Victorian elegance still reigns at Hines Mansion
While doing a road trip around the Southwest I stopped in Provo, Utah for a few days and stayed at the enchanting and historic Hines Mansion Bed and Breakfast—which is located on the corner of a tree-lined street right in the heart of downtown, against the backdrop of the splendid Wasatch Mountains.
The mansion was built in a Victorian, turn-of-the-century style in 1895 by Russel and Kitty Hines, whose money was earned in the mining industry. The Hines Mansion is believed to have been designed by influential Utah architect, Richard Karl August Kletting, who also designed the Utah State Capitol building. According to historic records, the Mansion was built as a showplace during Provo’s recovery from a major boom-and-bust period in the area’s early economic history.
New owners Kyle and Michelle Schick continue the pain-staking effort of maintaining and preserving this historic structure that plays a vital part of the unique heritage of downtown Provo. Michelle really enjoys shopping for antiques, always on a hunt for period pieces and artifacts of the era to enhance the authenticity of the Mansion. Take for example the parlor, where oddities are on display in the “cabinet of curiosity” that includes a couple of 100+ year old porcelain bobble-heads (and here we thought this was a recent fad). She has also acquired a fully intact stereoscopic viewfinder for looking at travel photos at which guests can take a gander. There is also a turn-of-the-century pull knob piano and a hand crank phonograph. All of these items in the parlor are how Russel and Kitty Hines would have entertained guests back in the day, and now give visitors a glimpse of yesteryear.
The Hines Mansion has nine individually themed rooms to choose from and I got to peek into a couple of them. One I found most interesting was the Library Suite, which has a hidden door that leads to the bathroom, and a spiral staircase ascending to a pitched-roof nook that features a romantic whirlpool tub for two. As you would expect, there are many books on display, and, to add to the theme, one wall is covered with wallpaper simulating books. Another room is western themed and called, “The Lodge.” Rumor has it that this room once played host to Butch Cassidy. The Eagles Nest (aka the Penthouse Suite) is the largest room and is located on the top floor with a red, white and blue Independence motif with a whirlpool tub situated in the cupola looking out at downtown Provo.
For a college town, Provo is pretty laid back and quiet,with an air of contentment. I suspect there are more candy emporiums and ice cream parlors than bars. Provo is a charming town with beautiful old architectural buildings lining Center Street, full of shops, restaurants, monuments and parks, all of which are within walking distance of the Hines Mansion. Hiking, rivers, spectacular waterfalls and other outdoor activities are just a short drive away.
Upon my arrival I was treated to a cold bottle of water along with some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies…which was such a nice touch. During my stay I learned that the Hines Mansion is a family run business. In addition to Kyle and Michelle taking the lead, one of their daughters and son in-law live on-site and help run the B&B. The family has a thirst for travel and have done so fairly extensively, so there was no shortage of things to talk about. During one of my conversations I learned that Kyle was once a chemical engineer and currently owns a race car company in which he is one of the drivers. As far as innkeepers go, this family has to have one of the most interesting backgrounds I’ve come across.
In addition to the lovely accommodations, each morning you’ll be treated to breakfast fit for mansion nobility. During my stay I enjoyed fresh cut fruit each morning with Greek yogurt and homemade granola, along with an entree. One morning we had French toast with bananas and roasted pecans accompanied by some sausage. The next morning it was scrambled eggs, fresh basil and apple wood smoked bacon. Of course juice and coffee were also available.
There are many interesting nooks and crannies in the Hines Mansion, it gives one pause as to the stories it could tell beyond the ones being passed on by its current occupants. The chandelier above the grand staircase for example, was a prop in the movie Gone with the Wind. If you’re looking for a quiet and peaceful getaway, check out the Hines Mansion in Provo, Utah.
While in Provo…
Restaurants that I tried and would recommend:
- Guru’s Cafe is just a few blocks away from the B&B. Fast casual with modern look/feel and outstanding food.
- Mariscos los Chinchorros is a very authentic Mexican restaurant, so much so that it’s helpful if you speak Spanish. Also just a couple blocks from the B&B.
- Bombay House – If you like Indian food, this place is outstanding. It’s a bit far to walk, but a very short drive.
- The Spoon – A top-notch cafeteria for NuSkin employees, but open to the public. Beautiful space with clean lines, massive TVs and a healthful menu.
- Bridal Veil Falls – A park with hiking trails and massive waterfall. Very cool area just a short drive from the B&B on the way to Sundance.
- Timpanogos Cave National Monument – A hidden underground world awaits at this Provo treasure.
- Provo City Center Temple – Just a couple blocks from the B&B is this amazing architectural landmark with stunning gardens.
If you’ve ever stayed at the Hines Mansion, please leave a comment below and share your experience. Click here to see more photos of the Hines Mansion Bed and Breakfast.
Hines Mansion Bed and Breakfast Information: