From down-home cozy to grandiose Victorian, there's a generous measure of hospitality and atmosphere at Bed and Breakfast inns that make a stay at these small establishments worth seeking out.
While a dreamy night's sleep is practically a given, morning is when the stars come out. Here are five South Carolina inns that shine exceptionally bright at breakfast, offering a start to your day that's unforgettable and delicious.
Bloomsbury Inn, Camden
When Katherine and Bruce Brown retired from illustrious U.S. Air Force careers to assume ownership of this antebellum property in historic Camden, their military training demanded attention to detail. That discipline was transformational for the inn, which has gathered many accolades.
This is the quintessential bed and breakfast experience. Included with your stately accommodations is an exquisitely prepared breakfast, served up with a delightful side of local lore, courtesy of Bruce.
Take a seat in the elegant peacock-themed dining room, where coffee cups steam with custom-blended brew or Charleston-grown tea, if you prefer. For a fruit course, there might be cool, refreshing cantaloupe soup followed by Eggs Benedict with Black Forest ham.
Listen to colorful accounts of the home's past inhabitants as you slather pillowy, piping hot skillet biscuits with house-made jams such as lemon lavender or peach tea. It's a royal way to begin your day, but then that's no wonder considering one of Katherine's military duties was overseeing a visit by the Queen of England.
Rose Hill Estate, Aiken
Old World charm is abundant at this gorgeous garden property, which encompasses an entire city block in the equestrian town of Aiken.
That charm also influences the menu. One of the inn's owners, Eva Mueller, immigrated from Germany in the 1950s and brought along a few special European culinary touches.
While breakfast at Rose Hill might begin with house-baked breads like chocolate chip muffins, followed by yogurt with fresh fruit, an egg dish and breakfast meats, you're also likely to be served such treats as kaiserschmarrn, a buttery shredded pancake with bits of apple or waffles made with a rose bouquet waffle iron, a nod to the inn that makes for one of the prettiest breakfast plates you'll ever see.
And just in case all this doesn't make you feel special enough, everything is served up on china from Eva's collection.
Pettigru Place, Greenville
Cajun eggs with cornbread, avocado relish and andouille hollandaise.
Cinnamon roll pancakes with cream cheese glaze.
Tomato pie with eggs and bacon.
Gingerbread pancakes with pumpkin ice cream, sausage and apples.
The mouthwatering list goes on and on ...
It's safe to say it would behoove you to awaken in a ravenous state when you stay at this inn, located in Greenville's historic Pettigru District. This is gourmet breakfast done right and then some, thanks to the creative culinary talents of innkeeper Lori Donaldson. Don't worry about calories.
You'll need all that deliciousness to fuel a full day of shopping, a leisurely walk through Falls Park or a trip to Greenville Zoo.
Banana split waffle with bacon - just had to throw one more in there.
Three Pines View, Salem
Smell that refreshing mountain air tinged with coffee - this is the stuff great mornings are made of.
Three Pines View, set in the Blue Ridge foothills of South Carolina, accommodates early risers and sleepyheads alike as guests choose when to break their fast. Dine at the community table or take a private seat in the dining room - it's all about you and your comfort zones.
There's a two-course plated meal which includes a starter of a breakfast bread - blueberry, chocolate or cinnamon swirl - and either a fruit soup, parfait, broiled grapefruit or fruit salad.
The main course demands you sit back and savor. Think puff pastry with Asiago, Parmesan and egg, Chunky Monkey pancakes, baked French toast or fluffy omelets, each sided with breakfast potatoes, bacon and sausage.
After all that decadence, you probably won't want lunch, warns innkeeper Sharon Conkey.
East Main Guest House, Rock Hill
A memorable breakfast begins with a comfortable chair. It should also include fresh-cut flowers from the garden and pretty vintage plates. Delicious Southern food to dress the plates is the finishing touch.
At East Main Guest House, located in a historic neighborhood in Rock Hill's Old Town district, ambiance is second-to-none. Melba Peterson, who oversees operations at this family-run inn, says the breakfast table should invite guests to sit and chat, so she sees to it that you'll want to linger.
Yogurt laced with honey and a dish of fresh fruit are served up first, as it is "good for digestion," according to Melba. It might be followed up with a savory egg and cheese dish or one of her scrumptious French toast recipes.
The grits and sausage casserole is a repeat guest-pleaser and is usually paired with baked tomatoes and basil fresh from her garden. When the garden is brimming, a scramble of eggs with fresh peppers, mushrooms, asparagus and zucchini incites plenty of "oohs" and "aahs."
Your pleasure is the point of all that early-morning kitchen work. "People who seek out bed and breakfasts are the nicest of people," Melba says. "So, we just try to be nice, too."