A romantic getaway is a special type of vacation. Couples fantasize about places to go where they can stay in a beautiful place, where they will be pampered, where they can discover regional surprises, and where they can create wonderful memories of their time together.
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Three years after opening, Eden Vale Inn was named one of the 10 “Most Romantic Bed and Breakfasts” in the United States in 2012 by iloveinns.com.
When Gayle Erbe-Hamlin and Mark Hamlin opened Eden Vale in 2009, they designed the inn so that their guests can enjoy the utmost in luxury and privacy.
One of the things that makes bed and breakfast inns so charming is that each one is unique. The locale, the architecture, the innkeepers, the amenities all combine to make each visit a novel experience.
Eden Vale Inn is located on the outskirts of the historical city of Placerville. It is 7 miles or so north of Highway 50, halfway to Coloma.
The inn is near Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, restaurants, hiking trails, wineries, Red Hawk Casino, whitewater rafting, scenic drives and the site of Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony.
In a quiet valley surrounded by hills, Gayle and Mark redesigned a former dairy barn into an architecturally stunning inn on 10 acres with a spring-fed pond and a large garden for strolling or sitting.
Another building holds two more rooms and a spa studio where one or two people can relax with a massage or facial.
The inn retains some of the original features of the building, such as timber posts and beams. The slate that faces the floor-to-ceiling rock fireplace in the entry is from the Weber Creek Quarry.
Beside the fireplace is a block-and-tackle that was used to lower hay from the loft to the cows below. The loft has been upgraded to serve as the hallway for the innkeepers’ quarters.
The floors are either polished rosy-red Mexican tile or cork, accented with Tibetan rugs.
Textiles, statuary, paintings and prints throughout the inn provide points of interest and beauty.
Gayle’s and Mark’s combined backgrounds in engineering, research, restaurant management, extensive travel in India and around the globe, geologic mapping, carpentry, construction contracting and government administration are all called upon to design, build and operate Eden Vale.
With their wide experience and sincere interest in their guests, Mark and Gayle are excellent hosts.
No detail is overlooked for guests. Each room has its own entrance to the outside. The door locks are set by digital combinations created personally by the guests. Guest rooms have their own rich color schemes and décor. Lighting is state-of-the-art, with a menu option, including the low-light “Romance” setting and personal spotlights over each side of the bed. Gas fireplaces add to the cozy atmosphere.
With a multi-channel television, guests can watch their favorite programs or take advantage of the library of movies available at the inn.
Verizon service works at Eden Vale or landline telephones can be used at no extra charge.
Every guest room has its own spacious bathroom with a choice of water features in the shower.
Some rooms open onto the garden, with a private patio area. Others have screened-in soak tubs. Water from Eden Vale’s well is luxuriously soft and soothing.
Breakfast at Eden Vale is a gourmet surprise every morning. Gayle takes great pleasure in serving the finest of local products. A typical breakfast starts with a buffet of Apple Hill apple juice or orange juice, apricot scones, a choice of cereals, with teas or Temple coffee from Sacramento.
An entrée might be ricotta lemon soufflé pancakes with fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce, served with sausage flavored with sage, rosemary and apple from Smoky Ridge Charcuterie in Camino.
Guests can dine at their own tables in the dining room, in the sunroom, or on a warm morning, outside on the deck overlooking the garden.
The garden is Gayle’s pride and joy. She sees it as a moving tapestry of color throughout the year. May and June are the peak flower-blooming months.
While Gayle takes care of the flowers, shrubs and trees, Mark has added statues he collected on his travels along the garden path. For Gayle, who likes elephants, he had a 600-pound granite statue of Ganesha shipped from India. Ganesha is the Hindu elephant-headed god of wisdom and learning, and the remover of obstacles.
Mark also topped the old fence posts with bowling balls, for no particular reason except he liked them. They add a little whimsy.
Mark is also responsible for the pond, where guests can swim or paddle a boat in nice weather.
A full outdoor kitchen and barbecue, complete with refrigerator and dishwasher, allows guests to prepare their own luncheons or dinners. It is especially popular with extended families or small groups.
Sitting around the fire in the stone-encircled firepit is the perfect way to wind down after a day exploring or finish a day relaxing at Eden Vale.
Mark and Gayle’s policy on pets is: “We welcome well-behaved dogs in two of our rooms, the Cottonwood Room and the Stone Pine Room. We only ask that the guests keep their pet under their control while on the property, use the exterior entrance to their room for coming and going, keep the pet off the furniture and bed, not use people towels for the pet and pick up their droppings from the formal garden area.
“We charge $50 per stay for up to two dogs.”
Four years after opening their doors, Gayle and Mark continue to expand and improve Eden Vale Inn and enjoy their lives as innkeepers.
“It constantly renews my faith in the humanity of people, how wonderful they are. It brings out the best in me.” Gayle said.
Mark added, “Gayle and I feel the same about this. I would only add that my biggest concern in opening the B&B was anticipating a lack of privacy and feeling invaded. Yet, quite the opposite has occurred. It’s a wonderful sharing with guests who become our friends.”