Pigeon Hill is a former Muskegon sand dune where, in the 19th century, up to 5 million passenger pigeons nested.
Deforestation and sand mining led to the extinction of the bird and the deterioration of the sand dune. Although the skyline is changed forever and the last sighting of a passenger pigeon was over a century ago, there is one establishment that sits on the former dune and reminds of its history.
“We wanted the hotel name to be meaningful and represent the history of the area,” said Donelle Johnson, manager and owner of the boutique hotel, The Pidge Inn.
The Pidge Inn, which officially opened in September of 2019, is located in the Harbour Towne peninsula, features nine rooms, and is surrounded by beaches.
“The Pidge Inn offers luxury walk-in showers, comfortable beds and linens, private patios and balconies, and upscale finishes,” Johnson said.
Vacationers can select from a variety of room types; suites include fireplaces and full kitchens, while the cozy studios and lofts have kitchenettes.
“Grills are available all year, and the pool and hot tub are open seasonally,” Johnson said.
The Pidge Inn’s location on the peninsula allows for guests to watch the sunrise over Muskegon Lake. In the evenings, you can take a short walk to see the sun setting over Lake Michigan. The boutique hotel’s balconies and outdoor patios make it easy to enjoy the peaceful surroundings in a comfortable, laid-back setting.
Built in 1990, the building was originally a convenience store and eventually became the Harbour Towne Yacht Club. Johnson’s father, a Harbour Towne Marina slip owner, was a member of the club. Watching the building deteriorate after its foreclosure in 2011, Johnson and her husband finally purchased the property and completely revitalized it — simultaneously saving a piece of Muskegon history.
“Each room is named with a nod to Muskegon’s history and is tastefully decorated with artwork showcasing the room’s namesake,” Johnson said.
For instance, the hallways are decorated with images of birds found around Muskegon Lake.
This year, The Pidge Inn will open in mid-May and stay open through November. In the summer, vacationers will enjoy spots for jet skiing and kayaking. Numerous biking and hiking trails dot the area as well, boasting the beauty of Michigan’s fall colors.
“Our ultimate goal is to have our guests feel welcome, relaxed and comfortable, like staying at a friend’s beach house,” Johnson said.
The Pidge Inn celebrates Muskegon’s history – By Kate O’Neil & Photos by Donelle Johnson