I’m not the type to spring out of bed and swap pleasantries with strangers over orange juice and eggs in the early A.M. This means I am generally not predisposed to staying at B&Bs. But let’s face it, some parts of Arizona are remote and a B&B is the only option. In other cases, a B&B is the best option.

Take the Inn at 410 in Flagstaff, the leafy block the 410 is located on is a short, pleasant walk to the heart of Flagstaff. The garrulous owner, Gordon Watkins, welcomes guests with a complimentary cocktail (or non-alcoholic beverage if you rather; the hosted bar with nibblies is available all evening) before he hands you your key, assists you with your luggage and gives you a property tour with his partner Frank.

I’m a fan of the Southwest Room, which evokes a Santa Fe state of mind—and a huge Jacuzzi tub, to boot. Thoughtful touches abound at aot blog framed.jpgthe inn and Gordon readily offers recommendations of where to eat, where to hike and where to shop. And because it’s Flagstaff, it manages to be both civil and unpretentious. The gourmet breakfast is served in courses; when I visited in June, I enjoyed mine al fresco on the porch. I’ll be back.

Across the state in Snowflake, I stayed at The Heritage Inn, smack in the middle of downtown. Owners Craig and JoAnne Guderian are welcoming hosts, transplants to the tiny burg of Snowflake, which is nestled in the White Mountains. On the April day I spent there, JoAnne led an informal tour of the historic Mormon-settled downtown for me and three of the inn’s other guests.

We ended up at Sank Flake’s “barn.” Flake is one of the town’s namesakes and one of Arizona’s most colorful characters: a 70-something lawman, cowboy and artist. He led us through his eye-popping, two-story residence chockablock with memorabilia including cowboy boots, furs, Native American collectibles, taxidermy animals and his own paintings. It’s like a private museum.

To say I was charmed was an understatement.

And that’s when it dawned on me: owners of B&Bs are usually engaged in their local communities, in ways larger hoteliers can’t be.

And that often means access for lucky guests.

Suzanne Wright is a nationally published travel writer, she’s visited five continents, 53 countries and all 50 states.