Wayfarer History

Christine requested some more pictures of the Wayfarer and also some history and stories.  Since we’re not busy yet, there won’t be too many current stories for a while, but what I can do is talk about things past.  What I know is what 2 former owners have told me.   So, if any locals are reading this and know something better than I do, please let me know!
Bear with me, I am not very good at recounting history that I don’t have first hand knowledge of.  All of what I am going to tell you is hear-say, ok? OK!

The big house was built by a bachelor by the name of Burtker. I want to say his name was Roscoe, but I am not sure.  A year or so ago we renovated one of the rooms upstairs and there, between two ceilings, the contractor found 9  letters written in 1916, that he had received from all over the place. Mostly from women.  I can’t find the letters right now.  But when I do, I’ll scan them and let you see.  Let’s just say, this gentleman was quite the ladies man 8)

So Mr. Burtker built our house  in 1914. It was the most expensive house built in Benzie County at the time.  A whopping $ 4300.00.  I suppose I could go down to the county and find out if that is true.  I’d rather not find out it isn’t – I like the price and wish it was what they wanted from us at the time of purchase, heh!

There is another house that belongs into the mix and that’s the one next door and of course the land behind ours.  Walter Emig, who owned this property and named it “Wayfarer” in the 1980’s, told us that this was a potatoe farm and that the two houses belonged to the same family.

When you drive up, this is what greets you

Before Walter and his wife Andre’ owned it, the Motel belonged to a family with 7 kids – the Pattyns;  they gave it the name Pattyn’s Place Motel. Those kids grew up making beds, washing laundry, hanging it out back to dry, mowing the lawns and what ever else there was to do.  Wow, I wish my kids were that industrious.  I am still in touch, via facebook, with one of the Pattyn boys. His name is Jim and he is all grown up and lives in Arizona.
From the 1920’s until the 1970’s the business was known as Benson’s Cabins.   Oh, and another interesting fact is….wait for it….it is the oldest continuous business in Benzie County – tadaaaa.  The phone number has never changed either.  I know because we had someone call here not too long ago who was still holding on to an old phonebook from the 50’s which listed Benson’s Cabins as 616. 352.9264.  The pre-fix has been changed since we got here to 231, but that’s the only change.

Where we liveWhere we live.  My 3 guys are painting the eves

Cocktails at the Wayfarer

Cocktails at the Wayfarer.  To some this guest is known as ‘Doughnut’

a view from the front lawn

View from the front lawn

Turkeys on the front lawnTurkeys on the front lawn

a window boxa window box

Wolfgang Puck logo, which I keep forgetting to add to my website.Wolfgang Puck logo, which I keep forgetting to add to my website.

Alright, that’s it for today. I will add to it as I remember more things. I hope you all enjoy reading about Wayfarer Lodgings 🙂

16 thoughts on “Wayfarer History

  1. Christine Tilley

    Perfect!! Thank you, thank you!

  2. Christine Tilley

    Good to know that you take requests. Ha. How about that Doughnut looking right at home on the lawn. Hospitality must be top notch!

    • Requests? You bet. I am running out of things to report. I don’t want this to be a “forced” thing where it is painful to read it, ya know what I mean?

      I’ll take requests any day.

      I can’t wait for Doughnut and HB to get here. 2 more weeks and then…
      re. Hospitality – what’s the point of being in the business of serving people, if you don’t enjoy it. But watch out, there are some guests that make good and grumpy stories 😉

  3. Janice, shweetlips – I am totally thrilled that you took time from your chores to visit with me.
    I think you’ll be making new memories in no time in that wonderful new home of yours. Time to let another young couple raise their family in the old house and for you to have a new kind of fun.
    Congratulations again on your incredible find 😉

    Watch for more pictures of Doughnut here shortly

  4. Iris,
    I love reading your blog! I’m so glad I found it! You tell an excellent story and your life is very interesting!!

    (I love the picture of Doughnut!)

  5. Actually there are 8 children in my family. I am the youngest. Very interesting about those letters. We remodelled so much in that house that I am surprised we did not run across those letters. I was told that the house belonged to a ship captian. Supposedly he built the house for his wife. Is that not a true story? I don’t recall where I heard that from. I cannot remember the last name of the previous owner to us but I will check with my parents. I am sure they will remember.

    Many of my nephews and nieces remember that place very fondly. It was a great place to grow up and vacation.

  6. I just spoke with my mother. She said the people that owned it before us was Robert Harold. He and his wife moved to Hendersonville, N.C. They, we believe, purchase the motel from the Benson Family. He worked on the Car Ferries. They built the cabins for the passengers of the boats. That is about all she could remember.

  7. I will say this is the second time I have come across your site and I am diggin it! I added your blog to my rss reader. Cant wait to see more blog posts!

  8. Hi Iris, when do you open for business? I have 4 women who are interested in biking long distance and probable the Betstie Trail, and would like to double up, seperate beds for one 0r two nights. I would be one of the women and can you tell me when your awesome cabins are open? Pam

  9. The place you live looks so beautiful. Being an innkeeper at such a property sounds like a wonderful job!

    • It is fun. 75% of our guests return regularly which makes it more like an extended family. I remember their preferences and can make them so much more comfortable and they feel as appreciated as they should be.
      Thank you for reading 🙂

  10. Hi Iris, I found you today and pinned you on Pinterest, I wold liker to add you to our Facebook page if you have a Facebook business page please let me know. Michelle at http://www.networktraversecity.com

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