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A getaway At Willow Pond will leave you feeling relaxed and rested, pampered and refreshed. The well appointed guest rooms, sumptuous country breakfasts, and the beautiful grounds will tell you to leave it all behind. Nestled on 25 wildlife-filled acres, you can get away while keeping connected with wireless internet and satellite TV. For the comfort of all of our guests, At Willow Pond is a nonsmoking property.
The owners of At Willow Pond, Jerome and Claire Vandenburg, welcome you to their home and newfound passion. The Vandenburgs first had the idea of running their own Bed & Breakfast while on their honeymoon in 2000. Their various stays and conversations with innkeepers introduced to them the idea of sharing their home with others, as they greatly enjoyed the B & B experience.
Jerome has played the guitar since his teens, been a pilot since his twenties, and raises horses on the property. He has a colorful history as a business owner, from running a home-based auto body shop to his many years as manager and flight instructor at the Greenville airport. He spent a few years in the Bahamas working in construction before coming back to Michigan to build and maintain the home he and his wife Claire currently enjoy. Jerome's interests in music, airplanes, and horses are a theme in the common areas of the inn, and he is responsible for keeping the grounds and caring for the animals on the property. A favorite quote of his comes from Will Rogers, "There is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse"
Claire's passion for teaching has taken her from educating children to her current career of teaching children's literature to teacher education students. The balance in Claire's life from the busy schedule of teaching while continuing to pursue her own higher education has been the design and maintenance of the landscaping on the Vandenburg property.
The more time and care she put into developing her home's atmosphere, the more she desired to share the fruits of her labor. Claire is able to keep teaching part time, and with the B & B can legitimately spend time in the large vegetable garden and many flower gardens. You will see her interests reflected in the landscaping, and in the large children's literature collection in her office. Claire will be the one creating the delicious breakfasts, cookies, and other goodies for guests to enjoy.
Jerome and Claire both enjoy good conversation and meeting interesting people, and look forward to the new chapter of their story that your stay may bring. They're confident that once you stay At Willow Pond, you're sure to want to come back.
There's plenty to do at Willow Pond...
Drift around the pond on the paddle boat, lie in one of the hammocks with a good book, or sit on the porch swing sipping ice tea and nibbling on fresh cookies. Feeling more energetic? Explore the 25 acre property on foot or cross country skis (weather dependent), play croquet, horse shoes or badminton, or go fishing in the pond. You could also bike on nearby 7000 acres of state land, borrowing your host's bikes if you like, exploring the country roads. Go for a swim in the pond when you get back, or just bask in the sun on the beach area. Horseback riding is available, for a fee. At night, you can build a fire on the beach and roast marshmallows. Look for constellations--its dark enough to see a million stars.
An abundance of wildlife enjoys the woods and wetlands At Willow Pond. White tail deer regularly cross the property, coming to drink at the pond, eat off the apple trees and steal grass from the horse pastures. We enjoy dozens of species of birds, but take special delight in watching the hummingbirds that come to drink from the feeders hanging off the front and back porches, as well as sip from the abundant flower gardens. It's the sand hill cranes that herald spring though, mating back in the wetlands, as well the calls of the red winged blackbirds. Mourning doves coo first thing in the morning, and owls hoot in the evenings. The purple martins can be found skimming the pond for bugs in the evenings and great blue herons stalk the edges for frogs. We've even seen a fox on the property, along with the numerous rabbits and raccoons.
The towns of Greenville, Ionia, Sheridan and Stanton offer a variety of restaurants, shops, golf courses, bike trails, theaters, summer fairs and festivals.
How To Find Us
At about an hour away from either Grand Rapids or Lansing, it doesn't take long to get away.