Hall Creek InnInterlochen

You know that vague territory between map-dot towns? The kind where dirt roads bend like straws and run just as narrow? Where the forest is thick, mostly unknown, and streams meander into glassy lakes that reflect only trees, sky and an unblemished shore? Imagine an inn concealed there beneath the hardwoods’ leafy canopy, and you’ve got Hall Creek B&B.

Just a short shot from the two-lanes that run among the tiny towns of Interlochen, Thompsonville and Karlin, Hall Creek is usually discovered by accident — a lucky wrong turn during a geocaching hike revealed it to us — or by word of mouth. Proprietors Richard and Sandy Janos like it that way.

Repeat guests and friends of those guests are the bulk of their business, and it’s no wonder. Each spacious, homey room offers a private screened-in porch that looks out over a verdant expanse of grass and woods. Petite Hall Creek spills across the landscape, nudging its waters across the road and into crystal clear and totally private Mud Lake, which plunges 43 feet deep and is surrounded only by trees. Not tossing in a line is almost sacrilege, but whiling away the afternoon turning lazy circles atop the B&B’s pedal pontoon is hard to resist.

So is the breakfast Sandy prepares. Coffee, chai and herbal teas, hot cocoa, strawberries dipped in chocolate, pastries, crispy bacon, and eggs and avocado slices served on toasted English muffins started our morning in the sunny kitchen. While harmless housedog, Angie, lounged in the rays, Richard shared memories of the area — his family has owned the property since 1929, back when movies were shown on the side of the Karlin general store on summer weekends.

The Janoses will happily direct you to the town’s best fish fry (the Karlin Inn, 231-263-7995), best canoe livery outfitter (their 80-year-old neighbor, Alvina, 231-276-9514) and best spots for mushroom hunting (their 200-acre woods), but if you’re tempted to steal back to bed and save the day trips for next time, that’s okay, too. Chances are good that you’ll be back.

Hall Creek is open year round. Rates start at $100 per night. 231-263-2560 or hallcreek.com.

Other stellar hideaways:

The Brothers Place
The Starboard Inn
Chateau Lorraine: Mackinac Island
The Lake Michigan Sunset Penthouse

Lynda Twardowski is travel editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
Note: This article was first published in April 2006 and was updated for the web February 2008.