Winter at The Oakwood Inn

Punxsutawney Phil, the winter sage, has predicted an early spring . . . was he right the last time he had a positive prognostication? We sincerely hope so.

Bill and I both grew up in southern Minnesota – he in Worthington and I in Wells. Cold, windy and snowy winters are nothing new for us. Memories of long snowmobile rides with temperatures hovering around zero, Sunday afternoon sledding with our Radio Flyer and wooden toboggan, and praying that our school was one of those on the WCCO school closing list are just a few of our childhood winter tales.

Midwestern winters shaped us into hardy, weather-fearless, warm-blooded warriors. But even we had to pause when we moved back to the upper Midwest after 12 years in warmer climates.

We loved winters in Colorado! The Colorado Rockies is one of the most beautiful winter locations. Despite getting more than 300-500 inches of snow each year, the sun shines more than 300 days a year. The winter outdoor activities are endless, and the bluebird skies beckon even the staunchest shut-in to breathe the crisp, dry air.

Our move to Houston, TX redefined winter for us. With temperatures hovering around 65 – 70 degrees, we enjoyed eating many meals outside in the balmy weather. We came back to reality when we moved to Spirit Lake, IA and opened The Oakwood Inn.

Since we opened The Oakwood Inn in the month of May, I think we forgot about what an adjustment winter was going to be. Our first winter we brought out the obligatory heavy coats, hats and mittens but neither Bill nor I remembered the impact of the wind in below zero temperatures . . . it truly took our breath away! Brrrrr . . .

This past month’s cold temperatures and relentless wind brought back those memories of that first winter back in the northern tundra. But I think we’ve readjusted and are well prepared for our guests who want to reconnect, relax and refresh during their winter getaway to The Oakwood Inn.

Here, the fireplaces flicker brightly and warm our guestrooms, helping our guests to forget the wind howling outside while steaming hot chocolate and hot cider help to warm their insides. We serve breakfast in front of the large dining room fireplace as the early-morning sun casts a pink and ice blue shadow across the snow, spilling into the dining room.

Winter for us as Innkeepers is a fresh start. It gives us an opportunity to tackle indoor projects, like the guestroom renovations we completed last winter. It is also a time to plan our landscaping and other summer projects – like painting the gazebo, adding trees in the courtyard and expanding our gardens around the patio.

We are also testing new recipes like grilled cheese omelets, oatmeal to go, and apple fritters. The stack of recipe books from Bill’s grandmothers also present a good winter project to tackle, if Phil is wrong.

But we’re holding you to your prediction, Phil! Spring is right around the corner and we can’t wait!

Breathing deeply . . . every day!

Bridget

Innkeeper, The Oakwood Inn