Brick Walker Tavern – an Unexpected Visit
I drove over to Cambridge Junction to photograph an old-time baseball tournament that was scheduled to be played in the Brick Walker Tavern Historic Complex which is part of the Michigan State Park system, located a quarter mile north of Brick Walker Tavern on M-50. I haven’t done a lot of sports photography and thought this would be a fun way to get more experience. My camera and my 70-200mm lens were in the trunk.
I pulled into the park, but there was no baseball game. I was sure – well almost- that I had the correct day. I turned around and headed back toward the tavern. Two men were working in the garden and yard. I made a quick decision and whipped into a parking spot. They gave me the EYE when I got out of my car; not sure about the interruption. A question revealed that the ball game had been canceled. Darn! It looked like my photo gear would stay in the trunk for the time being.
After chatting for a bit, I discovered that one of the workers was Tom Lee, the owner of Brick Walker Tavern. He’d been renovating the three story hotel and tavern, built in 1853, into a wedding and event venue. While keeping true to the time period he skillfully added the modern conveniences of air conditioning, updated bathrooms, WiFi and flat screen TV’s in the second floor bedrooms.
Mr. Lee gave me a tour of the first floor while entertaining me with the building’s history. We entered through the kitchen which featured hand-crafted cupboards made by a local craftsman. Then we went on into the four parlors, the early Cambridge Junction post office and a tavern with the original bar. He and pointed out that each room has been named for a previous owner. Having to get back to work, he had his son take me upstairs to explore the rest of the hotel.
He explained that a wedding party could spend the night before and after the ceremony in the five bedrooms on the second floor. The rooms were cozy with authentic quilts and shams on antique wooden beds. They were also accented with other period furniture and features.
A private bath was provided for each room. A gourmet breakfast could be cooked and served by a private chef the last morning of the wedding party’s stay.
The Grand Ballroom filled the third floor and was impressive in its grandeur and beauty.
Weddings and/or receptions are held in the ballroom or in the remodeled and remarkable Antique Barn, which was on the same property. The barn’s grand staircase was the perfect setting for pictures of the wedding party and the bride with her train flowing gracefully down the steps. White fairy lights shone from folds of white organza and around beams and newel posts. I was enchanted and lost in the magic of it, wishing I were twenty-something again and planning my first wedding.