Accomodating Community: GLBT-Owned Places to Stay

One of the best parts of vacation is finding the perfect place to relax and unwind at the end of the day. Members of the GLBT community deserve establishments that support and welcome the GLBT community all while providing a comfortable and charming retreat. Minnesota and Wisconsin offer some of the best bed and breakfasts that are tailored to the community and are bound to impress guests more than a traditional chain hotel. Here are some top-notch GLBT-owned establishments that welcome guests from all walks of life.

Raynard and Perry, American Eagle Bluff Bed and Breakfast. Photo by Andy Lien

Establishment: American Eagle Bluff Bed and Breakfast, Read’s Landing, MN
Price: $175 per night in peak season (additional nights are $150)
Breakfast included: yes

Pets allowed: no
Other: no kids, no smoking

If you’re looking for a complete escape, American Eagle Bluff Bed and Breakfast offers the ultimate sanctuary. Located on top of its own bluff in Read’s Landing, MN, this 40-acre retreat overlooks both the Mississippi and Chippewa River Valleys. With its awe-inspiring views and complete solitude, gay owners Perry Juenemann and Raynard Peterson describe the place as “the perfect place to paint a painting, or write a story or a book.”

Before opening American Eagle Bluff B&B, Raynard and Perry worked for eight years to restore the 1870s red brick farmhouse. The inn opened in 2010, with its first guests being a gay couple from Minneapolis.

Surrounded by an orchard which offers a multitude of fruits, the inn is completely isolated and private. Perry notes, “we don’t even stay on the acreage—we are down on the main road.” The couple drives guests up to the inn and returns in the morning to fix a complete country breakfast.

American Eagle Bluff is a private estate for your stay with sweeping vistas and heirloom landscaping. Perfect for rest, relaxation, and recreation. Photo by Andy Lien

Perry says their inn “doesn’t look like your typical bed and breakfast.” The establishment is decorated with modern art, handmade rugs, and antiques which “give the home a modern and eclectic twist.” Guests have their choice of two suites—the Chippewa Room or the Birch Room—both with private baths and outstanding views.

While at American Eagle Bluff, guests can enjoy hiking out to an observation deck that overlooks Wisconsin and Minnesota, going on river cruises, visiting jewelry and antique shops in the area, or golfing. Walking through the rose gardens and bird-watching also allow visitors to embrace the great outdoors. Guests can also relax in the inn’s library, which offers a variety of books and magazines.

When describing American Eagle Bluff, Perry says “it’s like being up in heaven.” For more information, visit http://www.americaneaglebluffbedandbreakfast.com/index.html.

 

Mandy and Colleen, Stone Mill Hotel and Suites. Photo by Andy Lien

Establishment: Stone Mill Hotel and Suites, Lanesboro, MN
Price: $80-180, based on room and season
Breakfast included: yes
Pets allowed: no

An old cold-storage building turned hotel, Stone Mill Hotel and Suites offers an historic, hometown environment in which to relax and revitalize. Located in Lanesboro, the establishment is currently owned and operated by Colleen Lamon and Mandy Smith. Each of the ten rooms and suites reflect the area’s history and culture, with themed rooms like the Amish Room, the Egg Jacuzzi Suite, and the Bicycle Loft suite.

Colleen describes the hotel as “a quaint lodging setting in a unique historic community, and my partner and I welcome everyone.” She mentions that Lanesboro is extremely GLBT-friendly, saying that “this is one of the communities where you can hold hands and walk down the street and no one gives you a second look.”

The limestone building has an on-site day spa which offers a variety of massage services including couples massage. Guests can shop in local retail stores which sell a variety of handmade goods from local artisans. Colleen also encourages visitors to check out Scenic Valley Winery, which makes wines from locally grown fruits and veggies.

Photo courtesy of Stone Mill Hotel and Suites

Stone Mill offers access to informational tours that celebrate the history of Lanesboro. Tours of the local Amish communities and the Lanesboro Trolley Tours allow guests to learn more about the rich history of Lanesboro.

A variety of outdoor activities are available for more adventurous folk. Colleen notes that guests love the 60-mile paved Root River Bicycle Trail, which is considered “the Cadillac of trails.” Guests can also enjoy water activities on the river. After a long day of outdoor activities, the Jacuzzi suites are perfect for a bit of romantic relaxation.

