A free online encyclopedia about bed and breakfasts created and edited by travel writers
The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast is a Swedish-style house in downtown Caribou, Maine. It is named for its antique iron collection. The inn offers three rooms: The Old Iron Room, The Rose Room, and The Amoeba Room, which the owners believe is the only bed and breakfast room in the nation named after a microorganism. Each accommodation has a private bathroom and fridge. Furthermore, the house offers additional amenities such as Wi-Fi, rear parking, various books and magazines, a TV room, and a snack room with a microwave and coffee pot. Some of the local attractions include places to bike, ski, and snowmobile. Northern Maine also hosts several celebrations during the summer, including a Fourth of July festival, a Swedish Midsommar celebration in June, and a hot air balloon festival at the end of August.
The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast is a red home in the middle of Caribou, Maine, owned by Kevin and Kate. Three guest accommodations are offered: The Old Iron Room, which has a queen-size bed and twin bed; The Rose Room, or the premium room with a king bed and the largest bathroom of the three; and The Amoeba Room, which features a queen-size bed. The Amoeba Room is a nod to Kevin's career as a micropaleontologist. It is also thought by the owners to be the only bed and breakfast room in the United States to be named after a microorganism. It is even decorated with a lamp built from a Smithsonian microscope. Each guestroom has a fridge and private bathroom, and Kate, one of the owners, believes each room is relatively evenly rented.
Kate states that visitors "basically rule the house." While they are not allowed in the kitchen, guests can access every other place in The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast. The front portion of the house near the entrance is the living area with sofas and a fireplace at the front where Kate occasionally plays music with other musicians. An upstairs room offers a microwave and coffee pot with snacks. There is also a TV room upstairs where Kate says people can hang out. The dining room contains a gift table with coffee mugs, other souvenirs, and copies of a book she wrote. The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast offers additional amenities such as Wi-Fi, books, rear parking, and selections from over 30 magazines. Kate further explains that she and her husband, Kevin, give local area information to their visitors as needed, saying, "[Kevin and I] are travelers ourselves, so we take this very seriously."
Regarding breakfast, Kate says she is "the muffin queen," as her lemon cream cheese and peanut butter muffins tend to be more popular among guests. She also notes that most visitor reviews praise the breakfast. Kate asks new occupants about their food allergies and does what she can to work around them, and she can be flexible with their schedules. When deciding what to prepare each morning, she says it depends on "however the kitchen spirit moves [her]," recalling a time when she prepared cinnamon rolls for a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary upon the wife's request. She uses locally-sourced ingredients as much as possible when in season.
The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast is in the middle of town and within walking distance of schools, the downtown area, a movie theater, musical events, restaurants, and culinary activities. Kate adds that summer parades occasionally march right past the front door. Northern Maine hosts various summer festivals, including a Fourth of July celebration, class reunions, a hot air balloon festival at the end of August, and a Midsommar event in June, which is a Swedish celebration of the summer solstice. Additionally, the Maine Potato Blossom Festival and Northern Maine Fair in August occur annually. Other attractions of interest include biking, snowmobiling, and skiing. "[Caribou is] a very convenient centrally located place in the county," says Kate, and she notes that Aroostook is the "biggest county with the lowest population" east of the Mississippi. She states that the city is a "very no-hassle place" with clean air, an absence of graffiti, and a big sky. Kate also recommends visitors dine at Northern Maine Brewing Company and Canterbury Royale Gourmet, the latter of which she says was named "best restaurant in Maine" by Yankee Magazine.
When visiting The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast, Kate, one of the owners, says visitors should "immediately feel welcome." She and her husband, Kevin, emulate this by welcoming their guests and smiling when they arrive while providing whatever area information they can. Kate and Kevin also gauge whether their patrons want to keep to themselves throughout their stay.
As previously mentioned, many guest reviews highlight the breakfast and the property's environment. One such reviewer said, "Kevin and Kate are truly wonderful and dedicated hosts and Mainers. The physical accommodations are warm, welcoming, and more than adequate for a comfortable stay (especially during the winter!). With your stay, you also receive a delicious breakfast, of which the muffins were some of the best I've ever had, and plenty of additional items to start your day.
The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast's policies include a no-smoking rule and prohibiting any pets except service animals. Kate also mentions that guests are asked to respect each other by "not being [too] loud or obnoxious." Finally, visitors are discouraged from talking about politics at the breakfast table.
The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast is open year-round. Kate says the peak season lasts throughout the summer and fall, and she notes that visitors are particularly drawn to the autumn colors. Most guests are businesspeople in their 30s to 50s, and many visit repeatedly. Kate affirms that she receives people from around the globe, saying, "The whole world comes to my doorstep."
The building currently serving as The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast was built in 1913 by a Swedish immigrant named Carl Gustusan. He built the property for the Havey family, who lived there for several years before selling it to their cousins, the Raymonds, who subsequently sold it to Kevin and Kate, the current owners. The couple decided to operate a bed and breakfast after Kevin got tenure at the university. Kate was also drawn to the idea as she had spent a semester of her undergrad staying in various bed and breakfasts abroad. She says the experience stuck with her. With those factors in mind, they bought the house as a means to support Kevin's new projects and give Kate an income.
The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast is named as such because of its collection of old irons—the ones used to get wrinkles out of clothing. Kevin has collected these irons throughout the years, and he even has a YouTube channel called "Kevin Talks Irons." He and Kate are the property's third owners over 110 years. Kate says her favorite part of owning The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast is serving the people, saying it is an honor to host them and enhance their experience.
When Kevin and Kate purchased The Old Iron Inn Bed and Breakfast, it had one bathroom. Now it has four and a half bathrooms, and Kate recalls how some of the visiting Raymonds "get emotional" over the upgrade. Other property changes have included insulating, rewiring, adding new windows, renovating the kitchen, and expanding the rear parking three times. Kevin and Kate plan to add new fencing, fix the garage foundation, and refurbish the house's exterior with a fresh coat of paint. Kate says the process is "like a living dollhouse," although she notes that the house's overall footprint has not changed.