While “Breakfast” is the second “B” in B&B, many Michigan inns pride themselves on going Beyond Breakfast, wowing their guests with taste treats in the evenings and the afternoons.
January 16th, 2015 by linda
If you think “ho hum” when breakfast crosses your mind, you’ve not spent much time at Michigan B&Bs where the second “B” stands for “Breakfast.” The creative product of innkeepers’ kitchens are as varied as the bed and breakfast inns themselves.
Starters are a specialty at The House on the Hill B&B in Ellsworth, where Innkeeper Marci aspires to take the ho hum out of fresh fruit. Topside, watermelon balls nestle in their own boats, served with raspberry sorbet and sprigs of fresh mint. Below, pears smothered in a rich rum raisin sauce are topped by star anise, just for pretty.
Innkeeper Greg is the masterful chef at Bear Lake B&B in Bear Lake, just north of Manistee on US-31. Like Marci, his starter specialty is fruit. But he stuffs his fruit — fresh berries in summer or fresh-frozen in winter –inside his own handmade pastry for a sweet and crunchy start to breakfast he simply calls “summer berry stuffed pastry.”
Castle in the Country B&B Inn, in the countryside just outside Allegan, serves Castle Royal Eggs & Cheese once a week to rave reviews. It is a guest favorite. Innkeeper Herb’s recipe serves six, and you can try making it yourself at home.
Ingredients for Royal Eggs
2 C Grated Cheddar Cheese
1 Small Sweet Red Pepper
½ T Dried Herbs d’ Provence
1 Medium Red potato
1 C Heavy Cream
½ t Ground Black Pepper
Small dice the red pepper, then fold pepper, cheese and herbs together in a bowl. Place about 1/3 C of the cheese mixture in each of greased 6 ramekins. Slice the red potato thin and place a layer on top of the cheese mixture. Gently whisk the eggs, heavy cream, and black pepper together and pour over all. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the center is firm. Serve immediately.
Herb tops his with Hollandaise sauce to add a little more richness and creaminess. He cautions that if you add salt to taste, remember the cheese provides salt as well.
Nobody puts all the elements of breakfast together like Marcia, innkeeper at DeLano Mansion Inn, inside the city of Allegan in Southwest Michigan. Here, she has served up a wedding brunch complete with starters, fresh baked goods, a hot entree — and fruit juices complimented by celebratory mimosas.
You can find many more B&B breakfast recipes submitted by our member innkeepers by consulting our online cookbook. Or purchase the print edition as a gift or as an indispensable resource for your own kitchen. And stay tuned to this blog for more great B&B breakfast ideas and recipes.
January 8th, 2015 by linda
We’ve spent months talking about how a B&B’s architecture makes it unique from other lodgings and from other bed and breakfast inns. We’ve talked about the warmth of innkeepers’ hospitality and we’ve talked about luxury beds and bedding. We’ve talked about location. How did we miss rhapsodizing about that all important second “B” in the B&B equation? When we say “B,” we’re talking about more than breakfast: we’re talking about great food, real food, farm-to-table food — fresh food, home-made food, delicious food.
The wondrous part of the food experience is that staying in a B&B costs no more than staying in a chain motel or hotel when you add in the extra cash you would dole out for a hot and healthy breakfast for two, bottled waters, sodas, coffees, teas — often even a glass of wine — not to mention evening treats and “endless” cookie jars….. all the necessities of life come free when you stay at a B&B.
Stay tuned for our next featured food installment, appearing here soon! You can make it easy on yourself by subscribing now so you never miss a post in the future.
December 4th, 2014 by linda
From one Great Lake to the next, Michigan Bed and Breakfast inns offer a better way to stay for business or for pleasure… and they are a great place to truly enjoy a vacation. Unlike a stiff and formal hotel or motel lobby, their common areas are warm and inviting — homey and comfortable. There’s nothing impersonal about a B&B: innkeepers are known for their warmth and hospitality. But at the same time, they don’t intrude on your privacy. They are often gourmet cooks, spending their evenings whipping up batters for home baked goods they’ll serve you warm from the oven each morning. B&Bs have yards and porches, patios and gardens, and you’re invited to enjoy them. Often, B&Bs are located in places the rest of us only dream of living — like those in these Michigan beach-towns.
