Author: Jenny Simoni
Date of Trip: January 2001
We stroll up the brick walkway to the inviting porch with stately pine trees on either side. We use the round, brass door knocker to alert the innkeepers that we have arrived. Once inside we transform into Victorian ladies, all aflutter with excitement for the fun we will have. As we step into the parlour we look for the crystal decanter on the side table by the window with the huge lace curtain and find our tiny stemmed crystal cordial glass to have our toast of Sherry.
We’ve arrived at the home of Dr. Raymond – now the Raymond House Bed and Breakfast, in Port Sanilac, Michigan. Each room is a reminder of the way things were, the beauty, the elegance, the spaciousness, the comfort, the luxury of days gone by. Every piece is impeccably carved, beautifully finished, and perfectly placed. Each bed is fluffed high on its perch, like an island of clouds, skillfully adorned with fine linens, and exquisite comforters.
We begin to talk about all the things we will do and see while we’re here at the Raymond House. We might walk to the lighthouse, just around the corner, we might fish at the harbor off of the pier, we might walk to town or to the beach. We’ll hit the antique stores; we can walk to them easily. And, if we don’t want to go anywhere, we can go to the back of the house and visit the Raymond House gift and antique shop. For dinner we can go to the historical Bellaire Hotel and Lodge across the street, Mary’s Diner, or the Huron Shores Golf Club a couple miles up the road. We might walk to the restaurant at the harbor with a breathtaking view, just a short stroll away.
In the summer we swim at the local beach, and in the autumn we enjoy the beautiful colors, in winter it’s the beautiful Norman Rockwell like scenery, and in spring, the lovely flowers, and trees bursting with blossoms. The Sanilac County Museum is a step back in time, just a short walk away, and it is especially beautiful in summer, with it’s trumpet vines and gardens. The community theater barn is located right next to the museum, all just walking distance away.
We enter our room, all aglow in hues of purple and white, every detail is perfectly placed and soothing to the eyes. We freshen up and go down for high tea. The innkeepers provide the most wonderful teas and scones and biscuits. The long table is beautifully adorned with lace and china and crystal and silver and we feel the clearing of our minds as we step back in time.
There is no doubt. The Raymond House unleashes our inner Victorian selves. We can almost feel the presence of the stately men and women who’ve lived here in times past. We are their guests, enjoying all the simple pleasures of a simpler, yet bountiful life. We play an afternoon game of Parcheesi, then freshen up for dinner. We go to the Bellaire House across the street. We needn’t even get the horse and buggy. The perch is freshly caught in the blue waters of Lake Huron just a block away. We can see the azure waters as we step across the lane to the stately red brick home with huge wooden doors. The cook has been cooking fish here for over 50 years. She is almost a permanent fixture. Frozen in time, like ourselves. We have returned to the home that we love.
After our evening of dining pleasure, we return home to find the fireplace burning and the smell of muffins coming from the kitchen. The innkeepers are already getting ready for our morning feast. We look through albums of pictures and then go to our room for a night of relaxation. Our room has a wonderful bathroom with a claw foot tub. I fill it up and soak away what’s left of the city dust. I am purely baptized in the new me – Victorian lady – lady of the Raymond House. I imagine that I am a grand lady. I am filled to the brim with thoughts of grandeur.
After much fun and laughter we finally settle in to sleep. The beds are as comfy and fluffy and warm as a giant pillow. We are cradled to sleep and enjoy the quiet, peacefulness of the night. In the morning we are awakened by smells that words can’t define. Coffee, cinnamon, apples are intertwined with bacon, eggs, and sausage. I have reached utopia. It is the most inviting smell I’ve ever smelled. We quickly splash our sleepy faces, and run down the massive staircase to the glorious dining room. Our innkeepers welcome us with a hearty good morning – and the parade begins. One after another they bring the delectable wonders that are our breakfast. We eat until we could burst. A grand lady would never eat so much, but we can’t help it. It is too good to be true, but it is true. We are at the Raymond House. Where you eat, sleep, and enjoy to your heart’s content. We are content.
We dawdle the morning away then leave for the antique stores down the lane. They are quaint and filled with old world delights that fill our senses with wonderment. Another day of living in the past. How sweet it is to remember the simpler, grander times. We breathe deeply and seal in our memories forever the wonderful sights, sounds, tastes, and feelings that we have had once again at the Raymond House.