south in milford

You can stay the night in an old elementary school in Ontario

If you've ever wanted to go back to school but skip the homework, this 1960s-era school-turned-Airbnb would make a good trip from Toronto.

Stylishly renovated by former Toronto residents, Alysa Hawkins and Jesse Parker, South in Milford currently has three guest rooms — Classroom 1, Classroom 2 and The Library for rental from May to October.

The couple was looking for an escape from the city and bought the school in 2013 after they stumbled across it in a Kijiji ad, Hawkins said. The building was a public school, South Marysburgh Central School, from 1960 to 2011. It closed due to low enrollment and the school board was selling it.

They moved with their three children and golden doodle and took about two years to renovate the building into a home and inn, said Hawkins. When they arrived, the school had been shut for at least a year and they found plenty of stuff left behind.

"It was filled with old musty books and a lot of craft supplies. There were seven artificial Christmas trees — all sorts of weird stuff," Hawkins said.

There was a piano, which they kept, and old plaques and trophies that they gave back to residents once they got to know members of the community.

They kept the chalkboards, which some guests use to draw artwork.

They called it South in Milford because all the local residents just called the school "South", short for South Marysburgh Central School.

The rooms are large with mid-century modern style touches.

The guest suites are bright and outfitted with three-piece bathrooms and kitchenettes. They all have private entrances.

The third suite is a two-bedroom, utilizing the former library and principal and secretary's office. The unique stay has even inspired a TikTok video.

Located in the south end of Prince Edward County, the region is a popular vacation spot with wineries, quaint shops, hiking trails, cycling routes and Sandbanks Provincial Park.

People are already booking for 2021

While she hadn’t heard of anyone renovating a 1960s-era school into an inn before, Hawkins said once their place was featured in the media, she received calls from people asking for advice to convert decommissioned schools.

Staying in school appears to be popular, as the suites were fully booked during July and August this year. People have already started booking for next year, Hawkins said.

They hope to renovate a fourth guest room — the former staff room — in the future.

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South in Milford

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