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The Mandolin Inn invites you to return to a gentler era whenever you visit Dubuque, Iowa. Tarry awhile while you enjoy the beautiful architecture and intricate detail work that is found throughout the inn.
This Edwardian mansion was built in 1908 as the home of Dubuque's first financier, Nicholas J. Schrup. The house gets its namesake from the gracefully painted leaded glass window on the first landing of the grand oak staircase, depicting Saint Cecilia, patron of musicians, holding a mandolin. From the glazed tile roof of the turret to the mosaic floor of the veranda, every aspect is richly detailed and beautifully crafted.
Travelers are always looking for memorable and relaxing experiences. Let’s discover more through the words of our innkeepers. Many thanks to Amy Boynton for sharing her own secrets with BBOnline.com! Why do most travelers stay at your inn?
There are several reasons why people stay at the Inn. The first is tourism - the Inn is in a historic 27 room mansion in Dubuque, IA - which is a neat old river town on the upper Mississippi River. The second is that we have 8 institutions of higher learning (colleges and seminaries) in town and lots of parents and business travelers connected to the school stay here. The third is weddings - Iowa is the only state in the Middle West that allows same sex weddings as well as heterosexual weddings - and the Inn is a delightful place for small weddings and family reunions.
What are you best known for?
The Inn is best known for its gorgeous architecture and great food.
What makes your inn unique?
It is beautifully restored and has a wonderful relaxed feeling that helps a guest unwind and enjoy themselves.
What do you love most about your inn?
I love the breakfast conversations the most. Whether there are 2 people or 18 people the conversations are always lively, timely and interesting. It is fascinating to me that no matter how diverse the group is at the table, there are always things of common interest that people find to talk about.
If someone has never been to your city, what is the #1 reason to come visit?
The Mississippi River - it's history and it's people. We have the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium; all kinds of biking and hiking trails; shopping on historic Bluff and Main Streets; great vineyards; fabulous restaurants and much more.
What’s the best compliment you have ever received about the inn?
Many of our avid B&B guests say it is the best one they have ever visited.
What’s the best kept secret about the area?
There are at least 4 days worth of interesting and fun things to do here.
If a traveler is staying at your inn for 4 nights, what should he/she do in the area?
Day One - Spend a day on local Arts and Culture: Dubuque Museum of Art; Tiffany Stained Glass Windows at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church (reputed to be the 2nd largest and 2nd best collection of Tiffany Glass in the world); National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium; Visit the Iowa Welcome Center; Take a walking tour of Historic Downtown Dubuque; see a play at the Grand Opera House or the Bell Tower Theater or the Five Flags Theater
Day Two - Explore the City and River: Shopping in Cable Car Square and Old Main Street; Take the Fenelon Place Elevator - the shortest steepest railroad in the US; take a sight seeing River Cruise on an authentic paddle wheeler or a sleek yacht - you can enjoy sightseeing, lunch or dinner on board!
Day Three - Enjoy Nature around Dubuque: Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Garden; The National Historic Landmark Mines of Spain and EB Lyons Interpretive & Nature Center and the Julien Dubuque Monument - located on 1380 acres of beautiful wooded and prairie land just south of Dubuque, IA. ; Eagle Point Park - beautiful park renovated during the depression and located on the rock outcroppings overlooking lock and dam number 11 on the Mississippi River.
Day Four - Visit nearby vineyard and Breweries; To the northwest of Dubuque explore our lovely Park Farms Vineyard; across the Mississippi River to the northeast in Wisconsin visit the Potosi Brewery, where a brewing tradition is alive through the Potosi Brewery Restoration Project. Come explore their history, memorabilia, and gift shop and see the Potosi Brewing Company Transportation Museum, Great River Road Interpretive Center, National Brewery Museum and Potosi Brewing Company Restaurant.
Is there anything within walking distance of your inn?
The Mandolin Inn is within walking distance to three colleges, numerous shops and restaurants and attractions such as the fabulous National Mississippi River Museum; Mississippi River Cruises; casino gambling; theater; The Dubuque Museum of Art; horse-drawn carriage tours of historic Dubuque; Fenelon Place Elevator – the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway for magnificent views of the Tri-State area.
What is your favorite restaurant/food in the area?
We have lots of great restaurants in the area. My two favorites are: L. May Eatery www.lmayeatery.com - a local bistro with fabulous ambience and wonderful food; and The Pepper Sprout www.peppersprout.com - our finest dining in town, the chef changes her menu seasonally and does the most intriguing job of blending flavors.
Any good area guides/websites that travelers could reference? How many rooms does your inn have?
We have eight rooms.
Do you accept pets?
Pets are not invited because the two sweet resident house cats are a bit selfish about sharing their space with other animals. There are two nearby vets that board animals: Central Animal Hospital www.centralanimalhospitaldbq.com - (563) 557-1515, 1865 Central Ave, Dubuque; Pet Med Animal Health Center - www.dbqpetmed.com - (563) 583-8387, 1170 Iowa St, Dubuque.
Guests begin the day with a gourmet breakfast in the dining room, considered by many to be the most magnificent in Dubuque. An artist has painted a fantasy forest above the oak paneling. The beveled glass china cabinet stretches from floor to ceiling. The superb fireplace detailed with Italian tiles rests in the corner. By day's end, relax in the parlor or the music room, but you may also enjoy refreshments on the veranda, weather permitting.
Our guest rooms are meticulously decorated and a perfect place to rekindle romance. Each room is uniquely furnished with beautiful period antiques. The rooms also provided several modern amenities inlcuding:
For year-round comfort, all rooms are provided with queen-sized beds, down comforters and central air conditioning.
Weddings and Events
Planning a wedding, meeting, party or other event? You may entertain your guests with a catered dinner at the Mandolin Inn. Use of the Mandolin Inn for weddings, anniversaries, receptions and family reunions can be arranged and the dining room can host events for up to 16 people.
Whether it is business or pleasure which brings you to Dubuque, your host, Amy Boynton, hopes that your stay at her Edwardian mansion will enchant you into returning time and time again.
Within walking distance of The Mandolin Inn are colleges,businesses, cultural attractions, shops and restaurants. You are also within easy driving distance of a myriad of sites and activities which are sure to be of interest, including:
- Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
- Crystal Lake Cave
- National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
- Mississippi River Cruises
- Riverboat Gambling
- Greyhound Racing
- Dubuque Museum of Art
- Horse Drawn Carriage Tours of Historic Dubuque
- Fenelon Place Elevator (the world's shortest, steepest scenic railway for magnificent views of the Tri-State area)
- Tabor House Vineyards & Winery
- Dyersville Antique Toy Museum
- 'Field of Dreams' Movie Site
- Historic Galena (and its multitude of antique shops and art galleries)
- Plattsville Shakespearian Festival Theater
- Downhill & Cross Country Skiing
- Heritage Bike & Hiking Trails
- Shenedoah Horseback Riding Center