An expanded continental breakfast is available in the morning, and Colleen notes that they “include as many local products as possible” on the spread. Local pastries, local milk, and eggs from the Amish community make breakfast have a homegrown touch that reflects the hotel’s conscious decision to support and embrace the community. For more information, please visit www.stonemillsuites.com.

 

Brian and Vivian, Fillmore House Bed and Breakfast. Photo by Andy Lien

Establishment: Fillmore House Bed and Breakfast, Lanesboro, MN
Price: $100-170, depending on room and days
Breakfast included: yes
Pets allowed: no

Built 100 years ago in Lanesboro, the Fillmore House Bed and Breakfast has changed hands countless times before finding the perfect couple to own it. The establishment has what owners Brian Luna and his partner Bob call a “high-end, comfortable, more of a Victorian, antique feel.”  The couple bought the house five years ago, and they have transformed it into a three-room oasis complete with beautiful gardens and patios where guests can pass the time. Guests also enjoy private bathrooms and access to the house’s library.

The Fillmore House. Photo by Andy LienBrian and Bob know how to provide a welcoming and relaxing environment. Guests begin their stay with a cocktail hour between 3-6 pm, complete with chilled champagne and stuffed strawberries. After a night on the town or a comfortable night in, visitors can retire to one of three rooms named after the couple’s grandmothers and decorated to match their personalities.

Along with all the outdoor activities Lanesboro has to offer, Brian suggests attending a show at the Commonweal Theater or taking an Amish tour, and he is more than happy to point guests in the direction of GLBT-owned shops downtown.

Guests enjoy a three-course breakfast in the morning, including banana bread French toast with homemade caramel sauce and sausage. Brian says that “it’s a breakfast that we try to make sure everyone has…it’s our signature breakfast.” Members of the GLBT community also receive a 10% discount off their stay. For more information, visit www.fillmorehousebandb.com.

 

A “Pop and Pop” Motel in Grand Marais. Photo courtesy of The Mangy Moose

Establishment: The Mangy Moose Motel, Grand Marais, MN
Price: $70-120, depending on room and season
Breakfast included: no
Pets allowed: yes, pets stay free
Other: no smoking

Opening its doors on May 1, The Mangy Moose Motel is now under gay ownership. Dave Rak and partner Don Bertolini can’t wait for guests to stay at the newly updated 10-room establishment. Dave says that “it’s kind of one of those 1950s ‘mom and pop’ hotels, except now it’s becoming a ‘pop and pop’ hotel.”

Each room has its own bathroom, and some rooms also have small kitchens. Guests can also make full use of the picnic tables and the outdoor patio area. Dave notes that “the rooms kind of have more of a Northwoods type of feel to it. And the hotel has, of course, moose pictures in it.”

The Mangy Moose is located within two or three blocks of the main street in Grand Marais. Dave suggests heading in that direction to enjoy a variety of cute local shops, artist galleries, and bookstores. He also notes that “the whole area is GLBT-friendly,” especially due to the amount of GLBT-friendly artists that have moved to the area over the past couple of decades.

Photo courtesy of The Mangy Moose

Dave also notes that there’s never a dull moment in Grand Marais. Guests can enjoy the hiking trails nearby, especially in the Superior National Forest and on Pincushion Mountain. Other local activities include horseback riding, water activities on Lake Superior, biking, and camping. The Mangy Moose is a perfect stop for people going to and from the Boundary Waters, and Dave says that “sometimes people who are on their way up or on their way back will stop to shower before returning to civilization.”

Dave believes that the best part about The Mangy Moose is its location and the activity options available in the area. “What we love is that we are accessible to everything that’s going on in Grand Marais, whether you like to get out and go hiking and have an active vacation, or if you want to be much more leisurely, you can come on up and hang out, and you can walk three blocks to do a little shopping. It fits a variety of people.”  For more information, visit www.mangymoosemotel.com.

