Our names are Mark and Kayla Hawkins. In late 2017, we sold our beautiful and award winning White Lions Bed & Breakfast in Winterset, Iowa. At the same time, we purchased an older, more historic home – with all the excitement and anticipation of opening a new Bed and Breakfast.
Here’s Kayla’s version of how it happened:
“We really had no intentions of selling or moving. Everything at the White Lions was going great. We had been open for five years, had just been nominated for a tourism award, and life was good! Maybe it was the margaritas, maybe… It started during a lunch date with a good friend. As we chatted, it was mentioned that the neat old house on Summit was on the market. ‘You know, the one with the horses across from the Fairgrounds…’ I had always wondered about that place, so I gave my realtor friend a call. ‘Oh sure,’ she said. ‘Can you be there in 20 minutes?’ 20 MINUTES!! Shoot… my girlfriend and I finished our lunch and our margaritas and headed over to the house. Needless to say, it was love at first site for me. I absolutely loved the old place. It was built in 1867; it was a little more than 2,500 square feet, was kind of dark, dusty, and full of beautiful antiques, had a kitchen with white cabinets (I’d always wanted white cabinets but was too lazy to paint mine), and it smelled old. Weird, huh? Yes, I love that! It also had an original historic barn and summer kitchen, a chicken coop and machine shed, not to mention trees galore and a beautiful pasture. All this and IN TOWN, too!! Just a few blocks from where we currently were. Did I already say how much I loved it?! But I had to convince Mark that he loved it too. A few days later Mark agreed to “just look at it.” Ha!! That’s all it took. He fell in love too. Here’s the best part… We immediately made an offer (accepted quickly, I’ll add) … AND… we were able to sell our place before it was put on the market. (Thank you, Sarah!)
So, what was our previous place like that we could give it up for an old place like this? Well…we gave up over 4,000 square feet, a beautiful grand staircase, double living rooms, six bedrooms, and a SWIMMING POOL. Holy cow!! What were we thinking? Could we possibly build a better bed and breakfast than what we already had? The answer is YES!! We can, and we did. After all, a bed and breakfast is not only about the property but about who runs it, what you gain from the experience and how good that food is. Right? Right!
The work began in January… not always smooth, what with construction woes to deal with… but worth it when we were able to open the Judge Lewis House Bed and Breakfast in May of 2018. Thanks for indulging the story of this almost 60 year old woman who started over on a new adventure with her 60-year-old husband, tackling something so important to us and (we hope) to the community of Winterset, Iowa.”