Built more than a hundred years ago, the Craftsman-style bungalow that now houses The Cotton Palace B & B has been a kindergarten, a restaurant, and a flower shop. In addition to withstanding changing ownership and 5-year-olds, it was one of the few structures to survive the devastating tornado that all but leveled Waco in 1953. Now owned by a trio of former schoolteachers, the building has been lovingly restored to showcase its original architectural features, which include ornate gables and an inviting front porch flanked by sturdy white columns.
Inside, several of the home's original featuressuch as the light fixtures and a Rookwood-tile fireplacehave been preserved. In the dining room, paneled wainscoting lines the walls and a pattern of crisscrossing beams ornaments the ceiling. At least one of the three innkeepers is usually on hand to answer questions about the house or the history of Waco.
Upstairs, each guest room is furnished with antiques such as carved vanities and rocking chairs. Among possible choices in the main house, Jennifers room boasts a four-poster bed and floral-print plates, and in Amandas room, a chandelier dangles above a two-person jacuzzi. Alternatively, the standalone Carriage House includes a private balcony, a full kitchen, and bookshelves stocked with Sam Houston's multivolume dream journal.
In the morning, a lavish breakfast is served in the dining room. Locally made jams, cheeses, and flours add Texas flavor to dishes such as pancetta-cinnamon waffles and italian-sausage quiche. While mealtime is typically 8 a.m.9 a.m., you can arrange for a different serving time in advance.
The year 1885 was a big one for Waco. First, Baylor Universityone of the oldest colleges west of the Mississippimoved there. Second, a corner drugstore began serving a soda pop that soon became known as Dr Pepper. Today, both institutions continue to influence the city. The Dr Pepper Museum, housed in the original 1906 bottling plant, showcases more than 100,00 items of soft-drink memorabilia. A few blocks east, Baylors campus houses several museums of its own. The Mayborn chronicles the regions natural history, and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame displays antique pistols and the Lone Rangers bridle-mounted GPS.
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