Helen and Mark Lally had been coming to The Heather House in Marine City as guests for about 15 years. Then, four years ago, they bought the place and became innkeepers.

Helen’s first job was in a restaurant — at such a young age she had to lie to get the job. She says, “I fell in love with the industry and worked many years between restaurants and catering, in every role from dishwasher to general manager, not to mention owning my own restaurant in  downtown Ann Arbor.”

She said, “My approach to breakfast is simple: I want to make it special (served on china with silver) and I want to do food that a guest wouldn’t be making for themselves or get at their favorite diner. I like to get outside the box without getting too crazy.”


A sweet bread that Heather House guests love

Preheat oven to 350F, and prepare a bundt pan, or your favorite pan with any kind of pan spray.

2 sticks room-temperature butter

1 ½ cups white sugar

4 eggs, one at a time

Blend those 3 ingredients until smooth and creamy, then add:

1 cup sour cream

2 Tbsp vanilla or almond extract (your choice)

1 cup chopped nuts, your choice. I prefer pecans or you can leave them out, or add a few to the cinnamon mixture.

Continue to blend until creamy, then fold in the chopped nuts

Add to the wet ingredients:

2 ¼ cups sifted flour, as measured after sifting

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt (Sea salt is my favorite.)

Cinnamon mixture

¾ cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp soft butter

1 Tbsp cinnamon

Blend again. The batter should be fairly thick at this point.  Pour half the batter in the pan, top with cinnamon mixture and repeat.

Bake for ½ hour and rotate, bake another 20 to 25 minutes, depending on your oven. I sometimes cover loosely with parchment paper for the last 20 minutes so it doesn’t get too crusty on top. (Most people invert, but you can serve either way.)

Let cool for about 10 minutes, bang it around to loosen and invert onto rack.

Once it’s completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar, or drizzle with topping.

Topping: ½ cup powdered sugar, and start with a tsp of water, milk, juice, blend until it will drizzle. Add more powdered sugar and liquid as needed.

Slice and enjoy. It also freezes nicely.