Dream of Being an Innkeeper? Follow Your Dream!

September 11th, 2014 by linda


If you dream of being an innkeeper someday and wonder how to learn the business from the ground up, the 3rd Annual Aspiring Innkeeper Workshop is the answer to making your Grand Aspirations a reality. In the real world you don’t get do-overs, so rise to the occasion with practical knowledge, armed with facts. This full-day event — your chance to get it right from the start — opens Michigan’s only Innkeeping Conference, presented annually over the next two days by the Michigan Lake to Lake Bed & Breakfast Association.

Grand Aspirations
3rd Annual Aspiring Innkeeper Workshop
Sunday, October 26 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
In the Conference Center of the Airport Hilton Inn
Grand Rapids

Includes lunch with veteran innkeepers and
an exclusive invitation to “Sunday Inn the Gardens,”
a mentoring and networking dinner that’s not to be missed!

Morning sessions will arm you with a profile of the industry, its lifestyle and its realities. Who are innkeepers? What are their characteristics? Are all B&Bs the same or are they distinct in type and style? What will you use as a model for yours?

The workshop is presented by innkeeper-training professional Carol Edmondson, "Innkeeping Specialists," assisted by professional member innkeepers.

The workshop is presented by innkeeper-training professional Carol Edmondson, “Innkeeping Specialists,” assisted by professional member innkeepers.

You’ll get sound information to help you make the right decision on whether to start your B&B from scratch or buy one that already exists. You’ll consider requirements for space, signage, zoning, breakfasts, baths, common areas and parking, for the number of rooms necessary to make your inn a success and for knowing when and if to expand. You’ll discover best practices in working with local authorities to get your business and licensing approved with a minimum of headache.

The issue of financing weighs on all aspiring innkeepers. The sessions will cover how to create simple business plans that lenders will recognize and appreciate, how commercial lending really works, how to understand appraisals and where to get money. Success in all of these rests on creating the right team of “partners” who will contribute to your success throughout your innkeeping career — your accountants, attorneys, investors, appraisers, lenders, associations and consultants.

After a lunch during which veteran “mentors” will answer questions and share their own “innsider” tips, working innkeepers will form interactive panels to discuss three aspects of successful innkeeping: business, rooms and food. One group of panelists will discuss their experiences with room pricing and reservations, partnering with other businesses and managing expenses to ensure profitability. Another will address the guest experience including remodeling and renovations, expected and desired guest amenities and how to best utilize common areas. A third panel will talk about breakfasts — that other “B” in the “B&B” equation. You’ll learn about food quality and local sourcing, how to scale your menu to your guests and how to create a menu that reflects your own unique style.

The Aspiring Innkeeper Workshop is your ticket
to making your Grand Aspirations a reality.

$90 for one attendee
$160 for two attendees registering as partners/spouses ($20 savings)

Click here for the workshop schedule. 

Click the image below for complete Workshop & Conference details and info on “Sunday Inn the Gardens.”
Scroll to the bottom of the conference page for registration forms.

follow your dreams

(Early-bird conference discount rates end October 5)








Sample Lake Living at a Michigan B&B

August 29th, 2014 by linda

North, south, east, west, Upper Peninsula or below, you’re never far from a lake in Michigan. Here, the art of lake living has been perfected and can be sampled at many bed and breakfast inns. Whether you’ve never experienced life on the lake or you want to again, here are three diverse B&Bs that have a lake-front location in common along with a passion to pamper and delight.

Presque Isle Lodge, Presque Isle (Northeast Region)

Presque Isle Lodge swing For today’s Baby Boomers, “goin’ to the lake” in summer meant a rustic cabin, bonfires at dark, char-toasted marshmallows and endless days of sunshine and water. You can reconnect – or newly connect — with those happy, wholesome times at Presque Isle Lodge B&B (pronounced presk eel), a uniquely homespun experience with thoroughly-contemporary amenities including high-speed internet on a piece of paradise midway between Alpena and Rogers city on Michigan’s northeast coast. It’s nestled in a scenic woods right across from Grand Lake, a mecca for fishermen and family fun that lies seven miles long and 1.5 miles across with 19 islands just waiting to be explored. On the National Register of Historic Places, its eight guestrooms make Presque Isle Lodge perfect for family gatherings, reunions, weddings, quilting, scrapbooking and retreats. Its breakfasts are legendary. This is a place where you can step back into yesterday while keeping your feet planted in today. In other words, kick back and relax! Children are welcome.

