Legs Inn: A Polish Delight

If you are in a trivia contest and asked, “Name an architectural marvel that serves authentic Polish cuisine?” The correct answer is Michigan’s Legs Inn! Trivia is not my thing, but I do know several people who are “keepers of strange and useless information.” Their names will not be mentioned.

Legs Inn

Legs Inn - 2016-1

State’s Best Kept Secret

But one of those keepers of information recently said to me while we were waiting for a meeting to start, “You should check out Legs Inn. It’s got your name written all over it.” Not wanting her to know I was interested, I absently replied, “Really, I’ve never heard of it. Where is it located and why does it have my name written all over it?” Like a lion she pounced on the opening and said, “Its UP North and lots of scary looking biker dudes hang out there playing pool and drinking beer.” Like the girl from the “Exorcist” movie, my head swiveled so I could see her face. I carefully said, “Say more,” but the demon voice in my head was screaming, “Sister, you’ve got some serious image issues if your colleagues think you are hanging out with the Hell’s Angels on the weekends.” She said more but it was just white noise because I was stuck on the “scary biker dude” reference.

You can bet that as soon as I was alone in my office, I “Googled” Legs Inn. She was right about my name being written all over it, but she was completely wrong about the scary biker dudes. Legs Inn is a popular family destination near the famous “Tunnel of Trees” on M-119.  It serves genuine Polish food and also has an impressive beer list.  Oh, I’m sure it is a popular destination for motorcycle clubs looking for a scenic drive on a beautiful day, but definitely not a den for the Hell’s Angels. If I were to be completely fair, I would thank her as it is likely I would not have “Googled” it without the scary biker dude reference and missed an amazing experience. Or maybe I should consider moving her to the marketing team….

Yes, they have several pool tables and a bar, but as you can see NO scary biker dudes.

Legs Inn - 2016-22

Well, this guy was a little scary.

Legs Inn - 2016-17

Architectural Marvel

Before it was trendy, Polish immigrant Stanley Smolak made artistic treasures from old parts and discarded wood. Along with Odawa (Ottawa) Indians who lived in the area, Stanley created a dining experience that was a “blend of Old World European and Indian cultures.” From driftwood he created whimsical creatures which inhabit the Inn. From inverted cast iron stove legs he made a railing, which is the basis for the name. For the next 90 years, Legs Inn has been quietly perched on Lake Michigan’s upper coast in Cross Village. I’ve never been anywhere quite like Legs Inn.

Legs Inn - 2016-56

Stanley Smolak

Stanley once said: “Nature is the greatest sculptor – I am only helping to make the artistic objects more visible to the ordinary eye.”

Legs Inn - 2016-8

Legs Inn - 2016-12

Legs Inn - 2016-29

Legs Inn - 2016-13

Polish Food

I love authentic Polish food and ate a lot of it before becoming a Vegan. I knew going in there was a chance I’d have to go off-road and be a “Flexitarian” for the evening. It wasn’t necessary as there were plenty of options for vegetarians. As you can see, there was Michigan Craft Beer so we were set! For the keepers of useless info here is a fact I bet you didn’t know, “In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted Flexitarian as the year’s most useful word.”

Legs Inn - 2016-32

Cottage Rentals

Hidden behind the Inn under the Willow trees right on Lake Michigan are the cottages. There is no WIFI or cell phone service. It is a perfect place to escape from the world. The beach is private and very romantic (Hint, Hint). We couldn’t resist and rented one. These cottages are time machines taking you back to simple times.

Legs Inn - 2016-3

Legs Inn - 2016-55

Legs Inn - 2016-52

Legs Inn - 2016-54

Legs Inn - 2016-42

Thank You for Your Support

Life in Michigan is fueled by friends and followers like you. We are looking to make improvements to Life in Michigan and would be honored by your patronage. If you have the means, consider showing your support. 

Share the News

Check out the gallery for a few more pictures of Legs Inn. Please share our post on your favorite social media venue or send it as a link to your friends and family. Do you have a story to share or just want to say hi, please leave a comment.

Stay Connected

We would be grateful if you’d like our Facebook page too. Our posts are delivered to your email box after you subscribe to our newsletter. We love social media. You can find us on PinterestTumblr and Instagram. Cheers!

49 Comments

  1. Will be checking you out soon!

    Reply
    • Legs Inn has been a favorite stop every time we go North. I have told Many, many people about it. I don’t like it when they cover up the beautiful wood with ugly beer signs or holiday decorations. Leave it true.

      Reply
  2. Legs Inn is a wonderful place to visit. It’s like M119 (the Tunnel of Trees) is the rainbow and Legs Inn is the pot of gold! Just don’t be in a big hurry to get there. The road is narrow and winding – it’s a scenic route that is meant to be savored. You also want to have time to visit the other interesting and fun places on the Tunnel of Trees like the Tea Room, A Gallery and Good Hart General Store.

    Reply
  3. I have a picture of my father and I there at the Legs Inn when I was 10 years old. I’m 60 now and my wife and I still go.

    Reply
  4. Would love to your place

    Reply
    • What is the address to your place ? Would love to see it

      Reply
      • I am
        Polish and would love to see this place!!!

        Reply
  5. Comment. Do they really close Oct 18

    Reply
    • Hi Julie – From Legs website, it appears that Oct 18th is really the date they close 🙁

      Reply
  6. A wonderful venue with great food and ambiance !

    Reply
  7. I would love to come there. I am of polish heritage. I would also be interested in the prices of your cottages? Are there any availabilitys in October yet?

