A Jonesville bed and breakfast holds a history even richer than its vanilla malted waffles. In addition to providing comfortable lodging to Hillsdale parents and those in search of a local getaway, the award-winning Munro House once harbored runaway slaves in the Underground Railroad.
Lori Venturini, the innkeeper of Munro House, said she and her late husband, Chris, bought the inn from its previous owners in 1999.
“We were going to Italy so we were looking for a bed and breakfast room, and a pop-up window came up that said ‘Inns for Sale.’ So we decided to see what’s available and we found the Munro House,” she said. “We bought it right away.”
After returning from Italy, the Venturinis quit their jobs to run the inn full time.
“We call it throwing in the corporate towel because we wanted to get away from working for someone else,” Venturini said.
Munro House has five guest rooms, in addition to a secret room upstairs, which was used to hide runaway slaves for more than 15 years before the Civil War. The house was a station along the Underground Railroad and hid hundreds of runaways on their way to Canada, the Munro House’s website said.
The inn was named after the Munro family, who lived in the house until they were evicted in 1945 for not paying taxes.
The Munro House offers weekend getaway packages, weekday corporate rates for business travelers, and lodging for parents, visitors, and alumni of Hillsdale College, according to the website. Munro house has won the National Bed & Breakfast Award and the Best Near a College or University Award, and it was included in the Arrington’s Inn Traveler Book of Lists.
Complimentary breakfast at the inn comes with the guest’s choice of eggs, waffles, french toast, pancakes, eggs benedict, bacon, and toast.
In 1992, the previous owner turned the inn into a haunted house to raise extra money, Venturini said.
“She made the front pages of the Toledo Blade and the Detroit Free Press because she could control the lights from the third floor,” Venturini said.
Venturini said many guests return multiple times to stay at the inn.
“Bed and breakfasts should be working for repeat business,” she said. “You have to find new business and you also have to work for repeat business. On the weekends, we have casual travelers come here and at least one of them has usually stayed here before.”
Venturini said the nice rooms and homestyle breakfast make Munro House “the most comfortable lodging in Hillsdale County.”
“I am excited to learn about a bed and breakfast with such an interesting history close to the college,” Hillsdale parent Missy Beall said. “We will think about staying in one of their rooms next parents’ weekend.”