The Painted Turtle Inn, St. Joseph (Southwest Michigan)

Painted Turtle egg cups with ham and swiss Even more than its five tastefully furnished luxury guestrooms, people who stay at The Painted Turtle Inn love their own personal view of Lake Michigan from each room. This brand-new B&B opened a little more than a year ago and sits right on Lakeshore Drive in St. Joseph, which runs along a bluff overlooking ‘The Big Lake.’  A lakeside park right across the street is a wonderful place to relax, read a book, watch the gulls wheel against the sky and listen to the waves roll in. The Painted Turtle is already acclaimed for its gourmet breakfasts, which welcome in the day with fresh coffee, local fruit and oven-hot baked goods followed by a delicious hot entrée like these egg cups with ham and swiss (above). The inn is just five minutes from downtown St. Joseph’s shops and galleries, pubs, restaurants and marinas and all the attractions of Silver Beach and the fantastical Silver Beach Carousel. Here, you can enjoy comfortable elegance at its finest.

Torch Lake B&B, Central Lake (Northwest Region)

shoreline If you’ve never seen Torch Lake on a sunny day, you can’t imagine the color of “up-north aquamarine.” If you have, you probably wished you lived in one of the homes around Michigan’s longest and second-largest inland lake, named the third most beautiful in the world by National Geographic. Maybe you can’t live there, but you sure can sample the lifestyle at the Torch Lake B&B.  Perched hillside near Central Lake with this million dollar view of Torch Lake, the B&B is close to trendy Traverse City and even closer to the quaint village of Bellaire, where you can enjoy brews at Short’s and acclaimed dining at Lulu’s. Choose from the Sunset, the Vista or the Nautical suites with private baths and views of 18 miles of lake right from your windows. Snuggle into cozy robes and feather pillows. Soak in the outdoor hot tub and get eye to eye with the stars. Enjoy WiFi and flat-screen TV. Savor a gourmet breakfast every morning. Bring your boat and get mooring privileges at the private dock. No boat? Add on a romantic sunset cruise or a day cruise to swim and sun. Discover what it is to be pampered.

Of course, these aren’t the only lake-side, lake-front B&Bs in Michigan. You can choose from among the finest by clicking your mouse right here, then selecting from the Geographic Settings menu featuring B&Bs “near lake or river,” “waterfront,” “water view” or “beach.” All the B&B’s you’ll see in the results are members of the Michigan Lake to Lake B&B Association, dedicated to best hospitality practices and regularly inspected for quality, safety, cleanliness, comfort and professionalism.

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Innkeepers Celebrate the “Pure Michigan” Peach

August 22nd, 2014 by linda

peach imageAugust is National Peach Month! We’ve been celebrating all week long, collecting favorite recipes from our creative Michigan bed and breakfast innkeepers to share with you before the season is over.

One of the naughtiest and yummiest recipes is Rose and Lydia’s “Georgia” Peach French Toast, made with fresh Michigan peaches at their Mackinac Island inn, Bay View B&B. Because peaches have a short season here in the northern hemisphere, many recipes call for canned peaches. But like all good cooks everywhere, Michigan innkeepers substitute fresh-from-the-farm when available. This recipe is from B&B Recipe Favorites, our online version of the “Michigan Bed & Breakfast Cookbook,” a great resource for cooks who love to serve good food.

This delightful confection is "Peaches and Cream French Toast" from Presque Isle Lodge B&B. Just click on the image to get the recipe.

This delightful confection is “Peaches and Cream French Toast” from Presque Isle Lodge B&B. Just click on the image to get the recipe.

Heritage Manor Fruit Crisp is another recipe from the online cookbook that features fresh Michigan peaches in season. This B&B is in the heart of Michigan’s fruit belt, along the coast of Lake Michigan. Don’t miss the Adrounie House B&B’s “Peachy Blueberry Stuffed French Toast,” delicious with either a blueberry or a peach-orange sauce. They’ve thoughtfully provided cooking instructions for both.