Bay View B&B, Mackinac Island (Northeast Region in the Straits of Mackinac)
Now may not be the high season for Mackinac Island…. but it’s high time to get those reservations made to stay at Bay View B&B on your preferred dates in 2015. So hurry: don’t miss out on experiencing this crown jewel set on Michigan’s crown jewel itself, open only between May and October. Bay View sits uniquely at the water’s edge looking out over the Straits of Mackinac, especially panoramic when viewed from the guest-exclusive second-floor sundeck. A delicious hot breakfast is served daily on the harbor-view veranda from the kitchen run by Ms. Rose, who is a well-loved island institution herself. She and her staff greet you every morning with a hot breakfast, every afternoon with freshly-baked cookies and each evening with a tasty sweet treat. Choose from among 19 luxurious rooms priced according to their amenities – from partial harbor views to balconies to thoroughly-pampering bridal and executive suites. Come via ferry and arrive by horse-drawn carriage. Depart with reluctance. No motorized vehicles allowed! (Thanks to Sandy White, Adventure Inn B&B, for the photo.)
Raymond House B&B, Port Sanilac (Northeast Region on the Lake Huron shore)
Affordable, luxurious, cozy, genuinely Victorian and in the beach town of Port Sanilac on Lake Huron: how much more inviting can a bed and breakfast inn get? With seven guestrooms in a mansion a half block from the lake and the Port Sanilac Lighthouse and in walking distance of shoreline shops and eateries, the Raymond House B&B is ideal for every style of getaway from scrapbooking and reunion weekends to romantic twosomes. Placed on the Michigan Register of Historical Sites in 1992, the inn was built in 1872 and was home to the Raymond family for 112 years. Inside and out, its original Victoriana is carefully preserved and restored. The photo shows off its gingerbread façade, steep sloping roofs and white icicle trim. Inside, the guestrooms feature a comfortable Victorian décor with brightly-colored bedspreads and lace curtains. A full and fabulous breakfast is a given. Just two hours north of Detroit, this is a year-around B&B that promises cozy down comforters for winter-time snuggling.
Victoria Resort B&B, South Haven (Southwest Region on the Lake Michigan coast)
At Victoria Resort, you can have your hot cakes and eat them too, in the same lovely room where breakfasts were served to guests who arrived by steamship for summer holidays in South Haven back in the 1920s. When you’re absolutely satisfied, it’s off to the Lake Michigan beach just down the street. Its sugar sand is warm and welcoming in the summer and its views and nature-made ice sculptures are majestic in the winter. Walk a block the other direction and you’ll find yourself downtown. In the summer, you can enjoy drinks, lunch or dinner atop the Idler, a restored paddle wheel boat permanently docked along the bustling Black River channel to the “Big” Lake. There are dozens of pubs and eateries of all kinds as well as specialty shops and galleries year around. Every August, the entire community is transformed into the Blueberry Festival, celebrating South Haven’s renown as the heart of Michigan’s fruit belt. Those blueberries you see above are some of the best you’ll ever eat, sweet-tart, picked daily and served fresh from the farm to Victoria Resort’s table.
Find Michigan B&Bs from lake to lake that are perfect for your getaway by visiting our website and selecting “Find a B&B.” You can rest assured that any property listed on the site is fully insured as a B&B and meets the association’s high membership standards for safety, cleanliness and professionalism.
November 18th, 2014 by linda
This week, our spotlight is on three bed and breakfast inns that are practically neighbors in the southwestern part of Michigan, but offer a range of styles and surroundings that make them seem worlds apart. Small town, metro suburban and countryside, each is regularly inspected to ensure they meet the highest standards of quality, safety, cleanliness and best hospitality practices. When you stay at one of the association’s member inns, you can rest assured. That’s our promise.
Pairieside Suites Luxury B&B, Grandville (Southwest region)
Luxurious meets nurturing; elegance meets pampering at Prairieside Suites Luxury B&B in Grandville, an all-American suburb conveniently tucked between Grand Rapids, just minutes to the east and Lake Michigan’s most noted beach towns to the west. These innkeepers have thought of everything to ensure a better than home-away-from-home stay. The eight guestrooms offer coffee makers, microwaves and refrigerators and the full complement of all-things electronic from TVs to WiFi. The tile floors in the private baths are heated, the mirror over the sink stays steam free, your towels are warmed on the heated bar (and so is the toilet seat). Breakfast is served by candlelight in the dining room or you can order a full hot breakfast served to your rooms. If you prefer, order your in-room refrigerator packed with a deluxe continental breakfast to enjoy on your time schedule.
