Bob Alderink hummed as he whipped up a homemade sweet onion and herb quiche at his historic Ludington bed and breakfast.
“The nice thing about a quiche is that it has a basic milk and egg and cream mix, and then you can kind of riff on that,” Alderink said.
Alderink, who owns Ludington House Bed & Breakfast with wife Ellen, is quick to remind that he is not a chef. He’s attended the “University of YouTube,” he said.
“A lot of my recipes come from food bloggers and Pinterest,” he said. “I learn them and try to figure out what I can do to make them my own.”
Bob’s breakfasts are thoughtfully prepared and comprise a variety of locally sourced ingredients. To accompany the quiche, he baked a batch of blueberry muffins; the blueberries were from nearby Couturier Blueberry Farm east of Hamlin Lake.
In the Alderinks’ kitchen (featuring a double oven — legit) on a recent weekday morning, their personal and professional lives converged. Once Ellen returned from taking their dog, Daisey, out for her morning walk, she helped put the morning’s breakfast ingredients away.
“That Parmesan cheese you can wrap separately,” Bob advised. “That’s our cheese.”
The Alderinks have been innkeepers of the late 19th-century Queen Ann Victorian home since August 2014. Lumber baron Antoine Cartier built it in 1878. Ludington House’s neighbor, Cartier Mansion Bed & Breakfast, was built by Cartier’s son, Warren, in 1905.
Ludington House has eight guest rooms, which tend to be reserved well before the S.S. Badger car ferry begins transporting passengers from Manitowoc, Wis., to Ludington in May. Each room has its own modern touches (Jacuzzis, electric fireplaces and smart TVs, for example), but ultimately preserves the elegant Victorian character and charm.
Bob and Ellen, whose previous careers were in graphic design, tag team the hospitality, grounds and upkeep.
“Summer days can be nuts,” Bob said, adding that many days begin at 6 a.m. and don’t end until 10 or 11 p.m.
Breakfast prep tends to be a bit simpler for charter fishing groups with early departure times. A “grab-and-go” selection of yogurt, pastries and fruit is typical. Apples and oranges — never bananas.
“Bananas are bad luck for a fishing charter,” Bob said.
The Alderinks take pride in catering to those with special dietary restrictions or allergies.
“We want them to feel included,” Ellen said, “and we don’t want them to be miserable from something they ate.”
Owning a B&B wasn’t exactly a lifelong dream for the two. Bob had the idea and Ellen thought it was “kind of ridiculous,” but they agreed to give it a go after a weekend job shadowing the previous owners.
“We work together well,” Ellen said. “We’re both kind of introverted and have found that if you ask the right questions, the guests will do the talking.”
When it comes to maintenance and improvements, Bob’s confidence continues to grow with every passing season.
“I’ve become bolder,” Bob said. “I can cut a hole in the wall if I need to because I know I can repair it afterwards.”