The best accommodation on this side of Michigan is inside a mushroom. No, this is not the opening line of an Alice in Wonderland adaptation… It's simply about the most unique for rent and tour houses curious travelers can find in Charlevoix, Michigan. Cozy and eccentric, these mushroom homes are like something out of a fairy tale, all unusual structures, curved lines, uncut stone, organic wood furniture - and of course, mushroom roofs.
Whether you enjoy medieval fairy-tale-like architecture, looking for interesting and comfortable accommodations, are a fan of Tolkien, or spent too much time on the cottagecore tag on TikTok, the Charlevoix Mushroom Houses are sure to deliver.
The eccentric builder mind of Earl Young
The Mushroom Houses of Charlevoix are heavily inspired, when not the actual product of the mind of Earl Young, the most prolific unregistered architect in the State. A unique vision in the mid-century architecture of Michigan, Young was known for his whimsical, enchanting style. He worked with a variety of Michigan stones, creating interesting structures out of the natural shapes of various stones in Northern Michigan.
Earl Young enjoyed building houses, cabins, and cottages, seeking to create interesting and cozy designs that could nonetheless be as impressive, interesting, and luxurious as cutting-edge design hotels.
His houses, over 30 of them in Charlevoix, known as Hobbit huts and gnome homes as well as the Mushroom Houses have played a role in turning Charlevoix into the summer resort touristic destination it is today - with a side of enchanting cottage magic.
The mushroom house homes
The four houses located on Park Avenue, across the lovely Lake Michigan Beach Park, make up the “Charlevoix Mushroom House Ensemble”, as named by current owner Michael Seitz. The four unique cottages are deeply linked with the famous Earl Young gnome homes; built on Young’s foundations, or previously owned by him, they have all been revamped and made fit for public use, on their way to becoming the coolest place travelers could probably stay on in Charlevoix, Michigan.
The Thatch House
The Thatch House might look like a particularly fancy mushroom, where particularly bougie fairies would live in - but it wasn't always like this. The main estate of the Mushroom Houses, the Thatch House was built on the foundational walls of Earl Young’s 1918 home. One of his firsts, the house didn’t yet have the Hobbit style he would come to be known for, but Michael Seitz was determined to change that. In a napkin, he redesigned the house top to bottom.
Two years later, completed with a new roof - made of carefully hand-reaped thatch from Europe - and stylish timber beams, the Thatch House was finished, and it reached the full potential of Earl Young’s signature magical style. Six bedrooms, three stories, five baths, heated floors, and a wine cellar are just a few of the attractions in this enchanted hotel house.
The Charlevoix Mushroom House’s cozy home The Chalet is a snug accommodation that is just behind the Thatch House but features its own private entrance and grounds. As the Mushroom House’s “secret hideaway”, The Chalet is a perfect fit for the romantic at heart: with one master suite and able to house around four people, a similar mushroom thatch roof, stunning stone walls, and perfectly cozy rooms, The Chalet creates a sweet and romantic atmosphere, perfect for couples and smaller groups looking for a lovely getaway.
Only a short walk away from the beach, Applecore Cottage gets its name from the over 100 years old apple trees on its grounds. Designed and built by Earl Young’s daughter, Virginia, Applecore Cottage has all the vintage charm of the original structure and all the comfort any guest could want in an accommodation. Intricately carved fireplaces and windows, three cozy bedrooms, the red and white theme of the furniture, and the beautiful woods and apple trees that surround the cottage will transport guests right into Snow White and the Seven Dwarves' cozy cottage in the woods - with no evil witches insight.
The oldest of the four Mushroom Houses, The Cottage was originally a regular clapboard house built in the 1800s, before being noticed and renovated by Earl Young at a moment before a second renovation by the current owners. The Cottage has four bedrooms and houses up to seven people. Even without the mushroom roof, The Cottage still manages to instill in guests the feeling of staying in a fairy house.
With new custom wooden beams and four bedrooms, close to the beach and exciting downtown Charlevoix, The Cottage as well as the three other Mushroom Houses are a perfect option for adventure and comfort-loving travelers in Michigan!
Bookings for any of the Mushroom Houses
Amenities in all of the houses include air conditioning, heated floors, equipped kitchens, TVs, and wifi. Prices range from 250$ to 750$ across the various houses, and from 1,000$ to 1,700$ at the Thatch House - make sure to check the season’s rates beforehand. All the bookings can be made on the website, for each of the specific homes.