We spent our first week in Mason City at The Decker House, a bed and breakfast located near downtown. During this first week, we wanted a cozy place to land.

Sally, the innkeeper, graciously accommodated our unusual schedule and gave us a business rate for the week. Because we made our reservation on short notice during the 4th of July weekend, we had to switch rooms on our last evening, but we weren’t bothered by that.

My favorite room was the aptly-named Rose Room. It’s tall ceilings made the room feel spacious and I enjoyed sitting on its private balcony.

We also spent a couple evenings in the Magnolia Suite, the inn’s most expensive room. It’s equipped with a king-sized bed, small sitting area, and fancy bathroom with two sinks. There’s a large whirlpool but no shower, so keep this in mind in case you like to bathe quickly. We found the Internet connection strongest near the sitting area.

The suite was only accessible through a series of stairs in the back of the house. It was quite a hike with large suitcases, but we enjoyed the location’s privacy.

The house includes other perks like central air conditioning and the “endless cookie jar” by the stairs to which guests can help themselves. We enjoyed freshly-baked oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. Guests can also purchase beer and wine from the bar in the basement according to the honor code. There’s a price list near the refrigerator.

For those who enjoy walking, The Decker House is located near the downtown area and Music Man square. It’s next door to the public library, across the street from a not-too-lively mall, and minutes from the Frank Lloyd Wright hotel.

Parfait with freshly-picked strawberries

My husband had to leave for work early in the mornings, so he missed several of the breakfasts but the ladies left out muffins and fruit. I enjoyed everything they prepared: Blueberry pancakes, waffles with a cornmeal crunch, scrambled eggs, and a frittata filled with caramelized onions and potatoes. The meals always began with hot coffee, fresh fruit, and a different type of muffin.

Mid-way through the week, the staff picked strawberries and incorporated them into rest of the meals.

All in all, we had a relaxing stay at The Decker House. Rooms range in price. They’re more expensive than the area’s motels, similar to a regular hotel room (or maybe slightly less) and less than the Frank Lloyd Wright hotel.

Unlike a hotel, the bed and breakfast does not have certain amenities like flat screen televisions (cable is available) and a fitness center, though guests can request daily passes to the city’s two YMCA locations, the larger of which has a pool.

Most of all, I appreciate that I never had to worry about cleanliness or safety, and the three course breakfasts, of course. I prefer bed and breakfasts over hotels, especially when traveling solo, because I like feeling like I’m staying in someone’s home, but with additional privacy.

If you find yourself spending the evening in Mason City or Clear Lake, IA, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Decker House. We felt warmly welcomed to the community.

*One night for dinner, The Quarry, located in the courtyard of the mall, packed us bowls of homemade split pea and ham soup and charred bread to go for only $6 each. It’s a five minute walk from the inn.