Author: Donna Kumpula
Date of Trip: September 2005
We stopped at the Milltown Inn on M-69 in Foster City, Michigan – and it was like dialing back time to the 1970s. Nestled in the rolling hills of Foster City – surrounded by gentile whitetails voracious wolves, howling coyotes and the occasional moose.. Don’t think you will lounge around watching TV, because this bed and breakfast only has a handful of VCR movies because the town is so remote that the nearest TV signals can not reach this two-story home and cable has yet to come to this tiny hamlet. Rather, you can lounge in the hot tub that’s in both of this bed and breakfast’s two rooms – one in fisherman’s decor and the other a decidedly feminine touch. Comfortable beds made up with linens you’d swear where washed by your grandmother. It’s easy to think you’ve drifted back to the 1970s – or earlier as you escape from all of today’s bad news. And the food is unbelievable. The tiny restaurant is a favorite on many locals because of it’s big portions, low prices and home-cooked meals. They specialize in hearty breakfasts from an omelette with your choice of ingredients to Swedish Pancakes – a thinner larger version of the usual pancake.
I recommend you drive to one of the nearby hilltops to watch the sunset or the frosty morning sunrise – truly a Rockwellian view of the world. You will leave Foster City thinking you’d slipped into an alternate reality – but soon radio signals become strong and you realize the real world awaits. Not a run of the mill town or Inn, the Milltown Inn is a reminder of the past – right down the turn-of-the-century school photos on the restaurant walls and pictures of an era when mighty workhorses pulled train cars loaded with hundreds of trees. In fact, Foster City traces its roots to the brawny hands of Swan Peterson – who not only managed the Morgan Lumber Company but single handedly outlawed alcohol – so his lumberjacks did not show up to work pickled. That booze ban lives on today – but there are bars on both sides of the city limits. Dozens of cousins used to play in the huge backyard in the 1970s,where one of Swan’s children always had treats and lemonade for the Peterson offspring (Swan had 12 children – who all had large families and whose children’s children are still around this great town. The Milltown Inn was once the home of spinster Ellen Halderson, who lived to her 90s – but was alone for a half century after the tragic death of her young husband while working under a car in the front where the paved driveway now sits. One of patriarch Peterson’s daughters, the tough yet tender grandmother loved caring for the summer youngsters who played in her yard – mostly cousins that could be traced back to Swan. Often the smell of fresh warm cookies filled Ms. Halderson’s home, and its that aroma that best describes this hideaway bed and breakfast nestled in a two-church town whose pews are full every Sunday.