Did you know you can substitute fresh peaches for almost any firm fruit –like apples –that cook up into a thick and smooth consistency? The same pinch of sugar and cinnamon that enhances apple pie will enhance a peach pie. If you like sweet better than you like tart, peach desserts may be your answer.

Fresh Peach Pinwheel

Adventure Inn B&B celebrates National Peach Month with fresh fruit creations like this pinwheel of sliced Michigan peaches (above), Traverse City black cherries and raspberries arranged around the “cheek” of a yellow plum.” It’s almost too pretty to eat! The innkeeper also serves fresh peaches drizzled with vanilla yogurt to which she adds a pinch of brown sugar and a little cinnamon. Heaven!

Claire's Honey-roasted peaches recipeAnother perfect way to start the day is with Claire’s Honey-Vanilla Roasted Peaches with Berries. It’s a signature recipe seasonally prepared for guests of At Willow Pond B&B as a starting course to celebrate the Michigan peach harvest. It’s a pretty simple recipe you can make at home to wow your friends and family. The innkeeper’s may be just a little more special in that she uses honey from their own hives and, in the photo to the right, elderberries that grow wild on the property. But don’t worry: you probably can’t duplicate it exactly, but you can come darn close with good organic honey and any of your favorite berries.

If you’ve enjoyed this journey into the creative kitchens of Michigan B&B innkeepers, you can travel with us regularly into the hearts of these unique lodging experiences by subscribing to our blog. We’d love to have you! No cost, no strings, no obligations.

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All Michigan B&Bs are NOT the Same!

August 15th, 2014 by linda

Could any three lodging properties be more uniquely different from one another than Heather House B&B, Bellaire B&B and LogHaven B&B and Barn? The distinctiveness of each is one of the factors that makes bed and breakfast inns the most exciting, individual and unexpected places to stay. They make any get-away that much more memorable.

Heather House B&B, Marine City, Southeast Region

Heather House new

Turrets, towers, peaks and gables: that’s what the Heather House B&B is made of. Overlooking Canada on the busy St. Clair River in Marine City, this Victorian-style Queen Anne home gives you a bird’s-eye view of the swiftly-flowing blue water and its ever changing activities. Imagine watching freighters up close, ice floes in the winter and pleasure boats in the summer. The living room looks out on the river, which guests can also enjoy with morning coffee from the spacious wrap-around veranda. If you get away to Heather House, you’ll have your choice of four beautifully-decorated guestrooms, each with its own bath and each with its own private porch. As with nearly all B&Bs, beverages and snacks are part of the package, and a generous homemade breakfast is served daily in the formal dining room.

Log Haven Bed, Breakfast & Barn, West Branch,
Northeast Region

LogHave riders and horses

This B&B has a barn and the barn has stalls. Multiple stalls make a stable, and LogHaven Bed, Breakfast and Barn welcomes your horses to come along with you. What’s more, your dog is welcome too. This quality-assured B&B is located near West Branch, three hours “up north” of Detroit and smack in the heart of the Huron National Forest which abounds with trails including those perfect for equine travel. If you don’t have horses, come anyway: that same forest has trails that are ideal for ORVs, cross country skiing, snowmobiles and hiking on foot. The spacious, contemporary log home has all the comforts and amenities you’d expect in the city except for one difference: no power lines run to it. LogHaven runs on a combination of wind energy and solar power: it’s completely off the grid and proud of it. Enjoy a truly unique and comfortable getaway with your choice of three lovely guestrooms, private baths, a friendly atmosphere and a hearty country breakfast far from the maddening crowds.

Bellaire B&B, Bellaire, Northwest Region

bellaire b&b ext gardens

Indisputably one of Michigan’s best-loved inns by every age group from Boomers to Millennials, Bellaire B&B has been named “12th Best Overall Bed & Breakfast in North America.” It’s rumored the innkeepers’ hospitality and sunny natures impart a glow that makes all generations feel welcome. The affinity its guests say they feel in countless reviews could be a result of the inn’s lavish annual and perennial gardens in summer or the roaring fire in the cherry-paneled library in winter.  Or maybe it’s fresh-made cookies by your bedside in the evening. Maybe it’s that you can easily walk to the village to sample fine dining like Lulu’s Bistro, the much lauded Short’s Brewery, pubs, restaurants, quaint shops and even a downtown movie theater. It could be the hearty homemade breakfasts that always feature fresh fruit and baked goods and a hot, delicious entrée. Maybe the innkeepers’ motto holds the secret: “Come and let us positively spoil you.”

