To look at the Village Park Bed and Breakfast, located at 60 West Park Street across from Pomona Park in Fruitport, Michigan, you would never expect something mysterious had happened there. The 4000 square foot, yellow 1870’s Victorian is a friendly and welcoming place. That’s exactly what Wayne and Carole Mejeur thought when they first purchased the house in 2004 with the hopes of opening a bed and breakfast inn. The couple never suspected their home or the small community of Fruitport had quite a history of bank robberies, petty thefts and hidden gold.
While renovating the house, the Mejeurs discovered the secret existence of four tunnels under their home. Rumor has it that bank robber John Dillinger used the tunnel system to hide liquor from the Pomona Hotel personal stock, at the time, located nearby; another tunnel that leads to the bank. It is rumored that Dillinger stole money from the bank and buried it Pomona Park.
Although the house has ties to the infamous, it also saw the famous. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the Pomona Dance Pavilion across the inn hosted legendary entertainers such as Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong and America’s sweetheart, Doris Day. “Fruitport was quite the hotspot back in the day.” said Mejeur. The pavilion ultimately burned down in 1963.
Inside renovations turned the house from shabby chic to Victorian décor. Some of the original wrap around lower and upper porch remains with the private, secluded upper deck reserved for guests only. The hallway hosts a mini bar of assorted cereals, fresh fruit, teas and coffee with a microwave, mini refrigerator and dishes for the guest’s convenience. The guests are free to go out on the deck with their fresh cup of coffee and relax before starting their day or after their day of sightseeing come to an end.
The innkeepers serve a huge breakfast every morning consisting of fresh fruit, orange juice, sausage or bacon with such house specialties as blueberry muffins, cherry scones, French toast with ginger peach sauce which is exquisite. You will not leave hungry or unsatisfied.
The Bed and Breakfast offers four rooms at this time; Sunrise Room, Sunset Room, Lake View and Edge Water. The innkeepers will soon offer six rooms, but not until their children are grown. All rooms are located on the second floor and decorated in pastel colors and lace; each with their own private spacious bath; thick, white bathrobes are also provided. The Sunrise room has a distinct variance; with the window slightly open, the tranquil sounds of the main garden water fountain drifts upwards with a soothing sound.
The summer is the peak season; occasionally couples arrive in the winter to get away for the weekend, so if you want the place basically to yourself then the winter season is the time to go and the rates are a bit cheaper and are available for smaller scale weddings. Several newlyweds have spent their honeymoon at the Bed and Breakfast and returned on their anniversary.
The grounds are well-kept, lined with huge, towering shade trees and small fragrant flower beds with deep intense purple flowers, bright red flowers, orange iris’s and the center piece of the entire grounds is the water fountain. The sidewalk is lit for those evening strolls and a secluded area in the back yard lays a hidden hot tub. Couples are encouraged to enjoy a glass of wine and just relax under the romantic starlit sky while in the hot tub.
Pomona Park has seen quite a bit in its years. Rumors of money that lay buried in the park came to life in all its glory when construction crews dug up the park to install a new drainage system. Hundreds of people arrived with shovels, metal detectors, and other gadgets not to mention strained eyes to search for the rumored monies, which of course were never found. The park playground draws the neighborhood children no matter what the weather.
During August the park comes to life with Fruitport Old Fashion Days (an annual week long celebration with a carnival, barbeques, cook-offs, parades, petting zoo). A boat ramp for water lovers is available for a $10.00 slip fee and a fishing dock. During the hot months the lake is dotted with local residents seeking a reprieve or relaxing in their lawn chairs as they listen to jazz, polka or country bands playing in the orchestra shell.