The Rooms at Grayfield, Jonesville, Michigan

Rooms at Grayfield logo.Depot in Jonesville, Michigan.

I just had a lovely belated Mother’s Day dinner with my mom, and I’m so excited by what she’s doing I had to share.

Mom and Dad run a bed and breakfast in Jonesville, Michigan, called the Rooms at Grayfield. The building is the 100+ year old Lakeshore and Michigan Southern railroad station that I grew up in – it was converted to a home in the mid-70s and the garage and most of the station converted to a B&B in 2005.

Mom cooks the gourmet breakfasts and also caters private parties. I have to brag a little about my mom…bragging and the local food connection after the jump…

Mom’s always been a great cook, but a long-time dream of hers was to study at a real cooking academy. She decided that when she retired from her job as a high school librarian, she would do just that.

Six months before retirement, she came down with a combination of health issues out of the blue that knocked her literally flat on her back for months. For a while, she thought she might have to change her plans, but no – that fall she set off to attend a six-month course at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Alone.

Now, Mom’s no rube, despite living most of her life in a town of 2000. But NYC is a pretty daunting proposition, even to someone in prime health. And at first, she was pretty daunted. The housing she had arranged through the school fell through (a blessing in disguise), but she found an efficiency apartment that she would eventually share with a friend who was doing a 6-week course. She has asked the rental agent if she would be able to cook dinner for six in the kitchen. The agent replied, “Yes, but they’ll have to come in one at a time to eat it.” 🙂

After no time at all, though, she settled into the big city routine. I’d call and ask what she’d done that day, and pretty soon, every explanation of where she was included the complicated combination of buses and subways she’d taken to get there. She walked miles every day, her health continued to improve, she carried a briefcase full of knives on the subway, she gave the young whippersnappers in her classes what-for, and oh, my, did she learn to cook. She was a very good cook before; now she is a great chef.

The B&BOne of the things that tickles my fancy is that as Mom is seeking out the best ingredients she can find (and she roams far and wide looking for them!) she often finds the best ingredients are from the small farms right near Jonesville. She has local sources for organic milk and cream, fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs. She has, on occasion, bartered fresh goat milk and cheesemaking classes for cooking classes she’s taught. She sources some prepared items, like cakes, from other local folks – mostly women, as it happens. Sometimes her demand outstrips local supply – but she delights in fresh, seasonal, regional foods, like the leg of lamb with wild leeks and asparagus she made for a party last spring.

So yes. I’m rambling on because she’s my mom, but I’d write this article about her even if I’d just found her in the phone book. 🙂 If you’re looking for a great weekend getaway in southern Michigan, or if you’re celebrating a special occasion in the area, do look them up. You’ll not only have a wonderful night’s stay in a gorgeous B&B, you’ll have amazing food – simple or fancy, and made to order – that you can feel good about.



  1. May 14, 2008 at 6:12 am

    WOW. I have bookmarked the page so that if I ever get up to that area to visit friends (something I’ve been meaning to do for a while), I’ll know where to stay. What a wonderful retirement venture for your Mom! 🙂

  2. Sue said,

    May 14, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I ran a B&B for seven years but closed because of so much local government interventions…like telling me what appliances to install and making me save egg cartons and file them according to the date used..yadda..yadda.

    It was no picnic… for me anyway.

  3. Emily said,

    May 15, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Jennifer- I hope you do drop by! It’s an amazing place and my folks do an incredible job!

    Sue – Wow, that sounds like a pain in the neck! Filing egg cartons? That’s nuts! I know Mom’s got a brand-new, certified and inspected commercial kitchen, so hopefully she’s gotten past most of the bureaucratic hoops already.

  4. farm mom said,

    May 16, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    What a lovely place! With the young ones, i will be years before Eric and I can get away on our own, but we’ll keep your parents place bookmarked. Eric is absolutelu enamoured with all things rail and train, particularly railroad history. I think he’d really enjoy your parent’s b&b. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Oldnovice said,

    May 19, 2008 at 3:10 am

    Enjoyable piece about your mom, Em. I just really learned how to cook within the last 5 years (I’m 61 now). Raised 3 kids letting the men do the cooking. Heh.

    I’ve oftentimes thought of attending something formal for instruction, but then my mind wanders on to another project until the next time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: