The state of Minnesota abounds in mansions which have been converted into bed and breakfast establishments. Some of Minnesota’s bed and breakfasts, however, have had a different past than being a family residence. If you want a unique bed and breakfast experience, these Minnesota establishments offer it.
A Floating Minnesota Bed and Breakfast
A stay in one of the Covington Inn Bed and Breakfast’s four staterooms offers a unique view of the Mississippi River and the St. Paul skyline. The Covington is a three story river towboat. She was once used on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to push barges laden with petroleum and other items along a thousand mile route. She started her river life in 1946 and was drydocked in 1976, in need of repair. The River Valley Preservation Company purchased the vessel, towed it to St. Paul, and changed its mission into one of a bed and breakfast. Since 1995, the former towboat has offered guests a comfortable stay on the waters of the Mississippi River.
Guests may choose from one of four suites: the Riverview Suite, the Mate’s Quarters, the Master’s Quarters, and the Pilot House Suite. Of these, the Master’s Quarters and the Pilot House Suite are the most spacious. Each of the suites has a private bathroom and access to a deck with its lounging chairs and patio table. This Minnesota bed and breakfast is designed to stay open all year round. Each stateroom has both a fireplace and an air conditioner. There are no television or internet hookups. The Inn rooms are smoke-free; the decks are the open smoking areas. Breakfast is prepared each morning in the ship’s galley. As much as possible of the original furnishings of the towboat have been kept and restored with a few extra nautical touches thrown in.
The Pilot House Suite is on two levels: the bedroom is on the lower level and the sitting area with a couch, a small dining table for two, chair, and end table is in the original wheel house. The guest in the Pilot House Suite has access to a private lounging deck from the wheel house. The Covington Inn’s website shows panoramic views of the boat and each of the guest areas.
The Covington Inn offers special packages for romantic or river-themed get-aways. In-room massages may be pre-arranged.
Covington Inn Bed and Breakfast
100 Harriet Island Rd. B3
St. Paul, MN 55107
A Minnesota Bed and Breakfast on the Tracks
The Whistle Stop Bed and Breakfast began with a Victorian style home built in 1903. Initially, three bedrooms in the residence were converted into guest rooms. One of those rooms is no longer a guest room. The owners purchased a caboose constructed in 1893 and made it part of their bed and breakfast establishment. The Cozy Caboose has a microwave, mini-fridge, Murphy bed, and a hot tub.
The Imperial Car and the Palace Car are also bed and breakfast units. The 1903 Imperial Car served the North Coast Limited as a day coach between Minnesota and Washington while the 1909 Palace Car served the Northern Pacific Railroad as a dining car. Both cars feature a double whirlpool, mini-fridge, microwave, and a fireplace. If desired, breakfast will be brought to the car.
The owners of the Whistle Stop Bed and Breakfast also offer the Santa Fe Cottage for lodging. This cottage, reflecting a southwestern theme, has a double whirlpool tub and fully furnished kitchen as well as a fireplace. The Santa Fe Cottage is handicapped accessible.
Jann’s Victorian-era Tea Room is available for special functions for four or more people. The tea room service is not part of the bed and breakfast stay.
Whistle Stop Bed and Breakfast
107 E. Nowell St.
New York Mills, MN 56567
Behind Bars in a Minnesota Bed and Breakfast
In years past, the entire building which comprises the Jail House Inn Bed and Breakfast was a combination of county court facility, county jail, and sheriff’s residence. Built over the years 1869 and 1870, the Fillmore County Jail served the public until 1970 despite being condemned in 1900 by the State Board of Health. The facility was remodeled the same year to bring it into compliance, and a carriage barn was constructed on the grounds for storage purposes.
Twelve guest rooms were created from the rooms which once housed the sheriff and his family and incarcerated prisoners. Some rooms are named after their former function: the Detention Room, the Drunk Tank, the Processing Room, the Cell Block, and the Court Room. The Cell Block Suite retains metal bars from the 1906 four-cell unit. The Fan Room, Rose Room, Sun Room, and Master Bedroom were all originally rooms used by the sheriff and his family. The Bridal Suite and Amish Room are in a section of the building which was once cell blocks. The Oriental Bedroom finishes the list of rooms at this bed and breakfast.