 

Old Bed and Breakfast on the Range. A comfy farmhouse and antique store at Kathy and Pam’s place in Embarrass. Photo courtesy of Northern Comfort Bed and Breakfast

Establishment: Northern Comfort Bed and Breakfast, Embarrass, MN
Price: $70-95
Breakfast included: yes
Pets allowed: yes

Built in 1901, this Finnish log home is nestled on a 17-acre farm which offers peacefulness and serenity for its guests. With a traditional wood-burning Finnish spa and plenty of beautiful grounds, this establishment is bound to be a favorite among people who need the ultimate retreat from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Owners Kathy Johnson and Pam Bennet hope that guests can relax and feel completely comfortable to be themselves on the farm. Pam attests, “it’s very peaceful and serene.”

Guests are encouraged to explore all the additional historic buildings on the farm, including the couple’s craft and antique store, Homespun Acres. Featured in the store are Kathy’s homemade soaps and candles.  Other local artisans contribute their wares as well. Also, a great deal of wildlife makes its way onto the homestead, making it a great place for nature-watching. Outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and snowmobiling all provide thrills for the outdoor adventure-seekers.

Photo courtesy of Northern Comfort Bed and Breakfast

The full gourmet breakfast is made by Kathy each morning, and Pam raves that Kathy is “an excellent cook.” The couple also serves wine and cheese in the evening, and guests are encouraged to saunter into the smaller local towns for lunch and dinner.

Several guests have made Northern Comfort their go-to bed and breakfast, and Kathy and Pam love seeing familiar faces. Pam also notes, “It’s a cool experience. We can truly say that in the past four years we’ve been open, we haven’t had any negative experiences at all.”

Pam says the best way to describe Northern Comfort is that it “feels like home, if home was a good place for you.” For more information, visit www.northerncomfortmn.com.

 

Antiques, ice cream, coffee, art, shopping, and sleeping in Alma, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Hotel de Ville

Establishment: Hotel de Ville, Alma, Wisconsin
Price: $55-140, depending on room
Breakfast included: no
Pets allowed: yes

Running a romantic hotel was always a dream for Dan Kordiak and Jeff Shilts. The couple spent several years remodeling and decorating three historic buildings to create an establishment that reflects the “romance of the South of France…without the attitude.” Dan continued building their legacy in Alma after Jeff’s death, and the hotel reflects Jeff’s beautiful spirit.

Hotel de Ville is a multi-building complex, complete with Fire and Ice (an ice cream and coffee shop), the Gypsy Wagon antique hotel, and a local bakery. Dan and Jeff worked tirelessly to restore the downtown area of Alma with their businesses, and local artisans are now drawn to the area due to the success of Hotel de Ville.

Photo courtesy of Hotel de Ville

Dan notes, “We’ve had a very small gay following—almost nothing.” He hopes that the community will be drawn to his hotel due to the gardens and the unique decorating scheme Jeff created. “When we first opened, we went to Wilde Roast to look at their decorating…and we said ‘like this, but a little more gay.’”

Dan says the hotel “offers the nicest rooms in 100 miles,” and his returning visitors can attest to the beauty of the establishment. Beautiful gardens grace the grounds, complete with sculptures and surprises that make it “breathtaking at any time of year.” Suites are complete with kitchens, full bathrooms, oil paintings, and scenic views of the Mississippi River or the hotel’s Italianate gardens.

If you decide to venture out of the beautiful property, Dan can point you to countless stores and attractions in historic Alma. The community is very welcoming to GLBT people, and when the whole town showed up for Jeff’s funeral, Dan knew that the Alma community was the perfect place to carry out Jeff’s legacy. He says, “There is no way anyone would be anything but welcoming, especially if you say you’re staying at the Hotel de Ville.”

For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/site/hoteldevillealma/home.

 

Establishment: Belle Rive Bed and Breakfast, Lanesboro, MN
Price: $125-150
Breakfast included: yes
Pets allowed: no
Other: no smoking, no children

Formerly owned by partners Denny and Rocky, Belle Rive is under new management. Though it is no longer GLBT-owned, the new owners are very welcoming to the community. Owner Jim Martin says that the establishment offers “privacy, comfort, and charm” and that it is “designed for a couple to have complete privacy.” Belle Rive is yet another treasure among treasures in the Lanesboro area!

Video of Accommodating Community:

Comments are closed.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!