By Kit Bernardi, Midwest Living contributor
A woodsy couple’s retreat, Songbird Prairie is an elegant Federal-style, all-suite B&B serving a gourmet, garden-fresh breakfast almost too pretty to eat.
Lovebirds like to nest in the luxury suites at Songbird Prairie B&B located in Valparaiso, an hour from Chicago and 90 minutes from Indianapolis. The romantic inn—run by Barbara Rivera and her husband, Efrain—caters to couples seeking a pampered getaway in a quiet country setting. Tucked in the woods, Songbird Prairie’s five posh suites (each with fireplace, rain shower and whirlpool) promise a setting for romantic pillow talk.
We stay in the Robin suite with a Tuscan villa decor: rich rusts, greens, gold and chocolate brown. The paisley patterns and rich shades, not to mention the flat-screen television, appeal to my husband. I’m drawn to the bathroom, which is large and luxe! I love the plush Abyss towels, comfy soft terry lined robes and spa slippers, and creams, shampoos and bubble baths. The shower comes equipped with multiple jets and good water pressure, which pleases my husband. The whirlpool looks big enough for both of us.
Lovely welcoming areas reflect a gracious home. The sitting area with updated Colonial furniture surrounds a fireplace flanked with bookshelves. The living area opens into the breakfast room, which brings the inn’s name to life with its windows bringing in views of the trees. Bird feeders and suet squares hang off the glassed-in porch. Watch birds fly in from the woods to eat, and listen to their songs (a microphone pipes in the sound). At the breakfast table, there’s a bird identifier card with electronic chirp machine to help identify the birds. Or ask the hostess, who can identify a bird by its chirp even though she’s in the Provence-style kitchen cooking for guests.
Barbara’s multicourse specialties include a glazed-poached pear, puffy French toast souffle and Bananas Barbara, a layered sweet version of bananas Foster topped with candied orange peels. Each course comes on a still-life work of art composed of seasonal, fresh flowers and leaves Barbara picks from her garden and presses between two glass plates.
Outside, a flagstone patio faces the woods. On cool evenings, I imagine guests gathering around the fire pit. During the day, plan a hike along the wooded trail through the acreage or around the mowed open field trail (bug spray and birding binoculars provided) to experience the many birds lucky enough to call this home.