On the eve of Thanksgiving, I met with Jill Bickford, owner and operator of the Inn at Pearl Street, “a vintage boutique hotel on Judge’s Hill.” I have a personal connection to the inn. My parents stayed there for their 40th wedding anniversary, a short two years before my mother passed of a brain aneurysm. So I have fond memories of preparing their room with chocolates and cheeses, wine and flowers. The inn itself offers Celebration Packages: sparkling beverages, strawberries and chocolates, or warm breakfast on the balcony are among the favorites. One also can enjoy Texas wine, complimentary snacks, continental breakfast and wireless connectivity.
The courtyard deck and patio are shaded by elder oaks and pecans with instrumental piped music and a capacity for up to 200 guests. The rear of the property has three apartments which offer daily, weekly or monthly short-term rates for those requiring longer stays. It’s centrally located and within walking distance of shops and restaurants. The IMAX and Blanton are nearby as well as Texas Performing Arts and the Ransom Center, and the Victoria House (named for Jill’s mother) even has its own resident ghost. A woman in all white has been seen making her way between the Gothic and French rooms and in a rocker with a baby cradled in each arm, the twins, who in life died on Easters of different years. Jill’s mother (member of CASA and a docent at LBJ Library) did research on the property confirming the latter events, although it was two plumbers working on renovations and staying in the house that actually saw the apparition.
Bickford is unconcerned and actually comforted by the presence of these other worldly spirits because they seem to serve a protective quality as well, encouraging those perhaps untoward guests to shorten their stays by locking doors or just causing excited commotion in uninhabited areas. This activity reportedly occurred in the Burton House, named for her father, a retired dentist, who followed her mother in death by four years. Whatever you believe, the property is love apparent. Two houses named for a loving couple, and the love labor of a daughter, who simply wants all of her guests to have memorable, engaging experiences whether they are TV hosts or hostesses or you or me.
Her focus is whimsical and old world, with an eye for romantic and luxurious upgrades. A little history? – In 1914, the property was the home of 26th Judicial District Judge Charles A. Wilcox and his family. Then in the early 1980s, the property was briefly used as a movie set, even as its structures were falling into disrepair. In 1993, restoration efforts began in full. The property itself has been in existence for at least a century, and I hope it endures for at least another. For more reasons than one, it would be a shame to see it go.
The Inn at Pearl Street is so much more than just a bed and breakfast. It’s also Twilight Dinner for Two, Limousine Service or a Romantic Carriage Ride into other parts of the city, Healing Hands Massage and other monthly specials. Customize a package, plan a wedding reception or just suggest it to a friend. Endearing, cozy, quaint and welcoming.
Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street
809 West Martin Luther King Blvd. (at the corner of 1809 Pearl Street)
Austin, Texas 78701