Cartier Mansion Ludington: The best places to stay in Michigan (2023)

Cartier Mansion Ludington: The best places to stay in Michigan (1)

Visit the Cartier Mansion in Ludington, MI

Cartier Mansion BB
Adresse: 409 East Ludington Ave, Ludington, MI 49431

The Cartier Mansion in Ludington is truly one of northern Michigan's historic gems.

As an elegant bed and breakfast with a rich past embedded in Michigan's rich, stodgy history, I was dying to stay here and discover what makes this place so special.

It didn't take me long to discover the magic of the neoclassical mansion just blocks from the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. From a room with a rare Beekman-designed pin shower to a bedroom upholstered in blue silk, the attention to detail in comfort is astounding.

Read on for my wonderful weekend exploring life inside and out at Ludington's Cartier Mansion. With details on these amazing accommodations and fun things to do in Ludington, I share some of the highlights of my Michigan vacation.

Cartier Mansion Ludington: The best places to stay in Michigan (2)

history of the mansion

The Cartier Mansion was built for Warren Antoine Cartier and his wife Kate and was completed in 1905. Warren was a well-known lumber baron specializing in lumber businessManistee, MichiganTocross townand beyond. This entrepreneur had many visions that would definitely have been considered out of the box for his time, he was a founding father of Ludington.

The current Cartier mansion

Fast forward to 2020 when hospitality and boutique hotel experts Chris and Jenna Simpler bought the Cartier Mansion Bed and Breakfast. They are only the fourth owners of the 117-year-old mansion. The Simplers have a passion for preserving the beautiful residence and continuing the features and charm of the Cartier family's original vision.

Cartier Mansion Ludington: The best places to stay in Michigan (3)

In the Cartier mansion

Not all media trips are created equal, but visiting the Cartier Mansion was like stepping back in time to royal timesEdwardian erawith the splendor of custom woodwork, authentic lighting fixtures and original photographs of Warren with his family and notable friends such asThomas Edison.

For a special taste, you can see Warren used the upper level as a gym for his three sons, which includes some of the original weight and boxing equipment, which is still perfectly intact.

Additionally, Warren had a great passion for photography, so he had a personal darkroom in which to develop his many photographs. Warren also had an impressive collection of cameras, some of which were on display in the main house. Hundreds of family photos are reverently displayed throughout the Cartier Mansion, many generously donated by the Cartier family.

Cartier Mansion Ludington: The best places to stay in Michigan (4)

Cartier Mansion Accommodations

At the Cartier Mansion, the Carriage House was a newly renovated project with new owners Jenna and Chris Simpler. Thomas Edison spent much time with Warren Cartier, so much so that a room in the Carriage House known as the Edison Suite was named in his honor.

This beautiful suite isADA approvedand this is where Kate Cartier would park her 1917 Detroit Electric car. In addition to the Edison Suite, there is the charming Stable Suite, which originally housed the stables for the horses and cow. There is also the spacious Hayloft 1 suite where the hay was hauled up to the upper loft for storage. Finally, in the Coach House you will find the Hayloft II Suite, which was also used as a hay store and later became a dance studio, with the original ballet barre still being a permanent feature of this beautiful converted space.

Carriage Suites

All suites at Carriage House are equipped with luxury amenities including Compfy linens, private bathrooms with Beekman 1802 toiletries, individually controlled air conditioning and an en suite bathroom. Heated bathroom floors, fireplaces, air-conditioning, mini-fridges, flat-screen smart TVs, and Keurig's come standard.

Cartier Mansion Ludington: The best places to stay in Michigan (5)

Cartier Mansion: Community Experiences

The most unique aspect of the Cartier Mansion is the motto that the new owners have set. “Stay on target; Make your mark.” Owners Jenna and Chris Simpler are following in the footsteps of original owner Warren Cartier by thinking outside the box.

Her motto is: stay, but share within the community. Jenna and Chris have a passion for building on a guest's experience by giving back to the community.

Ludington Lighthouses

Guests have the choice to stay at the Cartier Mansion and choose to have a planned experience. One possibility is to work with the SPLKA (Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association) and thelighthouseAssociation, which may include cleaning or painting the lighthouse or other odd jobs to maintain the property.

Lakeshore Food Club

A second planned experience is volunteering at the Lakeshore Food Club, an incredible organization that creates a respectful atmosphere to provide a dignified shopping experience for low-income families. Volunteering can include stocking shelves, wrapping groceries, or helping customers. The Habitat For Humanity RESTORE is another place to partner with the Cartier Mansion experience. Time for this planned purpose could be sorting donations or assisting with outdoor construction projects.

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Mason County Mutts: Dog Friendly Ludington

Finally, another stay-at-home is partnering with Mason County Mutts, where guests can give back to support their canine program called Wagaway. Guests are encouraged to bring their cute canines during their stay for an additional fee of $50.00. The special guest pup receives a dog blanket, a favorite chew toy, and their own personal food and water bowl. The additional $50.00 room fee will be donated in full to the Mason County Mutts Organization to help continue the care of Mason County's dogs.

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Where to eat and drink in Ludington MI

With so much to see and enjoy at the Cartier Mansion B and B in Ludington, it's hard to think about leaving the Inn. However,Ludington, MIhas so many amazing sights, shops and restaurants to explore. After a refreshing cocktail hour at the mansion with Jenn, the owner, and a few inn guests, I took a short walk to downtown James St. where there were many restaurants.