Find a hundred more distinctive B&Bs across Michigan in our online directory. Our association members are regularly inspected for safety, comfort, cleanliness and professionalism, giving them the assurance of first quality for your complete satisfaction.

For more insider scoops on “the better way to stay,” subscribe to our blog.

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Michigan B&Bs invite you turn the ultimate in garage saling to a weekend getaway

August 7th, 2014 by linda

If you are a fan of garage sales, two giant events this weekend, August 8 – 10, are not to be missed.

The M-29 to M-25 Blue Water Antique Yard Sale Trail follows the two highways along the Saint Clair River banks in Algonac 200 miles north to Sebewaing following the Lake Huron shoreline around the tip of the Thumb.

The U.S.-12 Heritage Trail features  “Michigan’s Longest Garage Sale” from Detroit west to the Lake Michigan harbor community of New Buffalo.

Both events feature a plethora of goods from antiques and collectibles to furniture, free puppies and kittens seeking good homes, fresh garden produce, homemade jams and jellies and so much more. The sales can be found along the two highways at homes, farms, businesses, parking lots and fields. Some areas may have large numbers of vendors while others may be scattered. Occasionally a traveler may go several miles or more without seeing a yard sale in deeply rural areas. But inevitably, a sign will soon appear advertising “Yard Sale Ahead.”

Communities all along the way offer unique shops, antiquing, museums chuck full of local history and restaurants and diners for convenience and comfort. This is the ultimate weekend road trip, combined with the ultimate in garage saling.

And all along the routes, Michigan Bed and Breakfast Inns that are quality-inspected members of this state association welcome you to stop and rest your yard-sale-weary heads in their clean and comfortable beds. Wake up to a delicious home-made breakfast before setting out on your second day of yard sale adventure.

To locate inns along the M-25-M-29 trail and along the eastern portion of the U.S. 12 Heritage Trail to Marshall, click here.

To locate inns along U.S. 12 east of Marshall to the lake shore, click here.

What a weekend! Enjoy!


Visiting in Michigan? Choose From Our Quality Assured B&Bs!

August 3rd, 2014 by linda

If you’re visiting anywhere in Michigan, you’ll find a selection of fine B&Bs in our directory. How can you be sure? They are members of the Michigan Lake to Lake B&B Association, which means they care about best practices in guest hospitality. They are quality guaranteed, having passed rigid inspections for safety, cleanliness, professionalism and adherence to strict requirements just to be and stay members. In this week’s blog, we’re pleased to introduce you to Canterbury Chateau B&B, historic Cobb House B&B and to Frankenmuth/Bender Haus B&B. Located in the state’s Southeast region, which ranges all the way from Detroit north to the “tip of the Thumb,” they are among a hundred inns that make up the association’s membership.

Canterbury Chateau B&B, Brighton (Southeast Region)

Canterbury House Canterbury Room

One of the special touches in every guest room at Canterbury Chateau B&B in bustling, upscale Brighton is the basket of lush white bath towels that’s all yours when you walk in the door. Don’t they look fluffy enough to curl up in? The Canterbury Room is one of four lovingly-decorated and plushly-furnished guestrooms, each with a private bath, fireplace and two-person Jacuzzi tub. What else is special? How about goose down pillows and comforters, feather beds and quilts? Dessert is always waiting for you in the fridge after 8 p.m. Depending on the season, hot coffee or tea is served fireside or on the sun deck upon your arrival. Enjoy privileges at the private Oak Pointe Golf Course by prior arrangement.  The Chateau is a new home done up in Victorian style, turrets and all. While it’s a romantic’s ideal getaway, with all the modern amenities including WiFi  it’s also a business traveler’s oasis.

