Escalante’s Grand Staircase Bed & Breakfast
The sign for our B&B on Main Street was just a little too small and the numbers on storefronts and houses were just a little too hard to find—so we cruised through town to the end, turned around, slowed down and finally spotted it. Yes, a two-story blue house with some units in the back, but sure enough, it was Escalante’s Grand Staircase B&B (EGSBB). So we went around back, ascended the stamped-concrete steps and knocked on the sliding glass doors, beside which hung a sign indicating OFFICE.
Our friendly host, Innkeeper Tom Mansell, welcomed us in and began assessing our desires to see the area. He quickly told us we were going to be more impressed with this area of exploration than Bryce Canyon, from which we recently visited. How could that be? More details were to come at breakfast the following morning, a choice of seating offered either 7:30 or 8:15 a.m. Sunday nights in Escalante meant there were few restaurants open, but the pizza parlor directly across the street offered some of the tastiest fare around for miles! Check out Tom’s website www.escalantebnb.com and check out Escalante Outfitters there as well.
EGSBB offers 8 theme rooms, four in the Carriage House (named Clay, Cadet, Antique, and Sage rooms) and another four in the Coach House (Earth, Wind, Fire, and Sun rooms). All are the same price. Each of the 8 suites has carpeted rooms, tile baths with pedestal sinks, DirecTV, and free access to wireless internet.
Our room featured a vaulted ceiling with a large skylight, brightening the whole room. A four-poster Aspen wood king-size bed took most of the floor space, but there was plenty of room for solid wood end tables, a coffee table and a small dining table with two chairs as well. A large cabinet featured a television cabinet with pull drawers below. A huge floor-to ceiling mural adorned one wall, including three strands of genuine barbed wire affixed to rugged wooden posts. Art of the desert Southwest adorned the walls and a large Native American drum leaned against a table. In all, the room’s décor was tasteful, rugged, appropriate for the area and inviting.
Tom cooks a great breakfast for his guests. He’s awake early, so it wasn’t a problem to pad over to the dining area in the morning and grab a couple cups of coffee to take back to your room. Our breakfast was delightful: French Toast stuffed with cream cheese, a scrumptious tasting scrambled egg dish with parmesan cheese and herbs, and fresh fruit. It was a fabulous kick-off to our day.
B&Bs are so much better than the usual hotel/motel stay for several reasons. First, your host will nearly always be extremely personable and helpful. Tom was no exception here. Second, the breakfast is always something special—usually something you wouldn’t find elsewhere. And third, there are almost always happy travelers to meet during breakfast or just hanging around. It’s never a problem to strike up a conversation with someone, because you both already have so much in common, staying in the same place. “Where are you headed today? What did you do yesterday? What can you recommend?” The easy, back-and-forth conversation can lead to, well, who knows what? Sometimes new and lasting friendships are created right on the spot!
Tom’s from Boston (you’ll probably figure that out) and mighty proud of all that Escalante has to offer. He’s positively effusive about where he lives and what you can see. That, right there, is worth the price of admission, folks. Tom will go through a list—whether you want it short or long—of all the things to see and do in the area. If you like (and you should take him up on this offer!) he’ll make up a suggested itinerary for you and give you a hand-drawn map. Now, don’t take this lightly, as if you can get something like this at the local filling station—because you can’t. You need a “local” to tell you what’s important, how long it will take you to get there, what to watch for, and what to expect. It’s like having a tour guide that doesn’t need to go with you—just giving you the “heads up” for what’s important. It’s why we used to watch Siskel and Ebert before going to the movies. And this place is definitely two thumbs up.
On Tom’s advice, we drove to Devil’s Garden and caught some majestic hoodoos and unusual rock formations. Tom suggested we grab a pizza at the end of the day and take it down there for a picnic dinner—it would have been perfect—but we decided to visit this site first. If you go down the same road another 14 miles or so, you can find some slot canyons that, according to the pictures, are incredible. We didn’t take the time to visit them on this trip, but we’ll be back. Instead, we continued on Hwy 12 and found a 17-mile drive (Burr Trail) through a gargantuan redrock canyon, stopping in for lunch afterwards to enjoy a tasty wedge salad and pollo rojo sandwich on ciabiatta bread. Yeah, baby! I’m not going to dwell on everything we did. Suffice it to say, you’ve got to check in to EGSBB as your headquarters for a Grand Adventure.
We’d visited B&Bs on both coasts, including a stint of a few in New England and some on the West Coast including Northern California. If you’re an experienced B&Ber, you know no two B&Bs are alike and Escalante’s Grand Staircase B&B was like no other, that’s for sure. Plan on staying a couple days in this great town. And make sure you spend at least one evening in EGSBB. You’ll be glad you did.
Escalante’s Grand Staircase Bed & Breakfast
280 West Main Street
Escalante, Utah 84726