Rock Cliff Mansion Bed and Breakfast

Rock Cliff Mansion Bed and Breakfast

The Rockcliffe Mansion Bed & Breakfast in Hannibal, MO is the American equivalent to Downton Abby.  Or else, it very well could be if someone were to write a PBS series for it.

Rockcliffe Mansion Entry |

Hannibal’s Steampunk Festival

Hannibal MO Steampunk Festival 2017 |

My son, Carver, and I arrived late Friday night 2 weeks ago for the Hannibal MO Steampunk Festival.  If I had know what an incredible venue Rockcliffe Mansion was, I would have hustled my bustle over there hours earlier.  I picked this B&B because of its close proximidy to the festival as well as its Victorian era charm. 

Rockcliffe Mansion Library |
The Library

Steampunk is Victorian Science Fiction on steroids complete with corsets, gears, and gadgets.   Think Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and the movie Wild Wild West with Kevin Kline, Will Smith, and Salma Hayak.

Hannibal’s Crown Jewel: Rockcliffe Mansion B&B

Rockcliffe Mansion Bed and Breakfast |

There are several things that make Rock Cliff a historical wonder.  First of all, the mansion stood completely deserted for over 40 years.  Then when it was reclaimed, days before demolition, it was operated as a museum.  

Rockcliffe Mansion Entry |
The music room. On the right is 1 of the 2 original pianos.

However for those 40+ years, the plumbing and the fixtures were not repaired.  When Warner and Juan bought the mansion in 2010, they completely restored and renovated the plumbing, electricity, and made it more than habitable.  They made it incredibly comfortable for their guests without sacrificing the historical integrity.

Rockcliffe Mansion Entry |
This was my room. It was bright and cheery during the day and so cozy and dark at night. I slept like a baby!

I was shocked to learn at least 85% of the furnishings, art work, artifacts, and wall coverings are original to the house.

Rockcliffe Mansion B&B smoking room |
The gentlemen’s smoking room. The liquor on the table is from the house’s cellar. There’s a bottle of Cuban rum from 1876!
Tiffany window of Rockcliffe Mansion B&B |
This giant Tiffany window sits at the top of the stairs and is clearly visible from the front entry. Truly spectacular!

Rockcliffe Mansion Details

The architectural details are mind blowing at the Bed and Breakfast.  The table below (original to the house) was hand carved in Florence Italy shortly after the owner saw one exactly like it at the St. Louis 1904 World’s Fair.

Hand carved Italian table of Rockcliffe Mansion Bed and Breakfast |

Corner detail of the above table
Detail of the table’s foot

I was particularly impressed with the music room’s mantel.  Right below is a close up picture of one of the hand carved facing mantel legs.  The sweet face is only about 3 inches.  If you look closely you can see her each of her teeth were carved.  My mind… boggling right now.  I can’t even conceive living in a world where people took the time and had the skill to do this artistry.  This is what we did before the internet… and television… and radio.

Rockcliffe Mansion Bed and Breakfast Hannibal MO |

 Most Favorite…

Ok… let’s just take a moment here because I have to tell the #1 most awesomest amazing thing I experienced at this darling B&B.  Don’t laugh.  It was nearly a religious experience…  The Shower.  

Victorian rain shower of the Rockcliffe Mansion B&B Hannibal MO |

I’m not kidding.  Yes, Juan is an excellent cook and as delicious as the breakfast was, and as delightful as our hosts were… the shower totally did it for me!  First off, it’s 117 freaking years old!!!  The only other time I’ve experienced water pressure of this magnitude was in Las Vegas in a deluge shower at the spa at the Winn Hotel.  Second of all, it’s so high!  I stretched my arms straight up and I couldn’t touch it and I’m 5’9″!  It was like diving into a pool straight up into the sky.  So cool.  Best shower of my life.  No joke.

Bed and Breakfast

In addition to staying in an elegant room with a great shower, we were also treated to a 3 course breakfast: a yogurt parfait, fruit plate, and sausage, ham, potatoes, and egg frittata.  

Rockcliffe Mansion breakfast in the dining room |
Every morning we were greeted with a sumptuous breakfast. It was both a feast for the eyes, the soul and the stomach.

The guest count at Rockcliffe Mansion is limited to 8 per night.  In the morning we would make our way down for coffee at 7:45am and then we would all sit at precisely 8:30am for breakfast.  It was so much fun getting to know everyone, hearing their stories, and what they had planned for the day.  I’m going to see if I can talk Jerry into a 4 night stay.  It felt as if we were living a dining room scene straight out of A Room With a View.

