Sweet Getaway

A Glen Mills B&B that feels like home—and, in a way, it is.



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In summer, when their neighbors are heading to their mountain retreats or the crowded Shore towns of South Jersey, Chris and Vicki Le Vine travel a mere 15 miles from their Bryn Mawr home to Sweetwater Farm Bread & Breakfast in Glen Mills. For seven years, the couple has owned this tranquil getaway on 50 pristine acres in the heart of the Brandywine Valley. Convenience aside, the minute you pull around the circular drive to the stately stone Georgian Manor-style main house, you feel light-years removed from the hectic pace of everyday life.

Sweetwater Farm’s impressive kitchen features a large center island, a commercial-grade oven and the home’s original brick fireplace. (Photo by John Lewis)“Since we took over ownership of Sweetwater, we’ve strived to make it the best it can be,” says Vicki. “We want our guests to feel as comfortable as they would at home.”

The B&B’s main house features seven guest rooms—three in the 1734 Quaker farmhouse and four in the 1815 Georgian addition. Everything is updated, including the property’s seven cottages. “Every time we travel, we stay in a B&B to get ideas and experience what it must be like for our guests staying with us,” says Vicki.
“My husband is always jotting down notes.”

While theirs is a historic home, the Le Vines know that guests expect modern comforts—amenities like flat-screen televisions, spacious en-suite bathrooms with spa-like showers, wireless Internet access, and luxurious queen-size beds. Each room has a unique style accented by richly colored woodwork. In the home’s 1815 wing, the Caldwell Room’s sunny aesthetic includes a yellow-and-white checkered area rug, a fireplace, a writing table, and crisp floral bedding beneath a beautiful white lace canopy.

In the more rustic farmhouse section of the home, guests can stay in the Dormer Room, which was once used as a hospital for the Underground Railroad (the innkeepers gladly will share the rich history with anyone interested in hearing it). It features a sloped ceiling with original hardwood floors, an Oriental area rug, an exposed brick wall, a sitting area, and dormer windows with gorgeous views of the property.

The kitchen is one of the home’s more impressive renovations. Although quaint, the original space couldn’t accommodate the cooking needs of the staff. “We serve a full three-course breakfast every morning, either in the dining room or on the outside patio,” Vicki says. “So we needed a modern, professional kitchen.”

Bryn Mawr’s E.B. Mahoney Builders handled all of the work, which involved expanding the space to include a large center island with a gray-and-tan granite top, a commercial-grade oven and plenty of cabinet space. The original brick fireplace brings Old World charm to the modernized surroundings. “If guests want to sit at the [kitchen] island reading the paper while breakfast is being prepared, they’re welcome to do so,” says Vicki.

The living room opens to a billiards room filled with rowing memorabilia. (Photo by John Lewis)The first-floor’s common areas also include the living room, den and billiards room. The latter features memorabilia from Chris’ side of the family, many of whom had a passion for the water. His maternal grandfather, rowing legend John B. Kelly Sr., was a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the father of Hollywood legend Grace Kelly. His mother, Lizann, is the youngest of the Kelly siblings. A set of oars hanging in the room was used by Le Vine’s uncle, John Kelly Jr., when he won the Henley Royal Regatta. Relatives Prince Albert and Princess Caroline have both stayed at Sweetwater while visiting the area.
 

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