The Parish House

A Victorian Bed & Breakfast with Modern Amenities
Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti Area

History

The History of the Parish House Inn

THE HOUSE

The old Queen Anne style house stood six blocks from the current location, when it served as the home for the ministers and their families of the First Congregational Church.

It had been used as the Sunday School and office space since the 1950’s, but due to the passage of the American Disabilities legislation in the 1980’s, it’s usefulness was over. The logical thing to do was tear it down and build a new building.

Because it was in the Historic District, which has strict rules in place to preserve these buildings, it had to be moved. (Ypsilanti has over 800 buildings in the Historic District)

So it was offered for sale in 1987 with the condition that it had to be moved off the property. It was purchased, by Louis Rome, a man who had the vision of turning it into a bed and breakfast.

He had purchased a vacant lot near-by and the house was moved there in September of 1987. Local architects designed the building and the renovation began. Unfortunately, life intervened, and it was not finished for five more years.

It officially opened in August of 1993, and was named the Parish House Inn to honor its past life. Their life as innkeepers was short-lived, and by November the owner had to search for another innkeeper. (My opportunity!)
Landscaping for the front and side yard was also done in 1993, and the patio constructed, adjacent to the parking area. Only dining tables and chairs were provided. Breakfast was served there occasionally for a couple of years.

In 1998, when my husband, Lance Mason and I became the owners, I totally re-designed the back patio. By surrounding the area with a lattice fence for climbing roses and clematis, it has become a private space for guests. Large pots of geraniums and herbs, add color. A table and chairs are there for guests to relax and enjoy the view.
The backyard is about thirty feet above the Huron River. At a strategic place above the river, there’s a bench where guests like to sit, watch the birds flying around the trees and the  ducks floating by.

In the breakfast area, we have a collection of photographs that show the house being moved.  It was quite a process. Our guest are always fascinated and I love to tell the story.

“Chris offered a lot of insight into the area, its history and its cultural resources.” DO, Indiana

THE INNKEEPER

In November of1993, the semester was coming to a close, and my Culinary Arts Degree would have to be finished on a part time basis. Because I needed to find a full time position, I searched the help wanted pages in the newspaper, and spotted “Innkeeper Wanted” for a local bed and breakfast. Be still my heart! This was my dream, my vision my opportunity.

My resume went out and the wait began. Finally, the call came from Louis Rome, the owner, and a meeting was arranged. After I had seen the property, I sat down and wrote a six page business plan for that place. When I presented it to the owners, it was discussed in detail and I was hired! My life as an innkeeper began when I moved in that December, 1993.

After I moved in, the real work of getting a new business going began. My background in sales, marketing and management was put to the test, as I continued with my studies and earned my degree.

My late husband, Lance Mason and I were married on the patio in late May of 1994, wearing clothing of the 1860’s….we thought it only fitting after all.

I was born in Rockford, Illinois, but for twenty-two years lived in Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana, where I learned all about Southern hospitality.

I always say “you have to be careful what you ask for” because you just might get it. After all these years, there have been many more changes, but this house and this life have been a blessing for me and my family.

That’s my story, and twenty-three years later I’m still here.  I’ve  loved every minute of it. Seeing my past guests return as friends and meeting new ones keeps me going.

Need help planning your visit?  Call Chris at 734-480-4800 or email chris@parishhouseinn.com

Online Cook Book

Chris is the author of the online cook book "7 Recipes to get You Out of bed for breakfast Everyday"