Cobb House B&B, Perry, Southeast Michigan

Cobb House guestroom

Many guests say staying at the Cobb House B&B is like visiting their favorite great aunt: the food is great, the furnishings are antiques and no one demands anything of you. You’ll find Cobb House on a quiet street in the quiet small town of Perry, near Lansing and its commerce and attractions. Perry is laid back and relaxed. From the B&B, you can walk to Tammy’s Bakery and Swan Creek Candle Company — or you can stay home and read a book on the porch, in the common areas or in one of three spacious guestrooms. Listed on the Historic Register, the B&B was built as a private home in 1880 and is restored and furnished to that time. It plays host to weddings, family gatherings, business travelers and people like you and me who just want to get away from the hubbub and slip away to a quieter, more romantic time.

 Frankenmuth-Bender Haus B&B, Frankenmuth (Southeast Region)

Frankenmuth BB flowers

Frankenmuth is an iconic town famous for its Bavarian heritage and its celebration of Christmas all year around. What better place to stay when you visit Michigan’s #1 tourist destination than in the cozy Frankenmuth B&B, also known as Bender Haus? It’s operated by multi-generational residents who love to share its history from the perspective of their own family legacy. Set on a quiet residential street in the heart of this small town of just 5000, you can relax here in the garden between walking trips to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland and enticing Main Street shops, dining family style at Zehnders or at the Bavarian Inn, riding in style on a horse-drawn carriage or seeing the sights from the Bavarian Belle, a 150-passenger paddle wheel riverboat. Or get in your car and explore the many outlet stores at Birch Run, just seven miles away. Play one of the three nearby golf courses or ferret out the best place to find antiques. When you visit the B&B’s webpage, you can click through to the incredible breakfast recipes Bev and Elden serve their guests, and which make their B&B a Frankenmuth attraction in its own right.

Wherever you decide to travel in Michigan – whether in the Upper Peninsula or the four distinct regions of Lower Michigan, you can find the perfect B&B in our online directory. Visit soon and often and enjoy our “better way to stay.

What Makes a House a Pure Michigan B&B?

July 25th, 2014 by linda

What makes a house a B&B? Good question. Perhaps it’s the innkeeper’s passion for hospitality, the home’s unique story told with elegance and comfort combined, its strategic location in a desirable destination. Maybe it’s all of these, topped off with a hot and delicious homemade breakfast, coupled with strict adherence to health and safety codes and best practices for commercial lodgings. The result is perfect gems like these that put your guest-night experience on a plane far above a chain motel or a home share culled from the internet. We’re proud to introduce you to these quality-inspected members of Michigan’s Lake to Lake Bed & Breakfast Association: Douglas House B&B, MacLeod House B&B and Kalamazoo House B&B.

Douglas House B&B, Saugatuck/Douglas, Southwest Region

The Douglas House sun room from the outside.....

The Douglas House sun room from the outside…..

Douglas used to be a sleepy village with a river running alongside it on its way to Lake Michigan. It recently awakened to discover itself the darling of visitors to Saugatuck, the premier beach town on the river’s other side. Today, it has fully emerged as its own upscale self with the seasonal Douglas House B&B at the heart of its elegant shops and galleries, its pubs and fine-dining restaurants that include the popular Everyday People Café and more. In spite of itself, it’s a straightforward kind of place with the ball park at the edge of downtown between the canoe and kayak rentals at the end of Main Street.

....The Douglas House sun room from the inside.

….The Douglas House sun room from the inside.

Douglas and Saugatuck are places to savor, and a great place to do that is from the Douglas House sun porch, which you can see from inside and out in these images. The 1904 Queen Anne-style home offers four guestrooms with private baths, an extended continental breakfast and warm hospitality.

MacLeod House B&B, Newberry, Upper Peninsula Region

MacLeod staircase

The classic grand staircase at MacLeod House echos the opulence of the lumber baron era.

Have you visited the spectacular Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s U.P.? If not, what are you waiting for?  When you go, try your best to reserve your overnight stay at the area’s premier B&B, MacLeod House. Built for a local lumber baron in 1898, it was a private home until, 90 years later, it opened its French-style doors as a B&B. Today, guests sweep down this classic grand staircase as they descend to the dining room for a tasty homemade breakfast served on fine Victorian-patterned china. The tranquil comforts of the B&B, located near Newberry, is in stark contrast to the rushing thunder of the area’s most famous wilderness waterfall. Yet they share a beauty with roots deep in the U.P. — the series of falls with their cascades of tannin-tinted water, and the beauty of the inn’s elegant copper fireplace and its oak, maple, cherry and walnut inlaid parquet floor, all products of the land in which the poet Longfellow set “The Song of Hiawatha.”

