RED WING — Christine Mahoney and Mike Waulk wanted to open a bed and breakfast for years. Before finding what would become the Moondance Inn in Red Wing, the couple toured numerous properties, looking for their future B&B.
“We had looked at over 100 homes prior to this one. And actually, I had kind of given up the whole idea because it didn’t seem like it was going to happen,” Waulk said.
The couple was living in St. Paul at the time so when their realtor showed them the future Moondance Inn, they wanted to explore Red Wing.
“Once we saw the house and realized that this could be a real possibility we also took a good look at the town in terms of tourism,” Waulk said. “We weren’t interested being a farm B&B where you have to be the show, the reason people come. We like the fact that people come to Red Wing because they like Red Wing and we could earn a slice of the pie.”
The house was not ready to be a bed and breakfast when Mahoney and Waulk purchased it in 1998. Mahoney explained that they redid all the plumbing, wiring, installed new sewers, a new roof, refinished 6,000 square feet of flooring and installed a commercial kitchen.
By Dec. 31, 1999, Moondance Inn was in business.
Along with running as a bed and breakfast Waulk and Mahoney would host and cater small weddings and events. They ended that service a couple of years ago because, according to Mahoney, they were getting “old and creaky.”
Waulk laughed and added, “It takes a lot of energy, a lot of work to host weddings. We sort of realized it used to take us about a day to recover and when it got up to about three days to recover we thought, ‘well, you know, it might be time to think about quitting this.’”
After about 20 years at the B&B Mahoney and Waulk began thinking about retiring.
“We’ve been thinking about selling the place for a few years now," Waulk said. "But, it didn’t sell. And then with the COVID coming along, we thought, ‘well, we’ll close for a little bit, and we’ll open back up in April.’ Well, April came and no, that’s not going to happen. And towards the end of April we realize this just isn’t going to happen for us for a while. I might be time to think about getting out.”
“It was an emotionally very difficult decision but when you looked at the finances, it wasn’t,” Mahoney added.
Mahoney and Waulk have not made a final decision about what their plans are for the Moondance Inn. Currently they are living in the house. But, Mahoney explained that whatever happens, she and Waulk see themselves as having “been the stewards of this old house.”