Text and photos by Sigrid Thorbjørnsen. Translated and edited by Michael Holtermann.
In Sør Trøndelag County, out in the sea on the Ørland peninsula, there is a little piece of paradise called Hovde Gård. It can be reached within an hour by boat from Trondheim or an hour’s flight from Oslo Gardermoen airport.
Hovde Gård, mansion and farm, is far from the usual hotel one normally comes across when attending seminars or other incentive travels. This venerable mansion dates back to 1923, when it was a school for aspiring housewifes to be. Here, the girls learned the skills of cooking, sewing, weaving, and other domestic chores.
Today, the former school is completely restored and, since 2009, Hovde Gaard houses vacationers, seminars, weddings, conferences, and confirmation banquets. Bookings of Christmas partys had already started when I was there in mid August.
The atmosphere here is inviting. Impecable details from a bygone era set the tone, and amenities and facilities that meet and even exceed today’s standards make it complete.
A red carpet welcomes you into the main house reception area. Here, you’re greeted by pictures that tell stories about when the king visited, yearbook photos of classes, teachers and students, of activities that were exercised, and how the area has changed. It’s like arriving in a stately home or a live-in museum.
The staff is helpful and kind, from morning to night. They help with arranging tours, rent-a-bike, or book hours in the spa. There is nothing missing.
All the rooms are welcoming and clean, as would be expected in a former school of this kind. Even if you’re not planning to stay in the bridal suite, you are guaranteed good beds, stylish bathrooms, and, regardless of where in the building or the annex your accommodation is located, you have a good view and lots of fresh air.
The top floor you’ll find a Chesterfield salon and bar with a large, old-fashioned fireplace. The bar is open year-round and has full liquor licence.
The garden at the farm is something in itself. There are rose bushes and green lawns, a large patio and beautifully landscaped sections of the garden. It is manna for the soul to be able to bring a book or camera, take a seat on one of the garden’s many benches, smell the roses, and the scent of freshly mowed grass. And, should you sit for a bit, you’ll soon smell food being prepared.
Hovde Gård’s kitchen has kept the local food traditions alive. The menu changes with the season and the raw ingredients have not traveled far. Here, they use the best local ingredients and if you would like a wine pairing with your dinner, the staffs knowledge is impeccable. These are people who do their utmost to ensure you’re treated to a great culinary experience.
There are two restaurants at the farm, Fjøset and Fraukjelleren. Both are located in the barnhouse. Fjøset is a cozy restaurant that serves good dinner from a varied menu. Fraukjellern offers 3- and 5-course dinner in group settings, from small to 40 guests.
Hovde Gård also works with Kjeungskjær Lighthouse. If you wish to head out to the sea and take a closer look or stay at one of the most unique lighthouses in Norway, it can be arranged. This lighthouse is worth seeing and was the reason for my trip here in the first place. As for the farm itself, the lighthouse is unique and something you do not get to see or experience every day.
After a good night’s sleep and a fabulous breakfast – with fresh bread, eggs of all kinds, coffee, tea, juice and milk, cereal for every taste, fruits and various toppings – I had to move on. My visit was too short, and when I return, I will make sure to spend at least an hour in the nostalgic bathtub on claw feet! I am excited already.
Hovde Gård has a 50-foot catamaran that can be rented for excursions and fishing, as well as a 16-seat minibus that can be rented by guests.
Visit Hovde Gård online.
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