Ludington Breweries

There's the Blu Moon, which offers al fresco dining and a terrace on the upper deck for great harbor views. Walk up one block and there it isJamesport Brewery, a beautiful historic building with incredible beers like the Peach Belgian or the Michigan Hazy IPA. The Jamesport Brewery also features a huge dining patio where you can watch the Ludington Badger Ferry arrive as it returns from its voyage to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Having received several recommendations from localscraft breweries, I have decidedLudington Bay Brewery. The restaurant staff was very friendly with brewery and menu suggestions. I started with a frosty pint of a brew called Tangelo Dream, an American pale ale infused with natural Tangelo flavors.

Where to eat in Ludington MI

As much as I love pizza, I was planning on branching out until it was actually suggested by the friendly manager, Mandy.Ludington Bay Brewing known for its pizzas, particularly one called Kind of a Big Dill, which is made with garlic oil, grilled chicken breasts, pizza cheese, finished with dill pickles and ranch dressing. The pizza wasn't disappointing.

In fact, it was probably the best pizza ever. It was crispy thin with gooey cheese and tanginess from the dill pickles. I also enjoyed the pulled pork tacos braised in their very own James St. Brown Ale Beer, with cilantro, pickled onions, fresh guacamole and queso fresco.

After a very satisfying dinner, I was strolling along Ludington Marina when I heard the boat horn signaling the safe return of the S.S. Badger signaled, returning to Ludington Harbor from her daily trip to Manitowoc, Wisconsin. It's always a sensational spot with its massive chimneys and grandeur in front of the blue waterLake Michigan. Snapping a few pictures of the massive ship was a coveted photo opportunity.

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Ludington's House of Flavors

A trip to Ludington would not be complete without a treat from the unique House of Flavours. This has been a long-standing family tradition since I was a little girl visiting my grandparents who lived in Scottville, MI.

Operating since 1948, House of Flavors is Michigan's largest ice cream manufacturer and offers 40 different flavorsice cream daily.The ice cream is actually made on site with an attached ice cream factory. The House of Flavors' delightful restaurant has a fun 1950's themed atmosphere and serves family meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But they're best known for their freshly made waffle cones, Carmelot Sundae, and the Super Pig's Dinner, which consists of seven scoops of ice cream, a banana, toppings, and an official "pig pin" if you can finish it.

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Things to do in Ludington MI

One of my favorite things to do in Ludington is a two-mile hike to the Big Sable Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built in 1867 and is open for public tours in the summer. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Big Sable is part of Ludington State Park, which is filled with hiking, biking, and beautiful nature trails.

On thishiking trails,Expect to see plenty of wildlife, rivers and views of Hamlin Lake. If you're looking for the perfect spot to watch the sunset, look no further than the Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse in Stearns Park Beach. A bonus is seeing two lighthouses in Ludington, MI.

PRO TIP: For more things to do, check out ourGuide to the best things to do in Ludington.

Cartier Mansion Ludington: The best places to stay in Michigan (10)

In der Cartier-Villa in Ludington MI

Walking back to the Cartier Mansion, I found a warm campfire lit in the backyard, suitable for all of the inn's guests. So I poured myself a warm glass of Pinot Noir and joined a friendly "neighbor" by the blazing fire.

The warmth of the fire and wine made me feel ready to snuggle into my cozy stable room with hot shower, cozy robe and relaxing fireplace.

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Delicious breakfast at the Cartier Mansion

Waking up in the morning was like waking up in the early 1900s, with a contemporary flair for the modern era. A home-cooked breakfast is an added bonus amenity at the Cartier. The owners Jenna and her husband Chris were kind enough to let me peek into their kitchen to see their sophisticated cooking skills in action firsthand.

All the food is prepared by Chris with the help of his very talented assistant Liz. They form a perfect team, along with Jenna, who prepares for guests by precisely setting the tables with fine dishes, arranging fresh flowers, printing the daily menu, brewing coffee and pouring a selection of juices.

For breakfast this morning, Chef Chris prepared a sweet lemon crepe with freshly whipped custard, while Liz created savory crepes. While the other guests gathered in the dining room, they all enjoyed coffee, juice and a personalized menu filled with fun facts about the Cartier Mansion and Ludington. The breakfast menu for the day started with a quick sip of coconut and carrot karma. Next up was a spectacular dish of baked oatmeal and banana fosterers that was more of a dessert than a breakfast.

After the decadent oatmeal came savory crepes topped with melted brie and wilted spinach, and a homemade sausage pie with 22 different spices. The breakfast was perfectly coordinatedfresh, hot coffeepoured into their signature Cartier Mansion coffee mugs.

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Perfect stay at Cartier Mansion

A stay inCartier Mansion Bed and Breakfastis an amazing experience. It transports you back to the early 1900s while enjoying the luxurious comfort of a modern boutique hotel. Owners Jenna and Chris Simpler continue the legacy of the Cartier family name with their innovative motto "Stay On Purpose"; Make your mark.

Click HERE to book your stay at the Cartier Mansion

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About the author-

Lisa Baird is a high school teacher at Grand Rapids Public Schools with a master's degree in reading/language arts from GVSU; and travel writer/photographer. She likes to read books (teacher nerd) and describes herself as a hobby wine connoisseur. Lisa is the owner ofMemories captured by Lisa Baird, a photography company focused on family shots, newborns, pictures of seniors, family portraits, weddings and more. She also owns and operates Capturing Michigan. Lisa's work is featured in Michigan Blue Magazine, Leelanau Enterprise, Glen Arbor Sun, and the Traverse City Record-Eagle, among others

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