“It’s all about the breakfast,” explains Bob Piskoty on why he books The Kalamazoo House Bed & Breakfast on his frequent business trips to Kalamazoo.
He and Mark Van Allen, business associates from Indiana, were catching up with B & B owners Laurel and Terry Parrott when I joined them in the parlor. “This is the best part of the day for us because we get to meet our guests,” says Laurel. It’s also a chance to browse the supply of menus from local restaurants and share tips on where to dine in the city of a bout 75,000, located halfway between Detroit and Chicago. I hadn’t been to Kalamazoo in a while and was surprised to learn that it has such a wide choice and variety of good eating.
All of the guests I met on my two-day, mid-week visit were in town on business and some, like Bob and Mark, discovered the B & B when they wanted to stay downtown but the nearby Radisson Plaza Hotel was filled.
They opt to return to the inn with its nine rooms, all with private baths but “no doilies…no stuffiness” because, says Bob, “When you have hosts like Laurel and Terry, you just feel at home.”
The first-time innkeepers moved from Indiana to Michigan with the intent of opening a B & B Up North. But they fell for the 1878 Victorian in the city, which was built by the owner of a cigar company when Kalamazoo was a cigar-making center.
The couple balances the historical nature of the home, with its original etched glass, wide woodwork, and 12-foot ceilings, and modern comforts including free WiFi and flat screen TVs.
When Laurel showed me to spacious guest room #4 she pulled the curtain aside to point out the “night light” outside the second story window: Dale Chihuly’s “Red, Orange and French Yellow” chandelier, visible in the entry of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts next door.
She gave me instructions on how to operate the new, jetted spa tub for two but I never did soak in it. I enjoyed the flickering light of the electric fireplace, though, as I munched the freshly baked cookies that are left out for each guest in the evening; there’s also a fridge with milk and a selection of hot beverages at a self-serve station.
Breakfast is made to order and favorites on the changing menu include Crustless Spinach Feta Quiche and the two I ordered (no, not at one sitting; I was there for two morning meals!): a zippy Cajun Corned Beef Hash topped with poached eggs and the house specialty, sweet and syrupy Banana Nut Crunch French Toast. All are served with fresh fruit, pastries, and good, strong coffee. Delish.
I have to agree with Bob on both counts: at The Kalamazoo House, it’s all about the breakfast. And the hosts.
And the night light isn’t bad, either.
For ideas on where to eat, stay, shop and play in Kalamazoo check out the free Great Lakes Gazette Touraide!
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