The guesthouse settlement at Utne around 1900. (Knud Knudsen, owner: Billedsamlingen, Universitetsbiblioteket i Bergen (KK 278)).
When sergeant Peder Larsen Børsem from Strandebarm was “demobilised” in 1721, following the large Nordic War, he married the Bergen lady Elisabeth Schrøder and settled as innkeeper at Utne with a letter of privilege from the county governor dated 29 October 1722.
Of information at the court in 1739 it emerges that Peder Børsem had “put great Expenses in the necessary Inn, in order to build the Houses”. This is probably the oldest part of Utne Hotel today. The innkeeper died from it all in 1735, and the guesthouse place was taken over by “Elisabeth, the diseased Peder Børsem’s widow.” The tax collector was of the opinion that it was no longer necessary for further inn-keeping neither
“for the Traveller, nor for the General Public…as for the Traveller there is no Harbour, and the General Public can both sell and buy what they might desire at Graven Guesthouse, which in fact is only one short Mile from there.”
But the guesthouse place was not closed down. In 1789 Johannes Sveinsson Winæs became innkeeper. He was a sloop skipper and carried on trading and sloop freighting with his own vessels, grain, salt and all types of “Necessities”. Utne became the key trading post in inner Hardanger, and in 1828 his two sons took over the business; Jakob as a trader and Johan as innkeeper. In 1829 a transport station was established here, and the innkeeper was granted the management of the station. The guest-book, which can still be found at Utne, shows that many well-known persons have benefited from the hospitality here, such as:
P.Chr.Asbjørnsen, KristofferJanson, Adolph Tidemand and Eilif Peterssen. Johan Winæs became married to Torbjørg Utne, or “Mor Utne” (Mother Utne), as she became known. She managed the business for 70 years from 1833 to 1903, and she was the one to establish the first hotel in Hardanger.
- Kolltveit, O. Utne Hotell 250 år: 1722-1972.
- Kolltveit, O. (1961) Hardanger Folkemuseum 50 år. I: Hardanger. [Utne], Hardanger historielag, s. 535-540.