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Category Archives: Attractions

Step Back in Time at the Michigan History Museum

July 16th, 2021 by Corey A. Edwards

Carl the White Pine at the Michigan History MuseumHistory buffs and those looking for a fun way to spend a few hours will be happy to learn that the Michigan History Museum is scheduled to reopen August 6th, 2021!

The Michigan History Museum, like so many attractions, has been closed to the public, due to coronavirus, since spring of 2020. News of its reopening is joyful, indeed, and a real sign that things are slowly getting back to normal.

The museum is located in the Michigan Library and Historical Center building in downtown Lansing. This is just a quick drive from our Lansing area hotel, The English Inn, Restaurant & Pub.

It is easy to make a fun, full day of your visit. The Michigan State Capitol building, bustling downtown, and the Lansing River Trail are all within easy walking distance of the museum.

Exploring the Museum

The Michigan History Museum offers four levels and more than 25 permanent and changing exhibits. The topics fully explore the state’s rich history, from pre-contact up through to the late 20th century. Plan to spend at least 90 minutes at the museum, if not longer.

Museum exhibits include interactive computers, audio-visual presentations, and a variety of hands-on elements. One of the biggest surprises are the live, three-story tall trees growing INSIDE the museum on the second level. The nearby, two-story high, relief map of Michigan is also a big hit.

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Saddle Up at Sundance Riding Stables

June 20th, 2021 by Corey A. Edwards

Sundance Riding StablesLooking to get back in the saddle or just wanting to check horseback riding off your bucket list? Great idea. Sundance Riding Stables offers horseback riding for riders of all skill levels and is less than 20 minutes from The English Inn.

There’s nothing quite like a leisurely trail ride through the country on the back of a gentle, well trained horse. The fresh open air, unspoiled scenery, and the big, beautiful animal beneath you combine for an experience that is equal parts thrilling, calming, and unlike anything else.

Sundance Riding Stables offers guided trail rides and riding lessons in the Lansing area for riders of all skill levels, advanced to beginner.

Guided Trail Rides

Sundance Riding Stables Guided Trail RideSundance Riding Stables guided trial rides take you through the beautiful meadows and woods of their 200 acre spread. Trail rides last an hour, giving you plenty of time to soak up the views and experience. Watch for wildlife while you’re on the trail, you may see deer, wild turkeys, and more!

Prospective trail riders will be asked about their past riding experience to help choose the appropriate mount. Don’t worry if your answer is none. Sundance trains riders and their stable of horses includes many gentle animals perfect for the beginning rider. Guided trail rides are walk and trot only, making for a safe and easy ride.

Have a little one under 8 who wants to ride? They can’t be on a full size horse but Sundance will rent you a pony for parent led pony rides around the facility. Fun for everyone!

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Le Chat Gourmet Culinary Arts Cooking School

May 24th, 2021 by Corey A. Edwards

Le Chat Gourmet Culinary Arts cooking schoolLe Chat Gourmet Culinary Arts is a highly regarded, hands-on cooking school for adults and kids located in Eaton Rapids, MI just five minutes from The English Inn.

When it comes to truly good food, they say the real joy is in the making and the sharing. Most of us appreciate a well crafted gourmet meal but how many of us can create one?

There’s no reason for the time-honored culinary arts to remain a mystery to you if you don’t want them to. Le Chat Gourmet, a celebrated local cooking school located conveniently close to our Michigan bed and breakfast, is here to help.

A Lansing Area Cooking School

Le Chat Gourmet Culinary Arts has been offering hands-on cooking and baking classes, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients, since 2003. Classes at the school are designed for all experience levels and cover a wide range of dishes and styles. Students actively participate in the entire cooking process, from food prep to plating, and dine on the results.

Chef Denene Vincent, founder and operator, is a gourmet chef with over 25 years of international cooking experience. Chef Vincent holds master gardener and art degrees and hosted the popular Great Lakes Kitchen television show. She is a true farm to table chef, emphasizing locally grown, seasonal ingredients in her classes and dishes.

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The Turner-Dodge House – Window on the 19th Century

March 13th, 2021 by Corey A. Edwards

Turner-Dodge HouseStep back in time to the 19th century with a visit to the 1855 Turner-Dodge House, aka Dodge Mansion, a beautifully restored historic house museum in Lansing, MI.

The Turner-Dodge House has stood in Old Town Lansing for more than 160 years. It was one of the first large homes to be built in Lansing and was home to several generations of an important pioneer family.

The house gets its Turner-Dodge name from the first families to live here. Marion and James Turner built the house in 1858 after moving to Lansing from Mason. James operated a mercantile store and Marion was a school teacher. Later, James would also speculate in real estate and build a foundry.

Abby Turner, Marion and James’ daughter, married Frank Dodge in 1888. The couple bought the house after they married, enlarging and redesigning it to accommodate the expanding family. A renovation that completely changed the house’s appearance.

The Turners and Dodges were more than just wealthy white landowners. They were true pioneers who helped to develop Michigan’s capitol city. They were also progressive, supporting higher education for women, the abolition of slavery, and liquor control.

The family lived in the house until 1958, when it was sold to the Great Lakes Bible College. The city of Lansing purchased the mansion in 1974 and, after substantial renovation, opened it as a historic house museum.

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Mason Antiques Shops – Shop for Rare Treasures in Mason, MI

October 16th, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Mason antique shopsFans of antiques will be happy to know that a number of popular shops can be found nearby in Mason, MI. In fact, it would be easy to plan an entire day around Mason antiques shopping.

For antiques fans, there’s nothing quite as fun as perusing a variety of shops for unknown treasures. With most shopping, you go in with a list or idea of what it is you’re after. When it comes to antique shopping, however, most of the joy comes from discovery and surprise. You never know what you’ll find!