Kalamazoo House B&B, Kalamazoo, Southwest Region

If the hip little city of Kalamazoo has become a destination with its upscale downtown galleries, live theater, festivals, shops, wine bars and brewpubs, then the Kalamazoo House B&B has emerged as the number-one place to stay to access all the fun on foot.

The "extravagant night light" seen from two rooms at the Kalamazoo House.

The “extravagant night light” seen from two rooms at the Kalamazoo House.

This quintessential 1878 Victorian inn, located in the heart of downtown, stands alongside the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts with two of its nine luxurious guestrooms overlooking a ruby red, always lighted Chihuly glass art piece hanging in the glass-roofed atrium below. This extravagantly-accidental night light reflects the inn’s eclectic ambience: it’s a little bit quirky (in the best sense of the word) and a whole lot elegant, yet comfortable, accommodating and thoroughly hospitable. Guests often liken it to a boutique hotel with all of today’s amenities including reliable WiFi, flat-screened HDTVs with expanded cable and zoned heating and cooling. Its fine bed linens, its choices of delicious home-made breakfasts and its attention to cleanliness and safety make it everything the most discerning traveler expects from a bed and breakfast inn.

You can find a hundred more gems like these on our website directory. You can also subscribe to our weekly blog for more “innsider” scoops on Michigan’s best B&Bs.

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Nothing says Bed & Breakfast like Pure Michigan!

June 27th, 2014 by linda

Nothing says “bed and breakfast” like Lake Michigan’s beach towns and those around them. If you’re not already booked with a reservation this summer, it’s not too late to discover the height of luxury and the pinnacle of fun. And when you figure in the complimentary full breakfasts for two, bottomless cookie jars and unlimited beverages, you’ll find you’re saving cold hard cash. If you’re not tempted by Castle in the Country B&B, White Swan Inn B&B or Sand Castle B&B, there’s plenty more to choose from on our website directory to the best of the best in Pure Michigan.

Castle in the Country Bed & Breakfast Inn, Allegan, Southwest Region

Castle Deck_4 (166x193)

Imagine sipping your morning coffee or an afternoon glass of wine from this screened beach house just before or after you take a little lake cruise in one of the inn’s pedal boats or kayaks. Year around, everything about Castle in the Country is designed to make you feel like royalty. Even the onsite spa is named the “Royal Retreat” and features couple’s massages, facials, pedicures – the works! The spacious breakfast room with private dining tables overlooks another smaller pond, one of many natural attractions on the 65-acre spread, referred to simply as “The Kingdom.” The property includes two guest residences – the “Castle” and “Castle Keep” and is laced with wooded trails for your strolling pleasure. Located in the heart of Allegan County, it’s close to the Lake Michigan beach towns of Holland, Saugatuck/Douglas and South Haven. Its 10 guestrooms, each with private baths, are luxuriously appointed and include every possible amenity expected by the most discriminating guest. This is one for the bucket list.

White Swan Inn, Whitehall (Southwest Region)

White Swan cyclist guest Whitehall is a charming Lake Michigan harbor community on the edge of “Up North” between Chicago and the Sleeping Bear Dunes. White Swan Inn B&B offers gracious hospitality whether you’re like this “biker dude” — stopping overnight on a cycling tour along the shoreline from Chicago to points north – or making Whitehall your destination. The White Swan’s four spacious guestrooms all have private baths. Some have fireplaces and one is a whirlpool suite. All the beds are luxuriously dressed and Cathy, the innkeeper, favors ironed sheets. The inn is wrapped around by a screened veranda with white wicker furniture. It’s a short walk to downtown and a scant block to the marinas along White Lake. Winner of multiple awards including Trip Advisor’s coveted “Award of Excellence,” the innkeepers also offer harbor and Lake Michigan shoreline cruises aboard their 40-foot pleasure yacht, Third Swan, piloted by innkeeper Ron, a USCG-licensed captain. Guests can even make reservations to sleep aboard, dockside. If you’re waiting for an invitation, this is it!

