My wife, Christina, and I stayed at the Mitchell-Tappan House over the 2011 Memorial Day Weekend, when the town of Hibbing hosts its annual Dylan Days festival. If you know anything about Hibbing, you know that besides being the boyhood home of Bob Dylan, it is “the town that moved,” in that when iron ore was found underneath the site of the town, the citizens chose to transport their buildings a few miles to the south. The Mitchell-Tappan House was the first house to be moved back in the early part of the 20th century.
This is one of the nicest B&Bs I’ve ever seen. The house itself is beautiful, but Innkeepers Pam and Mike Turnbull have kept this historic structure in such good repair and have decorated it with such style, you’ll find staying here to be an unforgettable experience. The first-floor “common areas” are all sunny and bright, and throughout you’ll find local Iron Range artifacts. By that, I don’t mean a bunch of mining gear or anything that would have been out of place in the private elegant home of a turn-of-the-century mining official. (The house was built for the Superintendent of the Oliver Iron Mining Company in 1897.) Everything seems historic without being kitschy. Everything is very tasteful yet still very interesting and unique. (The architecture in the town of Hibbing is the same way, a conflation of styles that must be seen to be believed.)
I saw a few of the bedrooms on the second floor, and each one is very spacious and should suit the needs of just about anyone. They’re all very bright and welcoming. We stayed on the third floor, which would have probably been the servants quarters in the original home, but don’t worry. I’m 6’2” and I never bumped my head. The ceilings are high and the décor is elaborate and interesting. The third floor features a large “living room” area that includes comfy chairs, tables, bureaus, etc. Two bedrooms, the Turnbull Room and the Chisolm Room branch off this living room area, as does the shower. The sink is in the large living area itself, which makes me think this was the servants’ quarters. You wouldn’t put a sink in the attic, would you?
Anyhow, Christina and I stayed in the Turnbull with its king bed, and nobody was in the Chisolm Room, which features two twin beds. This would be a great place for families with children, as the kids could stay in the Chisolm and the parents could stay in the Turnbull.
The décor of the third floor features historic athletic equipment like tennis racquets and bobsleds, old straw “boater” hats, children’s stuffed animals and evergreen decorations. It looks a lot like one of those HGTV show homes.
Breakfast is served at a specific time, which Ann confirms with you when you check in. Whatever you do, don’t miss the breakfast. Each day was something new, and many of the recipes reflect Minnesota traditions. The breakfasts here are some of the most carefully prepared I’ve ever experienced, and you can tell that Ann takes a lot of pride in what she brings to the table—and probably a lot of time too. I know it would take me forever if I were to try some of those recipes.
If you ask, Ann will also give you plenty of recommendations on what to do in the area. We were there for Dylan Days, so most of our schedule was already filled, but when we wanted to go for a drive that Sunday, Ann recommended several little towns to the North, a few attractions, and a great restaurant in Ely. The house itself is within walking distance of everything. Hibbing’s a very small town, but there’s a lot to see here if you take your time. I look forward to visiting again soon.