By Rebecca Sloan
Guests fancy fur-friendly lodging, decadent details
The Dream Horse Guesthouse was voted the most pet-friendly bed and breakfast in the country.
KINSMAN — Lodgers at the Dream Horse Guesthouse Bed and Breakfast come in all shapes and sizes.
Some of them even have tails, scales and whiskers.
“We’ve had all kinds of pets stay here along with their owners,” said Dream Horse Guesthouse owner, Allan Kaulback. “Horses, cats, dogs, iguanas, even sugar gliders.”
“We do our best to make people and their pets feel comfortable,” added Allan’s wife and Dream Horse co-owner, Catherine Kaulback. “We pay special attention to the details.”
The Kaulbacks’ hospitality for all creatures great and small, as well as their attention to comfortable details, has earned them national recognition.
Recently, the Dream Horse Guesthouse was voted the most pet-friendly bed and breakfast in America in a contest sponsored by BedandBreakfast.com.
“We were really thrilled and surprised to be chosen as the most pet friendly,” Catherine Kaulback said. “It’s gratifying that inn-goers took the time to write reviews of [our establishment].”
The awards are based upon reviews submitted by guests to BedandBreakfast.com, the leading online bed and breakfast directory and reservation network worldwide.
Nearly 50,000 independent reviews were submitted for bed and breakfasts entered in this year’s contest, and winners were selected for a variety of categories including most beautiful gardens, most romantic and most family friendly.
BedandBreakfast.com’s Sandy Soule said, “The Dream Horse Guesthouse earned high marks for their fine accommodations, breakfasts, amenities and wonderful hospitality and service.”
This is the first year the Kaulbacks have participated in the contest, although their bed and breakfast, which is housed in a circa-1920 dairy barn, opened in 2003.
The 2003 opening came after decades of renovations to the barn, which sits at the corner of Weber Cole Road and state Route 7 at the northern fringe of Kinsman township.
Allan Kaulback, a 1965 Howland High School graduate and retired merchant marine engineer, bought the barn in the 1970s and began fixing it up.
“I wanted to have a home business of some sort and was looking for a commercial property,” he said. “I was inspired after I read a book called ‘The Living Barn.’ It was a long process to get the barn where it is today. I lived here while I was renovating it.”
During renovation, Allan Kaulback salvaged building materials from three schoolhouses, a church and a tannery, as well as numerous flea markets.
One of his most interesting finds is a 1900 spiral staircase that came from a leatherworks in Girard.
Today, although the timber-frame building retains rustic elements such as exposed hand-hewn beams and wide plank floors, it’s a far cry from the humble dairy barn it once was.
Standing four stories high and painted sage green with white gingerbread trim, the Dream Horse Guesthouse rises proudly from among the cornfields.
Catherine Kaulback, a retired interior designer, has lovingly decorated the inside of the establishment with an eclectic mix of antiques and modern amenities, and each of the four guest rooms combines plush indulgence with homey warmth.
The High Horse Suite, for example, features a fireplace, a full kitchen with a breakfast booth, a dining area and a private bath. The suite’s bedroom boasts an elegant four-poster bed with Corinthian columns.
“This suite is actually an efficiency apartment,” Allan Kaulback explained. “It also has a twin bed and is perfect for families.”
The Open Sleigh room has a queen-sized sleigh bed, a private bath and a refrigerator, and the Happy Trails room features a king-sized bed, private bath and southerly facing windows that allow the golden rays to stream in.
Speaking of sunshine – the Gypsy Wagon Suite adjoins a cheery room with a double Jacuzzi and fireplace. This room is known as the Sunflower Spa.
While relaxing in the tub, guests can enjoy lovely views of horse pastures and cornfields.
All guestrooms have satellite TV, air conditioning, private baths and refrigerators. Wireless Internet is also available, and appointments with a massotherapist can be arranged for $65 to $85.
“We are a perfect getaway for those who don’t want to travel far, as well as those who are far from home and looking for comfortable lodging,” Catherine Kaulback said. “Our room rates start as low as $65 per night.”
The Kaulbacks have welcomed guests from as far away as Luxembourg, France, and Argentina.
“One of our guests was a man from Paris who was riding his bicycle across America,” Allan Kaulback said. “We also had some people from Luxembourg who had come to the United States to study forensics, and last summer we had a polo team from Argentina. You should have seen their 11 ponies run around our pasture. It was great.”
After traveling the world for many years on merchant marine ships, Allan Kaulback said he gets restless for variety and enjoys meeting people from all over the globe.
“On the merchant marine ships I was always exposed to different cultures and different places, and after I retired I really missed that. This is an ideal line of work for me since we get so many interesting guests here,” he said.
Catherine Kaulback said she loves it when brides arrived “fully gowned” and people bring their pets – especially their horses.
“I’ve had horses since I was a little girl, and I feel at ease around them. There’s just something special about them,” she said, adding, “Our guests love to be able to look out their window and see horses and walk outside and experience horses.”
And Dream Horse guests are guaranteed to see a horse or two now that the Kaulbacks have purchased their own equines.
Misty and May, two haflinger mares, have only been with the Kaulbacks for a few weeks, but they’ve already made themselves at home in the establishment’s boarding stable and pastures.
The Amish-built boarding stable, which is a short distance from the bed and breakfast, is clean and cozy and ready for traveling ponies.
“We built [the stable] three years ago,” Catherine Kaulback said. “It has seven stalls. We also have several acres of pasture on our 16 acres and many small, individually fenced pastures so that guests’ horses can be separated if they don’t get along.”
The Kaulbacks do their best to make things easy for people traveling with equines.
“We help people get their horses into the barn and get settled. We’re very hands on that way,” she said. “We know what is involved in caring for horses.”
Of course, the Kaulbacks will go the extra mile for any type of pet, no matter how exotic.
“The guest who had the sugar glider needed to find a special veterinarian because her sugar glider had gotten very sick,” Catherine Kaulback said. “We helped her find the vet she needed.”
Catherine Kaulback likes to combine her love of animals with her love of art and can be commissioned to paint watercolor portraits of people and their pets.
“I work from photographs,” she said. “The cost is based on how many subjects are in the photo, how elaborate the background is and how much time goes into the piece. I’ve painted portraits of pets for guests who’ve stayed here.”
Catherine Kaulback is also an accomplished cook and prepares sumptuous breakfasts for Dream Horse patrons.
Her specialties include a decadent blackberry-stuffed French toast and a pear and apple puff pastry. She also serves popovers, Belgian waffles and blueberry pancakes.
“We always discuss with our guests what they’d like to eat,” she said. “We cater to vegans and people with food allergies as well.”
“We are very service-oriented,” Allan Kaulback added. “We never send anyone off hungry.”
XFor more information on the Dream Horse Guesthouse, visit www.kinsmanbarncats.com or call (330) 876-0428. For a complete listing of BedandBreakfast.com’s contest winners visit www.bedandbreakfast.com.