 Sand Castle Inn, South Haven (Southwest Region) 

Sandcastle breakfast deck

Is this your idea of a fine dining room? This is Sand Castle Inn where, on fine Pure Michigan mornings, you’ll enjoy a scrumptious hot and fresh breakfast made memorable by its gourmet quality and the sheer novelty of your surroundings. To be precise, your surroundings are just three walkable blocks to downtown South Haven and one block to nothing but white sugar-sand Lake Michigan beaches and clean, clear water as far as the eye can see. The inn looks like a castle with towers and turrets, and it feels like a castle with 10 upscale guest rooms, each luxuriously decorated and each with its own private bath. In addition to all the amenities B&B guests expect, Sand Castle has a private pool in the event walking a block isn’t your cup of tea. This is a place to park your car and go everywhere on foot – to very good restaurants, dockside pubs, galleries and shopping. And every night the weather is right, you get a glorious sunset over the lake – at no extra charge.

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Southeast Michigan B&Bs Form an American Patchwork

June 20th, 2014 by linda

If you cut Michigan’s Lower Peninsula into four equal parts, all three of these B&Bs would fall into its southeastern quadrant. For some people, that brings to mind the image of an industrial corridor stretching as far as the eye can see.  Those “in the know” know better. The intensely-blue waters of Lake Huron lap its easternmost boundary, featuring miles of beaches and boating and some of the most scenic and challenging canoe and kayak trails anywhere. As the eye roams west, iconic small towns with tidy courthouse squares spread among woods, wetlands and rolling acres of rich, green farmland. These B&Bs, unceremoniously lumped under the label of “Southeast Michigan,” are as uniquely different from one another as if they were in different states. This is a region of contrasts — a reflection of the patchwork that is America.

Albion Heritage B&B, Albion (Southeast)

Albion Heritage Dining Room

If you were looking for the perfect breakfast conversation, you might find it here at Albion Heritage B&B. Located in the classic, small town of Albion, you might not think of it as a destination for more than visiting Albion College. The fact is, this elegant Georgian-revival home is convenient to both Jackson and historic Marshall – just 15 minutes equidistant from each. It’s just 30 minutes to Michigan International Speedway and less than an hour to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. Near mid-point on the east/west stretch of I-94 connecting Chicago and Detroit, it’s a perfect stopover when visiting the Motown Museum, Greenfield Village, Henry Ford Museum or Greektown – or watching the Pistons, the Lions, the Red Wings or the Tigers play. Point yourself south and it’s the same two hours to Shipshewana in the heart of Amish country. Besides being convenient, it’s a luxurious and stately-yet-modern home-away-from home.

A Dove Nest B&B, Kingston (Southeast)

A Dove Nest

Guests rave about A Dove Nest B&B’s plentiful breakfasts, its wilderness setting that’s not unduly far off the beaten path, the hospitality of the innkeepers and the cleanliness and comfort of the inn. This is the stunning home that innkeepers Terry and Bob Dove built to raise their family — their “nest” near Kingston. A locally-constructed log cabin cottage-style home built from hundred-year-old full-length logs, the B&B sits among 112 acres of secluded rolling hills, open fields, woods, trails and wetlands on the shores of English Lake in the heart of Michigan’s Thumb. Wildlife and nature abound. Even so, it’s not far from Frankenmuth in one direction and Lake Huron in another. Amanda, who came with her husband for a weekend getaway, said “Everything about this B&B is absolutely perfect. The abundant wildlife was a bonus… we sat on our balcony enjoying the sunset while watching the deer roam the grounds.” Usually, she said, they spend only a fraction of their getaways at their lodging, but didn’t want to leave A Dove Nest.

Millpond Inn B&B, Village of Clarkston (Southeast)

Millpond exterior.jpb

Put Millpond Inn up against any B&B in Michigan, and it’s on a first-name basis with the finest. Locate it just two blocks off I-75 in the historic northern Detroit suburb of Clarkston, and you add ease of access to all of life’s niceties by foot and to the area’s most popular attractions by car. Take the state’s largest outlet mall, Great Lakes Crossings: its stores and restaurants are a 10 minute drive. There are over 60 golf courses within an hour and three within three miles. Meadowbrook HallMeadowbrook Theater and the music festival grounds at Oakland University are just 20 minutes away. Pine Knob is practically next door. In his “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” series, Food Network’s Guy Fieri recently featured ‘native son’ Kid Rock’s favorite Clarkston eatery, the Union Woodshop. In fact, there is a range of excellent dining within walking distance in the village. Enjoy Millpond Inn outdoors in its lush gardens and indoors in its five guestrooms, each with private bath. Breakfasts are memorable and served on your schedule. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, this B&B has it all.