Heritage Manor Inn, Fennville (Southwest region)
Heads’ up, families with kids and without! What would you say to a stay in a totally unique and affordable B&B lodging where, if you turn right out of the driveway, you’re in Saugatuck in minutes? Turn left, you’re in South Haven in a few more. If you could just go straight, you’d put your vehicle smack on a sugar-sand Lake Michigan beach. Heritage Manor Inn describes itself as a “country style” bed and breakfast. It features 14 guestrooms, all with private baths. They include fireplace and Jacuzzi combinations, spacious and comfortable “just plain sleeping” rooms and family suites plus a luxurious townhouse that can accommodate five adults. There’s an indoor pool with a kiddie area and a big backyard. Breakfasts are a full and delicious. A guest kitchen lets you keep your own snacks cold and is loaded with microwave popcorn, fresh cookies and hot beverages. It’s just minutes from Saugatuck Dunes State Park and the Allegan State Game Area — meccas for some of the finest and most challenging cross-country skiing in the state. Ready to play, anyone?
DeLano Mansion Inn, Allegan (Southwest Region)
Bed and breakfast inns are often as well known for their lush baths as they are for their luxurious guestrooms and gourmet breakfasts. This bath at DeLano Mansion Inn in the charming small town of Allegan is done in Roman style. It’s part of the Parsonage Suite, one of six beautifully-decorated guestrooms, each with its own private bath. In addition to the two-person whirlpool, the suite features an antique mantel over the fireplace, a queen-sized brass bed and its own comfortable seating area. It includes cable TV, a DVD/CD player and WiFi. While ideal for a romantic getaway to this historic riverside community, there is private access between it and the Ashley Room to accommodate families. The inn was recently purchased by Innkeepers Marcia Neigebauer and her husband, Kent. Marcia enjoys meeting people, gardening, cooking and helping guests make their visit to her B&B a pleasure.
At the Lake to Lake Association, we know where all the best B&B’s are located in Southwest Michigan and across the state. We know what makes each of them special in each of the four seasons, and we share that knowledge with you on our quick and easy B&B finder. We invite you to visit us on our website and on our Facebook page, and to discover all the “innside” secrets by subscribing to our weekly blog.
November 8th, 2014 by linda
The common myth is that all B&Bs are alike. We beg to differ. No matter your lifestyle (or the lifestyle you’d like to live), your personal preferences or your own very unique tastes, there is a bed and breakfast inn in Michigan that will graciously accommodate them.
Stone Chalet B&B Inn, Ann Arbor (Southeast Region)
Stone Chalet Bed & Breakfast Inn is the only association-approved B&B in Ann Arbor, and it is most deserving of the distinction. Whether visiting this famous university town for business or pleasure, the Stone Chalet is unquestionably your first call for reservations. An historic Swiss-style chalet built of solid granite blocks, circa 1917, the inn offers 10 clean and spacious guestrooms with private baths, located in four connected buildings. One houses a former sanctuary from a previous incarnation as a Unitarian Church. Today, it’s a 2,800 square-foot event center than can be rented for an hour or a day. The grounds are spacious and beautifully landscaped, and lovely afternoon parties are often hosted in the gazebo. If you have business at U-M, you will enjoy close proximity to the campus and, despite the inn’s historic character, WiFi throughout. The common area combines the living room and side porch, cleverly disguised as a formal dining room where innkeepers/owners Lana and Mike, who took up the reins of the former Vitosha Guest Haus last year, offer delicious breakfasts and a place to gather for games and conversation.
Twin Oaks Inn, Saugatuck (Southwest Region)
Former guests might miss Willa, the innkeeper of Twin Oaks Inn in downtown Saugatuck since 2001. But guests old and new love the “new” Twin Oaks as much as they do Sherry and Lisa, who just successfully completed their first summer and fall seasons as its new innkeepers/owners. In addition to six spacious bedrooms, some with fireplaces, sitting rooms and jetted tubs and all with private baths, TV and WiFi, the inn features a charming screened-in porch and outdoor conversation areas. There’s ample on-site parking, a luxury in this popular Lake Michigan beach town. Twin Oaks is easily walkable to 14 restaurants and pubs, to galleries and specialty shops galore and to the boardwalk along the marinas on the harbor’s edge. Mount Baldhead with its 282 steps (or thereabouts) to one of Pure Michigan’s most sweeping views and to Lake Michigan’s Oval Beach, is accessible via an historic chain ferry across the Kalamazoo River.
