I was the dork who LOVED school. Other kids at least put up the pretense of being too cool for school, but I was unabashedly eager to go learn. It was my favourite place, at least in the early grades. I would even ask for homework, but the teachers told me they weren’t allowed to assign any until I was older. Though I don’t recall specifically fantasizing about having a sleepover at school, it would have been my idea of paradise then.
My first impulse upon setting foot in The Davie School Inn was the intense desire to move in, permanently. It would be quite doable. The unbelievably spacious suites in this bed and breakfast are comprised of classrooms, several of which are larger than the average one-bedroom apartment in Toronto.
Gary and Andrea Dahmer transformed the 1910 Davie School building in Anna, Illinois into a one-of-a-kind boutique inn that has been their labour of love since 2002. The Davie School Inn now has 11 individually decorated suites that each have their own theme and flair. The inn retains the character and atmosphere of the school — every suite has an original slate blackboard and bookcase — but has been carefully renovated to add just the right amount of modern conveniences. Kitchenettes have sprung from where pupils might have hung their coats, while luxurious spa bathrooms blend right into the woodwork (including the gloriously distressed original hardwood floors.) Some of the furnishings are original, such as teacher’s desks, while others are lovingly collected antiques. Many beds are topped with handmade quilts which create an endearing homeyness.
I stayed in the Green Room, where I could have invited at least a dozen of my closest friends and still had loads of room in this massive suite — I really should shut up about the size of the place already, but I can’t get over it. It would be ideal for a family stay, or getaway with friends, as it sleeps five. The room gave rise to a number of fun scenarios in my mind, such as a writers’ retreat, hen party, or craft weekend — so much potential there that it seemed wasted on little old me.
Nevertheless I was determined to luxuriate in the space and amenities as much as possible in the short time I had there. My favourite feature was the wall of slate chalkboards and, even though we arrived late (hence the poorly lit photos) and hit the road early the next morning, I made sure to set aside some time for doodling.
Our group was spread across several suites, but we congregated for a convivial breakfast in my room. Gary arrived at precisely the appointed time with a scrumptious frittata straight from the oven, roast potatoes, fresh fruit salad, toast, and juice, which were laid out on the desk which is now a dining table.
All that remained to be done before departing Davie School Inn far too soon, was an impromptu doodle party.
Acknowledgements and disclosure: Many thanks to Andrea and Gary Dahmer for their friendly hospitality and providing a complimentary stay for the purposes of this review. This was part of a trip organized by Enjoy Illinois. My doodling buddies were Matt and Caro. All views expressed in this review are my own (I really did love it to bits.)