The fine hospitality at Jefferson House Bed and Breakfast began right away when I walked through the front door and host Peter greeted me and quickly offered me a deep pour of white wine as he escorted me into the kitchen. After detecting his British accent, he revealed his roots in Jersey in the Channel Islands. We chatted for a bit, with him offering an abundance of information, from the best things to see in the city (two of which sounded a little too touristy but turned out to be very enjoyable — one a museum of toys and miniatures, the other a museum for a sunken riverboat and its treasures) to local restaurants for evening meals, and then he gave me the tour.
Built in 1896 in a quiet residential neighborhood mixed with Victorian and modern homes, Jefferson House stands as one of the surviving grande dames in Kansas City’s first suburb. The brick building was originally constructed as a 13-room home for a spice and seed dealer. A stone retaining wall frames the deep lawn that leads up to an inviting side porch. Guests then step into the fine entryway that opens to all the public spaces, including the generous dining room and the elegant stairway up to the guest rooms. When you’re not upstairs in your en-suite room, the living room provides another venue to relax and perhaps peruse the collection of books or consult your notes for the next day’s activities. A sofa and a couple of club chairs, a fireplace with a wonderful sea-green surround, and the absence of a television encourage conversation with the other guests. Throughout the entire B&B, lots of deep-set windows, fireplaces, and fine woodwork have been restored to their former glory.
My room, the Mulkey Suite, occupied the entire front of the second floor. The queen-size iron bed was a welcome sight, but I quickly came to appreciate the other features: half a dozen windows, a separate sitting room with a cast-iron radiator, a spacious bathroom with an artisan towel rail and toiletries from a local Kansas City business, and throwback details like a manual typewriter and a Victorian leathered writing desk. The plate of shortbread biscuits, just waiting to be devoured, was a welcome added touch.
The powerful ceiling fan in my room was more than sufficient to keep me cool all night, and I woke the next morning refreshed, and fairly stunned by the glowing temperature reading on a visible billboard downtown: 34, a shocking contrast to yesterday’s 89. I headed downstairs and met Peter’s wife, Theresa, who served me a delicious breakfast of orange juice; Greek yogurt with granola, cinnamon, and fresh blueberries and strawberries; and creamy scrambled eggs with onions and herbs plucked from the garden behind the B&B, alongside spinach and grape tomatoes.
Breakfast and fellow guests continued to evolve every day that I stayed here. The following morning, a husband and wife photographer and accountant from Evansville, Indiana, recently married, joined me for a morning meal of lemon-poppy waffles with blackberry compote, and fresh strawberries, blueberries, and pineapples with granola. The next morning, our party expanded with the arrival of a senior couple from the Pacific Northwest fond of missionary work, and our breakfast included warm porridge with bananas and blueberries, and Mediterranean quiche with brown bread.
After breakfast on my final day — pineapples, grapes, and strawberries; pumpkin bread; and a butternut squash tartlet with toasted pecans and poached egg, with spinach and cherry tomatoes — I was anxious to continue onto the next leg of my journey outside of Kansas City. But I was also reluctant to check out.
With both abundant street parking and easy access to downtown by foot, Jefferson House’s location makes it perfect for exploring the city. Combined with its somniferous rooms, charming hosts, scrumptious breakfasts, and refined character, this bed and breakfast easily rates as one of Kansas City’s top accommodations.