The Hillside Homestead

Suttons Bay, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan
06.26.2013 | by: Meghan

HOORAY! I’m currently on a luxuriously long vacation “Up North”—as Detroiters affectionately call this area of Northern Michigan—with my two boys before the arrival of number three. We’re (fairly successfully) trying to shoehorn an entire summer of hiking, lake swimming, dune climbing, frog catching, pier jumping, sandcastle building, berry picking, stone skipping and ice cream licking into three weeks. And four hours north of Detroit, it’s the perfect place to try. Shimmering blue waters compete with any ocean I’ve ever seen, and country roads crisscross patchwork farmland and wind through orchards with peek-a-boo views of Lake Michigan from the tops of rolling hills. It’s ridiculously idyllic.

While here, the story I wrote about the Leelanau Peninsula came out in the July/August issue of Martha Stewart Living (a little online slideshow, not as detailed as the print version). Randy Harris is responsible for the beautiful photographs, and the magazine’s redesign looks fantastic. I overheard someone talking about the story in the checkout line at the grocery, and my face flushed.

One of my favorite places included in the piece (however briefly, in the sidebar) is the new Hillside Homestead—a farm stay b&b owned and delightfully operated by chef-turned-homesteader Susan Odom, who got the idea and honed her skills at the Firestone Farm at Greenfield Village just outside Detroit. Here, at her restored Victorian, she adds a layer of good old-fashioned historic hospitality to the local food movement, inviting guests to experience locally-sourced, home-cooked period meals around a big farmhouse table. Every last detail is straight out of the early 1900s, including the old-fashioned flowered dress and apron Susan dons for dinner, yet none of it feels hokey or overdone. From the antique wood burning stove and dry sink to the honey butter and apple jelly she makes herself, it’s all perfectly charming. When we stopped by, she was whipping up apple pie and fried chicken using homespun leaf lard, which I’ve never even heard of–apparently, all the rage in turn-of-the-century farm kitchens. Guest rooms are equally attended to, and outside, visit the pigs, chickens and an irresistible wooden tree swing, before settling down on the front porch for pastoral sunset views. Below, a few photos that do not quite do the place justice, plus a few other places to stay from the designtripper archives if you visit the Leelanau Peninsula.

Hillside Homestead

Other overnight options: this modern farmhouse rehab, Wyndenrock, and Jolli Lodge. I’ll have one more place to add to the list in a week or two.



8 Comments on “The Hillside Homestead”

  1. Oh how i hope we can visit the leelanau peninsula one day! looks dreamy.. and congrats on baby number 3 coming up!


  2. Vanessa: yes, come to Michigan! Would love to meet you. Plus, you need to reassure me I’ll still be able to travel with THREE kiddos. (no plans of slowing down, but still…)


  3. Congrats on your piece in Martha Stewart Living! I just read that yesterday! We go up to Northern Michigan every year and are obsessed. I’ve had Susan’s cherry pie and it was to-die-for!



  4. Meghan!!! Thanks for writing this! I loved your article in martha’s mag. I am grateful to be included in it. and this blog post is just frosting on top! Hey if you are in the neighborhood you should stop by! send me a message…susan at hillside homestead dot com! and happy Independence Day!


  5. Nothing beats hanging out with the kids. Enjoy this time, soon they won’t want to be seen with ya. Not many places provide for what I found to be very affordable summer fun. Great photos as well


  6. Great blog post and article in the magazine! I’ve heard Michigan is a great place to visit and it sure looks like it!


  7. Thanks, everyone.

    Susan: I’m sorry I missed you. We’ll be back!


  8. […] has become a hugely important, soul-enriching part of our lives since moving to Detroit (see here, here, and here) — has been a torturously long and drawn-out process spanning several years and […]


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