All of the rooms have private baths, some with step through showers, some with whirlpool baths, and others with antique claw-foot tubs with shower wand attachments. Some of the rooms open to an upper floor sun porch while others simply have a view of the courtyard. Four rooms have fireplaces in them.
Special dinners are served at certain times of the year like Valentine’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Labor Day, and New Year’s Eve for guests staying those days. These meals are an additional price. The Jail House Inn can also cater birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special event. The Inn also has homemade scones for sale which they will mail to you. This Minnesota bed and breakfast was featured in July 2009 on the television show “Good Morning America.”
Jail House Inn Bed and Breakfast
109 Houston St. NW
Preston, MN 55965
The Old Jail Bed and Breakfast of Taylors Falls is situated at the base of Angel Hill and overlooks the St. Croix River. The nineteenth century jail of this historic Minnesota bed and breakfast has been converted into a guest cottage while the Schottmuller Building, constructed in 1869, contains an additional three suites.
The first floor of the Schottmuller Building is made of stone. It housed a saloon, and a cave cooled the aging brew produced by the brewery located farther up the hill. The second and third floor of the bed and breakfast were originally a livery and stable utilized by those staying at the Chisago House Hotel. They were constructed in 1851 and moved to their current position much later. The building has served in many capacities, the most unique being as a chicken plucking business.
The Cave Suite occupies the former saloon. The cave has been transformed into a bathroom featuring a therapeutic air massage bath. The second floor is where the Balcony Suite is located with a nice view of Taylors Falls. On the third floor is the Overlook Suite. This is the only suite in the Schottmuller Building which has a woodburning fireplace. All of the suites have fridges and microwaves but only the Jail Cottage and Cave Suite have full kitchens.
The Jail Cottage was a four cell facility built in 1884 and serving the community of Taylors Falls, Minnesota. The jail is in its original location. This building was also used for other operations through the years, including a stint as an ice house. The iron door and window bars are still in place but a woodburning fireplace, a private upper deck, and a full kitchen have been added for guest comfort.
Breakfast is delivered each morning to all three suites and the cottage, so you can remain in your comfortable PJs and dine in privacy.
The Old Jail Bed and Breakfast
349 Government St.
Taylors Falls, MN 55084
The Minnesota Lightkeeper’s Bed and Breakfast
The red brick lighthouse and keeper’s house in Two Harbors, Minnesota, were constructed from 1891 to 1892. The Light Station is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Lake County Historical Society has been operating the facility as a bed and breakfast since 1999. This Minnesota lighthouse still serves as a navigational aid to Lake Superior watercraft but unlike many of the Great Lakes lighthouses which still operate, the light keeps shining because of the work of Historical Society volunteers.
Four rooms are available, each with its own view of Lake Superior. Three of the rooms share a common bathroom while the Skiff House, in a separate building from the keeper’s house, has its own bath with whirlpool tub. Guests also share a dining room and a parlor and have limited kitchen privileges during their stay. A full hot Scandinavian style breakfast is served in the dining room of the keeper’s house each morning. The Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast offers special packages during the off-season, generally from November to April.
The grounds of this Minnesota bed and breakfast are often visited by a large herd of whitetail deer which make Lighthouse Point their unofficial home. The Sonju hiking trail which parallels the lakeshore and the breakwater which protects Agate Bay harbor are located below the Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast.
Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast
1 LightHouse Point
Two Harbors, MN 5616
A Spooky Minnesota Bed and Breakfast
Thayer’s Historic Bed n’ Breakfast offers not only a stay but also scheduled murder mystery dinners, Victorian wedding packages, and, of course, a ghost hunting class. To find out about this unique and supposedly haunted Minnesota bed and breakfast, please see
this review by AC writer Regina Sass.
Thayer’s Historic Bed n’ Breakfast
60 Elm St. W.
Annandale, MN 55302