I’m an adventures kinda gal. See, up there in my header? It says so in the tagline, so it must be true.
A big part of being adventurous, for me, is trying new things.
Now that my round the world adventures have parlayed into paying rent with three roommates in New York City with the occasional stateside trip, one of my latest new things was less “challenging adventure” and more “domestic experiment”.
For the very first time… I stayed at a bed and breakfast in Traverse City, Michigan.
I know. I’ve gone from climbing volcanoes and drinking hallucinogens in the rainforest to a scheduled breakfast time and mints on a lacy pillow.
But honestly, there was something about staying at a bed and breakfast that was mildly unsettling to me. Not quite “ayahuasca level” unsettling, but there was something that struck discomfort in my adventurous heart when I pulled into the driveway of the Wellington Inn…
I arrived by myself, in the shiny, black Dodge Charger I had rented in Chicago, and clumsily squeezed it next to a blue SUV in the turn-around driveway of a victorian mansion.
It felt a bit like the opener to a horror movie — the autumn breeze kicking up leaves around my feet as I dragged a rolling suitcase up the front steps with the house looming over me, framed by threatening clouds and half bare trees. Clearly, I had entered the standard city-gal-moves-to-the-country plotline where she inevitably finds a fantastic deal on an old house that unbeknownst to her, is religiously skipped on Halloween because a family of towheaded children went missing there decades ago and their cries can still be heard on windy days like this one…
An older gentlemen was sweeping the porch when I made it to the front door. He looked up and for a moment — was that a devilish glare? No, no — not at all. A big smile greeted me as I shook the horror movie notions from my head.
What was my deal?? New York City had me wound up tighter than a rush-hour-subway-handrail grip and it was time to relax and enjoy this experience.
Barbara and Hank, the owners of the Wellington Inn in Traverse City, were lovely. Barbara showed me around the house like an old friend showing off their family’s home — which is essentially the case for Barb and Hank. They’ve owned the place since 1999 and opened its doors to guests in 2003. Since then, they’ve had plenty of visitors turn into Wellington Inn family as they return to visit Traverse City every year.
I was giddy over the intricacies over the mansion’s interior. Every room was dripping with class and sophistication from an older, simpler world. A ghoulish buttler statue serving a plated skull was still left over from a massive Halloween party where hundreds of children came to visit. (Apparently undeterred from my imagined hauntings) but Barbara assured me that things would move right into Christmas as she had plans to pull the decorations out and begin a holiday overhaul the following week.
My room was just as charming as the rest of the house. I can’t say it spoke to my sense of style, but the four-poster bed and delicate details of flowers and lace made me want to cozy up in a long white nightgown, light my electric fire, and open a book by candlelight.
I went out to dinner a few hours later, waving goodbye to Barb and Hank as they left the driveway for their own night out. I watched large groups of young people order rounds of beers and pizzas at the Filling station that night while I had a pie and a stout for myself. Then I returned early, eager to take a bath in my pretty bathroom and curl up in my plush bed at an absurdly early hour.
Despite the dress figure in the corner of my room that headlessly watched over me as I tried to fall asleep, I felt so comfortable in my room that I couldn’t help but wonder if it was absolutely necessary to do anything in Traverse City other than hang out in bed. Of course, it was. There were trails to be hiked, wines to be tastes, and meals to be enjoyed. But in that moment, I pretended I could stay in bed for days…
The next morning I was packed up in time for the 9am breakfast hour. I filled up on pumpkin pie pancakes with apple cider syrup and bacon with the two other guests — a couple from Indiana that were wrapping up an antiquing expedition of the Lake Michigan coastline.
So what was there to be afraid of at the Wellington Inn bed and breakfast in Traverse City, Michigan?
Nothing, of course. Perhaps I was a little uncomfortable with the prospect of actually enjoying my stay there — which I absolutely did. Was it a sign of a waning adventurous spirit? An aging sense of tastes and preference?
Nah. Just another opportunity to mix things up. When you get used to staying at raucous hostels and camping in the dessert, the only way to flip your travel habits on their head is to go in the opposite direction with frills and finer things — like PUMPKIN PIE PANCAKES. Who can deny loving that?? Certainly not an adventurous gal like myself.
Bed and breakfasts might not become my go-to for lodging options (at least for another decade, anyways) but I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Wellington Inn in Traverse City, Michigan where the rooms are cozy enough to temporarily calm my antsy, vagabonding nature.
Sometimes you gotta face a silly fear to get exactly what you need.