vintage french ~~ castle in the sky

This post continues the “edge of your seat” excitement in knowing all about our mini vacay at the end of January (and if that statement rings true with any of you, dear readers, please take time–now!–to reassess your life and goals).

Before having our wonderful dinner at Zooroona’s and then enjoying the splendors of the theater, we checked into our bed and breakfast aptly named The Henderson Castle–not because it is a true blue castle like the ones that pepper Europe and other interesting areas of the world but because it is a huge, mansion type home and that is as close as we get to castles in this neck of the woods.

The Henderson Castle was built in 1895 by Frank Henderson to the tune of $72,000 (equivalent to about $2 million today), who then promptly died by 1899.  So much for enjoying his dream house.   His wife stayed in the home a few more years before she moved on.  The house was extravagantly built boasting 25 rooms and 11,000 square feet, including a ball room on the third floor.  Since Mrs. Henderson sold it, it has passed hands nine times until it fell into the capable French hands of  Francois Moyet, who is also a master chef–oooh la la pour nous!

I had gone on Priceline to find a hotel for the night of our play.  Not really necessary since we only live 30-40 minutes away but there was the threat of brutal weather for that evening and I knew I wouldn’t want to be dealing with it at 11:00 PM.  I was surprised to get a hit on a B&B on Priceline (thought they just handled hotels) but I was even more surprised by the price…under $60 for the night and, of course, this included breakfast (uh–breakfast by a French Master Chef no less).  Originally I bought just the one night but the more we talked about the things we wanted to do around Kalamazoo ( a city we lived in for years, mind you), we decided two nights would be perfect.  And it was.

We stayed in the Victorian Room which had two beds, the tiniest bathroom ever (it was even tinier than the one we had in Paris), fireplace and a huge closet.  My apologies for the photo quality…I was dealing with very low lighting.

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Chandelier in bathroom:006 008

Room with a view:

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It was fun exploring around the house admiring the architecture, different woods, marbles, inlays, chandeliers and sculptures.  Here are some of the things we saw:

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In the mornings we got to eat the BEST French Toast breakfast ever.  It was so delicious.  Brett and I have followed a plant-based diet for months now (I would confidently say we are 95% vegan/ 99% vegetarian–but we aren’t militants about it because there are some situations where we need flexibility…or starve.  At home we are 99.9% vegan) but willingly made a slight exception to our diet so we could enjoy such a wonderfully French breakfast.

A romantic thing I would have loved to have done was to take advantage of the whirlpool tub on the roof.  This house is situated on a hill overlooking  downtown Kalamazoo which  makes for some incredible views.  I wanted so badly to take some wine and my honey and sit out under the stars.  But the weather!!  It was below zero  with a ripping wind that would have snapped our exposed heads off our warmly submerged bodies in only minutes.  Not worth it.  But I did venture up there before we checked out to take photos of the view…because I am brave.   Check it out:

This skylight slides open so one can get to the roof:

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Voila!

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Haha !  Yeah, the face is saying “I am brave” the mind is screaming “I gotta get the hell off this roof before I die”.

And that is the story of staying at The Henderson Castle…a castle in the sky.

~~Heather~~

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25 thoughts on “vintage french ~~ castle in the sky

    • WE do so many fun things??? That’s cute. I would like to do more…and go farther…but we try to be happy with the simple things. : )

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  1. Wow….what a beautiful place. I love all the sculptures…especially the white marble of the woman standing on the pedestal. Love the bathroom chandelier. I need to visit this place!
    Thanks for sharing it, Heather. You always know the best places.

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    • I liked the sculptures and all the chandeliers too. If you ever do a little weekend getaway, you may just like the Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids area.

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  2. I took the Virtual Tour on your link and was thinking about all the extravagant places built during The Gilded Era. It doesn’t look very big, but is crammed full of amazing things to see. They should give you some money to have your photos added to their website. You were courageous to brave that weather, but -as you said- oh, so worth it! Beautiful views! (and as you can see from my post today, I love roof tops!) Thanks for sharing your mini-vacay (if you’re staying around your hometown they call them ‘staycations’ here in Britain).

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    • It was definitely the Gilded Era, wasn’t it? And the place was very big but very cut up so none of the rooms look overly large. We call it “staycations” here too. In fact I was going to call it that in my post but went with mini-vacay instead.

      Of course, this house was nothing in size compared to manors and castles you are probably used to seeing. 🙂

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  3. I would expect a ghost .. walking in that stair after midnight. Stunning place and so romantic, like taking a step back in time. The black table cloths – for me totally wrong – a bit too Gothic for me. Thanks for sharing.

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    • NO thank you on the ghosts! I would not stay if I heard any sort of nefarious goings on. Gothic is a good word for some of the decor in this house. Most of the house is very dark due to the types of woods used.

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  4. What a fabulous idea to take a mini-vacation nearby. The house is fabulous. Thanks for sharing the architecture and furnishings. They give such a glimpse into the opulence of that period.

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    • I really had more fun that I thought I would on our little vacation. When we did something similar a couple of years ago, we headed north to Grand Rapids and did things there we hadn’t made time for before. I think when things/places are in your back yard, it is easy to put off doing them. So taking a vacation at home can be very interesting. : )

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  5. What a beautiful building. I would have jumped at the chance to stay there. I love the interiors, especially the windows and the lovely tiling in that bathroom. It looks so atmospheric, with a lot of character and charm. The views are splendid. And you! All keen to get your kinky paws into the hot tub! Didn’t know you were more vegetarian-vegan, now. For the good of your health? Do you feel any better for it?

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    • I should have taken a picture of our bathroom. When I first walked in I thought it was just a half bath. But the shower head was in the corner and a curtain could be pulled diagonally across the space. It was tricky not to get everything wet while showering.

      Yes, we have been doing the vegan thing since last September after watching “Forks Over Knives”. I was already eating mostly vegetarian but I didn’t think I could convince Brett to go vegan. After that show was over all he said was, “OK, I am convinced.” Do we feel better? Hard to judge because we ate pretty healthily before. But I do enjoy my food and cooking more now that we are doing this.

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    • Isn’t it pretty? We need to replace the light fixture in our bedroom. I keep thinking more and more about the chandelier idea–especially now that my walls are pink!

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    • Can you believe this is only the third time I have stayed in one? I liked this one better than my last experience which included eating at the same table with all the other boarders and one giant centipede in our room.

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    • Good question…I remember checking out a couple of other bathrooms but I don’t remember the light fixtures. When I did the Marshall Home Historic tour last Fall, there was a house we went through that had the BEST bathroom with a gorgeous chandelier in it. I think I like the idea of it.

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  6. I pass that place all the time and always wondered what it looked like inside. Great interior shots. And, excuse me, but SCORE on the price!
    The roof pictures looked like you were somewhere in Europe. You must have been in heaven – except for the freezing temps.
    So glad you enjoyed yourselves.

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    • You and Pete should try it out sometime. You can also just go and take a tour of the house. I think it was $10pp. It does look European in the background, doesn’t it? Oh, how I wish.

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  7. I would find this so much fun and pretty romantic. And what a price!! Wow! You got a fabulous meal, got to tour a gorgeous mansion, a night’s lodging, beautiful scenery…. A great night away. Love that rooftop view. Maybe you can do that again when it’s warmer.

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