For me, when given a choice of staying in a top rated hotel or bed and breakfast, the bed and breakfast always wins out. There is warmth, a feeling of belonging that innkeepers exude; a genuine interest in their guests. If you have never stayed at a bed and breakfast your vision just might be a revitalized Victorian mansion with beautifully decorated suites, spacious common rooms, modern amenities yet still maintaining that slice of living in past times. And that vision would all come true with the Mill Street Inn Bed and Breakfast in historic Cambridge, Maryland. Guests luxuriate with a gourmet breakfast, lemonade and cookies on the veranda while feeling a cool summer breeze or a glass of wine fireside taking off the winter chill.
What made Jennie and Skip Rideout, retired educators, want to take on a rundown, over-worn historical house and spend two years, 8 months uninhabitable, and go into the hospitality business? The answer is passion, sheer passion. That passion for creating their own bed and breakfast started during their domestic travels throughout the east coast and travels abroad to the United Kingdom, having relished their stays in bed and breakfasts.
In our chats, Jennie responded to my question as to who was the most unusual guest or guest scenario at the Mill Street Inn Bed and Breakfast? She smiled, laughed and said, “A magician who tried to make his bill disappear.” For a more realistic look at their guests it has run from a mortician’s conference to Brits on a mid-Atlantic history tour from Philadelphia to Williamsburg. On my stay, a couple picking up their 6th grade daughter who was finishing her work at Hornpoint, University of Maryland’s environmental camp on the 850 acre old DuPont Estate. When I inquired why the couple picked the bed and breakfast over the traditional hotel/motel experience they responded, “We wanted a more local experience, to get a sense of the community.”
The Rideout guests at the Mill Street Inn that have come to Cambridge, Dorchester County, Maryland are diverse; birders to boaters, cyclist to history buffs, tri-athletes and those seeking a romantic getaway, or food festivals enthusiast to writers – there is more to do in Dorchester County than just driving through. In fact, ten guests who stayed at the Mill Street Inn Bed and Breakfast moved to Cambridge.
Even before retiring in the late 90’s, back in the 80’s the Rideouts were searching for a property in Frederick, Maryland for a bed and breakfast but never found the “right” location. In the interim years, just after retiring and before finding the stripped-to-the-bones 1894 property in historic Cambridge, Maryland the Rideouts went into organic farming on a 6,000 square foot garden. They maintained two farmers market stands where they sold their produce, pies and flowers. When enjoying the hospitality at the Mill Street Inn Bed and Breakfast be sure to take the time to check out their gardens.
The Mill Street Inn Bed and Breakfast is a short block from the Choptank River and the docks if you are looking to water your way into Cambridge and close to the center of town where you can dine at Bistro Poplar, Stoked, Highspot, Leaky Pete’s, RAR Brewery, and Jimmy and Sooks. Jennie and Skip, innkeepers extraordinaire can guide you to all the places to eat, visit and enjoy in Cambridge and Dorchester County.
It was back in 2004 that the Rideouts put their Rockville home on the market and were operational at The Mill Street Inn Bed and Breakfast by July, 2006. Everything you see with the exception of the matresses and a couple pieces of furniture came from their home in Rockville – a lifetime of fascinating collecting. Bing and Grondahl’s Mother’s Day plates and Royal Copenhagen’s Christmas and Christmas Eve plates decorate the peach colored spacious kitchen which is a shared between the Rideout’s living quarters and the bed and breakfast guests. Don’t miss Skip’s 1940 lead soldier collection and his Royal Daulton dogs
There are only three suites at the Mill Street Inn Bed and Breakfast, all beautifully appointed, showing off Jennie’s decorating flair and the Rideout’s antiques, each unique in its own appearance. My room was the Edward, with its own fireplace and sleigh bed in soothing hues of blue and white. The bath, a former nursery is larger than the bedroom with the original claw foot tub and spacious shower enclosure. The Winifred is sunshine in decor with a bright yellow floral spread and gingham chairs. The Cambridge suite is handsomely appointed in the classic Waverly pattern with a turreted sitting room, oversized bathroom with a walk-in shower and air jet tub. There is free Wi-Fi and television in each suite.
Breakfast awaits you in the morning at the large dining room table set with silver candelabras, china and a fresh flower arrangement. Prepare yourself for a full on breakfast with fresh fruit, just baked muffins, juice, coffee or tea and an entrée. My morning entree was Eggs Jennifer; scrambled eggs blended with smoked salmon and crème fraîche ensconced in a puff pastry with asparagus. See the recipe below for the Mill Street Inn Grits Souffle and the slideshow above.
This is one of numerous stories I’ve written with the tagline, Tales of Dorchester County, reflections of my insights as a guest of Dorchester County tourism and as a guest at the Mill Street Inn Bed and Breakfast.
The Mill Street Inn – Grits Souffle – 6 Servings
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup grits
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Tabasco to taste
- 3 large eggs – separated, yolks beaten and whites whipped stiff
1. Scald milk, add grits and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is bubbly and thick.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
3. Remove from heat and add butter, salt, sugar, baking powder, hot sauce to taste to the grits. Stir until well incorporated and butter melted. Fold in the egg yolks. At the last minute fold in the stiff egg whites.
4. Spray a 1 quart souffle dish with PAM and fill it with the grit mixture. Bake approximate 25 minutes until the top is puffed.
Mill Street Inn
114 Mill Street
Cambridge, MD 21613
410-901-9144 – www.millstreetinn.com