Allegan, Michigan

Photo: Castle in the Country Bed & Breakfast Inn

The holidays may be over, but winter is just beginning. True, the first snowstorm came early, in the middle of November. The season didn’t really start until December 21st, though. So there’s probably a lot more snow and frigid temperatures to come. Now, when you could use some rest and relaxation, is the time to plan your first cold-weather getaway.

You don’t have to go far. You don’t have to go to a ski resort either. Somewhere just a few hours away will work. A little inn with in-room fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and homemade breakfast sounds good. A gazebo with an outdoor fireplace and three miles of snowshoeing trails sound even better. You’re sold with the addition of a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

This inn is in Allegan, Michigan. Never heard of the small city? Good. No one will think to look for you here. Allegan sits about a half hour inland from Lake Michigan in the southwest corner of the state. Chicago is two-and-a-half hours away. Detroit is a little bit farther in the other direction. While the inn itself is surrounded by two lakes and 65 forested acres.

Photo: Castle in the Country Bed & Breakfast Inn

The Castle in the Country Bed & Breakfast Inn was built in 1906 as a summer home. The Victorian mansion changed hands and was badly neglected over the years. Despite its poor condition, a Michigan couple fell in love with the natural hardwood inside. They spent more than a year restoring the grand home. A four-room inn opened in 1992. Twelve years later, they bought the property next door and added eight more rooms. The inn is now considered one of the most romantic places to stay in the Great Lakes State.

You understand why so many people believe this as soon as you enter the third-floor Sir Lancelot Suite. The suite has a dramatic cove ceiling and is decorated with dusty gray hues and black furniture. There’s a three-sided glass fireplace in the center of the room. A king-size bed looks at it from one side. A two-person whirlpool tub, lined with flameless candles, is on the other. Plus the windows overlook the gazebo, which is strewn with white lights, and a now-frozen lily pond.

You’d love to draw a bath right away, but the sleigh ride is about to begin. So you bundle up and head back downstairs. Two horses are already waiting outside for you. They’re pulling a red sled filled with blankets. You climb in to head over the mountains and through the woods, but this ride won’t end at grandmother’s house. You’ve been promised local wine, cider, and desserts by the fireplace in the gazebo when the horses bring you back. Now it just needs to start snowing.

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