Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Visit to the Wickwood Inn, Saugatuck

It has been over twenty five years since I sat in a white rocking chair on the front porch of a charming home, turned gift shop, in Savannah, Georgia.  I'd just discovered the original Silver Palate and  couldn't stop marveling at the innovative ideas and recipes that were contained within.  Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukens had me hooked!

We'd heard about the Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, MI.  The innkeepers are none other than Julee Rosso and her husband, Bill.  It has been on our list of places to visit for years.  Our good friends paid the Inn a visit last month and had so many good things to say about it that we decided the time had come. 

The inn is quietly nestled into a neighborhood just steps away from shops, galleries and restaurants.  There is off-street private parking for guests and plenty of street parking (in October at least).  A buffet breakfast, served from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., featured a number of Silver Palate recipes.  There is coffee and tea available all day in the library.  Too, there are sweets.  Always the S.P. chocolate chip cookies and an additional daily surprise.  From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., an array of appetizers are served along with wine.  We found it especially nice as we had good visits with other guests during this time.  

The gardens surrounding the lovely old white clapboard home were still in colorful bloom when we arrived last week.  Trees were dressed in full-fall color all around town.  A gentle wind sent leaves skittering along the sidewalks as we visited galleries and gift shops.

Oval Beach provides a beautiful vista of Lake Michigan.  It was a bit too cold to even think about a toe in the water or a stroll along the shore.

We came upon this charming little scene in a park at Lake Kalamazoo.  It housed the public "necessaries".

 Day one of our visit was just about perfect.  Day two, I awoke in the middle of the night to what sounded like sleet or snow against our bedroom window.  Nothing could have enticed me to leave our warm featherbed to check it out though.  The aroma of freshly brewed coffee did get me out of bed--well, it got me to get Andrew out of bed to bring us a cup in our room.  It was then I threw open the shutters (really) and saw a winter wonderland in the garden.

We were certainly grateful for the roaring fire in the living room where we sipped our second cup of coffee and waited for breakfast to be served.  We also plotted our day in case we could get out and about.  By the time we'd finished a delicious buffet and visited with several other guests, the snow had melted and we decided to carry on with our plans.  There are so many delightful areas to visit that we just started out with a thought to stop at whatever looked interesting.  Then it rained.  Then it sleeted.  Then it snowed.  Then it repeated all once again.  It wasn't cold enough for icing of pavement so we decided to put up our hoods and, again, carry on.

Hot tea was in order when we got back to the Inn.  I was delighted to find hot ginger tea.  It was a delicious infusion of ginger in hot water and a bit of brown sugar.

I've attempted to duplicate it at home.  Thinking honey would be better, I opted for that as a sweetener. The second time, I used the brown sugar and liked the taste a bit better.  Disclaimer:  the photo of the tea is not at the Wickwood Inn but taken here at home.

Ginger Tea inspired by the Wickwood Inn

1 knob of ginger, about four inches, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups of water
1 Tbsp brown sugar or honey (more, or less, to your taste)

1.  Place the ginger and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Cover and steep about 20 minutes.
2.  Stir in the sweetener.
3.  Enjoy right away or refrigerate and reheat when desired.

With all the weather forces at work, we were happy to be settled in our comfortable and quiet room.  Summer in Santorini seemed a warm and appropriate name.  There is no television, telephone or alarm clock in the rooms.  There was a CD player and, forewarned, we brought some of our favorite music.  We also brought our current reads.

Thanks to the inn keepers who anticipated and saw to our every need--at times even before we knew we needed anything!!


  1. that beach is gorgeous and i love the drift fence.. the room is really pretty and when i lived in Savannah, i hit those old homes all the time, not the gift shops but the furnished homes open to the public and the three forts and River street.. nary a cook book did i touch though.... what a wonderful place to stay.. i almost died in a motel room by the airport in Kalamazoo MI and it changed my life for ever.... so is this place close to Kalamazoo?

  2. Looks like a fabulous place.... WOW---I'd love it!!!! So glad you went and had such a great time. Snow, huh? We had some COLD weather in Kentucky this week--but no snow....

  3. Well Bonnie that is a trip to tell about in the years to come. Who would have guessed that strange snowstorm to be repeated several times that day! It sounds like a warm and cozy place to be at such a time. I have been enjoying ginger tea lately. It's interesting you found you preferred the brown sugar addition.

    Stay warm!

  4. Oh this all looks enchanting to me:)

  5. Sounds like you had a wonderful visit and the weather just added to the warmth and ambiance of the Inn:@)

  6. You put me in the mood for a ginger tea..I had Stash's Lemon Ginegr upstairs..Yum..having it now..

  7. That sounds perfectly wonderful. I used to live across the street from the original, teeny tiny Silver Palate storefront. And my own copy of it is so stained and dog-eared -- it definitely taught me how to cook and brought me from teenagerdom through young adulthood!

  8. I want to GO! You had me hooked from the first paragraph! I hope you will be posting what you saw on your outings. That is, if it was not too wet to take your camera. I will be trying the tea for sure. Is that gorgeous wall really an outhouse???

    1. Ginny: The entire outhouse is covered with that painting. It's a takeoff on Seurat's "Sunday on La Grande Jatte" and well done. Saugatuck is filled with artists. I don't know the story behind this but it is perfect in that park.

  9. The Silver Palate cookbooks were the first cookbooks I ever added to my future cookbook collection. I marvelled at all the delicious recipes and dreamed of future dinner parties. If my kitchen walls could talk. I have also read about the inn and would love to go there someday.

  10. I've missed seeing you around Bonnie and I'm so glad that you had a great getaway. What a beautiful place to visit and how cool that the inn belongs to Julee Rosso and her husband. I love the Silver Palate probably as much as you do. How fun to sit by the fire and wait for breakfast. My kind of relaxing :)

  11. I love Saugatuck. It is not far from my hometown. I have always wanted to stay at Julee Rosso's inn. After reading this, we may just do it next year. Great post Bonnie.

  12. Looks like a beautiful place.

  13. This sounds like such a beautiful time together with your man. What a charming inn.


  14. Hey, Bonnie... just taking the chance to catch up a bit and to thank you for your words of encouragement. Yep, the letter of approval is a wise thing. These folks had 20% down and pre-qual. letter... and no go. At least not yet.

    I would LOVE to visit this little treasure! AND sample all the wonderful fall recipes you have been preparing. Glad to have a moment to catch up... blessings ~ tanna


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