I'm a bona fide city gal, but even I need to escape the urban insanity now and then for some rural serenity. Sometimes a little peace and quiet is necessary to return a sense of equilibrium to an otherwise topsy-turvy lifestyle.
Castle In The Country is a bed and breakfast that's far enough away to provide that dose of serenity but not so far that you need to plan a weekend. It's located near Saugatuck, Michigan, about two and a half hours from downtown Chicago, and is situated on 65 acres that include a forest, pond, and lake.
As a member of Select Registry Inns of America it's held to rigorous standards. As the third of their member properties that I've had the opportunity to visit I was charmed again with another unique experience, putting a different spin on the bed and breakfast stereotype. This particular inn has been a member eight years, and they go through frequent check-ups to make sure they live up to expectations. They do.
The evening we stayed at Castle In The Country Jim and I were celebrating his birthday so we'd brought a selection of cheeses, fruits and cured meat and a bottle of wine. The one thing we needed was bread, and we called ahead to see if they could recommend a bakery nearby or if we could purchase a loaf from them. Instead, they offered us one of their picnic dinners. This was salad, chicken and beef pot pies, dinner rolls, dessert, and a bottle of sparkling cider all served in a picnic basket. Assistant Innkeeper Karissa suggested we take it up to our room which had, she said, "the best view at the inn".
This bed and breakfast consists of two buildlings. One is the Victorian manor at the front of the property, and the other is the "Castle Keep", located a short distance back. They had put us up in the King Arthur suite in the Keep, which boasted a huge picture window overlooking a pond covered with water lillies and a wooden walk to a gazebo. We'd arrived just before 7pm after slogging through Chicago traffic, Indiana tolls and Michigan construction but dining in this room melted our tension. After our dinner we strolled through the forest to their private lake. Every now and then we'd stop and listen to - nothing, except for a bird's chirp or the rustle of the leaves in the wind. Once we got to the lake Jim waited in the setting sun while I snapped picture after picture of lily pads, reflections, the sunset, and the tree-lined shore.
When we returned to the inn we grabbed a movie from the stairwell collection, retired to the room, and feasted on our cheese and fruits with the bread and dessert from dinner.
The next morning we had to leave for Chicago early so I could speak at a luncheon, but we still had time to enjoy the gourmet breakfast in the dining room. Castle In The Country is owned by husband and wife team Herb and Ruth Boven, and Herb was in the kitchen cooking while Ruth greeted and served guests.
Our stay was short, but it was a wonderful, relaxing way to spend Jim's birthday and to get away for a few hours. We returned to the hustle and bustle of the city with renewed vigor and a bit of that serenity captured within us.
Castle In The Country, 340 M-40 South, Allegan, MI 49010; 269.673.8054