By Loren Shaum
Kimmell, Indiana is a sleepy little farming community located off the old Fort Wayne and Goshen Trail (now US 33). Originally plotted as Sparta in 1836, it was the first Noble County Seat.
Today, the town is home to less than 450 people, with Gaerte Grain being the hub of the town. Sitting adjacent the “B&O” railroad tracks, the huge silos can be seen from afar.
We’ve often frequented the Downtown Kimmell Inn, a small bar in town, to quaff their fried perch baskets and cold beer. The bar, the grainery, a couple of churches, post office and a garage are about it for Kimmel.
The town’s namesake, Orlando Kimmell, moved to the area in 1851 with his parents. They bought acreage about 2 miles south of Sparta. Through the years, they expanded the farm, raised crops and cattle and eventually, Orlando took over the family farm. In 1876, Orlando and his wife built the Kimmell House. In those days, it was an impeccable house and included central heating and indoor plumbing – pure luxuries at that time.
As the Kimmell’s farm expanded, distributing cattle and crops became problematic. So, Kimmell solicited the B&O to procure a railroad siding for the small town. In doing so, the town prospered, and within a few years, the name was changed to Kimmell in his honor.
Creating the Kimmell House Inn B & B
The Kimmell House has had only four owners. The most recent are Dean, Deb and Elise Stoops. They purchased the property in 2002, refurbishing the house while retaining the original woodwork and adding a tin ceiling from an old church in Ligonier to the dining room. Then, they rebuilt the summer kitchen into sleeping quarters.
On the 12-acre property, they retained the original maple sugar stand, which produced sugar for the Kimmell family, the ice house and the carriage house. Ultimately, they created a four-bedroom, Victorian-era bed and breakfast.
The largest room is the Master Suite, which consists of two spacious rooms and featuring a large bay window, electric fireplace, queen-size bed, shower and bath in one room. The other room has two twin beds.
The Cherub Room has a queen-size bed and a jacuzzi tub; while the English Room features a king-size bed with a historic, carved headboard and an antique soaking tub.
The summer kitchen is now a three-room country retreat. It’s surrounded by beautiful flower and herb gardens and provides all the comforts of home – even a two-person jacuzzi tub. Also, a refrigerator, microwave, coffee-maker and toaster are included.
All rooms have climate control, TV, DVD, movie library, wi-fi, hairdryer, ironing board and iron. In the upper hall of the main house, there’s a refrigerator stocked with complimentary beverages.
A Great Breakfast Destination
During these crazy times, they are only taking reservations for breakfast. In the past, menu consists of house-made scones, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, varieties of French toast (perhaps the best in all of Lake Country), various croissants, fresh fruit bowls and various drinks. There are also omelets and breakfast sandwiches. A three-course breakfast is served to the inn’s guests and can be ordered by reservations.
Scones are particularly outstanding, especially the seasonal apricot scone. You might want to order more than one.
Lunch and Dinner
Before COVID, the inn hosted lunch and special dinners. The latter, called “Country Dinners,” were by reservation only. This fall, they are only serving breakfast and high tea.
Regardless, the desserts are elegant delights that bring folks from afar. Made fresh when reservations dictate, favorites are mocha fudge cake; caramel bread pudding; French vanilla cake, chocolate chip pie and even old fashion ice cream sundaes. Most of the recipes used are Deb’s mother’s.
Available by reservation, the Victorian tradition of “High Tea” is a classic opportunity to take a trip into the past. There are more than sixty tea varieties from the inn’s “Republic of Tea” collection. High tea services include various tea sandwiches, salads, scones and desserts.
To complete the Inn’s fabulous array of offerings is the coffee bar. A Victorian square grand piano serves as the coffee bar, complete with Italian espresso, specialty-flavored coffees and Italian sodas. Grab one of these delicious drinks and enjoy the gift shop adjacent the dining room. Many souvenirs, books and other items are offered. Or, you could just meander the grounds and end-up sitting a spell in the Inn gazebo.
“Peaceful, relaxing country elegance” is how Deb defines this picturesque spot her family created. This outpost provides a breath of fresh country air, farm gardens, many kitchen delights and a relaxing night’s sleep away from reality.
The inn hosts many special events, including small business meetings, wedding receptions, showers and during the holidays, office parties. On Nov. 14, they will host an Artisan’s Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p. m. Many of the inn’s popular treats will be served.
Holidays are also special times. Deb and family have a knack for Victorian elegance, and they carry that through in their holiday decorations.
If You Go:
The Kimmell House Inn: 1397 N US Highway 33, Kimmell. Call (260)-635-2193 for hours.