A couple finds romance at a wonderful bed and breakfast; busy partners reconnect and renew their relationship at a pampering inn. It happens all the time. So often, in fact, that Michigan innkeepers almost consider these successes as parts of their jobs. Here are a few suggestions to you start planning for your dream-come-true getaway!
Perched on a hill above the Grand River amid manicured lawns and gardens, you’ll find The English Inn, an English-style country manor that gives guests a glimpse of the good life that auto baron Irving Jacob Reuter and his wife enjoyed near Eaton Rapids (20 miles southwest of Lansing). English Gardens fill the grounds, and have been the site of many weddings.
The 1927 Tudor-Revival-style mansion houses a bed and breakfast with an on-site restaurant. Owners Gary and Donna Nelson have completely restored the home’s original grandeur, from its antique furnishings and rich wood paneling to the massive stone fireplaces.
Antique furnishings fill the six guest rooms in the main house and three guest rooms in two cottages on the grounds. All the rooms have private baths. Coffee service at your door each morning is complimentary, as is the full breakfast (Continental on weekdays, gourmet full breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays).
The restaurant’s menu features innovative specialties created by the chef. Regulars request the chicken breast stuffed with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and cheeses and wrapped in puff pastry. The wine list includes 20 vintages sold by the glass.
You can go sightseeing together or browse the area’s specialty shops, galleries and antiques emporiums when you stay at this picture-book-pretty yellow clapboard inn in the Lake Michigan community of Union Pier (90 miles east of Chicago). Built as a lakeside summer home in 1905, Pine Garth Inn, which resembles an Old English estate, overlooks a private stretch of golden beach.
Carefully chosen fabrics, twig furnishings and antiques lend a distinctive country air to this casual inn’s seven guest rooms and one-bedroom carriage house (some rooms with whirlpools and fireplaces).
After full breakfasts, some guests linger in the great room, warmed by a fireplace. You may prefer to slip away together for your own private adventures. But no matter where you wander, you’ll eagerly return to Pine Garth’s romantic seclusion.
Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn, a peaches-and-cream-colored brick lighthouse resembles a towering Italian villa on 35 acres on the Upper Peninsula’s Keweenaw Peninsula (24 miles northeast of Houghton). Built in 1917 to warn ships away from the Lake Superior shoals, the inn welcomes guests for pampered stays as a bed and breakfast.
Six of the eight guest rooms, all decorated with antiques and some with whirlpools, overlook the lake. In the large Laurence Olivier Room, you can snuggle in front of the fireplace. For a romantic view the two of you will remember forever, climb to the top of the lighthouse’s 90-foot-high tower at sunset, and watch the vivid colors wash across the lake like a prairie fire in summer.
Heavenly breakfasts, which feature dishes such as omelets, scones and homemade jam, skillet potatoes and fresh-baked rolls, will keep you satisfied till dinner time. Guests gather in the sitting room for dessert each evening, accompanied by melodies that Mary Mathews plays on the 101-year-old parlor grand piano. Mary and Bill Frabotta, who renovated the lighthouse about 10 years ago, also can recommend things to see and do in the area.
In the northwestern corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula, Victorian style and hospitality reminiscent of days gone by will make you both want to stay forever at this lovingly restored 1886 Stafford’s Bay View Inn. From an inviting location on the shore of Little Traverse Bay, the family-owned inn has welcomed visitors for more than 40 years in the historic village of Bay View (one mile north of Petoskey).
Antiques and period furnishings fill the 31 rooms and suites at this white three-story inn, with its green roof, big picture windows and turret. Some rooms include fireplaces and whirlpools. In the Bridal/Anniversary Suite, you’ll appreciate both, plus a private porch and four-poster bed.
The cheery Roselawn dining room features time-honored specialties made from Stafford family recipes and delicious regional dishes. After your cooked-to-order breakfast or the famous brunch on Sundays, you can set out together to explore the area, including nearby Petoskey’s Historic Gaslight Shopping District and a variety of championship golf courses.
Be sure to take time to savor the inn’s serene porch views. Then, admire the fanciful homes and cottages on a hand-in-hand stroll along shady streets in this National Historic Landmark community. Visitors also are welcome to attend Bay View’s summer Chautauqua program of art, music and theater.