We've visited the Traverse City area in northern Michigan many times over the years, staying in cottages, at large resorts and at little local motels.
This time, we opted to try one of our favorite styles of stays by booking nearly a week at a cute little bed-and-breakfast inn called the Korner Kottage in downtown Suttons Bay, which is a quick 20-minute ride north of Traverse City.
The 1920s Craftsman-style house sits, most appropriately, on a corner. It fronts M-22, one of my all-time favorite scenic drives, just outside of the wonderfully walkable downtown of the Village of Suttons Bay and a short block walk down to a nice municipal beach and marina along Lake Michigan.
We'd driven through Suttons Bay many times and spotted the house on the corner, but meeting innkeeper Linda Munro on Facebook and Twitter was part of the reason we ultimately booked our stay here last month.
The Korner Kottage is a romantic retreat for couples, which seems appropriate given the home's history started with the story of enduring love between an early 1900s lumberman and his sweetheart.
Martin Severson owned a sawmill and forested property in the area. He fell in love with Olise Olson and, in 1921, he began building a home in anticipation of the couple's future life together.
Olson accepted her beau's proposal in 1922, but there was a problem.
Her parents did not approve of the match.
But true love endures.
Time passed. The young couple became 40-year-olds. Olson's parents passed away, and the couple finally felt free to marry and live in the house that Severson built in Suttons Bay.
The house became the Korner Kottage B&B in 1980.
We stayed in the Paris room, a beautiful second-floor room overlooking the village and decorated with Parisian art and souvenirs that made you feel as if you were at an inn in the City of Lights itself.
Innkeepers Linda and Jim foster the feeling of romance and pamper their guests with amenities like 700-thread-count sheets, cozy bathrobes, lemon chocolate chip cookies in the afternoon and a full breakfast each morning.
We loved Jim's breakfasts, which stressed the use of locally grown and produced ingredients. One day, we had peach jam made by a local woman with locally baked bread. Other days we had breakfast entrees like stuffed French toast, an egg strata featuring local veggies and, always, fresh fruit and Linda's house-made Korner Kottage Krunch granola.
I also appreciated more practical amenities like free and easily accessible WiFi and a small fridge tucked into our closet that meant I could keep a ready supply of the ice tea on hand.
I always love B&Bs that have a house dog. One of my few regrets is that we didn't see much of the inn's Nestle Quik, a sweet and well-behaved dog, during our stay.
You can enjoy the Korner Kottage a home base and great place to relax after exploring the wineries, hiking trails, lakes, lighthouses and the northwestern Michigan foodie scene. Relax in your room, read in the parlor or sit a spell on the enclosed front porch to enjoy a glimpse of village life.
Be sure to check out the art at the Korner Kottage. We particularly enjoyed the quirky sheet-metal figures depicting various musicians by artist Alec Greaves scattered around the house and garden.
I've got to admit that the proofreader in me isn't wild about the Korner Kottage moniker, although I've occasionally threatened to dub the corner where I live as "King's Korner", but name aside, it's a great bed-and-breakfast with a personable style that stays away from being overly frilly as some period-style inns.
We stayed at the Korner Kottage during the week at the end of September, which I think may be one of the best times of the year to enjoy the place as a quiet retreat or spur-of-the-moment destination. The area is very popular during the summer, so you'll need to plan and reserve well in advance if you want to enjoy stay there during the hustle and bustle of the high tourist season.
If you want to take a little piece of the Korner Kottage experience home, you can always purchase some of Linda's granola at the B&B, in selected retail outlets around town, or via the Korner Kottage Web site. The rolled-oat, almond, pecan, pistachio, sunflower seed, flax seed, hemp seed, raisin, dried cherry and maple syrup mix is among the best granolas we've ever tasted, and it was nice to take this sweet reminder of our stay home with us.
© Dominique King 2012 All rights reserved