If you haven’t heard of 16-room Hankerd Inn in Pleasant Lake, near US-127, 12 miles northeast of Jackson, blame it on innkeeper Janet Rochefort’s preference for doing over talking about what she’s doing.
And what she’s doing is almost always for the benefit of others — for family, friends, people she just met, and many people she may never meet. A former Jackson County treasurer, Jan exudes a spirit of service and generosity.
Many of her passions and talents merge to make this B&B so unique: cooking, baking, decorating, design, flower arranging, quilting — which I’ll come back to in a minute — and gardening. “Good thing I was born a farmer’s daughter,” she said of gardening, adding that “singing Patsy Cline and other favorite country songs makes pulling weeds much easier.”
Rooms in the circa 1857 farmhouse, in a separate newer cottage, and in a faux barn are all beautifully appointed. Like the room shown above, they are sprinkled with a few antiques. Each has its own bathroom. The cottage and the barn offer full kitchens.
Couples seeking a quiet country retreat are welcome and will love the four-acre setting adjacent to a 27-hole golf course and across the street from farm fields.
More often, Hankerd Inn gets booked by groups for weddings, reunions, crafting, or for even just a luncheon.
Many quilting groups visit Hankerd Inn, some of them two to four times a year, in part because of the camaraderie of working together, in part because of the spacious, well-lit work room in the barn, and in very large part because of the innkeeper’s passion for giving others the benefit of her skill and of what she makes with her two hands.
Members of a recent cross-stitch group got a surprise lesson in how easy it is to make creme brûlée. “It is not about the money in this business. It is about the change you could make in someone’s life and they can make in yours. When I give, I am rewarded by new friendships and new business,” she said.
About a quilt top (shown) she made for veterans of Jackson County, Jan said: “While making it, I thought of the veterans of Vietnam, a war that went on for over 17 years and in which over 47,000 American soldiers lost their lives. They have been the forgotten ones. No parades. They were even spit on. More than 60 percent of the 550,000 soldiers that fought were drafted. Many of us of that era knew someone who lost their life. May we remember this and never forget to thank the soldiers for their service to our country.”
Jan’s son Philip is a commander of a Navy station in Maine.
The proceeds from pieces she creates and sells in Hankerd Inn’s gift shop go into a scholarship fund for single mothers that she set up at the Community Foundation of Jackson County. After the fund reached $50,000 she was able to award the first scholarship in 2018.
Once asked to name a song that could have been written about her life, Jan named Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.” She said, “I definitely believe that we all should live each day as it was our last. Treating people as you would like to be treated. Smiling at strangers, uplifting spirits, and of course sharing the gifts that God has given you.”
To check availability and book rooms or an event at Hankerd Inn, you’ll need to call Jan Rochefort at 517-769-6153. There’s no online booking here because, as you now know, at Hankerd Inn, it’s all about the personal touch.
More photos and information about Hankerd Inn.
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