At the turn of the 20th century, successful Chicagoans flocked to the less crowded, southwestern side of Lake Michigan and built summer cottages along its quiet shores. The main house at Pine Garth Inn was built on a lakeside bluff by one such urban industrialist. The Victorian inn and its guesthouses, carriage house, and villa house sit on 3.5 lakefront acres, including a 200-foot stretch of private, white sand beach.
Pine Garth's innkeepers add a personal touch to the estate, placing freshly cut flowers in every guest room and baking muffins and cookies daily. The main inn comprises seven guest rooms, including Libbys Room, which rewards overnighters with stunning lake views framed by a full wall of windows and the original marble shower installed in 1905. The property also boasts five guesthouses, including Tesis Folly, a cottage with a full kitchen and a sailfish mounted above the stone fireplace.
In his 2001 book Recommended Country Inns, travel writer Bob Puhala praised Pine Garth Inn for its "breathtaking vistas" of Lake Michigan. Two hundred feet of private beachfront lie steps from the inn, along Sugar Sand Beach. The bed and breakfast's rustic sundeck, perched on a dune, offers an ideal vantage point from which to watch a sunset or measure the lunar tide.
Union Pier belongs to the enclave of southwestern Michigan communities known as Harbor Country, which hugs the coast along a 15-mile span north of the Michigan-Indiana border. Union Pier derives its name from an 1870s-era pier where cargo boats docked before shipping loads of timber and hot-dog relish across Lake Michigan to Chicago. Tourism has long since surpassed the timber trade in Harbor County's charming beach towns, such as New Buffalo, whose quaint streets are lined with antique shops and galleries. At Warren Dunes State Park, fewer than 10 miles north of the inn, hiking trails serve as cross-country ski paths in the winter.
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