The Victorian Inn sits in the Village of Camp Point, Illinois, and this bed-and-breakfast has hosted visitors from over 40 states and some from foreign countries.
Inn owners Steve and Carol Eicken say owning an inn was never something they planned, but after running it for over a decade, it has become a way of life. The Eickens bought the house in 1990 and opened one bedroom for visitors in 2000. They say having a variety of travelers and learning about their cultures is the most satisfying part of the job.
Today, the inn has three bedrooms—two in the main house, and one behind the house for guests who want more privacy. Each room has its own bathroom, refrigerator, coffee pot, dining area and queen size bed. Guests in the main house are served a continental breakfast each morning unless otherwise requested.
The first room open for visitors was the South Suite in the main house on the first floor. Here, guests can enjoy a stay that allows them to park close to their quarters with easy access to the outside. Also connected are the separate dining area and living room spaces. Upstairs is Melissa’s Room complete with a separate dining area and bathroom with a full clawfoot tub. Behind the main house sits the Cottage, which comes with its own keys so guests can come and go as they please. The Cottage has its own bathroom, kitchen and sitting area that shares space with the bedroom.
“The cottage is the most popular—we rent it more than anything,” Carol Eicken says. “People like the privacy of it.”
The house has a family feel and a warm interior that make guests feel like it is their home away from home. Steve Eicken says they consider themselves a family bed-and-breakfast where guests can stay in a peaceful,relaxing environment. Carol Eicken says they have regular guests who ask for specific rooms and some who will not stay if the room they want is not available.
“Now, we’ve been around long enough that we have a lot of repeat people that come back,” Carol Eicken says. “We’ve had people that have stayed with us for 15 years, probably.”
Guests would never know that the owners have never stayed in a bed-and-breakfast. They have only toured several around the area to understand how the businesses work.
“The funny thing is, we’ve never stayed in a B&B, and we still haven’t really,” Steve Eicken says. “We looked at a lot before we did this, of course, and they’re all so different.”
The Victorian Inn was voted the number one bed-and-breakfast in Adams, Brown and Schuyler counties in 2003, just three years after opening.The Eickens say what makes their bed-and-breakfast different is their ability to separate guests so they have an individualized experience. They serve guests breakfast separately and have exits on opposite sides of the house so if guests want privacy, they can have it.
Jerry Gunn, mayor of the Village of Camp Point, says the community supports the inn and its visitors because it is the only lodging location, and it brings business to the surrounding shops. He says the inn brings business to the village’s three restaurants, winery, and golf course as well.
“The nice thing about it is, if you have an event here, they have a nice place to stay because we don’t have a motel so it works out well,” Gunn says.
Visitors of the inn have come from various states and some from countries like Ireland, Germany and Ethiopia. Long-time guests Robert and Elisa Correia live in Chicago but have taken trips to stay at the inn since it opened. The couple’s family lives 15 minutes away from the Inn, which makes it an ideal place to stay when they visit. The Correia’s say their favorite place to stay is the Cottage, but they feel comfortable staying in any of the available rooms. They describe the inn as a comfortable, warm home away from home and they say the location and owners are what keep them coming back to the inn.
“Not only the location, but the decor of their inn is very relaxing, and Steve and Carol are friendly and accommodating,” Elisa Correia says.