Historic bed-and-breakfasts opening their doorsThe seven historic bed-and-breakfast inns of Duluth are having a holiday tour Dec. 12. All of the historic inns will be adorned in decorations and open for public tour.
By: Lauren Lundeen, Budgeteer News
The holidays are coming up, which can mean stress for everyone. And while the snow hasn’t taken over yet, the holidays surely have in the department stores. All the lights, trees and decorations give us that warm feeling inside, reminding us of what’s to come in the near future.
Yards with Santas, Whoville displays and houses with lights strung all over them can be seen everywhere.
Some holiday treats you don’t get to see every year are the historic bed-and-breakfast inns of Duluth decorated in holiday décor.
On Dec. 12, however, you will get that chance.
“All seven historic inns are all opened from 1 to 5 (p.m.), each offering light refreshments, drinks and music of some sorts,” said Angie Allen, an innkeeper at A.G. Thomson House.
Allen’s inn will be joined by Ellery House, Mathew S. Burrows, Cotton Mansion, Solglimt, Olcott House and Firelight Inn for the tour.
According to Allen, people should take advantage of this event because it may not take place every year.
“We didn’t do the tour last year,” she said. “We took a year off, so we definitely encourage people to see it. We never know year-to-year if we’re going to do it.”
For the tour, the innkeepers of each house can decorate their inn however they want. Each house has something different, which Allen finds is one of the more special aspects about the tour.
“We go all out for Christmas; we are almost like the Griswolds,” Allen said. “The outside is decorated in lights with LED lights. There are five Christmas trees in the main level of the house, and they’re all decorated.
“And we have a large collection of Santas that I divided in two levels.”
Even though innkeepers decorate their own houses, the holiday tour is a joint effort between all of the historic inns of Duluth.
Allen said the innkeepers belong to a nonprofit group and that they take delight in sharing their houses.
“It’s really fun,” she said. “We’re caretakers of this really beautiful house and, in the past, we’ve always enjoyed sharing our house with people. It’s always fun to open your doors and share what you’ve done.
“Our sole purpose is to let people come in, wind down and enjoy.”
Allen and her husband have been at the A.G. Thomson House since August of 2007. Some of the other innkeepers have been at their homes for more than 20 years. No matter how long they’ve been at each house, they all take great pride in their homes.
“They’re great homes, and we all look at ourselves as caretakers — and it’s nice to be able to share it and enjoy the season,” Allen said.
One of the interesting aspects of the holiday tour is that everyone can learn a bit of history. Each house has a story behind it, from when it was built to now. For example, the A.G. Thomson House is a Dutch Colonial built in 1909.
“The owner was part owner of the Kelley-How-Thomson hardware store,” Allen said. “He was actually the second owner of the house.”
Each inn has a great amount of history that can be learned during the holiday tour.
Tickets for the event are for all of the inns, in any order. There is no set number of tickets that will be sold, but anyone interested can call any inn or visit the Duluth B&Bs website at www.duluthbandb.com.
“The last time we did the tour was in 2008 and we had well over 400 people come through the inns,” Allen said. “It was a blast and we really enjoy doing it, so take advantage of us being open if you’re interested.”
The holiday tour is an exciting event, especially for Allen. It isn’t just about Christmas or how many decorations can be put up; it’s about taking time to wind down and enjoy the things around it: “It’s a time to take a day off, relax and not think about the stresses that are going on in the world — whether you celebrate Christmas or not,” she said.
NEWS TO USE
The seven historic bed-and-breakfast inns of Duluth are having a holiday tour from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 12. All of the historic inns will be adorned in decorations and open for public tour. Light refreshments will be available at each inn. Tickets are $20 in advance (by calling 724-3464) or $25 at the door.