Innkeepers and Recommendations
Cindy and Jay Ruzak’s arrival to establish the Grey Hare Inn Vineyard B & B is truly a tale of knowing when to get out of the way to let destiny happen. After several years of what they refer to as “a corporate sponsored tour of the Midwest courtesy of Jay’s occupation in the steel industry” and Cindy’s in the hotel realm, in combination with a bicycle trip through the Burgundy wine country in France; they decided to become sole proprietors with the focus on a vineyard inn somewhere they could also pursue their sailing passion.
While living in Indiannapolis in 1996 they began their property search of 5 possible areas they had selected by starting “locally” in the Northern Michigan area in which they had frequently vacationed so the pursuit of midlife change could begin while remaining employed. The property on which the inn currently sits was vacant and the minute they saw it both were overtaken by a sense of place and belonging. The first purchase offer died off, but the fearless duo still quit their jobs as planned on April Fools’ Day that year; and decided to spend the first summer sailing the Great Lakes. But then boat problems forced a change in plans and they rented a house in Traverse City, one day venturing out to Old Mission by chance and driving past the land they had been told was taken off the market. But the ‘For Sale’ was back up, so they bought it that day. Thus if they hadn’t had the boat problems, and if they hadn’t taken that drive, then all might not have been.
After that a year long search of the remaining areas that they had considered was undertaken just to make sure that the opportunity in Traverse City was truly “the one”. With the same parameters established of an area that one could grow grapes, an existing tourism industry, and one with more significant water and sailing potential, they visited properties in the Pacific Northwest, Upper New York, and Maryland. Then one day in Seattle as they examined the proverbial “pro/con” list and each time and parameter coming up with the fact that “but it is better in Traverse City”, the decision was made that it was time to come home to Old Mission Peninsula and build the inn.
So that’s how it all started and the innkeepers still enjoy sailing, taking guests out on Grand Traverse Bay whenever possible, and spending parts of each day tending the grapevines and gardens. After almost 20 years the scenic beauty of the area and the cultural opportunities along with a wide variety of activities that can be enjoyed and fantastic foodie experiences continue to awe and amaze. Jay is a captain on the Madeline Schooner and is on the board of the Maritime Heritage Alliance, while Cindy is a Rotarian and involved as a board member with the Traverse City Symphony Orchestra.
Grey Hare Inn Recipes
Recipe of the month
“Croque Madame” the difference between this French version of a Croque Monsieur ham and cheese lies in the poached egg on top, making it a hardy breakfast entrée for the cold winter months.
Ingredients for 4 servings :
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 3 Tbs flour
- 2 cups hot milk
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- 12 ounces gruyere, grated (4-5 cups)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 8 (can stretch recipe to 6 servings with more bread and ham) white French bread
- Dijon mustard
- 6 – 8 ounces ham, Virginia or similar not honey or smoked too heavily
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with either a wooden spoon, or whisk to start. Slowly add hot milk into butter/flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add salt pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated gruyere, and the parmesan, set aside.
To toast bread, place the slices on baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, turn each slice over and bake another 2 minutes until very lightly toasted
Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice or two of ham to each and sprinkle with approximately half the remaining gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread, slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot (but really good as cold leftover too).
You can easily adjust quantities of ham and cheese, and sauce to your own taste and desired size of sandwich. Top each with a poached egg (over easy works too). We serve this with a side salad of heirloom tomatoes tossed with a basil vinaigrette paste but a fresh spring salad would work as well.
Order a Cookbook
Click here to order your autographed copy of the Grey Hare Inn Cookbook. Arranged by season with anecdotes of happenings at each time of the year you will be able to easily make all of the dishes served to guests at the inn, plus some traditional French dishes of which Chef Cindy has selected the best of the best for your enjoyment. Beautifully illustrated with watercolor drawings, and punctuated by guest comments, the book is much more than just a listing of recipes — it’s a journey of passion. Cost $34.50 plus postage
Click here to receive your complimentary copy of the booklet each of the guests at the Grey Hare Inn is provided upon arrival for their use. This booklet written by owners Cindy and Jay provides restaurant recommendations, scenic tour comments, local insights of such things as where is the most beautiful place to enjoy a glass of wine (spoiler alert, one of the best is right on the front patio at the Grey Hare Inn)