Along St Olavsleden, 13 kilometres before it reaches Östersund there’s an idyllic B&B called Sörbygården, surrounded by paddocks, meadows and leafy trees. Previously, it was a stable, home to around ten Iceland horses, but since Helen and Richard Åsander took over the business, pilgrims and tourists now fill the buildings and courtyard with chatter and laughter.
It was an advertisement that convinced the Asanders to leave Ingarö in Stockholm’s archipelago for Brunflo, just outside Östersund. A desire to quit their office jobs, reduce commuting time and work together made the rural Sörbygården with its ongoing business a tough opportunity to turn down. At the end of spring 2019 the couple’s household moved north.
– We took over just as the summer season kicked off and therefore decided not to make any major changes but focused instead on settling in and getting a feel for the place, says Richard Åsander.
– We want to put our mark on Sörbygården but of course we want to keep the homely atmosphere and build further on it, Helen Åsander continues.
More than just self-catering
Now, two months into their new role as B&B owners, they are slowly but surely becoming confident with the daily routines of the farmstead. In addition to self-catering they offer breakfast every day, and pilgrims also have the possibility to order a packed lunch. With advance bookings, the couple can even serve evening dinner and help with luggage transportation.
– Having a place right next to St Olavsleden is really great. In summertime we have pilgrimage hikers staying here almost every day, and they bring a lot of positive energy with them, says Richard Åsander.
– It’s interesting to hear all the different reasons and goals they have for hiking the route. A lot of them even meet new acquaintances amongst the other guests and it’s fun to see how they share their experiences. Many people are really very open, says Helen Åsander.
Already long for another summer along St Olavsleden
The positive energy of their guests has spilled over to the couple, and even though they are looking forward to a calmer period during autumn and winter, they already long for next year’s summer season.
– We have had a lot of fun this summer and look forward to Sörbygården continuing to be a stopover for those who want to feel good and experience more than just a bed. Who knows, perhaps in a couple of years we can once again be a stopover for pilgrims on horseback too, concludes Helen Åsander.
For more information about Sörbygården B&B visit sorbygarden.se