A Michigan autumn fires up ALL the senses.
See the leaves change colors.
Feel the cooler breezes.
Hear the crunch of leaves on a forest path.
But there’s a moment — repeated almost daily at bed and breakfasts all over the two peninsulas — when ALL the senses come together in celebration of a Michigan autumn. It is the moment when an innkeeper says, “I made this for you,” alerting your senses to the sight, taste, smell and touch of something delicious that you’ll savor even more because of the season.
This video celebrates entrees and side dishes served at Michigan B&B and featuring apples, pears, and pumpkin, all darlings of the state’s fall harvest.
Made you feel hungry, didn’t it? Start here to check out the many options for a fall getaway.
Scroll down for a list of the inns and innkeepers whose creations are featured in the video.
They include Rochelle O’Shay of Saravilla B&B in Alma. Rochelle baked the assortment of pumpkin, pear and apple muffins seen atop this page and at the end of the video. Along with her duties as a full-time emergency room nurse, Rochelle is the official baker for the bed and breakfast she owns with her husband Kelly. Breakfasts for guests are prepared by Kelly, who has three decades of restaurant experience in mid-Michigan.
All the B&Bs and innkeepers featured in the video
The Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association counts many fine and innovative cooks and bakers among our members. Here are the members participating in this visual feast celebrating the tastes of a Michigan autumn. Under each of the three featured fruits, the participating bed and breakfasts are listed in alphabetical order.
Click an inn’s name for more information about the B&B and things you can do and see nearby.
Because of untimely spring frosts after apple trees had blossomed, Michigan’s 2021 apple crop will be down 17 percent from 2020 but, hey, that’s still 18.25 million bushels of apples.
According to the Michigan Apple Committee, as reported in the Traverse City Record-Eagle, “Michigan has 14.9 million apple trees in commercial production, on 34,500 total acres on 775 family-run farms.”
Nationwide, Gala apples are the biggest crop, followed by Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Granny Smith.
For just-picked freshness and variety, go to a farm market.
Can’t remember which apples are recommended for which uses or which are sweet and which are more tart? The Michigan Apple Committee offers a handy guide. Use the slider to find out how apples rank on the sweet-to-tart scale.
Like all fine cooks, Michigan B&B innkeepers each have their favorite apple varieties for baking, stovetop cooking, and other uses.
- Apple French Toast, Cottonwood Inn B&B, Empire
- Caramel Apple Strata by Laura Cavender, Glen Arbor B&B and Cottages, Glen Arbor
- Pecan Apple Crisps by Ruth Andrus, Leonard at Logan House, Grand Rapids
- German Apple Pancakes by Bob Alderink, Ludington House B&B, Ludington
- Apple Danish by Noelene Wilson, Sherwood Forest B&B, Douglas
- Apple Cobbler by Darci Bartlett, Spring Lighthouse, Elk Rapids
- Pear Apple Crostata by Tony Ciccantelli, Washington Street Inn, Grand Haven
Michigan is among six states that account for most of U.S. pear production, with Washington, Oregon, and California leading the way. Bartlett and Bosc pears are the varieties produced commercially in Michigan.
Pears ripen best off the tree, in your home, in a bowl on the kitchen counter. How do you know when they’re ripe and ready to eat? “Check the neck,” says Jeannie Nicholas of the Michigan State University Extension. She writes: “Pears are ripe when the neck gives in gently to pressure from your thumb. If it yields to gentle pressure, then the pear is ripe, sweet and juicy.”
Dishes in our video featuring pears:
- Pear-Almond Dutch Baby by Holly Wilson, Bellaire B+B, Bellaire
- Pears poached in lavender cardamom syrup, Goldberry Woods, Union Pier
- Rum Raisin Pears by Jenn Davenport, Judson Heath Colonial Inn, Saugatuck
- Walnut Pear Coffee Cake by Betsy DeWaard, Inn at Old Orchard Road, Holland
- Baked pear with caramelized pecans and honey drizzle, Kalamazoo House B&B, Kalamazoo
- Bosc pear poached in spiced wine and cranberry juice by Bob Alderink, Ludington House B&B, Ludington
- Poached pears baked in puff pastry by Jan Smith, Maple Cove B&B, Leonard
- Baked Pear by Greg and Kjersten Offenbecker, Nordic Pineapple B&B, St. Johns
Inns are listed in alphabetical order. Click the inn’s name for more information about it.
Michigan is one of the four highest pumpkin-producing states, led by Illinois. Most pumpkins sold in the state end up decorating front porches or being carved as jack-o-lanterns. Most of those are edible; however, they might be more watery or have a stringy texture, leading to an unpredictable outcome when cooked. For use in a favorite dish, it’s best to look for pumpkins labeled “pie pumpkins” or “sweet pumpkins.”
- Mile-High Pumpkin Pancakes with bacon pecan streusel by Holly Wilson, Bellaire B+B, Bellaire
- Chocolate-Pumpkin Swirl Bread by Lisa Tallarico, Cocoa Cottage B&B, Whitehall
- Pumpkin Pie Muffins by Deborah Ingersoll, Historic Webster House B&B, Bay City
- Pumpkin Buttermilk Waffles with salted maple caramel sauce by Bob Alderink, Ludington House B&B, Ludington
- Pumpkin Bread by Jan Smith, Maple Cove B&B, Leonard
- Pumpkin Waffles by Greg and Kjersten Offenbecker, Nordic Pineapple B&B, St. Johns
Get away to experience the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of fall at Michigan B&Bs. #staysmallstaysafe at a clean, comfortable, quality-assured Michigan bed and breakfast.
How did B&B innkeeper Jan Smith do this?
After seeing these two images in the video, you might wonder. We did, too, so we asked.
When you see the hashtag #BookDirect, what does it mean? It’s a reminder — a request, even. When it’s time to book a room, please #BookDirect on the website of the place you want to stay.
Industry disrupters such as Expedia and booking dot com spend heavily to appear at the top of online search results in the hope of attracting your first click. Furthermore, Google highly ranks these platforms — called online travel agencies, or OTAs –because Google gets a cut if you book on one of those platforms.
Often, to #BookDirect, you’ll find smaller businesses like B&Bs and individual hotels further down in the search results.
Many B&Bs give some rooms on some dates to OTAs for the visibility.
But if you want to get the best price, best service, and widest selection of rooms and dates, always #BookDirect on an inn’s own website.