Expert Tips From Our New Assistant Innkeeper, Michelle

Holland Farmer's Market

Walking the Trails at Castle in the Country B&B

At Castle in the Country Bed and Breakfast, we love to truly get to know our guests, and we enjoy sharing our appreciation for the nature that surrounds us. As a new assistant innkeeper I’d like to introduce myself and share my insight on the pieces of property that continue to draw me in.

I am a recent graduate of the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education in Grand Rapids, and have had the opportunities to work in luxury hotel kitchens in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and in Newport, Rhode Island.  In both of these locations I had the chance to learn about regional dishes, local ingredients, and the cultural traditions of the mountains and ocean shores.

Walking Trails at Castle in the Country

Walking Trails at Castle in the Countr





Although I relished those experiences and truly grew to appreciate what was then delightfully foreign, the richness of Michigan farmland called me home. Among the abundant nature of this 65-acre wooded property, I’ve settled in as an Assistant Innkeeper at Castle in the Country Bed and Breakfast. This scenic countryside has reignited my love for West Michigan food and wine, and I look forward to sharing my interests with our guests. In my transition from cooking to innkeeping, there have been many new growth opportunities. Due to my training and experiences, I have found myself gravitating toward the kitchen—where Herb carefully tests his own recipes and bakes perfectly golden sourdough bread. It’s so encouraging to know that Ruth and Herb stop at the Holland Farmers Market on a weekly basis to incorporate a new pear variety or bring home recently plucked root vegetables and freshly picked flowers.

Autumn Olives

Autumn Olives


In addition to edible bounties, the Michigan shoreline has a lot of great hiking to offer. While visiting Oval Beach in Saugatuck, or climbing the Lake Michigan dunes, the view can be awe inspiring any time of the year, however on site the 2.5 miles of beautiful, private hiking trails are just steps from our romantic bed and breakfast. The beginning of the trail system is teeming with Autumn Olive Trees. The small red berries are bursting with Lycopenes and are a newly discovered power fruit.

Lake Michigan Dunes

Chicken of the Woods Mushroom




The Autumn Olives persist through the winter, but come snowfall, we’ll have plenty of competition from birds and other friendly wildlife. I suggest bringing a jar or cup with you on your hike, to collect some to add to your oatmeal or dehydrate and steep for tea year round.


On hikes of my own on property, I’ve developed a skill for spotting and identifying mushroom species.  Recently, I found a 16 lb. Chicken of the Woods mushroom which when sautéed tastes like chicken and is comparable in texture.  I’ve also found Reishi mushrooms which have multitudes of health benefits, primarily for calming nervous system and slowing tumor development. Reishi has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. This rare mushroom can be used in tea or made in to a tincture.


Crowning Suite Wood Burning Fireplace

Crowning Suite Wood Burning Fireplace

With so many treasures to find just on the quarter mile hike to the private lake—not to mention the gorgeous warm colors of autumn all over the property—this time of year is perfect for taking a stroll with that special someone.Choose one of our popular spa packages to relax and rejuvenate; a few guest favorites include side-by-side massages, facials, and in-room breakfast.  Or simply enjoy the quiet and coziness of the Whirlpool Tubs and fireplaces in one of our 8 unique whirlpool/fireplace suites. Our staff eagerly waits to greet you with a genuine, warm welcome and all of the pertinent information you’ll need to do as much or as little as you’d like on your romantic getaway.