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Experience the “real” Michigan at a local B&B

June 13th, 2014 by linda

When you travel the state and stay at chain motels, do you sometimes feel you’re just perching on the fringes of life in Anytown, USA? The truth is, no one place is like any other except on the fringes of the expressways and in impersonal hotels. The best way to experience “real life” wherever you land is to stay at a local bed and breakfast inn. You’ll see what we mean when you meet Candlelite Inn B&B, Black River Crossing B&B and Waterloo Gardens B&B — not to mention the hundred other Michigan Lake to Lake B&B Association-member inns just waiting for you to discover.

Candlelite Inn, Ludington (Northwest Region)

Candlelite cherry pie Who can forget the second “B” in B&B is…. Breakfast! It’s never an afterthought at Candlelite Inn Bed & Breakfast in Ludington, a Lake Michigan harbor town where the fishing charters leave the docks at dawn and the S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry sails for Wisconsin soon after. Innkeeper Melanie has you covered, whether you’re rising early or sleeping late. She serves a delicious, hot and homemade breakfast on your schedule. A passionate cook, everything from milk, bacon, maple syrup, jams and breads is locally sourced from nearby farms and farm markets. Most B&Bs feature a special “extra” like cookies or afternoon hors d’oeuvres: at Candlelite Inn, guests enjoy a fresh home-baked dessert every evening like this made-from-scratch cherry pie. Add 24/7 access to complimentary beverages, treats and premium chocolates; proximity to Lake Michigan, lighthouses and downtown; and a choice of six guestrooms plus a romantic “retreat suite” all with private baths – you have all the makings of a unique Michigan getaway.

Black River Crossing, Bessemer (Upper Peninsula Region)

Black Bear at Black River This much-shared photo says just about everything there is to say about Black River Crossing B&B. Located in Bessemer, it’s so far northwest in the Upper Peninsula it shares its time zone with Wisconsin, running an hour behind the rest of the state. The innkeepers’ photo gallery tells even more of its story, although guests say no picture does it justice. Take a look, and you’ll be making plans to visit this thoroughly-contemporary home built in 1997 of white pine logs. North Country TrailNear the Ottawa National Forest in the heart of the Lake Superior snow belt, the B&B offers three guestrooms with private baths, four fireplaces and three common areas to kick back and relax. The North Country Hiking Trail passes through the back yard and the Black River courses through the front. As it tumbles north to Lake Superior, the river creates a series of waterfalls, some of which can be easily accessed by foot from CR 513, designated the Black River National Scenic Byway. Wildlife and outdoor recreation of every kind are just outside the door. This B&B is a destination in itself.

 Waterloo Gardens, Chelsea (Southeast Region)

Waterloo Gardens porch and flowers Waterloo Gardens is neither Victorian style nor log cabin contemporary: it’s a lovely country ranch home just outside Chelsea. As its name suggests, the B&B is surrounded by beautifully-landscaped gardens that create a riot of color from spring through fall. It’s close to downtown shops and galleries, Jeff Daniel’s Purple Rose Theater and the four-star-rated Common Grill restaurant. The nearby Waterloo and Pinkney recreation areas with swimming beaches at Silver and Halfmoon lakes offer a full range of outdoor recreation activities. Innkeepers Lourdean and Gary can help you connect with a tour of the nearby Jiffy Mix plant or guide you to the Chelsea Teddy Bear Factory. Just a hop and skip west of Ann Arbor, Waterloo Gardens welcomes families and provides a convenient alternative to the hustle and bustle of the city. This is a lovely destination for couples, yet a great place to stay with the kids while doing business anywhere in the greater Detroit metro area.

Choose your destination from among a hundred of Michigan’s finest B&Bs with a single click. You can design your own stay by geographic location or by inn amenities, select a region or pinpoint a city, search for special offers or browse by proximity to lighthouses, golf courses, wineries, night life and more.

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