Your mansion porch awaits
“True luxury is being able to own your time – to be able to take a walk, sit on your porch, read the paper, not take the call, not be compelled by obligation.”
Summer has arrived and we hope you will be here soon, too! You see, the dog days of summer aren’t like yours back home. In Laurium, Lake Superior keeps our temps 10 to 20 degrees cooler than those stifling, sweaty days you likely will experience over the next few weeks.
At the Laurium Manor Inn, we have the perfect place to enjoy our au naturel, outdoor air conditioning. Come relax on the Inn’s 100-foot-long, tiled porch and let the sweetly-scented summer breezes waft over you. Porch-sitting may sound old-fashioned, but it is the best thing you can do. Here’s why:
Life is crazy busy. But it was no less crazy busy in 1908 when Thomas H. and Cornelia Hoatson built this mansion with its large porch overlooking Tamarack Street. Yes, it was a different kind of busy, but they had the pressures of work, family worries and government strife that we deal with too. But unlike many of us, the Hoatsons and their neighbors understood the benefits of “sitting a spell.” To be tranquil. Mindful. To connect with nature, our spirituality, family, friends, neighbors … ourselves. This porch is a place to read. To ponder. Laugh. Daydream. Share stories. Doze. Sing. Listen.
“… the good ol’ American front porch seems to stand for positivity and openness; a platform from which to welcome or wave farewell; a place where things of significance could happen.”
Make porch sitting part of your daily ritual.
Porch sitting may be a lost art, but you certainly can find it again during your stay at the Inn or our other rental houses and cottage. Each features a porch built deep so even if it rains you can be outside. And because our porches are several feet off the ground, bugs will rarely bother you either.
The ritual of porch time is very simple:
At the beginning of your day, spend at least 20 minutes sitting in a wicker chair truly enjoying your cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate … or a tray filled with your favorite breakfast foods. Breathe in the fresh air. Roll out your yoga mat, if you wish, and stretch toward the sun. Whatever adventures you have planned for your stay on the Keweenaw Peninsula … you will greet the trails, the great waters, historic stories and towns refreshed from those priceless first moments on the porch.
In the afternoon, return to the porch for an hour or more. Play a board game. Get lost in a book. Listen to the birds. Talk with our neighbors or wave at passers-by.
When evening arrives, gather on the porch to sip drinks and cocktails before heading into nearby towns for dinner. The porch is perfect for picnics, too, that you can create from the goodies you gather along the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Then, as night falls, spend an hour or more on the porch watching the stars pierce the darkness. You will sleep so much better.
-Julie and Dave Sprenger
Sleep like royalty.
This past winter, while Julie and I were recharging in Florida, we found the most amazing, antique, king-size bed. Or should I say, KING bed? This hand-carved, solid mahogany masterpiece (believe me, photographs don’t begin to show the craftsmanship) was shipped from Hawaii. Dating from the 1800s, the bed’s carvings indicate it belonged to Polynesian royalty. Now you can sleep like royals in Room #2.
The large Allouez Room is the perfect new home for this bed with its canopy towering 8-½ feet high. The carved crown on the headboard and the canopy’s guardian cherubs hold stories of a royal past. Accompanying the bed is an intricately carved, 1800s mahogany armoire and two large chairs ﹘ and still the room feels spacious. Like all of our rooms, it has a private bath.
The Allouez was originally the bedroom for the Hoatson’s two oldest daughters, Gertrude and Gussie. It has two windows. One overlooks Tamarack Street and the other our north yard. Just as the girls once did, you will appreciate the cross breeze. This is a popular room and the bed adds to its rich ambiance so please let us know soon when you would like your royal stay.
Wake up to deliciousness.
Mmmm. Betty is filling the Inn’s kitchen with the mouthwatering aroma of almond poppy seed pancakes and sausage links. Luckily for me, I will get to sample them before she brings the steaming pans to our dining room buffet. Betty has helped us delight our guests (and neighbors who are our willing taste-testers) for 20 years. She makes sure no one starts the day hungry.
Fresh is so flavorful up here.
As you walk into the dining room, you will be greeted, depending on the day, by handmade egg dishes, pancakes or French toast. On the days Betty fixes the Inn’s signature egg dishes, you might find pans of rosemary cream cheese eggs, Migas (Mexican tortilla scrambled eggs with salsa and cheese), orzo pasta eggs with fresh basil, lemon and Parmesan cheese, baked eggs with a Parmesan-herb topping or another of our specialties. We get our eggs, by the way, from a nearby farm.
On pancakes or French toast days, Betty might tempt you with the almond poppy seed or toasted pecan pancakes. There may be a regional delight, French toast made with Finnish nisu bread. (You’ll know when Betty is serving it because the cardamom aroma is so tantalizing). And my sister Cally and I developed crepecakes (a cross between a crepe and a pancake) that you can top with a cranberry-orange sauce. Yummm! On these mornings, Betty also sets out chilled hard-boiled eggs.
The buffet has pans of steaming sausage links or patties, ham or Canadian bacon. Plus there are sliced breads and English muffins with sides of jams, cream cheese and fresh butter. Our fresh-baked pastry-of-the-day disappears fast ー guava cream cheese puff pastries, rosemary pear upside-down cake, rhubarb or cranberry coffee cake, vanilla bread pudding with raspberry/dark chocolate sauce or top-it-twice pineapple/pecan/coconut coffee cake ー to name a few.
You will also find bowls of bananas, pears, plums, peaches, watermelon or apples (depending on what is in season). Plus cut-up fruit and homemade granola to custom make a yogurt parfait. In addition to the granola, there are two other cereal choices. And you can always keep your cup filled with fresh-brewed coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Deliciousness doesn’t stop with breakfast ーthere are evening treats, too!
After a day of hiking, biking or exploring the historic towns and shoreline of our gorgeous peninsula, you will be more than ready to re-energize. We will set out a plate filled with either our lavender shortbread, lemon basil or pecan fudge cookies. Or you might be biting into a pecan bar or a lemon melting moment. These tasty treats go perfectly with sharing your adventure stories on the porch or in the den by the gilded-tile fireplace.