For great food in a beautiful and historic former stage coach stop, take a drive to the White Horse Inn; the oldest restaurant in Michigan.
White Horse Inn Adventure
On our never-ending quest to find the gems scattered around our great state, we decided to take a ride up to the thumb area to see the Sanilac Petroglyphs. It was a late fall weekend and we figured a drive to Cass City would be nice. The drive took us through the heart of Michigan farm country. Unfortunately, we failed to do a bit of homework before the trip. It turns out that the petroglyph exhibit closes on Labor Day. We took a nice walk in the woods, but were shut out of seeing the petroglyphs.
History of the White Horse Inn
Having worked up a bit of an appetite, we headed over to Metamora to visit the White Horse Inn. The town of Metamora is about 26 miles east of Flint and about 50 miles north of Detroit. It is an attractive small town with one of the primary attraction’s being the White Horse Inn.
The inn was built in 1848. It was known as the Hoard House after it was bought by Lorenzo Hoard in 1850. The inn at first welcomed stagecoach travelers and later train passengers on the Michigan Central railroad. In addition to a destination for weary travelers, the White Horse Inn also provided a waypoint along the Underground Railroad. The inn remained the Hoard House until 1923 when owner Frank Peters changed the name to the White Horse Inn. For a more detailed history, check out this great article written by David Graham for the Flint Journal.
Inside the White Horse Inn
You can’t miss the White Horse Inn once you enter Metamora. The large white saltbox building sits on the corner High and Oak streets in the middle of town. Passing through the red door with the fox head knocker, you step into the expansive dining room.
The interior is visually stunning. The wonderful murals on the walls of the dining room are a feast for the eyes. The amazing wood inlay floor makes you feel that you should be taking off your shoes before walking around to explore.
If you are waiting for a table, you can get a beverage from the bar and take in the beauty of the massive stone fireplace. Once you sit down in one of those comfortable couches, the handsome simplicity of the White Horse Inn will soak into your bones.
All the wonders within the White Horse Inn are the result of the investment by the community of Metamora and the restaurants’ current owners Linda Egeland and her husband Victor Dzenowagis. Their vision to save the White Horse Inn allows visitors to experience a bit of the ambiance of an 1800’s inn while savoring a fantastic meal.
Speaking of Food
It can be easy to get distracted by the beauty of the White Horse Inn and forget that you came to get something to eat. The menu is packed with American fare that is guaranteed to please. Being vegetarian and vegan can be tough in small town restaurants, but we found a few options that worked for us including the grilled cheese and the Portobello sandwiches.
The portion sizes were bountiful and everything tasted great. Add in a nice Bell’s Two Hearted and we were set. Of course, we must go back as we learned after our visit that the fish and chips are outstanding!
We have just scratched the surface of the stories behind this wonderful Michigan landmark. Take a gander at this in depth article in Hour magazine or dive into the restoration details in this piece from Traditional Building. Stop by our gallery for a few more images of the White Horse Inn. Best of all, head out on your own adventure and see this marvelous restaurant for yourself. They are open daily at 11:30am.
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