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

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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.

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Well, this guy was a little scary.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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  1. Will be checking you out soon!

  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.

  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.

  4. Would love to your place

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

  5. Comment. Do they really close Oct 18

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

  6. A wonderful venue with great food and ambiance !

  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?

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

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

  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.

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

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

    • Hi Joyce,

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

  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?

    • 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

  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.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your memories!

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

    • 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.

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

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

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

  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???

    • 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.

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


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