The Dempsey Manor: a Storybook Bed & Breakfast

Seven years ago James Colburn bought the Dempsey Manor, combining his love of antiques with an experience his guests won’t forget.

“It’s a fantasy, this is a storybook house is what it is,” Colburn says.

The Manistee manor was built in the late 1890s by a lumberman named James Dempsey. Now, more than 125 years later, owners Colburn and Jan Peterson transformed it into a bed and breakfast.

Colburn is an Emmy-nominated Hollywood Set Designer/Decorator. He says, “The house is furnished as Mr. and Mrs. Dempsey would have had it so that our guests can spend a night in the museum.”

But Colburn isn’t the only connection to Hollywood this Mansion has. Actor James Earl Jones, a Manistee County native, and his family stayed at the Dempsey Manor in 1993.

All 29 rooms have different collections of rare antiques that guests can actually touch and sleep on.

For example, the men’s parlor has rectangular furniture, an elk hoof lamp and exotic furs. But the real jaw dropper is the 40 foot atrium with a view of stairs that wrap up the top floor.

“We try to emphasize the wow factor, we really can do that in this house,” Colburn says.

Making your way down the hall, you’ll find Jan’s kitchen. They call this the heart of the manor.

“I’m looking for a complete experience, I don’t want it to just smell good or just taste good, I want there to be a depth of flavor,” Peterson says.

The Dempsey Manor is filled with love and memories that will be sure to take you back in time.

“Jan and I get tremendous satisfaction out of that because that makes it worthwhile getting up in the morning, pleasing our guests, give them more than what they expected,” Colburn says.

For more information about the history of the Dempsey Manor and how you can reserve your own night in the museum, check out their website here.

Categories: Experiencing Northern Michigan, Michigan This Morning