In Alabama’s largest metropolitan area in and around Birmingham with a population of 1.1 million, it is hard to believe that one couple has a monopoly on B&B’s in the city. Ira and Sheila Chaffin purchased the 1898 Victorian Inn in 2003 and painstakingly restored it to the point that it received the “Preservation Award of Excellence” from the Birmingham Historical Society in 2005. They named it Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast and have received rave reviews from their guests.
While enjoying their neighborhood in Historic Five Points, they noticed another Victorian mansion, the Hassinger Daniels Mansion, a few blocks away and got to know Mrs. Venoa Daniels, the owner, but never had a chance to look inside. Mrs. Daniels was a colorful character on her street and lived upstairs in the mansion while Daniels’ Optician operated on the ground floor. As she got older, she was no longer able to negotiate the stairs and moved to an assisted living facility. After finally getting a chance to look inside, Ira and Sheila couldn’t resist the challenge of another major restoration and bought it from the Daniels family. The major reconstruction project took two years. Their only regret is that Mrs. Daniels died before she got to see the end result.
Read on to learn more about the Hassinger Daniels Mansion and reasons to stay:
Beautiful restoration comes to life as Birmingham's 2nd bed and breakfast
The Hassinger Daniels Mansion likely survived from 1898, when so many others around it were torn down, because only two families inhabited it from the beginning. The original owner, William Hassinger, was an iron investor who brought electricity to the area. He and his wife Virginia lived there until 1929. Afterwards, the Daniels family purchased it and moved in. The Chaffins bought it in 2010.
This lovely Victorian/Queen Anne home features light colored brick, a wrap-around verandah, and gables and turrets on the roof. The front sidewalk leads to an iron gate opening to Highland Avenue, once known as Silk Stocking Row.
Gorgeous interior architectural details
Inside the Hassinger Daniels Mansion Bed and Breakfast, the architectural details will have you gazing in wonder through every room. There are chandeliers with ornate medallions, high ceilings, and fireplaces everywhere you look. The wall colors are bright, and the wainscoting and other wood trim reflect the opulent Victorian time period. The stained glass windows in the staircase are breathtaking.
Each guest room is unique
Ten individually-decorated rooms are available for guests, most sleeping two but several sleeping up to four people. The names give hints of the interesting details inside. The Peacock Room features a full-size peacock bed crown, for example, and the Seraphim Room includes hand-carved angels. The Camelot Room is particularly stunning with its octagonal turret window and a hand-carved carousel horse.
Many have clawfoot tubs in the bathrooms, and all utilize antique furniture and vintage touches. There are glass transoms over the tall doors. In addition to all of these details, guests still have the advantage of complimentary Wi-Fi in each room.
On a quick note, the clawfoot tubs have high sides that might be a little challenging to get in and out of, especially for guests with short legs.
A bonus in the basement
A major bonus for the guests of this bed and breakfast is the presence of Chaffin Carousel Carving School in the basement. Ira Chaffin majored in fine arts at the University of Southern California and is a professional sculptor. He is sought after around the country for portrait sculptures in both bronze and terra cotta clay. Chaffin enjoys carving carousel horses and other animals out of basswood and invites students of all ages and ability levels to come, learn, and work alongside him. A popular treat for guests, after eating breakfast and before check-out time, is to make their way around to the back of the mansion and step inside Chaffin’s studio.
Mrs. Sheila Chaffin has impressive credentials of her own. She majored in architecture and is well-known as both a city and a campus planner. They moved to Birmingham, in fact, in order for Mrs. Chaffin to work on the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus.
The talents of both Chaffins have made the Hassinger Daniels Mansion into the showplace it is today.
Don't forget breakfast and sweets
With all there is to see and experience inside this bed and breakfast, you might think that breakfast is an afterthought, but nothing could be further from the truth. Breakfast is served in the beautiful dining room at 8:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. It consists of a hot entree or sausage, croissant or biscuit, eggs and fruit with coffee and juice.
Complimentary soft drinks and other beverages are kept in the downstairs refrigerator, and there are cookies or pastries in the foyer in the afternoons.
Guests need not worry about going hungry. Dozens of restaurants, both fast food and very upscale, are within a three-block walking radius of Hassinger Daniels Mansion.
The location is the crowning touch
The Hassinger Daniels Mansion, because of its historical designation, was not required to become handicapped accessible, and Innkeeper Sheila Chaffin is allergic to pets, so those aren’t allowed at this point. However, there are still many reasons to choose this bed and breakfast for an overnight stay. One of which is its superb location in Historic Five Points. This part of the city has become the premier Birmingham hotspot for shopping, entertainment and dining. In fact, there are 42 restaurants, 7 bars and 32 retail stores all to enjoy without getting back in your car. Famed Highlands Bar and Grill is adjacent to the back of the property, and Chick-Fil-A is right next door. After coming in from dinner, the wraparound porch makes a delightful place to relax and watch the world go by.
Within a very short drive, you can find the Birmingham Museum of Art, Vulcan Park, Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham Botanical Gardens and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Other unique restaurants in Birmingham include John’s City Diner, Eagle’s Restaurant and Ovenbird.
For a special evening with a glimpse of a by-gone era, this bed and breakfast is sure to satisfy. The Hassinger Daniels Mansion attracts very well-educated travelers, and guests who search for architectural gems and value quirky touches over traditional comfort and amenities will be happy they made this choice.
Address: 2028 Highland Ave, Birmingham, AL 35205, United States
Contact: +1 (205) 918-9090 / [email protected]
Website: Currently under construction
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