Reviews-Saugatuck Lodging

Lake Magazine 2004-2005

Sherwood Forest
Douglas, Michigan

At Sherwood Forest, you get the point right: away: The chalkboard has the weather report and a new idea for an adventure each day.

While sprawling verandas envelope this Victorian-style home, a classic oak staircase anchors the antique-showcase foyer of the private-home-turned-inn. On the first floor, there is a dining room that seats 10. To the right is a sitting area with music, books and local memorabilia. Off to the back of the home are the kitchen and personal quarters of the owners, Keith and Sue Charak. Before they were innkeepers, the Charaks, who have been married 15 years, lived in the Chicago area, where Keith was in carpentry and Sue worked in medical publishing. When the Charaks purchased the building 13 years ago, they finished gutting the 40-year-old building.

The Tree Tops is a spacious corner bedroom with fireplace and private bath that has a view from the treehouse painted across the walls and ceiling. “We did most of the painting, with the exception of the Tree Tops room,” Sue says. Kalamazoo artist Conrad Kaufman hand-painted the remarkable mural. In contrast, the Black and White room offers a muted monochromatic palette with accent colors. A perfect way to begin the day after emerging from the queen-size bed is a quick walk to the window for a view of the expansive woods. With private bath and Jacuzzi, this room is popular with romantics. “This is a great place to unwind and relax. Time stops here, catch a moment with your significant other,” Keith says.

Outside, Sherwood Forest also has an inground pool surrounded by a patio. The heated pool’s main allure, though, is a hand-painted Kaufman mural of a Greek shipwreck. If you prefer a Lake Michigan setting, borrow one of the Charaks’ bicycles for a 1/2-block ride to the beach. Or take off in the other direction to Douglas’s downtown area. It is good to rise early anyway for the French toast, fruit and gourmet cof-fee served on fine china each morning. Maps and agendas can be requested and conversation with the Charaks is always available.

"We’re pretty unique with time, thought and effort, and amenities,” Keith says "That’s why people return.” Sherwood Forest has about a 50% repeat business clientele. Open year-round, Sherwood Forest has 5 bed- rooms in the main house and a two-bed- room cottage next-door.