If you’re experiencing “Downton Abbey” withdrawal, or Kate and William have you thinking things British but a trip across the pond isn’t in the budget, head to mid-Michigan for a stay at The English Inn.
Called Meadovue when it was built in the late 1920s as the country estate of Oldsmobile General Manager and President Irving Jacob Reuter and his wife Janet, the 10,000 square foot Tudor Revival home is in Eaton Rapids, about a half hour’s drive south of Lansing.
The English Inn’s white tablecloth restaurant occupies the main floor drawing and dining rooms where the Reuters entertained a who’s who of business and auto industry when they lived in the home from 1928-1936.
In warm weather there’s dining on the terrace overlooking the gardens, which were buried under several inches of snow during my February visit.
Six of the 10 guest rooms, each with private bath, are on the second floor and are named for something British: The Windsor, The Avon, The Chelsea.
I checked into the spacious Somerset, with a sitting area and high, four-poster bed. The huge bath, original to the home, is almost completely tiled in lavender, Mrs. Reuter’s favorite color.
Mr. Reuter’s elaborate bath, with room for a table and chairs, is larger than the sleeping room, named The Bath, attached to it.
Additional guest rooms are a short stroll from the house in Honeysuckle Cottage, formerly the caretaker’s home; The Ivy occupies the old milking house.
All guests gather in the window-lined Thames room for breakfast—I chose quiche—and to exchange ghost stories.
At least, that’s what happened on my overnight stay. There were no reports of blood-curdling screams or actual sightings, just some odd sounds and one woman’s claim that her blanket was yanked off of her in the night (hubby denied doing it).
I could relate. As I sat reading in a chair in my room I felt someone playing with my hair—probably because I’m overdue for a new look.
With its restaurants and banquet space (in a separate building) The English Inn is more like a small hotel than a typical Bed & Breakfast; no owners hovering—a friendly young staff greets you.
I’d like to return when the gardens are in bloom to stroll the 15-acre property on the river, sip a beverage on the terrace, and retreat to my room to have my hair restyled.
Rates at The English Inn range from $115-$185 per night and include breakfast and a pot of tea or coffee delivered to the door in the a.m. Free WiFi.
The English Inn
77 South Michigan Rd., Eaton Rapids, Michigan
(517) 663-2500 or (800) 858-0598
Located in Area A of the map