Innkeepers Besan and Emily
Castle in the Country circa 1920
The Whole Castle Kingdom
Our journey leading us to our bed & breakfast in Michigan began in November, 1990 when we moved from Holland, MI to purchase the sadly neglected Victorian mansion nicknamed “The Castle.” The property was built as a summer home by John H. and Caroline Wurtz in 1906, and was designed by an architect. Even with serious neglect, the beauty of natural hardwoods and quality materials still shone through. We were thrilled to be the sixth owners of this diamond in the rough and determined from the beginning to open it as a country bed and breakfast.
With a very young family and home improvement skills learned while renovating our first Victorian home, we moved in and launched into a year and a half restoration project. Replacing fifteen broken windows while tearing out vines growing through and removing a section of the house insulated with walnut shells by resident squirrels were just a few of the early projects we undertook. Looking back, we had a great time with much family support and the house paid us back by turning into an incredible beauty.
We named the business Castle in the Country and in July 1992 opened with four rooms, offering comfortable Victorian Bed and Breakfast accommodations. Herb continued his career in the corporate world and supported all four of us, as well as the “money pit” for the first twelve years. During this time, Ruth dissolved her consulting business to market and run the bed and breakfast business. After about 5 years, we decided to add all private baths, including three Whirlpool tubs. We also added additional living space for our family. Our Allegan Michigan bed and breakfast became a five-room bed and breakfast with three Whirlpool/fireplace rooms and two classic private bath rooms all on 5 acres of lawns and gardens.
Herb was always a very active participant in the business even while holding management positions outside, but in July of 2002 he left his corporate position and joined Ruth as a full-time innkeeper. Entirely self-taught, Herb’s focus and passion is cooking and baking for our guests. With his background in biology and chemistry, he loves the science behind good food, and with his background in inventory control and materials management, he enjoys the challenge of producing great meals for our guests daily using only the best ingredients gathered from local farmer’s markets, baking his own homemade sourdough bread and growing fresh herbs. He also loves to ride his bike through the local countryside. Check out his blog, Herb Bikes a Lot.
In November of 2004, we were blessed with the opportunity to expand our business yet again through the acquisition of the adjacent property, which was called “The Inn at Froggy’s Pond.” This property was the original acreage that John and Caroline Wurtz had owned and used as their summer home estate.
Now, our Michigan Inn and Spa is a collection of two magnificent buildings consisting of a commercial kitchen, dining room, sitting areas, a spa area, book nook and gift shop, as well as ten incredible guest rooms and suites. All of the accommodations at our Southwest Michigan Bed and Breakfast have private baths and most have Whirlpool tubs and fireplaces. Both buildings are surrounded by 65 beautiful acres of manicured lawns and gardens and natural woodland settings. There is a gazebo in the woods bordered by a five-acre water lily pond and a screened porch and dock by a private 80 acre lake.
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