Published In the Battle Creek Enquirer November 10, 2012
The sun, rising over the boats in their slips on the Kalamazoo River, was a reminder that while summer was over, there was still much to be enjoyed in Saugatuck, a small village located on Lake Michigan. Scuffing our feet in the fallen leaves, we walked around the neighborhoods with their rich architecture of Greek Revival and Italianate homes, right next to Arts and Crafts bungalows and through the historic downtown.
We started with dinner at the Butler, a family-owned restaurant.
With a great view of the Lake Kalamazoo harbor, the servers were friendly. Unfortunately, they had run out of their “famous” prime rib and the rib eye steak wasn’t as tasty as it should have been. The cherry, chicken and walnut salad with crumbled blue cheese and red onion was a meal by itself.
With more than a few calories to burn off, we headed back to the Wickwood Inn where a very comfortable king-sized bed awaited. We had chosen the Wickwood because we loved the Silver Palette cookbook written by owner Julie Rosso. The town offers a plethora of bed and breakfast lodging, including the Victorian Inn, the Newnham Suncatcher Inn and the Park House Inn, to name a few.
As someone who loves this category of lodging, my short checklist of what separates a good experience from a great one includes four critical items. First, the innkeeper needs to seem glad to see you. Second, the bed has to be wonderful, with lots of soft pillows and high thread count sheets. Third, you need the extras like wine and cheese at the end of the day and beverage service all day long. Finally, the breakfast has to be truly superb and provide a variety of choices.
The Wickwood met all my expectations. The quality of the food really separates this inn from others. Checking out on a Friday afternoon, we did feel a bit of pressure from the staff to vacate so they could get ready for their weekend visitors when we would have liked to linger.
Being pushed out onto the streets of Saugatuck was hardly a hardship, with so many unique stores to browse.