Historical Country Estate next to Lake Michigan
At the turn of the 20th century, successful Chicagoans began flocking to the less-crowded southeastern side of Lake Michigan to spend their summers in private vacation cottages along the shore. One of these Chicagoans, an urban industrialist, built his on a lakeside bluff. The building now constitutes the main house of Pine Garth, a collection of guesthouses located across the street from a 100-foot stretch of Lake Michigan beach. Travel writer Bob Puhala praised Pine Garth for its "breathtaking vistas" in his 2001 book Recommended Country Inns, while the Chicago Tribune noted the inn's "loads of homey touches—a mix of antiques and twig furnishings, books and plants, and flowers in each room."
The property's five guesthouses vary in size and style. Some have the rustic trappings of a farmhouse, and others have subtly elegant touches such as a Queen Anne table. Each cottage includes a large wood-burning fireplace and an enclosed deck with a hot tub. Tesi's Folly, the largest guesthouse, features a separate dining area and plenty of space for spreading out. Niece's Nest, Lil Ray's Hideaway, and JJ's Last Resort have their own screened-in porches.
Union Pier, Michigan: Charming Hamlet on the Shores of Lake Michigan
Union Pier belongs to the cluster of southwestern Michigan communities known as Harbor Country, which hugs the coast for 15 miles. Located just north of the Indiana-Michigan border, this stretch of lakeshore is especially popular for city-dwellers coming from Chicago, about an hour drive away. In the 1870s, cargo boats docked at Union Pier before shipping loads of timber and hot-dog relish across Lake Michigan to Chicago. Tourism has long since surpassed the timber trade in Harbor Country's charming beach towns such as New Buffalo, where the quaint streets are lined with antique shops and galleries. At Warren Dunes State Park, fewer than 10 miles north of the inn, hiking trails become paths for cross-country skiing in the winter.