As travel costs continue to rise, so has the popularity of small bed and breakfast locations. A couple up north, in Ogdensburg, found a unique way to stand out, offering guests not only comfort, but a first class chance to learn about the community in which they are staying.
“When we first took over the operation, it was March of 2020. It was just as the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic,” Jim Reagen said of his new bed and breakfast, the Sherman Inn.
As you can imagine, it was not the best time to open a business, a bed and breakfast that depends on travel.
“That first month we had three guests. The following month we had six,” Reagen said.
However, Jim Reagen and his wife Donna believed in their plan. They believed in the uniqueness of it. They believed in themselves.
“The guests who’ve stayed with us have shared their experiences with their friends, their families, their neighbors,” Jim said.
That’s because staying here, this Ogdensburg building, the Sherman Inn, it truly is an experience. There’s a history here unlike most. In 1895 when this building first opened, it was a school.
“My background as a newspaper editor for 30 years, I had the opportunity to research a lot and learn a lot about my community’s history,” he added.
A history still very much alive here. From day one, Jim and Donna made it a conscious effort to leave as many school-related features as possible. Ever since, it’s become very clear that guests love playing the role of student.
One lesson, Jim’s favorite, is a big part of this place.
Nine different U.S. Presidents have visited Ogdensburg. Each and every room is not only named after one, but also presents different artifacts and profiles the story behind why they came.
“Being in an old school is something people kind of get excited about. But then when you combine it with an opportunity to learn about a community’s history and you help bring that life, it helps complete the experience,” he added.
An experience the Reagens hope to offer for years to come. Earlier this year, the Sherman Inn won a Traveler’s Choice award from Trip Adivsor, for the second straight year.