Monday, February 21, 2011

The Owl Prowl in Kalamazoo

great horned owl in michigan

Spring is just around the corner here in the woods of that surround our West Michigan B&B. Among other creatures preparing for warmer days ahead, owls are selecting mates and claiming territory. We see many types of owls common here, the largest being the Great Horned Owl, pictured above.

The Kalamazoo Nature Center will be hosting outdoor, evening hikes, called Owl Prowls, for adults and older (i.e. quiet) children on Thursday, Feb 24, Friday, March 4, and Thursday, March 10. No flashlights are allowed-they may scare away wildlife and your eyes will adjust to the dark so you will see more without the flashlight anyway.

Our own experiences with the Great Horned Owl are rather special. We often hear their hooting in the evening-another name for them is the Hoot Owl. But a really close encounter happened one summer evening a few years ago at our Inn near Kalamazoo. We were enjoying a glass of wine with some of our guests on our deck overlooking the pond. The view was similar to this picture:
romantic michigan bed and breakfast
As it gradually got dark, suddenly an owl swooped down from trees on the left onto the grassy area. It had caught some kind of small rodent. Grasping it firmly, it flew off into the trees again. They may hoot at times, but when they hunt their flight is absolutely silent.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Romantic Activities in West Michigan

West Michigan has so many wonderful options for romantic outings and the best part is, none of them will break the bank. While staying at Castle in the Country Bed and Breakfast we've found some perfectly romantic (and yet inexpensive) 'Must Do’s' while you’re enjoying our small town of Allegan, MI and the surrounding area. Here are our favorite suggestions for saving $$ but still getting the most out of your Michigan Couple's getaway experience:

After checking in at Castle in the Country, head out to The Grill House to grill your own steak, and try the Meal Splitter's Deal, where you share the steak and each enjoy your own sides. You may find you don't want to leave, so why not order a carry out gourmet pizza from The Grill House, located just 3 miles north of our Allegan Inn, and enjoy in front of the fireplace of your guest room.
snowshoeing in michigan
After breakfast, enjoy use of our snowshoes on beautiful wooded trails just outside your guest room door and after you've warmed up here and you're ready for a little more adventure, head out to Bittersweet for some exciting Michigan downhill skiing. Don't forget to ask us for our discounted ski passes. We have passes that run about $5.00 cheaper than what you would pay at the gate.

bittersweet skiing michigan

There are three wineries in the area of our romantic Michigan getaway, FennValley, St. Julian’s, and Warner’s. All three wineries offer FREE cellar tours and tastings in their tasting rooms. Couples staying at our romantic Michigan inn will receive a coupon for two free FennValley logo wine glasses with any purchase! Nearby Saugatuck also plays host to some tasting rooms including Tabor Hill, and Round Barn.

Later, you may want to head out to Salt of the Earth in Fennville to enjoy some live music, appetizers, drinks, and dessert. Their S'more Dessert is a fantastic twist on a favorite classic and definitely large enough to share. If you're staying with us on Sunday evenings Salt of the Earth hosts concert bands at 7:00 p.m. with tickets ranging in price from $5.00-$12.00. On February 13th Salt of the Earth will be featuring May Erlewine with Seth Bernard.

Finally, to end your night with a moonlight stroll, don't miss a trip to Saugatuck's Oval Beach on Lake Michigan, located just west of downtown Douglas, MI. Named one of the top beaches in the country, this stretch of pristine beach along Lake Michigan is beautiful anytime of the year but with the wintry ice sculptures formed by the waves, it provides a magical winter wonderland just for the two of you.

There are fantastic activities are available year round in West Michigan, making it a fun exciting and romantic place to visit, without spending a lot of money!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chocolate & Wine Pairings in Southwest Michigan

Let the interesting and unexpected relationship between chocolate and wine inspire the romance of your relationship. If you're in West Michigan on February 9, there are two events that will get you in the mood for Valentine's Day:

At Food Dance Restaurant, which is in Kalamazoo about 30 minutes southeast of our inn in Allegan, MI, a Chocolate and Wine tasting begins at 6pm. Guests will be invited to circulate among five different and imaginative combinations of chocolate flavors; each offered with just the right wine. $35 per person. These events tend to sell out, so advance reservations are recommended.

At Warners Vineyard Tasting Room in Holland, about 30 minutes northwest of our romantic Michigan B&B, a Chocolate and Wine pairing will be held at both 6 and 7:30pm. Pre-sale tickets are available through February 2 for $25 per couple.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Downtown Holland Ice Sculptures

Downtown Holland, a really cool winter venue about 30 minutes north of our Inn, hosts a Collegiate Invitational Ice Sculpting Competition annually. We gave the camera to one of our housekeepers, Kaileigh, who went out with her mother Deb to see what was up. The weather was ideal: sunny yet cold enough to keep the ice from melting. The video shows a little of the ice carving process and an assortment of sculptures.

Downtown Holland utilizes a snowmelt system to keep their main street and sidewalks clear of snow or ice, so it is always a good place to visit in the winter.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Everyday People Cafe

One of the top rated Restaurants in the area, as far as us and our guests are concerned, is Everyday People Cafe, located in Douglas, Michigan, about 30 minutes from our inn. The menu is always exceptionally imaginative and changes often, so we recommend a peak at the website if you don't like surprises. Or if you take a lot of time to decide. Otherwise the wait staff is very knowledgeable and easy to work with to help make your selection.
Here we see the beet and peach salad.
The Filet Saltimboca-Beef Tenderloin with prosciutto, sage, marsala demi glace, a garlic crouton, and parmesan reggiano potato:
And to Gorgonzola Pork Chop:

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Downhill Skiing in West Michigan

Bittersweet Ski Area is 8 miles from our inn. A great way to spend a winter day.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fenn Valley Extended Vineyard Tours

Guests at Castle in the Country may be interested in Fenn Valley Winery's Extended Vineyard Tour Tickets.

Available only on a first come, first serve basis, we have the well-sought-after tickets to the Fenn Valley Winery Extended Vineyard Tour. This tour provides a marvelous way to hear right from the Winemaker about the growing, picking and wine development processes used at FennValley. The One hour & 45 minute tour through the scenic vineyards provides an opportunity for you to taste the grapes and sip the wine produced by those grapes at our favorite and Michigan's 2nd largest winery.

Tickets are available to our Lodging Guests on the following dates:
September 26, October 2 or October 13.

Doug Welsch, owner and winemaker of Fenn Valley Winery, waxes eloquent about growing wine grapes.