Larsons a part of Stockholm now as new owners of Spring Street Inn
STOCKHOLM - When Paul and Pam Larson made their initial visit through Stockholm, reenacting the Grand Excursion, they became fans of the small-town getaway.
The Larsons, who lived in St. Paul at the time, kept returning to Stockholm and fell more in love with the place due to its small-town feel and its proximity with nature. They soon decided Stockholm would be their retirement home.
"We fell in love with the Wisconsin side of the river," Paul said.
Paul, a published historian, and Pam, an educator, were at a picnic in Stockholm last summer when the opportunity presented itself to purchase the Spring Street Inn. They felt it was an offer they couldn't refuse. They made an offer, it was accepted and so the inn opened to the public in February.
"It is one of the most photographed buildings in Stockholm and for good reason," Paul explained. "It's got a picturesque appearance with wonderful gardens. When we looked at it, we felt it was an ideal place to combine living and business."
The inn is a two-room suite, each looking onto Stockholm's shopping district with views of Lake Pepin a stone's throw away. A sitting room includes the kitchen and dining area. Guests also receive a complimentary basket of local baked goods, teas and fresh-ground coffee. The inn is also surrounded by gardens, with a sunken garden for guests.
"It's a 19th Century flavor without all the antiques," Paul said.
The Larsons weren't done yet, however. Combining Paul's passion for history and Pam's love of imagination, the two opened A Sense of Place next to the inn.
Paul described the business as filling a niche for nature appreciation for both grownups and kids.
"We are fostering a love of nature," he said.
The store has a large selection of birding books and CD's, over 100 children's books on nature, and books on the history of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The couple's future plans include train stop educational classes, nature programming, nature hikes and architectural tours. They've also developed an interest in the under discovered areas of the Upper National Wildlife Area, which ends in Alma along the Mississippi River.
Both Spring Street Inn and Sense of Place are open year round. For additional information, call (651) 528-9616 or visit www.stockholmwisconsin.com and click on Stockholm establishments.