STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) — Who doesn’t like to get away from it all every now and then?
We’re fortunate to have plenty of places to get some rest and relaxation in Minnesota. But a bed and breakfast in Stillwater stands out because of its unique decor.
The name of the place is the first indication that this is not your typical bed and breakfast.
It’s called the Elephant Walk.
“I didn’t want people to think that it was a typical Victorian. I wanted them to know it was a little different. So the name conveys that,” said owner Rita Graybill.
Something else that separates this place from its competitors is the daily ringing of the gong in the dining room.
It signifies the beginning of breakfast, which Rita proudly makes herself.
“The breakfast table is great. And I pretty much I insist people come down and have breakfast at the breakfast table. Other places like to take baskets to the room, but then they’d miss out on the fun,” Rita said.
Rita and her husband Jon bought the home nearly 20 years ago, after leaving Thailand where Jon worked as a diplomat.
They spent two years remodeling the Victorian home and then he died.
“We had one room as a bed and breakfast, and really, it was good therapy for me to get things going,” she said.
Fortunately, Rita was able to find someone to help her out. She hired a handyman named Mike Robinson.
“I came in and helped her upgrade a lot of the rooms and install some things and fell in love and here we are,” said Mike, who is now Rita’s husband.
Today there are four rooms that guests can stay in overnight at The Elephant Walk.
Each one is decorated with artwork and furniture from a particular country, collectibles from Rita’s travels.
There’s the Rangoon Room filled with treasures from Burma.
Next door, you’ll find the Raffles Room where Singapore is the theme.
Down the hall is Chaing Mai, a room named after the city in Thailand.
And the grandest of them all is the Cadiz Garden Suite. It has a Spanish theme and a double sided fireplace, plus a private rooftop garden.
“We lived all over the world. Jon was a great shopper and now Mike is a great shopper. We’d just buy things,” Rita said.
And if the rooms are not enough to impress you, then maybe the elaborate garden surrounding the house will.
Winding walkways, private places to sit back and relax, even a gazebo.
Thanks to the worldwide travels of the owners of this B&B, we only have to go as far as Stillwater to get a taste of the exotic.
The name Elephant Walk comes from a movie that starred Elizabeth Taylor and from Rita’s memories of some gift shops by that name in Hawaii.
She and her husband travel to Thailand and other countries every year to look for more things to decorate their B&B.
Many of the items in the house are for sale.
In the summertime, the room rates range from $139 to $289 a night.