Helen Perez’s day begins at 5:30 a.m. After an hour-long bike ride around Elk Rapids, she comes home and heads straight for the kitchen. Within minutes, the sweet aroma of pancakes and stuffed French toast travels through her classic, colonial-style home, beckoning her roommates. However, despite one home-cooked meal a day and someone to pick up after them, Perez’s roommates rarely stay more than a week. But that’s just the way it works at Cairn House Bed and Breakfast.

Elk Rapids’ only bed and breakfast is nestled just outside the village’s quaint downtown, secluded on one-and-a-half acres directly across the street from Elk Lake. Less than a 10-minute drive from River Street and about three miles from Torch Lake, Cairn House is the perfect place for anyone—couples and families—looking for a more personal lodging experience.

“B&Bs are more comfortable than hotels,” Perez said. “It’s a great way to get to know other people. It’s more intimate.”

However, this B&B is just the right amount of intimate, as all five of Cairn House’s bedrooms have private bathrooms for guests to use.

In addition to having access to the entire house, Perez offers her temporary roommates a little something extra to ensure their stay is a pleasurable one. Brochures for activities in Elk Rapids and beyond as well as maps of Northern Michigan, line the kitchen walls. Her 11 years in Elk Rapids make her an area expert.

And after a busy day of cleaning and yard upkeep, Perez heads back to the kitchen to start on tomorrow’s breakfast. Eggs perhaps.

Book It

Rates at the Cairn House start at $99. Warning: Perez’s B&B, open from May through October, books up fast during the summer months, so be sure to call in advance to reserve a room. All ages are welcome.

Find Cairn House at 8160 Cairn Highway in Elk Rapids. 231-264-8994, cairnhouse.com.

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Photo(s) by Stephanie Goldberg