That’s why towns like Mason, with its concentration of antiques shops, are so appealing.

While most towns have at least one antiques shop or flea market to poke through, a collection of such shops is a good sign. Clusters of antiques shops can mean competitive prices and a wider selection. Two things shoppers of any stripe can appreciate!

This describes the Mason antiques scene well. Large shops supporting numerous independent vendors and displaying a wide range of fine antiques. Further, the town has been known for its antiques since the 70’s, so you know you’ll be looking at some serious vendors.

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Potter Park Zoo – Not Your Typical Zoo

September 6th, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Potter Park Zoo MandrillAnimal lovers and anyone looking for a fun time out will enjoy visiting Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan. Not only is it just 20 minutes from The English Inn, it’s also not your typical zoo!

Beautifully landscaped Potter Park Zoo is nestled in an old oak forest along the Red Cedar River, in the heart of Michigan’s Capital City. The 100-acre park, gardens, and zoo opened in 1920 and are home to nearly 600 animals, representing well over 160 different species.

Visitors are treated to African lions, Amur tigers, snow leopards, black rhinos, meerkats, lemurs, mandrills, and a great many others. With such a variety of residents, there is always something new and exciting to see at the zoo. More than at your average zoo, in fact.

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Visit Fenner Nature Center

August 9th, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Fenner Nature CenterFenner Nature Center is 130 plus acres of forests, fields, trails, and ponds in the heart of Lansing, MI. Visitors enjoy exploring the trails, visiting the art gallery, or just sitting back and taking it all in.

The Carl G. Fenner Nature Center has a long and storied history, stretching back to 1959. The brainchild of Carl G. Fenner, it was originally known as”Arboretum Park,” and included bison, longhorn cattle, and a replica log cabin!

The center has changed mightily over the years, updating its name and goals as our understanding of the natural world evolves. Today it serves as a public environmental education center where people can learn about nature or simply get close to it.

Best of all, Fenner Nature Center is less than a half hour’s drive from English Inn Restaurant & Pub. In fact, our seemingly remote location in Eaton Rapids puts all of Lansing’s attractions at your fingertips. Come enjoy the peace and serenity of our historic country estate without sacrificing access to the charms of Lansing.

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Fitzgerald Park and the Ledges of Grand Ledge

July 12th, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Ledges Trail in Fitzgerald Park

“Ledges Trail, Grand Ledge, Michigan” by Guettarda
is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Looking for a unique and beautiful place to get out into nature? Explore Grand Ledge’s Fitzgerald Park and discover The Ledges, an ancient and beautiful series of sandstone cliffs along the Grand River.

Folks may not realize it but Grand Ledge, MI gets its name from an actual grand ledge – or a series of them, anyway. Known as “The Ledges,” the mile long, 300 million year old, sedimentary rock outcropping rises as much as 60 feet (18 m) above the shores of the Grand River.

This unique formation is the largest outcropping of rocks in Central Michigan. Local native tribes knew the area as “Big Rocks” and came here each spring to tap the sugar maples. A spiritualist summer campground was established here in 1894 and the Ledges Playhouse Theater pavillion they built still stands.

The property became a public park in 1919 and has remained a popular Grand Ledge attraction ever since.

Grand Ledge is located northwest of Lansing, MI just a short, half hour’s drive from The English Inn in Eaton Rapids. It would be easy to make a fun day-trip out of your visit. The town is full of fun shops, good restaurants, and lovely Victorian homes.

Spend the day investigating the area, then enjoy the short drive back to our Eaton Rapids inn, restaurant, and pub!

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Explore the Trails at Harris Nature Center

May 10th, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

a frog at Harris Nature CenterLooking to get outdoors for a much needed nature break? Harris Nature Center, in Okemos, MI is just what the doctor ordered with 5 miles of nature trails along the banks of the beautiful Red Cedar River.

Harris Nature Center (HNC) is located in Okemos, MI on the banks of the Red Cedar River. All less than a half-hour’s drive from our Lansing-area restaurant, pub, and bed and breakfast, The English Inn.

The Center’s main mission is protecting and preserving the Red Cedar River ecosystem. Public access allows people to learn more about the natural world and see for themselves the stunning natural beauty that is being preserved here.

The preserve’s 48 acres are natural habitat to a broad array of animals. Visitors may see white-tail deer, red-tailed hawks, pileated woodpeckers, many kinds of turtles, snakes, frogs, salamanders, and toads.

Trails at the HNC take you through the connected forests, meadows, and along the Red Cedar River. In winter, these same trails become a popular cross-country skiing and snowshoeing destination, with equipment rentals available at the Center.

Harris Nature Center also rehabilitates wild animals for future release or permanent care, depending on their level of recovery. You can meet many of these permanent residents inside the center and even “adopt” one.

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Live the Wildlife – at Woldumar Nature Center

March 2nd, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Woldumar Nature CenterWhat better way to reawaken your senses after months of winter than a spring walk in the woods? Woldumar Nature Center, located just 15 minutes from English Inn, offers more than 180 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and wildlife to explore along the Grand River.

The English Inn Restaurant & Pub is also nestled along the Grand River, here in Eaton Rapids, MI. The historic grounds of the estate that our Eaton Rapids inn calls home includes sixteen acres of manicured gardens and walking trails that you can explore during your stay or visit.

For a more in-depth dip into the natural world, however, it’s hard to beat Woldumar Nature Center.

Trails and Wildlife

First time visitors to Woldumar should make the Visitor Center their first stop for information about the trails and center.

The grounds contain more than 180 acres of wetlands, prairie, old orchards, and forests of maple, beech, and pine. There is even a lagoon and river shoreline to explore. All of it easily accessible via the more than five miles of easy, well maintained hiking trails that meander through the property.

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