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Romantic Weekend in Michigan

Published in the Battle Creek Enquirer

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, the romantic in your family really needs to get busy if a special weekend is your heart’s desire. There is an array of possibilities in all directions. In around two hours you can get to Chicago or Detroit. Both offer lots of different choices, and those are just the big city opportunities.

For travel

•Chicago offers a huge variety, from lodging to food to entertainment. For a deluxe weekend, I’d book a room at the Langham Chicago. The hotel’s pink and gold colors are a perfect backdrop to a five-star experience. If you book their Valentine’s package, it comes with roses, bubbly and chocolates. Given the February weather, you may not want to leave the hotel, so book a room on the club level and ask Carlos, the head butler or one of his staff, to draw you a bath. The hotel’s restaurant, Travelle, is a great choice for dinner or brunch with Chef Tim Graham’s innovative menu.

•A Valentine’s Day in Detroit can be equally romantic and a little less expensive. The Inn on Ferry Street is four restored Victorian mansions and two carriage houses. They also offer a romance package with roses and the works, but I’d opt for the Dining in the D package, which includes a four-course meal at the Whitney with wine, including round-trip transportation. The Whitney is an elegantly restored 1894 mansion with a reputation for fine dining. I can personally recommend the crab cakes, calamari and the filet mignon. With this Inn you are close to the Detroit Institute of the Arts, where walking hand-in-ha

nd through their current exhibit “Ordinary People by Extraordinary Artists: Works on Paper by Degas, Renoir and Friends” is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

•Saugatuck offers a number of bed and breakfast choices, but I like the Wickwood Inn owned by Silver Palette cookbook author, Julee Rosso. While the lodgings are lovely, it’s the food which is really something special at the Wickwood. Be sure you arrive in time for cocktail hour, when the guests gather in the library to sample an array of tempting hors d’oeuvres.

For close to home

Closer to home, I’d suggest booking my favorite type of lodging, a bed and breakfast or small inn. This close to Feb. 14 may make it hard to find a room but you can always offer your sweetheart a rain check.

•Kalamazoo has two properties worth a visit: The Kalamazoo House right downtown and Henderson Castle near Western Michigan University. The rooms at Kalamazoo House are very comfortable with a classic full breakfast. They also offer warm cookies upon check-in. There are lots of dining choices within walking distance, including our favorites, Rustica and Food Dance. Another option is the grand Castle, which sits on a hill with a spa and a winery among its other attractions.

•Greencrest Manor is another favorite for a romantic overnight right outside of Battle Creek. With only eight rooms, this is a lovely stone house in a French Normandy style. Breakfast is included in the rate but you may want to bring your own Valentine treats to surprise your sweetie.

•In Marshall, spend a cozy evening at the National House Inn. Innkeeper Barb Bradley will do everything she can to make your weekend a dream come true. The house has been welcoming guests for 170 years so they must be doing something right. Schuler’s Restaurant is within walking distance. Book a table in their newly renovated Grill Room with private booths and a crackling fireplace.

These are just a few romantic spots to while away a weekend and remind yourself why you fell in love in the first place.

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