Rockcliffe Mansion breakfast in the dining room |

In the evenings, we were invited to a reception on the porch with the other guests where we were treated to wine and cheese as we looked over the town of Hannibal and the Mississippi.

Rockcliffe Mansion on the rooftop |
Carver and I on the rooftop at the end of our tour of the mansion. The Mississippi is behind us and we could see all of Hannibal. 4th of July from here must be spectacular!

A stay at Rock Cliff Mansion would not be complete without a guided tour.  We were simply stunned at all the innovations that were installed when the house was built, but also because so many of them were still in working order.

State of the art telecom cira 1900 |
This was the house’s state of the art intercom from the kitchen to the 2nd and 3rd floors.
Rockcliffe Mansion Ladies' Tea Room |
Notice the radiator here in the Ladies’ Tea Room. Each room had a radiator like this that was controlled by a thermostat in the room. This gave each room it’s own climate control capabilities!
Each room had its own climate control Rockcliffe Mansion B&B |
Detail of the Tea Room’s thermometer.

Put it on the calendar!

The bed and breakfast is open from March to November 15 and I highly recommend that you look at your calendars now and plan at least a 3 day excursion to Hannibal and stay at Rock Cliff.  

Side garden of Rockcliffe Mansion Bed and Breakfast |
Rockcliffe Mansion’s side garden and fountain.

Pack a deck of cards, a board game or 2, take your journal, a good book, your camera, a pair of comfy walking shoes and a hardy appetite.  (Don’t worry the WiFi is great!) It’s the perfect retreat to relax and rejuvenate.

Rockcliffe Mansion B&B |
View from the porch where we enjoyed a wine and cheese reception.

This week’s recipe: Homemade Yogurt

Each morning we were greeted with a 3 course breakfast. Here's the yogurt parfait. YUM! |

In the spirit of clever Victorian engineering ingenuity, I’m sharing my Sous Vide Yogurt recipe below.  Making yogurt in the sous vide is a easy and fun.  It takes awhile, but it’s worth it to have your own homemade yogurt.  Since it’s fresh, it lasts for about 3-4 weeks in the fridge unopened.

Sous Vide Yogurt

This recipe was inspired by my stay at Rock Cliff Mansion in Hannibal MO in September 2017.  Each morning we ate a delicious 3 course breakfast in the opulent dining room.  The 1st course was always a yogurt parfait served in a exquisite gold rimmed stemmed glass.  |
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours 8 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Madalaine


  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons yogurt starter or plain greek yogurt with live yogurt cultures
  • 8 Earl Grey tea bags optional
  • Equipment
  • Sous Vide
  • 4 mason jars with lids


  1. Fill sous vide with water and set temperature to 180.
  2. Put 1 cup milk and a tea bag in each mason jar.  Screw the lids on tightly.  Make sure you leave room to stir in 1 tablespoon yogurt.
  3. Put the mason jars into the sous vide.  Once the temperature has reached 180, let them remain in the bath for 45 minutes.
  4. Lower the sous vide temperature to 110F.  Once the temperature has been reached, let the jars stay in the water for 15-30 minutes.*
  5. Take the jars out of the water, take out the tea bags and discard.  Stir in 1 tablespoon yogurt or yogurt starter in each jar.  Seal the lids back on the jars and put them back in the water bath.
  6. Increase the temperature to 115F and incubate yogurt for 12-24 hours.**
  7. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Recipe Notes

*To cool the water faster, I pour out some of it and replace it with tap water.

**The longer the yogurt is incubated the thicker it will be.

Yogurt is fun to play around with all sorts of flavorings.  Try different teas, cinnamon, vanilla bean, or cardamon pods.  Or keep it plain and add honey, granola and berries when you sit down to enjoy it.

Nutrition Facts
Sous Vide Yogurt
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

3 thoughts on “Rock Cliff Mansion Bed and Breakfast”

    • YES! There is a darling Lebanese restaurant called LaBinnah. It’s excellent!!! It’s in an old Victorian home and the owner/chef lives upstairs. It’s very small, only 14 tables. He closes at 9pm. Carver and I walked in at 8:50pm and he sat us himself and our food was served quickly. It was delicious! I had a shrimp dish and Carver had a large pork chop. Both were very good! There’s also a darling Chocolatier on Main Street. They have good coffees, tons of chocolates, and ice cream. I hope you get a chance to go. 🙂

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