Picture life during the year of 1876. The United States was celebrating its first 100 years. Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for his new invention called the “telephone”. Colorado is admitted to the Union as the 38th state. You can imagine the pace of life in those simpler days. During this same time, a pair of Italian architecture mansions were erected in this refined Victorian period. Thus, the Lyons Twin Mansions came into existence. Our trip to Fort Scott gave us an opportunity to get a historic double take of this pair of beautiful homes.
We want to thank Visit Fort Scott and Lyons Twin Mansions for their hospitality. Rest assured all opinions are our own.
Putting the Bed in B&B
The Lyons Twin Mansions were built for family members who migrated to Fort Scott from New York. The two homes were built using identical floor plans, all the way to the choice of wood for each room. The differences are apparent in the styling of the moulding and the look of the front entrance to each house. The mansion to the north has a more distinctive Italian facade. The huge columns give a stately appearance to the home. Much to the chagrin of the original family, the unexpected “Panic of 1876” struck their financial holdings hard. Although construction was complete, the family never spent a night in either of the homes. After suffering through four years of construction, the homes sold for about half of what they cost to build.
Current owners, Larry and Pat Lyons, purchased the north mansion in 1975. They used it as a home, where they raised their family. By the late 1980’s, they began using the house as a bed and breakfast for road-weary travelers. The home is furnished with beautiful Victorian furniture in the common areas. As we made our way through the home, we felt like we were actually transported back to this simpler era. The beautiful combinations of vibrant colors were so welcoming.
We made our way to our room, and immediately knew the stay would be memorable. While the setting was still Victorian in decor, we had to do a historic double take at the long list of amenities that they have incorporated into each room. The calming colors blend well with the plasma screen television that hung above the fireplace. A phone charging station, microwave, coffee maker, and mini-fridge accompany each room. We had an opportunity to check out some of the other suites and found each has special touches. Guests can choose a whirlpool or therapeutic tub, Steam Sauna, or like our suite, an in-room fireplace.
Historic Double Take
In 2007, the owners son, Nate, purchased the south mansion. This once again put both houses under one family’s ownership. The south mansion was dedicated as the second “B” in the bed and breakfast. Named Nate’s Place, it quickly became a popular dinner stop for travelers and locals alike. Guests of the B&B get breakfast at this restaurant as part of their package. After seeing pictures of some of their dishes, we were anxiously awaiting our turn to dine there.
Moving Toward the Modern
Upon entering Nate’s Place, we quickly noticed a difference in the interior decor. Where the north mansion was truly a Victorian romance novel in real life, the south mansion showed signs of forward thinking in the 1870’s. Even though the same woods were used in each building, the styling was truly worlds apart. Here we found an almost western frontier feel, which would certainly have fit the location and time period of construction. The restaurant encompasses the first floor and offers multiple dining room choices.
A Healthy Start
Once we chose our seating, our server appeared to start our order. Obviously, coffee was the first thing we agreed upon. While this was being retrieved, we scanned the breakfast menu. Crystal is definitely the healthier choice person of our pair. She quickly identified the Lyons Granola & Fruit Parfait as her morning meal. A hearty serving of vanilla sweet yogurt is mixed with fresh fruits to create a base. This is topped with their homemade granola, which is flavored with honey and nutmeg. She was more than willing to offer me a taste, but she knows that I am not a yogurt fan. This was one dish I would let her enjoy all to herself.
Fruitful Dining Options
I knew well in advance what I would order, as I had seen some enticing photos online. The Stuffed French Toast is probably not what Crystal would consider “health” food, but it does have fruit in it. The thick slices of French bread are stuffed with cream cheese and fresh fruit. Our server asked if I preferred strawberries or blueberries, and I struggled with that decision. When she suggested a combination of both, I was easily sold on it. In the end, it was an excellent choice, as the flavor was so good it didn’t need any syrup.
Enjoying the Gardens
Often during our travels, we have the opportunity to talk with locals about what we do. We will hear how they would love to be travel bloggers. While we must admit that it is wonderful getting to have all of these great experiences, there are a few drawbacks. Our schedules are always chocked full of sites to visit, so that means we don’t have tons of leisure time. When we find ourselves in quaint settings, like Lyons Twin Mansions, we would love the availability to linger until the official checkout time. Unfortunately, we must pack up and move on to our next stop. It’s those times that we are jealous of those who we are attempting to inspire. We hope many of you will take the time to get out and visit some of the places that you have never traveled to in the past. Our world is full of interesting experiences just waiting to be seized. Grab hold of some for yourself and be sure to travel safely! Now who wants some of that french toast?