The Inn at the Rustic Gate is a place of welcome and calm for every season. We invite our guests to take a step back from their every day lives, to return to nature, to peace and quiet, and to get in touch once again with what feeds their soul.
Just seven miles from Big Rapids, situated on 150 acres of woodlands, wetlands, rollowing meadows, and a private pond, the
Inn at the Rustic Gate is a sanctuary, a retreat, a meeting place, and a gateway to the truest aspects of ourselves.
This Month from the Innkeepers IN THE MEMORY OF GENE WHITE
IN MEMORY OF GENE WHITE
With Gene's passing, it is the end of an era for the three of us neighbors who lived across the street from him. He and Wilma were by far the most welcoming people when we came here, and they became part of the fabric of our family. Gene quickly became the self appointed guardian of the building project when we undertook the 3 year task of renovating the property that was to become the Inn. Upon spotting an unfamiliar vehicle from the perch of his home on the hill across the street, he would hop on his tractor to greet any perceived interlopers. He would simply say"Please state your business here-I'm looking out for the ladies who own this property". We would sometimes get unsolicited phone reports from him of the goings on in what was to be our new home. Needless to say it made us feel cared for. Our builder, Don Klingel soon learned that Gene's hardware in the pole barn across the street rivaled State Street Hardware for inventory and saved him numerous trips into town.
Gene also became the instructor to those with less engineering experience. Our gate would not be standing today if not for him. The young artist who designed and built it was ill equipped for the installation. Enter Gene with his big John Deere with automatic post hole digger, and much thicker and suitable piping. He helped him reinforce the posts and firmly anchor the movable parts against our strong winds.
Then there was the day that he was just itching to get up into the big maple trees out front and help Don trim them back away from the house and roof. This is where we put our collective foot down because the 3 of us saw this as a potential "widow maker". As much as we loved Wilma we could not in good conscience let him get up there. There were not many occasions on which we could say "no" to Gene but this was one time when we refused to let him charm us into having his way.
After Wilma died, Gene became Sharon's most frequent kitchen visitor. Sharon always figured him into the count when preparing meals for guests. From the "butt ends" of beef tenderloin (because he knew that’s where all the flavor is) to her homemade biscuits and sausage gravy, he graced our table on many occasions. He often repeated stories of his global travels for John Deere, but to him they were always fresh new adventures as if they had just happened yesterday. Would that we all be so fond of the memories of our life’s work and have a love for sharing them with others.