Antiquities’ Wellington Inn, Traverse City (Northwest Region)
There are so many ways to enjoy Traverse City – the up-north jewel on Grand Traverse Bay surrounded by beaches and wineries, culinary delights and one-of-a-kind shops and galleries. If you visit and stay at Antiquities’ Wellington Inn, you can immerse yourself in history and style while enjoying everything this crossroads of culture and outdoor recreation offers year around. An impeccably-restored 1905 neoclassical mansion, Wellington Inn has nine elegant guestrooms as well as two-bedroom carriage house suites, all with private baths and featuring period furnishings designed to take you back to the time when Michigan’s white pines made barons out of lumberjacks. Enjoy a full breakfast each morning, a complimentary guest kitchen and wireless internet. Walk two short two blocks to downtown shops, beaches and restaurants. What a perfect way to get away!
Discover all of Michigan’s distinctive B&Bs by using the “Find a B&B” function on our website. Search a variety of ways — by name, by city, by region, by specials and packages — or design your own stay by choosing a country or a city setting, waterfront or woods, in-room Jacuzzi’s or outdoor hot tubs under the stars, pets or no pets and dozens more of the amenities you prefer. Nothing beats a B&B except a B&B that’s a member of the Lake to Lake B&B Association, quality assured by regular inspection and guaranteed to reflect the best hospitality practices. Member B&Bs are the only inns you’ll find listed, assuring a most satisfactory stay in every way.
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October 13th, 2014 by linda
Are you retired – but not yet tired?
Itching to stay in the game but at the same time, play?
Or are you dreaming of a career change?
Something new with just a touch of glamour?
A job that doesn’t keep you stuck in the same place forever?
Or maybe you’re the hostess with the “mostess” who loves to
see your guests relax and laugh and enjoy the fruits of your creativity.
The hostess with the “mostess?”
Consider living your dream. Consider learning the ins and outs of being an interim innkeeper. You can do it! Just sign up for “Inn-Sitting 101,” the first-ever training program designed to give you the basic knowledge and skills – and the credibility – to march into a B&B anywhere and give the innkeepers a break! No one can work 24/7, 365!
Held at Chelsea House Victorian Inn in beautiful downtown Chelsea all day on October 21, you’ll get hands-on training from professional interim innkeepers who see the need for qualified people in every corner of the state. You’ll schedule the second day of training at your convenience — an opportunity to work as an innkeeper under the tutelage of veteran innkeeper owners at their B&B.
Interim innkeeping is the best of all worlds: you have all the fun of playing hostess without the burdens of ownership. You are your own boss: you pick and choose when and where you accept inn-sitting offers. Your temporary homes are in the luxury of Michigan’s finest inns. You become the stewards of legendary Michigan hospitality.
Cost for the day-long training is just $100 per person or $175 per team of two and includes lunch and hand-out materials. The program is sponsored by Michigan Lake to Lake B&B Association. For details and to register, contact C. M. Eldridge at 248-684-2484.
October 9th, 2014 by linda
By Christine Shull, Owner and Innkeeper
The Painted Turtle Inn, St. Joseph
My innkeeping journey began back in 2000 when my (now) husband took me to a B&B near the Leelanau Peninsula. We spent the weekend wine tasting and enjoying the area – and the B&B. I was hooked! I grew up in a family-owned business and worked in many aspects of it for years. After a stint in corporate America, I knew owning my own business was for me. After staying at that first B&B, I set my sights on becoming an innkeeper one day.
Fast-forward 9 years, many B&B stays and two kids later – it was time to get the show on the road and follow my dream.
It was the worst time to buy or open a business. The economy was in a nosedive and everyone was scrambling. But I was determined. We decided St. Joseph was the place for us and started looking for suitable properties. A B&B was for sale. Of course all the banks said no, but I persevered. I found the Lake to Lake B&B Association and immediately joined as an aspiring member. Back then they didn’t even have the aspiring workshop as they do now, but I went to the conference and was welcomed with open arms. I met some wonderful innkeepers. I took notes and my brain swirled for days with all the things I had never considered and new ideas that propelled me to continue my journey.
