The Walnut Street Inn is a bed and breakfast composed of a Main House, a Carriage House next door, and a Cottage Inn two houses down in the heart of Springfield, MO. With a total of 12 rooms, this B&B can be rented out by room, or in whole for large events such as weddings and graduations. It was on Country Inn’s “Top 12 Inns in the Country” List, and has been reviewed well by magazines such as Southern Living and Midwest Living. The Inn was the first bed and breakfast in Springfield, opening to guests in 1988. Current innkeepers Gary and Paula Blankenship took over in 1996 upon returning to Springfield after 15 years away from the city that means so much to them.
“Springfield is a safe place to raise a family, it has good public schools; I also love the environment. It’s a good economy, a very diverse economy, and it’s a great place to start a business,” Gary says.
The Main House was built in 1894 and contains six of the twelve rooms at the Walnut Street Inn, as well as two large parlors, the dining room, and the kitchen. The Carriage House has four more rooms open to guests, and was also built in 1894. The last two guest rooms are in the Cottage Inn, which was manufactured in 1904 in Chicago and was shipped via train to Springfield from a Sears catalog, like many other houses on Walnut Street. Taking time to visit the large sitting porch on the Main House or the sitting area outside of the Carriage House makes staying at the Walnut Street Inn seem like home.
Because the Inn is at the heart of Springfield, it’s the perfect walking distance to many restaurants and attractions for visiting tourists. The Walnut Street Inn can also accommodate for corporate guests with business breakfast meetings or general business meetings of up to 12 people, and offers business travel rates for guests Sunday-Thursday.
“Because we’re in the heart of downtown, it’s a great opportunity for business guests that are tired of staying in hotels,” Gary says.
Innkeepers Gary and Paula also keep a blog that they keep a link to on the inn’s website, www.walnutstreetinn.com . The blog keeps a record of all adventures they encounter on a daily business, including both the good and bad of opening their house and business to strangers.
“It’s a better way to answer the question we get daily, which is what is it like be an innkeeper? The blog shows all of the good things and the frustrating things,” Gary says.