A few years ago, I tore out an article from Style at Home magazine about a charming little Inn all decorated for the holidays. On the shores of Lake Huron, it was the perfect place for a getaway - not too far of a drive, but also somewhere new to explore.
When I was deciding on something special to do to celebrate my sister's 30th birthday, I knew this would be a just the place for us to spend the night away.
We'd take our time driving, enjoying some of the quaint towns along the way. Once there, we'd go for dinner, spend the evening chatting by the fire with a glass of wine, and then in the morning, enjoy breakfast before making our way home a different way.
The Little Inn of Bayfield, built in 1847, is located in the small town of Bayfield, Ontario, on the eastern shore of Lake Huron. While the town is a famous destination for cottagers, a dusting of snow in early November suits it perfectly.
After being owned by the same owners for over 30 years, in 2015 it came under new ownership. The current owners extensively renovated the inn, updating the rooms and common areas. The result is an inn that's calm and simply neutral, yet attentive to detail, without loosing any of the character that makes this a historic landmark in town.
The green accents are the perfect compliment to the yellow bricks, characteristic to this area.
Guests can enjoy dinner fireside in the restaurant, The Willow Room, or a cocktail at the bar, The Four in Hand Taproom, before retiring to one of the rooms.
The town of Bayfield is small, but beautiful, and just a short walk to the water.
For me, the attention to details is what makes the whole experience so special. The key tags you receive upon check in are engraved and in the dining room, the menus are embossed and breakfast arrives on china with the inn's name on it, as well as their signature carriage.
Then there's the decor. This suite was so well suited to my taste, and it made the whole stay even more special. It was bright and simple with just enough character in the ticking accents and muted rugs. The large ship on top of the pine chest of drawers, framed botanical prints and antique bag were the perfect statement pieces. And while the decor might have been perfectly simple, it didn't compromise luxury. The large armchairs by the fireplace, the king size bed with crisp white linens, the deep soaking tub and roomy shower with it's rain head fixture all made our stay so wonderful.
I just loved the choice of furnishings.
I had shown a peak in my stories of the gift basket I was making for her. I added all the things I could think of to make the evening perfect - some snacks for with good tea and a bottle of wine, some bath salts and Beauty Counter face treatments, as well as a Eucalyptus wreath for the tub, and a small bouquet of flowers.
The shower of my dreams.
The suite even had a small screened porch overlooking a private little courtyard area. Of course, it was freezing, but in the summer time, it would have made the suite all the more perfect for relaxing.
This is The Willow Room. In the article, the owner, Joanne Oliver, says this about the blue chosen for the trim and wainscoting, "That hue was taken from a scrap of old hand-painted wallpaper we found under about seven other layers we stripped off.” I just love that nod to the inn's past.
The Four in Hand Taproom is in the back, intimate and the perfect size for a small inn.
The dining room, with it's grand arched windows and view of the main street. was the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast the next morning.
The inn's bespoke china was the perfect detail for a historic inn and was reminiscent of that which you'd find while travelling on a long journey by rail, or in a grand hotel.
The town itself had a few spots to dine, some shops (mostly clothing), a cafe, a charming book shop, and some very lovely old homes.
We had an early dinner at the Black Dog Pub & Bistro. We arrived to an empty pub, but by the time we were sharing a piece of Guinness chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting for her birthday, it seemed the sleepy town had come alive, and the pub was filling quickly.
I had the smash burger, which was probably 6" high, but the vegetarian curry and the curry pot pie were also delicious!
On our way home, we slowly made our way through the little towns along the back roads, stopping when we saw a shop or cafe we wanted to peek inside (like this floral shop - The Little Shed). The snow just made everything look that much more perfect.
We found this lovely cafe, Edison's, in Stratford, which isn't far from Bayfield. They made an excellent cappuccino and did a great job putting together a small, well-branded cafe.
We also enjoyed browsing Bradshaws in Stratford, which had a really great kitchen shop in the back full of copper pots and dutch ovens and gourmet pantry items.
And as usual, we were sure to try all the recommended treats - like the amazing peanut butter caramels!
I would love to return again for a stay at the inn in the summer time. If you're interested in seeing the original article I tore out and saved, as published in Style at Home Magazine, you can find it here. It looks especially lovely all decorated for Christmas!