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The Alling House B&B is a hybrid lodging property, offering traditional bed and breakfast experiences in addition to five cottages in the back courtyard. Between the main house and the cottages, there are eight total areas that guests are allowed to choose between, dependent on the experience they are seeking. For those with more people than a few, all of the cottages can be rented out to a single group looking to have a get-together. Alling House is located in Orange City, Florida, roughly an hour north of Orlando. The main home was built in 1908, and the property is named after one of the house's residents, Edward B. Alling, who lived there for over 40 years.
The five cottages and main home that make up The Alling House B&B are all located in downtown Orange City, Florida. The property spans across 2.6 acres and is spotted with trees that protect against the hot summer sun for which Florida is often known. Alling House consists of the five previously-mentioned cottages—each unique in style and decoration—as well as three bedrooms on the second floor of the main home.
The property can be considered a hybrid lodging experience due to the mix of the traditional bed and breakfast rooms and private cottages. A cement oval surrounds the courtyard in the center of the cottages, connecting the various parts of the property and allowing for easy access to the main house's common rooms. A small fountain is also located outside, providing little burbling noises to the ambiance. Alling House B&B contains an assortment of features and amenities, ranging from everyday staples of the industry to the owners' unique personal touches.
Each room/cottage has a private bathroom, large flat-screen television with cable networks, a movie library, dressers, and seating areas. Three of the units on the property have tubs, and several rooms/cottages have adjustable beds. Some more unique features include toiletry supplies such as Q-tips or toothbrushes, a tire swing, bicycles, electric fireplaces, washers, and dryers. Additionally, the cottages have full kitchens that come stocked with typical breakfast supplies such as milk, orange juice, cereal, and coffee. This continental breakfast comes as part of the cottage's paramount price.
However, a full breakfast may be purchased as desired, which can be served in the main home or delivered to the individual cottage. When staying in one of the three rooms on the main building's second floor, guests receive this full breakfast as part of their room's cost. Typically this breakfast consists of sliced fruit, small pastries such as muffins or sweetbread, and the main dish. Eggs benedict, various french toast creations, and banana nut pancakes are a few examples of meals served at Alling House B&B. All breakfasts are made by one of the owners—Nan Hill—and she is willing to cater to specific dietary needs or preferences if informed ahead of time. She varies her menu daily, ensuring that guests staying for a week or two will be receiving different plates each day.
Nan manages the property in conjunction with her husband, Gerald. Seeing as how they were the ones to convert the property into a bed and breakfast, they personally decorated all of the decorating on-site. They each have favorite units due to the unique styling. Gerald's favorite cottage is the Frontier Cottage, which is decorated with antiques that cowboys might have used. As a whole, the cottage has a western theme, with multiple movie posters of the genre displayed on the walls. Nan's favorite cottage is the Victorian Cottage, mainly because of its king-sized canopy bed and lacy decorations. Both of the owners also enjoy the Nature Cottage due to its soothing environment and the aquarium inside. The Alling House B&B is open year-round.
There are a variety of different cultures that are sought after at The Alling House B&B. Gerald—one of the property's owners—explains that the area is "a nice relaxing atmosphere." The combination of Orange City's quiet nature, in conjunction with the inherent environment of a bed and breakfast, guarantee peaceful relaxation if the guests desire it. In particular, Gerald points to their small fountain in the courtyard as a source of serenity. However, Gerald and his wife, Nan, are parents of two children, and thus have an understanding of family trips. Children of all ages are allowed in the cottages—some of which can accommodate up to eight people—and kids aged nine and older are welcome to stay in the main house. Often, family reunions are held at The Alling House. Each family unit takes one of the five cottages, and they frequently meet up in the middle of the courtyard to socialize and play games.
There are multiple tables and chairs available on the property to make such activities possible and convenient. The oval cement path that runs around the courtyard is a frequent "race track" for the children, who are able to use some of the bicycles at Alling House. They also often use the tire swing in the back yard. The decorations inside of the cottages and rooms also add to the culture of the property. Each unit is distinctly decorated according to a wide assortment of themes and styles.
Gerald explains that guests can look around their rooms for hours and still not see all that there is to see. Included in the items of that search are a uniquely extensive collection of toiletry items and other travel necessities that guests might have forgotten to bring with them. That fact is an aspect of the bed and breakfast that is frequently mentioned in guest reviews, along with the cleanliness, location, and treatment they received from the staff. One visitor stated, "We were very impressed with Alling House. The property is very well kept. The cottages are very clean. We had two of them for the weekend. The owners are very friendly. They truly care about their guests. The attention to detail is fabulous and makes for a very warm experience. The kitchens impressed me with how well stocked they were."
For a bed and breakfast, The Alling House has a number of reviews, and the majority of them are five stars. For extra attention to detail, the innkeepers have placed notebooks in each unit detailing the various activities in the area. Gerald also includes his own "food critic's review" of the local restaurants in downtown Deland, which is located a short drive to the north.
The quaint nature of Orange City allows people to stay in a quiet atmosphere while maintaining a close distance to a wide range of attractions. A few notable ones are the Blue Spring State Park, Stetson University, and Disneyworld. At the Blue Spring State Park, visitors can do boating activities or try to catch a glimpse of the manatees that are known to come up the stream in winter months. Stetson University has a "beautiful campus" that people can explore, and Disneyworld and other world-renowned Orlando attractions are only about an hour's drive to the south.
The Alling House B&B is currently owned by Gerald and Nan Hill, though the history of the property spans back over a century. The house was initially constructed in 1908, marking it as part of the Orange City Historic District. The first owner, Samuel C. Hood, was a resident for some time, eventually selling the property to Edward B. Alling in 1918. Mr. Alling is the person for whom the property is currently named, due to his sizeable contributions to the community and his long time (over 40 years) staying in the home. He served for four terms as mayor of Orange city and donated the property where the city hall is currently located, in addition to spearheading efforts to erect it. The inn's history is somewhat vague between Edward's ownership and the home's eventual conversion into a bed and breakfast.
When Gerald and Nan Hill came across The Alling House, they were in a moment of economic uncertainty. It was likely that Gerald was going to be laid off due to a dying industry, so the couple was searching for a new line of work as they entered their later years together. Despite investigating multiple avenues of work, Nan's previous desires to own a bed and breakfast ended up being the dominant factor in the couple's decision to buy The Alling House. In April of 2003, they purchased the home and started designing it to be a bed and breakfast immediately.
Many renovations were required to bring the house to conditions suitable for the industry, and so it wasn't until September 1st, 2004, that the property opened for official business. Later, in 2007, projects were completed to add two new cottages to the premises, owing to the popularity of the existing cottage on-site. When success continued to be seen in the cottages, two more were constructed in 2008, totaling to the five that are part of The Alling House today.
215 E French Ave
Florida, United States 32763
Bed and Breakfast
Gerald & Nan Hill