D’Or to fine dining at Jonathan’s of Oakville, winner of Oakville’s Top Restaurant for 14 years.
Many visitors come to Oakville in August to enjoy the sounds of the Downtown Oakville Jazz Festival. Those looking to spend a day at the beach with the kids can head to Coronation Park and enjoy the splash-pad, volleyball and playground.
By: Denise Davy
Heart of Burlington B&B
The Painted Door B&B
Melfort Cottage B&B
Walnut House B&B
Water sport rental resources
Burlington Beach Rentals