roots of the guesthouse
Herranniemi has served as a guesthouse (kestikievari in finnish) already in the start of 19th century. In those times people were travelling by horses or feet. All guests were sleeping in one large room and the horses got their place to rest from the stables. Many kinds of travellers met each others at Herranniemi.
Today Herranniemi is functioning as guesthouse in fourth generation – with respect for the old traditions. Previous host couple Aino and Lassi started managing the hostel at the year 1958 and tourism became farm’s mainly livelihood in the end of 1960`s. That makes Herranniemi one of the oldest still functioning guesthouses in North Karelia.
At first people were accommodated in the traditional granaries and guestrooms of the main building. On the start of sixties master Lassi build the first holiday cabin and on the end of sixties there was already room for 30 people during summertime. After that accommodation capacity has been expanded slowly during the years.
Opening of the cafeteria-restaurant
On the middle of seventies Aino and Lassi decided to open cafeteria-restaurant when the local village bar closed the doors. Before that restaurant services were offered only for accommodators, but from the meantime doors were opened also for other visitors and bypassers. Mistress Aino had her roots at Suojärvi in the lost (nowadays Russian) Karelia and she had many delicious, original Karelian recipes to use at the restaurant. Many of those recipes are still in use at Herranniemi.
Years go by, customer base changes
Customer base has been changing during the years. At sixties it consisted of full boarders, Koli travellers and foreign backpackers. When the Interrail-card came into effect year 1972, backpackers were walking from the railway station in lines so long, that sometimes the last ones were left without their own beds and had to sleep in the floor. The spectrum of nationalities was wide: most guests were from Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands and France, but also from many other countries. Many guests that found Herranniemi at their backpacking journeys came back again with their families and today their children`s families are in sequence.
Little by little the backpacking in North Karelia started to decrease because of the worsening train connections. Customer base changed to other kinds of vacationers and Finnish group travellers. Also different kind of companies and unions started to organize meetings and camps at Herranniemi. Participators of art camps have been commemorating beautiful landscapes of lake Pielinen during the years and numbers of family-associations have found suitable environment to gather together at Herranniemi. Popularity of family celebrations, especially weddings and birthdays has been expanding all the time since 1990’s
Turnover of generation
At year 1995 the previous host couple Aino and Lauri Nevalainen retired and the company resettled officially to Erja and Tapio Nevalainen, who had been working at Herranniemi several years already. Erja and Tapio were looking enthusiastically for new ideas to improve the company and in the end of the millenium it was decided to start a project to build more year-round accommodation, so it became possible to accommodate more guest also outside of the summer season.
Destructive fire of the old main building and reconstruction of the new one
The old main building of Herranniemi with 250 years old smokehouse was destroyed completely in a fire at february 2007. Host familys home was lost along with the restaurant and accommodation rooms. People of Herranniemi started to plan new main building immediately after the fire – there was a lot food for thought deciding which kind of building would be suitable at the slope that had been inhabited since the middle of 17th century. Host couple made their own designs and the first structural drawings were ready at the spring 2007.
Host couple wanted to construct the new building with respect for the old atmosphere. Therefore it was neccessary to find old timbers to create the heart of the new main building. Finally suitable old house was found nearby. The old house was deconstructed and the timbers were moved to their new home during the summer 2007. Construction work of the new main building was started in the autumn. Along with the foundation work it turned out that the previous house was not the first building standing on the slope: About sixty centimeters below there was one decomposed timber-layer and fourty centimeters under that another one. Age of these discoveries was left open for speculation
Traditions and present meet
The new main building was opened to public at the last weekend of june 2008, when Finnish/Swiss couple celebrated their wedding at Herranniemi. The largest project of the summer was an open air theater play “Olli Tiainen – hero of the War of Finland”. Along with the play the lakeside theater of Vuonislahti village was initiated for use.
The staff of Herranniemi keeps on developing the guesthouse cherising the old traditions and respecting the needs of modern day guests. Welcome to experience the original countryside atmosphere and carelian hospitality!