Comforts of home: Michigan and Indiana Bed and Breakfasts
BY WENDY ALTSCHULER For Sun-Times Media
Whether you’re searching for a romantic getaway, a family vacation or unique lodging for a business trip, a bed and breakfast might be the perfect fit. Charm, convenience and the comforts of home abound at B&Bs in Michigan and Indiana.
“The B&B is the best of both worlds: the comforts of home and the luxury and relaxation that comes with being on a getaway,” said Jake Oakman, director of communications and media relations at Visit Indiana. “These properties are often in neighborhoods, or more established residential areas of a city, allowing the traveler to immerse themselves in local living. A slow-paced traditional B&B allows the guest to unwind and disconnect and the proprietors are able to offer a personal touch.”
Many extraordinary B&Bs in Indiana offer Hoosier hospitality to travelers from around the globe. A few of the standout properties in Indiana, according to Oakman, include :
— Philip Smith and Martha Parry B&B in Richmond, a 1903 colonial revival inn that specializes in business travel, honeymoons, romantic retreats and weddings
— Inn at Irwin Gardens in Columbus, which offers a wonderfully manicured garden setting nestled in a quiet neighborhood within walking distance to a bustling downtown and performance art center
— At Home in the Woods B&B in Chesterton, which is minutes from the Indiana Dunes lakeshore where visitors can walk nature trails, soak in a spa under the stars or just relax in the sunlit great room overlooking the woods
— The Inn at Windmere in Auburn, which includes cozy rooms with fireplaces, a wraparound porch and a pool
— Schenck Mansion in Vevay, which was built in 1874 and is one of Indiana’s most elegant B&Bs
First-time visitors should, “relax and take your time. Get to know the owners, and be prepared to make friends. Turn your cell phone off and leave it in your room,” Oakman said.
To narrow down the many Indiana B&Bs into the ideal opportunity for a stay, visit the Indiana Bed and Breakfast Association at www.indianabedandbreakfast.org.
B&Bs that are in close proximity to water abound in the great state of Michigan. A few examples of notable properties, according to Linda Singer, executive director at Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast Association, are:
— Huron House B&B in Oscoda, perfect for guests looking for romance, sunshine and on-the-water privacy
— Big Bay Point Lighthouse B&B in Big Bay, a breathtaking estate with a view of Lake Superior, the wave-crashed shore, the Huron Mountains against the horizon and hardwood forests surrounding landscaped grounds
— Munro House B&B and Spa in Jonesville, a restored and thoroughly comfortable Federal-style home with original portions dating back to 1834
— Chateau Chantal Winery and B&B in Traverse City, where guests have trouble remembering they are not in the south of France at this elegant B&B surrounded by acres of vineyards, which offers majestic water views in every direction
— Kalamazoo House in Kalamazoo, which is within walking distance to galleries, theaters, boutique shops, brew pubs, wine bars and truly fantastic restaurants
“A few are on the beach while many more are a block or two away in the heart of beach towns and harbor communities,” Singer said. “Others are on or near lakes and rivers noted for boating, swimming and water sports like tubing and kayaking, canoeing and fishing. B&Bs are also found throughout the center of the state and offer a range of area activities from fine dining, accessible brew pubs, theater, shopping and art galleries to federally designated wildlife areas, farm stays, equine retreats and national forests. There isn’t an area or activity a traveler can choose where the luxury of a B&B is not close by.”
Singer went on to say that not all B&Bs are fussy Victorian homes cluttered with dusty doilies and supervised by nosy grandparent types. B&Bs range in style from the magnificently-restored homes of lumber barons to contemporary log homes in country or woodland settings, to ranch-style houses in the suburbs and everything in between.
“There are neat, white farmhouses as well as castles complete with towers and turrets, older homes with sweep-around verandas for sitting and sipping and wildly-imaginative homes converted from old barns,” Singer said. “Professionally operated B&Bs are commercial lodgings but with a good dose of personality and a touch of home that’s generally even better than home. Who irons their sheets to a fresh, crisp finish? Who enjoys four-course gourmet breakfasts served on china while they sip their morning coffee in a sunny dining room? Who finds fresh strawberries dipped in homemade chocolate on their bedside tables in the evening?”
Michelle M. Grinnell, public relations manager at Michigan Economic Development Corporation, said: “Many B&Bs put together special packages — from romantic weekends to girlfriend getaways — that offer terrific amenities and opportunities to explore the local community. B&Bs offer a personal experience and often allow guests to immerse themselves in a community’s history and culture. Visitors can search B&Bs in the areas they are visiting at www.michigan.org.”
To choose a B&B to fit your pure Michigan getaway, also visit the Michigan Lake to Lake Bed and Breakfast Association at www.laketolake.com.