The History Behind Michigan’s Hexagon House

The Hexagon House Bed and Breakfast, named after its unique architectural design, is a “turn of the century” Victorian home in beautiful Pentwater, Michigan. Today, Chris Adema of LovePentwater.com gives us a look back at the history behind this charming bed and breakfast.

Learn more about the Hexagon House and other Michigan bed and breakfasts by visiting michigan.org.

Perched along the sandy shores of Michigan’s western coast are numerous summer beach towns – not least among them is the quaint harbor village of Pentwater. Located just south of Ludington, Pentwater is a somewhat lesser known vacation destination, serving as the home of a beachside state park, multiple marinas, boutique clothing stores, art galleries, and a truly beautiful bed and breakfast with a long history: The Hexagon House.

Pentwater was initially established in 1853, finding its beginning as a shipping port, mill, and center for the then booming lumber industry that was busily expanding across Michigan.  The Hexagon House was, in turn, constructed circa 1870 as one of the first boarding houses for the many lumbermen visiting the area from Chicago and from around the Great Lakes, making the home nearly as old as the town itself.  In fact, the builder and first owner was named S.E. Russell, and was an agent of Charles Mears – the Western Michigan lumber baron of that time, and the same man responsible for digging the channel and turning Pentwater into a harbor town. The Hexagon House has truly been a staple in this waterfront community since the very beginning, and played an important role in the bygone era that gave birth to the village.

The next major evolution of the Inn came about in the 1920s and 30s when the two daughters of S.E. Russell inherited the property and turned it into a summer tourist camp, and the home base from which they ran a homemade pie business and a boat rental business.  (The black and white photo included in this post comes from that time period.)

The surviving Russell sister sold the home in the 1950s. Since that time The Hexagon House has changed owners on five more occasions, being enjoyed by the families of a distinguished dentist from Chicago, a professor from Nova Scotia, the Warners, who are responsible for completely renovating the home in 1994, restoring it to a masterpiece of Victorian elegance (you can see the deteriorated pre-renovation condition of the home and the final result in the included photographs), and two veterinarians from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Finally, in 2011, Matt and Sandy Werner purchased the property, embarking on second careers as innkeepers.

Today this Victorian bed and breakfast inn boasts five exquisite guest rooms, including a suite, with wrap around porches, a sprawling lawn, and the convenience of being only a short walk or bike ride to the village of Pentwater. It stands ready to welcome guests for the 2013 season and beyond.

Have you or do you plan to visit the Hexagon House Bed and Breakfast? Share with us below and learn more on michigan.org.

Chris Adema is a Michigan native, the owner of LovePentwater.com, and an internet marketing professional servicing Hexagon House Bed and Breakfast with website management and online promotion.

Pentwater: A Western Michigan Gem

Are you looking to discover a new part of the state? Why not plan a visit to the historic town of Pentwater and see what you discover? Today, guest blogger Chris Adema, a native of beautiful Western Michigan and owner of LovePentwater.com, fills us in on what Pentwater has to offer.

Located on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan is the charming, unassuming village of Pentwater, Michigan. Boasting a mast-filled harbor, a handful of marinas lined with yachts, dozens of boutique shops and art galleries, outdoor dining, and live music each evening, this quiet summer beach town is surprisingly reminiscent of New England. A true Western Michigan jewel, Pentwater commands a devoted crowd of visitors each summer season. It’s no mystery why.

Located only 45 minutes from Muskegon and 90 minutes from Grand Rapids, a day or weekend trip to Pentwater is convenient, while still offering a feeling of escape.  As you leave the freeway and wind your way around the north coast of Pentwater Lake, passing duck crossing signs, the Boat House Bar, and numerous lakeside cottages, you can’t help but relax.  As you draw near to town you find the beautiful Hexagon House Bed and Breakfast, with its sprawling grounds to your right, the village Catholic Church to your left, and three quaint marinas directly ahead.  Now you’re definitely on vacation, even if only for the afternoon.  The drive might just be the best part of visiting Pentwater.  It’s therapeutic.

Once you’ve rounded the final sharp turn, you’ve arrived on Main Street.  Lined with numerous shops, antiques, galleries, clothing stores, and restaurants, you could easily spend the day simply browsing and eating.  CRAZE, at the south end of town, features designer women’s clothing, Jilly’s Gallery next door is a new addition to the community, and offers beautiful ceramic and stained glass creations.  Gull Landing is arguably Pentwater’s nicest restaurant, offering outdoor dining, bar, and live music throughout the summer season.  Meanwhile, The Brown Bear was recently bestowed the honor of “Western Michigan’s Best Burger”!  The Dari Crème and Cosmic Candy will satisfy your sweet tooth, Bone’z Beach Survival Gear and Rip Girl will keep the kids happy with toys and youth clothing, and The Antler Bar will keep the adults entertained with daily happy hour and regular nightlife. 

At the north end of town, another left turn brings you to the Main Attraction: the BEACH!  Pentwater offers one of several public beaches on the Lake Michigan shore, but this is most definitely one of the best.  Warm, clean sand, a safe swimming area, playground, public parking, snack shack, volleyball nets, windswept dunes, boardwalk, piers, lighthouses, and an applaud-worthy sunset each evening; this is what other beaches should aspire be.  And as an extension of Charles Mears State Park, this is actually one of the few Michigan beaches where guests are welcome to camp only a short stroll away!

Although Ludington, directly to the North, and Silver Lake, directly to the South are widely known for Gus Macker, ferry boats, dune rides and ATVs, Pentwater remains largely a secret gem perched in-between.  This fall, as the colors change, or next summer, as the heat arrives, consider taking a day, or a weekend, or a week to visit us. 

Have you been to Pentwater or do you plan to visit this year? Share with us below!

Chris Adema is a native of beautiful Western Michigan, and works as a travel internet marketing specialist for various hospitality clients.  Chris has been a frequent, life-long visitor to Pentwater, Michigan, and is the owner of LovePentwater.com.