Our Preservation and Innkeeping Experience
|The above painting was created by a well known local artist Tecla Karpen. The Thorsens had this commissioned shortly after the major part of the renovation of their two buildings was completed, thus the symbolism behind the thunder cloud leaving and the sun coming out.
The Thorwood Inn began in April of 1983 with two rooms. Our intention was to preserve the lovely 1880 French Second Empire home and convert it from a six plex, have a small business of our own, raise our kids in a friendly small town and live happily ever after. Well we have indeed lived happily ever after. However, the business (and our passion for it) grew more than we had ever imagined. We quickly added rooms and kept renovating and while at one time we were the third Bed and Breakfast to open in Minnesota, we now claim fame to being the longest standing original owner operators in Minnesota. There are well over 100 Bed and Breakfasts in Minnesota today.
In 1987, what was to become our second property was threatened with demolition. We were working “real” jobs (Dick an engineer and I (Pam) a news reporter), nurturing our children and part-time business of innkeeping and always renovating. As a last ditch effort our City asked for proposals to save it, and so we made a proposal the day of the deadline. In April of 1989 we opened Classic Rosewood, a 10,000 square foot Queen Anne with almost an identical history to Thorwood. The Thorwood Inn and the Classic Rosewood Inn were both built as two of the finest homes in Hastings in 1880 by business partners in the German American Bank, both converted to hospitals and used as such until 1953, and both three story brick with many of the same details and structural integrity. They say there are no coincidences.
We strongly believe the success of our business is due to developing the trust of our guests having been inn travelers ourselves before entering the "serving side"; we understand and appreciate the nature of the business. We stay involved in the industry and its continuing education. We also are preservationists at heart and it feels good knowing these buildings will be here long after we are gone and we had something to do with that. We are honored to have been their caretakers and are pleased to have had the opportunity to share them.
Our policies have always been based on guests' needs and requests. We feel lucky to have started with only two rooms and so much to learn. To that end, we have developed our business by listening, and will continue to do so:
- We offer breakfast based on your schedule. Every other day of your life you have to arise to a work schedule or list of things to do. This is your time away and we want to serve you. Breakfast is also your choice of place, either in suite or in our lovely formal dining spaces. Typically it is tables of two, but if guests are dining at the same time and ask to be seated together, we can accommodate that as well.
- We opted to outfit our second inn with a full commercial kitchen as guests so often were doing pizza and ordering in as once they settled in, they didn't want to leave. So we are one of the few Bed and Breakfasts offering both breakfast and optional dinner. No clanging of dishes or hustling for guests to see, our kitchen is purposely in the basement.
- Because of guest preference, we have wood burning fireplaces viewable from bed or double whirlpool.
- Because guests commented on how nice it is to have massage at the inn, we have contracted to have a remarkable team of massage therapists from Caring Hands just three blocks from the inn accommodate.
- We offer quality accommodations at fair prices. We want guests to come back and to tell their friends about us. There is no limit to the number of logs you burn, or the number of cookies or ice cream you consume. There is no one here to set an example for or rules about spoiling your supper. Also our breakfasts are not skimpy. One guest calls them "breakfeasts"! We continue to add packages and specials to make our pricing even more fair and opportunities even more fun.
- We treat our guests with respect. We provide congenial, professional and courteous service at all times without sales pressure. We believe you should reserve here only if you feel it fits. There may be other fine accommodations that fit you better and we are happy to refer you to them. In fact we have many friends in the industry and are happy to share what we know about the industry. (We have long been supportive and dedicated to the Minnesota B & B Association and always happy to share anything about the industry with prospective innkeepers or news about up and coming Bed and Breakfasts) In our business it is not about competition, it is about cooperation and camaraderie and about making guests happy.
- We have a friendly helpful staff that understand our philosophies and are here to do whatever it takes to make your stay special. Just ask them if they like working here and we think some of their exuberance is because of you! As we have often said people who choose Bed and Breakfasts are a unique special breed. They have a spirit of adventure, a respect for preservation, and mostly they know time away is necessary and good for you.
- We want to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our guests. Our success depends not on a continuous flow of one-time stays, but rather on a guest base of repeat customers. Most of our anniversary and birthday celebrations have become traditions here.
In January of 2006 we closed Thorwood and renovated it again. We did a very green renovation with complete respect for its original integrity, this time into three condominiums, keeping one for ourselves. We completed the condos just in time for the real estate crash of the century. Our intent was to downsize, sell two condos and continue to operate Rosewood. But we have regrouped for another adventure. We now offer vacation rental, corporate stays and scrapbook retreats at Thorwood. We find joy again in another way sharing this grand old place. We have had an incredible time the past almost thirty years of innkeeping and restoration and we owe it to this opportunity of service. Incidentally, Thorwood is a combination of our last names (Thorsen and Woodley). Classic Rosewood was inspired and renovated because of Thorwood's initiation into this incredible adaptive reuse. It is why we call it Classic Rosewood - a Thorwood property. It remains connected to the original intent of service and preservation. We remain connected to that original intent also.
If our mission, adventure and philosophy appeal to you, please give us a try. We would love to have you. — Dick and Pam Thorsen