Home > Minnesota B&Bs > Duluth Bed and Breakfast Inns > Olcott House Bed & Breakfast

2316 E 1st St, Duluth, MN 55812-1807, USA    

David Vipond


Circa 1904. Georgian Colonial architecture surrounded by brick and wrought iron creates an antebellum ambiance at this home and carriage house in the historic East End Mansion District. Soaring pillars, bay windo...

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Tolerated, but not welcome.

The Olcott may be a house to see on a walking tour of historic Duluth mansions. The owners’ taste is demonstrated by arrangements of books and vintage objet d'art throughout the house. While the proprietor’s love of old homes and garage sales is evident, I won’t be the first reviewer to suggest he lacks a similar affection for guests. Olcott House reminds me of visiting grandmother’s home as a child; we were tolerated, but not really welcome. “Breakfast is at 9am. I think I’m doing eggs-benedict”, he sniffed. “Do you drink Coffee”, he asked. “Yes”, we replied in unison, emphatically. “Coffee’s at 8am”, he replied. “Really? We’re early risers”, we said. “REALLY”, he replied, with emphasis. Here was an opportunity that even a reasonably attentive host might have seized to accommodate a guest’s desire for a cup of coffee, never minding paying customers. But the opportunity passed, declined in favor of whatever more important activity was planned until 8am. Olcott House accommodations are equally indifferent; not particularly clean, not in particularly good condition, not particularly comfortable, not altogether particularly functional. The environment of an old house, however, neither surprised us, nor bothered us, but the house’s careful staging in contrast to the proprietor’s lack of warmth and hospitality made us feel no more important than props in a drama featuring the house, starring him, but where guests are not really welcomed in reality. One final thing. We had a private conversation with the owner when we checked in concerning playing the house piano. That conversation was later repeated to us by another guest in the house, suggesting we were being mocked. Such creepy things as that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Bruce G.

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