Annabel Inn is located at 611 N. Seventh Street in Cottonwood. For more information, call 928-649-3038 or visit www.theannabelinn.com.
© Paul Markow
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Feels Like HomeGuests often refer to the Annabel Inn in Old Town Cottonwood as "home away from home." It's certainly cozy like home, but not many homes come with gourmet French cooking that's deliciously indulgent and healthy, too.
By Roger Naylor
Cottonwood Virtually all B&Bs strive to create a sense of hominess. Some succeed, but none make it seem as effortless as Annabel Sclippa, a charming, vivacious woman with a smile so radiant it makes the Cheshire cat look like a pallbearer.
"Feels like home" is the refrain echoed over and over by those who have stayed at the Annabel Inn in Cottonwood, a cozy European-style cottage tucked away in Old Town. Inn guestbooks are stuffed with photos and bubble with sentiment and memories. It's like thumbing through a beloved family album. Open only 3 years, every week sees guests coming back for their second, third or 10th visit. Many visitors even book their next stay before checking out. Now that they've discovered a home away from home, they hang on tight.
Annabel Inn is a small three-bedroom house that seems larger because the lush front patio becomes an extension of the quarters. Umbrella-covered tables line the deck, which is bordered by containers bursting with Annabel's herbs and edible flowers. Almond and pecan trees provide fresh nuts and afternoon shade. The yard is swaddled in greenery with reading chairs strategically placed near a cheerful fountain.
Guests awaken to bed-emptying aromas emanating from the kitchen. Annabel applies her gourmet cooking skills, French heritage and environmental awareness to create culinary works of art that are both deliciously indulgent and healthy. What she doesn't grow, she purchases locally. She also creates many of the things you'll see on the table, like lavender honey and herb butter.
After countless requests for recipes, Annabel finally put together a slender cookbook titled, One Dozen Little French Breakfasts and the Little Stories That Came With Them. Included are favorites such as stuffed french toast and a ratatouille omelet.
While Annabel cooks, guests flow in and out of the kitchen, pouring coffee, fetching juice from the fridge or carrying recyclables out to the porch. Not many inns allow such a complete run of the house, but at this B&B it seems natural. Everybody wants to watch Annabel work, or hear more of her stories, for which there's a lot of material.
Among other things, Annabel is toiling on a couple of novels, she travels internationally, she skydives, she takes horseback and motorcycle rides, and she still finds time to organize events in the Old Town galleries and restaurants that are just outside her door. Oh, and by the way, she manages this hectic lifestyle from a wheelchair. Annabel has been paralyzed from the waist down since an auto accident in 1988, when she was 17.
The Annabel Inn draws a mix of international visitors, eco-friendly travelers, chowhounds, bikers, girlfriends on getaways, wine connoisseurs, birders and adventurers. But they share a common trait. They like to stay at a place that feels like home.