    Reply
    • Hi Jann – best bet is to call Legs Inn directly at 231-526-2281

      Reply
    • Love Legs Inn, food is just awesome, a real treat after the tunnel of trees.The only

      Reply
  8. I worked for Alex as a carpenter and bar tender in the 70’s.
    Living in Cross Village were some of the best years of my life.

    Reply
  9. This is exactly what we love, since my husband is polish, and I love polish food. Thanks will have to check it out.

    Reply
  10. This place sounds fantastic. Is there a long list for reservations

    Reply
    • Hi Joyce,

      I don’t believe they take dinner reservations. The cabins can be reserved.

      Reply
  11. I still do not know where you are located in MI. What time of the year are you open. Could you post pics of the cabins. Prices?

    Reply
    • Hi Sharon – Legs Inn is located in Cross Village which is 16 miles north of Harbor Springs (Northwestern Lower Michigan). Your best bet for information on when they are open and cabin prices is either to call them at 231-526-2281 or visit the web site at http://www.legsinn.com

      Reply
  12. I was 7 years old when my Dad bought a farm who’s address was Cross village Michigan. I went to one room school that was 3 miles from the farm.walked in the summer & skied in the winter. When I became a teenager that was one of our hangout, and there were a lot of Indians a round. I remember the Smolack family. My teacher & mailman both lived in Cross Village. At one time you could buy things made by the Indians the last time I was up there they were made in China, it made me sick to see that. I could go on & on I alway called that area Gods country. I was so happy to see your picture of Legs Inn. The Smolack family have a lot to be proud of.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for sharing your memories!

      Reply
  13. Hello,
    Why are you closed on October 18??

    Reply
    • Hi Julia – We aren’t quite sure. I would hazard a guess that after the leaves drop, things slow down up there and they keep it quiet for the winter 🙂 Good question though.

      Reply
  14. Really unique. Was there in the 1960’s….yes, need to get back.

    Reply
  15. Is Cross Village where the largest cross is??

    Reply
    • Nope. The Cross in the Woods is located in Indian River about 35 miles southeast of Cross Village.

      Reply
  16. You close the 18th of October, but when do you open ?
    Also , do those dates apply just for the cottages to rent or also to Legs Inn, the restaurant ? Are both closed for late fall and winter???

    Reply
    • Hi Grace – Your best bet to answer these questions is to contact Legs Inn directly at 231-526-2281. We did see that they open just before Memorial Day and close for the season in late October each year. I would assume this applies to the cottages, but I would recommend calling them direct to confirm.

      Reply
  17. Sounds very interesting. Will look into it for next year. Barbara H Carie

    Reply
  18. My late husband and i were only there once, and I think he was keeping me away because he and his buddies stopped their on their annual trip ‘up north’ to ‘fish’. He was a wonderful man. husband, city father (Hastings, Michigan), and sorely missed, especially by me. Now my memory of Legs In and Cross Village has reached the height of fantasy because it will be another place, like fabulous Mackinac island that I will never see again. Without my husband beside me the thrill would be gone. Thank you for posting this.

    Reply
    • You are welcome Emily. It is a wonderful restaurant. Your husband had great taste in food!

      Reply
  19. They reopen May 19, 2017 and will be open until mid October. Many of the waitstaff actually come over from Poland and work for the summer. The food is authentic, the servings are huge and the atmosphere is second to none. Enjoy the tunnel of trees or take the inner roads for a shortcut. The gift shop imports goods (China, jewelry and gifts) from Poland. This place is a gem!

    Reply
  20. I would like to receive your FREE newsletter. I plan to visit but would like to know your schedule
    of being open for dining. Also, please provide PRICES for Polish food and others. Is
    the lunch menu cheaper than the dinner menu? Thank you.

    Reply
  21. I’m one of those big bad bikers that visit when I’m riding 119. Always stop for food and a beer at this Inn and have lots of memories from the landmark. Thanks for the hospitality, Peepers from the Jokers M/C!

    Reply
    • Love the “Bad Bikers.” It is s beautiful spot in Michigan and perfect place to refuel your soul!

      Reply
  22. I will definitely check this out this summer. Thank you.

    Reply
  23. Great place… wish it was open all year. This place would be a destination for snowmobilers as it’s near the trails end. I think they’d make a killing.

    Reply
  24. I was disappointed in the food…sorry to say.😢

    Reply
  25. My first visit was with a friend, Bob Paulus who’s mother owned a small coffee shop in Cross Village. He introduced me to Stanley. That was around 1960. I lost track of Bob and would like to see him again. He became a police officer in Detroit. I presume he retired from there.
    He said that someday he wanted to settle in some far away place, away from people, like Batchawana Bay Ontario.
    That was a lost weekend!
    Stopped there on our honeymoon in 1965 too.

    Reply
  26. In 2015 we traveled the tunnel of trees. No color only green leaves and Leggs was alreaduclosed. We were disappointed. We live Polish food.

    Reply
  27. Great place and a nice ride through the tunnel of trees to get there.

    Reply
  28. Added to our Bucket List for this Summer! I am Polish and VERY PROUD of my heritage! I visited Poland with my family to meet my Great-Grandfather in the mid 70’s. Beautiful country and real, authentic people! Hope we can convince my parents to come along for the ride! Can’t wait for the Kapusta!

    Reply
  29. directions and pictures and price of cabins please and thank you. I live in Florida but coming to Mich. for a month in July….

    Reply
    • Hello – Great questions! We aren’t actually affiliated with Legs Inn. Your best bet is to give them a call at (231) 526-2281. They can give you the latest prices for their cabins and the best directions. Unfortunately we didn’t take any pictures of the inside of the cabins, but they are clean and cozy.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest