Lake Country Escapades: A Victorian Christmas at the Kimmell House Inn

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By: Loren Shaum

Loren Shaum

The Kimmell House Inn is a historical treasure in the middle of the rich, Lake Country farmland. Dating back to 1876, the Kimmell House has been a go-to bed and breakfast since the Stoops family purchased, refurbished and opened the inn to the public in 2002.

Part of what attracts many is the décor Deb Stoops and her family spend countless hours on in order to offer warmth and comfort to anyone that visits the inn. During the holidays, the inn goes all-out to provide a unique ambiance for breakfast, lunch, high tea or even a pre-arranged dinner.

A Victorian Christmas experience

The family and staff at the inn spent countless hours preparing the various rooms to exude in Christmas excitement. Christmas trees in the parlor, dining room, gift shop and coffee shop have their own unique decorations — all are fully decorated in the classic Victorian fashion. The dining room is particularly cozy, with a 10-foot tall tree nestled in a corner adjacent a glowing fireplace.

The original stair railing leading to the upstairs bed and breakfast rooms is also decorated completely in ribbons, stockings and other Victorian décor. The stairs lead directly to the master suite, which includes an electric fireplace, a sitting room and a glorious bay window that looks out over Indiana farmland.

The parlor also includes a fireplace, decorated tree branches in one corner and a tree in another corner. It is truly a sight to behold!

Events fill the busy holidays

The Christmas holiday season is an especially busy time at the Inn. Many office parties are scheduled through-out December. For these events, the Inn offers a Holiday Feast menu to accommodate as many as 35 guests. The menu has something for everyone including: Roasted, butter and spice glazed turkey; honey and brown sugar basted ham; sausage stuffing; mashed potatoes and gravy; sweet potato casserole; savory green beans; cranberry jelly; homemade bread and rolls; pecan pie; red velvet cake (this is the best ever) and non-alcoholic beverages. All of this for just less than $25 per person……truly an amazing feast for the holidays!

Christmas Treats are an Inn Specialty

The Inn goes all out in preparing for the holidays, and there are many special items only at this time of the year. Besides Deb’s recipe for red velvet cake, there are the Inn scones that have become particularly popular with people coming from afar to partake. Many varieties are offered throughout the year using seasonal ingredients, but for the holidays, the Inn features cranberry-orange, cranberry-walnut and peppermint. The peppermint scones go especially fast each day.

A Christmas Lunch at the Inn

There is always a daily soup special and this day was no different. Offered was a creamy chicken pasta soup. Not to be confused with the conventional chicken noodle soup so common in LakeCountry, this twist on that standard was truly unique. The broth was a deeply rich stock with just a slight amount of light cream added – so nicely balanced, the broth would make a delightful starter soup by itself. Lumps of white chicken meat and carrot chucks mixed with what appeared to be fusilli pasta pieces finished this simple but flavorful soup- so perfect on cold, dreary day.

Paninis are also popular at the Inn, and this day I chose the ham, although I really love their pizza panini. This panini was lush with thinly sliced ham, a thick slab of Swiss cheese, a slice of tomato and slathered with honey-mustard that had just enough bite to make this a very special sandwich.

Then there is the red velvet cake. Wow! This is the best ever! So perfectly plated, this slab of rich goodness was decorated around the top edge with whipped cream and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream laced with dark chocolate strings. It was enough for two.

Winter Hours

The Inn will be closed through January. They reopen February 3 and continue to be open each week Wednesday through Saturday. Summer hours start in May. The Inn is particularly worth visiting during the holidays to enjoy the ambience and breakfast or lunch. It is a holiday happening!

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