Rick Dunn, innkeeper of the Orchard House, said as a kid he would sit in what was once his bedroom and stare at the view.
“You can see forever up here,” Dunn said.
The view is just one feature of the 104-year-old farmhouse, now restored into a bed and breakfast. Dunn’s great-aunt and great-uncle, Frank and Ethel Scott, built the house in 1910, he said, and the house, along with the farm property, has stayed in the family for more than 100 years. Dunn and his four other siblings grew up in the house when it was owned by his parents.
Dunn’s sister, Robin, who owns and operates the family farm and special event facility directly across Ohio Road from the house, helped Dunn restore the home about four years ago.
“All the woodwork on the inside is original,” Dunn said. “[Robin] restored the floors, fixed the foundation, re-plumbed the downstairs bathroom and added an upstairs bathroom, installed central heating and air and a sidewalk. It really brought it back to what it once was. I took her a little over a year to restore, and she ran it for a few years as a guest house.”
To help his sister, Dunn bought into the business about a year and a half ago. He and his partner, Chris Lorman, now live at and run the bed and breakfast, which houses three large bedrooms, one small bedroom and two bathrooms. The house also has a sitting room and dining room, all complete with new furniture, as well as several pieces of antique furniture that Dunn said were a part of the house when he was growing up. The furniture, mixed with the decorations, help give the house an old-time farm life feel, Dunn said.
While Dunn and his sister own separate farms across the road from each other, he said they are both supportive of each other.
“In the beginning of life, I think we were the most different [of the five Dunn siblings],” he said. “Now, I think we are the most alike. It is hard to even separate [the two farms]. It is like one farm with a road in the middle. We don’t get hung up on whose [stuff] is what. We’ve got to take care of each other.”
Robin’s farm at Dunn’s Landing also sits on property that has been in the Dunn family for many years. It was purchased by the Dunns’ great-grandmother, Duanna Dunn, just four or five years after the Scotts built what is now the Orchard House, Dunn said.
“It’s never been owned by anyone else [outside the family],” he said.
Whimsical and unique house
The Orchard House’s bedrooms all are decorated in their own unique ways. The master bedroom is on the ground floor, and Dunn said it is a great place for a bride and bridesmaids to get ready when guests play host to weddings at Dunn’s Landing because of the space and large closet.
“It is kind of as close to a fairy-tale wedding as you can get in old time,” Dunn said.
The rooms are not the only thing unique about the Orchard House. Kristi Lee, with the Franklin County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Orchard House is the only bed and breakfast in Franklin County on the books. Lee said the business has potential to bring more visitors to Franklin County.
“It works with the agri-business tourism group,” Lee said. “In general, across the country, people who live in the city who want that farm experience first hand will be a huge draw for us. Some of the surrounding counties have bed and breakfasts, but none that I know of that are specifically geared towards the farming aspect.”
The Orchard House recently joined the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce to network and promote the business. The chamber is planning an after-hours event at the bed and breakfast Tuesday.