We recently stayed at the Henry Derby House. It's a smallish old frame house about a 10 minute walk from the main part of Salem. This wasn't my favorite b&b experience although it wasn't all bad. First, the good stuff: Peg, the owner, tries hard to accomodate her guests' needs and schedules. Breakfast, although continental, was generous and tasty. One of our rooms was quite spacious and the other was very tiny, but we knew that in advance and it wasn't a problem. The bathroom, which was a few steps down the hall, was private for us and was also large and equipped with plenty of towels.
Now, the problems: the house is on the small side and is made smaller by the enormous amount of stuff all over the place. Peg has turned the front room into a small shop where she sells candles, pillows, stationery and items of that nature. The sales items also fill the front hall, and all this stuff makes it rather difficult to navigate without fear of breaking something. Getting up and down the stairs with luggage was pretty tricky for us, and we're all average sized people.
The use of the room as a shop means that there is nowhere in the b&b to sit and read or rest except one's bedroom, which I found to be a problem. Also, if you're sensitive to perfumes, be warned because the candles are scented and the scent is rather cloying.
The beds were amazingly hard-uncomfortably so. I don't know if Peg replaces the coverlets with more substantial bedding in the winter, but I found that they were a bit thin for the weather (although they were very pretty). The liquid soap in the shower was so thin and watery that I ended up using the hand soap instead. It's worth paying a little more for decent soap, I think.
I think Peg has her heart in the right place, but it would be better if she concentrated on either the retail end of her business or the b&b. If I were returning to Salem, I'd look for other accomodations.
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