and History of the Moondance Inn Bed & Breakfast
“…an enormous pillared porch opening to a 10-foot-high oak door… a foyer with 12-foot ceilings and sweeping walnut staircase… original chandeliers with their signed Tiffany and Steuben globes… original gilded, stenciled ceiling… we were amazed.”
It had been a very long journey that was worth the wait. Read on to hear about traveling through the Moondance Inn Bed & Breakfast, as related by your host, Mike Waulk.
“Enough. We’ve researched the B&B business for four years. We’ve looked at 115 properties in two years. The township meeting we just came from has too many people opposed to a B&B in their area to even consider this property we’ve worked to buy for the past five months. Our B&B dream isn’t meant to be.” Those were my thoughts as we drove the 40 miles home to St. Paul, and Chris was in somewhat the same mindset. During the week that followed, we spoke little about our dream. The next week Chris informed me that our realtor, Nancy (who had worked with us the entire period of our search, making absolutely no money from her efforts to this point), had a property in Red Wing, Minnesota, to show us.
“Absolutely not,” I said. “I’m sick of looking at homes. This will be another wild goose chase.”
“Mike,” Chris responded, “Nancy has worked for us continually. We owe this one to her. If it doesn’t work out we’ll let her know we’re done looking.”
I hate it when she’s right! We drove the 55 miles to Red Wing, MN, on Thursday after work and pulled up to a stately home on the southwest corner of Pine and Fourth streets. Nancy arrived a few minutes later and we entered the home. Surgery was nearly necessary to repair our jaws after they hit the floor.
What did we see (and what will you see) when entering the Moondance Inn Bed & Breakfast? Imagine your first experience is walking onto an enormous pillared porch, opening a 10-foot-high oak door and entering into a foyer with 12-foot ceilings and a sweeping walnut staircase descending from the second floor toward you. Look at the original chandeliers with their signed Tiffany and Steuben globes. Look at the original gilded, stenciled ceiling that covers most of the Moondance Inn Bed and Breakfast foyer. The first five seconds is up. Could this become the Minnesota bed and breakfast we’d dreamed of?
How’s your jaw? We were amazed. We turned left into the hotel lobby, err… living room. Big fireplace. Huge windows. More chandeliers. Beautiful oak and walnut floors throughout the house. And shimmering walls – turns out the loose woven burlap wallpaper is over copper foil so that light is reflected; a nice touch from the 1920s.
Next stop – the dining room. The usual 12-foot ceilings, chandelier, and solid oak walls extend seven feet up. Who built this place?
We are taken upstairs to the five bedrooms. It’s your choice in sizes at the Moondance Inn Bed & Breakfast. Do you prefer large or extra large? Plenty of light and incredible views of the Mississippi River cliffs and the bluffs of Red Wing, MN. Exceptional woodwork and hardwood floors. Ten-foot high ceilings. Very spacious. By this time we were pretty well sold and still had the third floor to view. I’m ready to sign papers NOW but Chris keeps a level head.
Next we venture out to the two-story, 2,000 square foot carriage house. Chris faints. It’s just too much (kidding of course). Our search is over.
It takes five months to close the deal and another 14 months to renovate what is now The Moondance Inn Bed & Breakfast in Red Wing, Minnesota. Will we ever get open? YES, YES, YES.
Meet Chris Mahoney & Mike Waulk
I wanted to convey a taste of our process and a little about us, and, in case you are wondering, I’m writing this because I like to write just like Chris loves to make a gourmet brunch. It’s a division of labor.
Now for a few facts about the Moondance Inn Bed & Breakfast
It was built in 1874 by Dr. A.B. Hawley, who had practiced medicine in Red Wing, Minnesota, for many years. The main house has approximately 6,000 square feet of space on three floors plus a finished basement. The carriage house has a 1,200 square foot owners apartment and an 800 square foot garage. Both structures are made entirely of 18-inch thick limestone block quarried locally. No other home in Red Wing is made entirely of this block.
The Moondance Inn Bed and Breakfast is substantial, sitting on two city lots on a hill, and it is in Red Wing’s historic district, which is an easy walk to all downtown shops, the 38 mile round-trip Cannon Valley bicycle trail, and the Mississippi River.