In 2010, the banks still said no, but again I attended the conference. Met some new people; reminisced with some I already knew. Made contacts and networked with seasoned innkeepers who are always willing to offer advice and support to help get you through many of the challenges this occupation throws at you. Different seminar topics sprouted more ideas and propelled me to keep following my dream. I have attended every year since – and every year there are new people to meet and new ideas to be had. Presenters and topics change every year to keep things fresh and interesting. I never leave a presentation without learning something or gleaning a new perspective.
In 2013, my dream finally came to fruition and The Painted Turtle Inn opened just in time for the summer season. Because of everything I learned from the conferences, combined with my own ideas of what MY B&B would be, we were successful from day one. I had planned for so many details that surely would have been missed without the knowledge I gained from all those willing to share at the conferences.
This yearly meeting is a chance to interact with others in your same profession, which promotes great comraderie and can improve not only your business, but your outlook on your chosen life style as well. No matter how long you have been in the business, you can always learn something new. And there is nowhere better to do that than the Lake to Lake Conference!
If you’d like to explore your dream, come join me.
There’s still time to register.
Just click on the image below for complete information
about the Workshop and the 27th Annual Conference.
October 2nd, 2014 by linda
All B&Bs are NOT created equal, thank goodness. As an example, these three bed and breakfast inns could not be more distinct from each other in architecture, geography and decor. What they do have in common is uncommon hospitality, attention to safety, exceptional comfort, a guarantee of cleanliness and some of the best breakfasts you’ll ever have. Meet Gould Farm Bed and Breakfast Inn, a working farm near Clare in the heart of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula; Hexagon House, a luxurious six-sided showplace in the Lake Michigan harbor village of Pentwater; and Butler B&B, the epitome of Victoriana in the charming Lake Huron community of Lexington.
Gould Farm Bed & Breakfast Inn, Clare, Northwest Central Region
Lush, plush and thoroughly welcoming, clean cut and contemporary: Gould Farm Bed & Breakfast Inn will banish any stereotype of rural life. Established in 1975, this 835-acre farm has 550 head of cattle on pasture. The traditional-style farm house was completed in 2001 and has four lovely guest rooms with private baths and a guest lounge. Located near Clare, Gould Farm is “up north” but not too far north of Michigan’s major population centers, making it an easy drive from practically anywhere for a relaxing retreat. The house is set atop a hill with sweeping views of the farm in all four directions. In warm weather, relax on the white wicker front porch while cattle graze in the distance. Wake up each morning to a hearty farm-style breakfast. Get away from it all!
Hexagon House Bed & Breakfast, Pentwater, Northwest Region
In the cool of summer mornings, breakfast is served hot and fresh on one of the porches and decks that wrap around both levels on all six sides of the Hexagon House B&B in the Lake Michigan harbor Village of Pentwater. Set on three private acres of sweeping lawn and gardens, Hexagon House features all the high-tech amenities like wireless internet. But one low-tech amenity sure to please is an outdoor fire pit, surrounded by comfortable Adirondack chairs and designed exclusively for doing absolutely nothing. Just minutes from sugar-sand beaches and Pentwater’s quaint downtown specialty shops, galleries, pubs, restaurants and marina, this B&B is open in all four seasons.
Butler B&B, Lexington, Southeast Region
New restaurants and a downtown renovation are revitalizing the Village of Lexington, Lake Huron’s number-one beach town. At the heart of it, Butler B&B is a quiet refuge for those seeking to get away from any city’s’ hustle and bustle. A short walk from downtown shops and restaurants and just four blocks from the scenic limestone harbor and marina, this fully-renovated and restored Victorian home, circa 1879, offers three large and lovely guestrooms, each with its own private bath. A hot and homemade breakfast is served every morning. Two landscaped acres of lawn and garden offer guests peace as well as privacy.
Discover Michigan’s full array of fine B&Bs in our online catalog.
Keep abreast of all that Michigan’s B&B have to offer by subscribing to our blog.
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.
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?
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.
$90 for one attendee
$160 for two attendees registering as partners/spouses ($20 savings)
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.
(Early-bird conference discount rates end October 5)