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front fence 2014 gazebo shot originalThe grounds of the Stuart Avenue Inn include the adjacent  McDuffee Gardens named after the McDuffee family who lived in a house on the lot at the turn of the 20th century.  Mr. McDuffee had an interest in horticulture and introduced the non-native Cut-Leaf and Weeping Beech Trees that dominate the grounds today.  His daughter, Alice Louise, earned an M.A. from Kalamazoo College where she majored in English and Shakespearean drama.  Her interests and horticultural talents passed on by her father led her to create a noationally recognized Shakespearean Garden in the 20s and 30s. After Alice left the home, Parsons Business School used the house until 1954, after which it remained vacant.   After additional years of neglect, the City forced the owners to raze the home and the lot became overgrown with weed trees.

.mcduffee garden photo wooded lot

The Garden's present footprint was laid in 1980 when Andie and Bill Casteel purchased the property, lceared the trees, and landscaped a formal garden with over an acre of meandering footpaths, flower beds, a gazebo, pergola and fountain.

garden then bw2

Successive Inkeepers have left their own touches including converting the pond to a sunken rock garden, planting hops, ferns and wild grasses.  When the current Innkeepers acquired the property in 2009, much of the garden lay hidden beneath 10 years of overgrown shrubbery and weed trees.  Each year, they've reclaimed and reworked another portion.

garden patio.700version event tent

088 garden tea for two setting

Guests of the Inn are encouraged to enjoy the Gardens, and it is available for private gatherings for reunions, birthdays, weddings, showers, picnics and barbeques.


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