Hillside Homestead Farm Stay in Northern Michigan
Have you ever wondered what it must have REALLY been like to live in the early 1900’s?
Nestled in the middle of apple orchards in Suttons Bay is a place that allows you to transport your family out of the busyness and the technology-enhanced lives we’ve grown so accustomed to.
Suttons Bay itself is a quaint resort town located along the famous M-22 up near Traverse City: just 5 miles past the town is Hillside Homestead, a historic farmstay experience.
It’s here that you’ll feel you are more than 2 ½ hours from Grand Rapids as you enter into a different era.
You are Part of Farm Life
Owner Susan Odom is a part of what makes this experience unique. She’s made it her lifework to bring the history of the turn of the century to her guests, including using period appropriate décor throughout the whole house. From the furniture, clothing and wallpaper to the oil lamps and phonograph, this homestead is nothing but authentic.
A home-cooked breakfast is included with each morning of your stay. Some of the tasty meal is comprised of eggs that were collected the night before served alongside bacon that has been salt cured from last season’s raised pigs. These meals are as straight from the farm as Susan can make them.
Our girls had a blast going to the chicken coop each night to count and collect the eggs for breakfast the next morning.
Kids Learn on the Farm
Susan gets other ingredients from local farms and invites her guests to learn to prepare the meal as if they were living in 1910.
Our girls were able to watch her work at the wood stove and got to hand mix the cream to make whipped cream for the fresh strawberries that were delivered. They were also fascinated by the icebox in the farmhouse kitchen and by discovering that people used a large chunk of ice at one point to keep their food refrigerated!
As a part of your stay, you can have a dinner included. We did this for one of the nights we were there and the girls loved going up to the garden to cut the vegetables for the salad. Being involved gave them insight to how fortunate they are today.
Literal Farm to Table Meals
When serving, Susan is dressed in clothing from the early 1900’s and has many outfits for her guests to wear as well if you would like to. She even has clothing for children to wear!
The weather was so beautiful during our stay that we moved the smaller dining table outside and ate all of our meals on the front lawn.
One highlight for our girls was helping with the farm chores. They couldn’t wait to collect the eggs, feed and water the pigs, and feed the chickens!
First thing each morning the girls ran to find Miss Susan to get food for the chickens. The highlight for me was sitting on the porch swing while my children enjoyed their chores.
For my husband and I, the largest bonus was not only the experience the girls got, but the fact that they were able to be such an integrated part of it.
Susan has a lot of antique items in her home, obviously, and though the girls were very careful and respectful, it was her wish for them to experience things in the home. As a parent, I appreciated this place that fostered my children’s curiosity WHILE teaching them valuable lessons.
Where to Find Hillside Homestead
The farmhouse is not far from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, so we traveled over there for a day as well. Susan gave us great directions and a little history lesson of the area, so along our trip we saw other older (non-working) farmhouses as well.
We went to the beach in Glen Haven, a lumbering village that’s been restored to show what it was like in 1900. Aside from swimming in beautiful Lake Michigan, we also visited the General Store, the Blacksmith (with demonstrations in the summer) and the Cannery Boathouse, a museum of boats once used on Lake Michigan.
If you are looking for something authentic, unique, and extremely relaxing, Hillside Homestead is it.
(And in case you’re nervous about completely going back in time, Susan offers modern day plumbing, electricity, A/C, and Wi-Fi. Whew!)