|Why the long face?|
But the evening was not a total loss. Just across the parking lot sat the historical White Horse Inn, the self-proclaimed home of the best burger in Mid-Michigan. We decided to go grab some dinner and went inside. There we found the entire population of Metamora (approximately 30 people) already eating dinner, so we relaxed at the bar while waiting for a table to become available.
The White Horse Inn opened in 1850 as a stagecoach stop, and is the oldest continually-operating restaurant in Michigan. It was a stop on the Underground Railroad and later received a franchise to feed and house overnight passengers of the Michigan Central Railway. They survived and prospered during Prohibition by promoting "breakfast specials", and later added an upstairs tea room, winter sleigh ride/dinner packages, cooking classes and ghost hunts. Legend has it that the Inn is haunted by a ghost named Lorenzo, the original owner.
The building is really neat. The ceilings are low and the hardwood floors undulate under your feet. It's tavern decor, with wood paneling, small tables, and plenty of kitsch hanging in the bar. We only had to wait about 30 minutes before our table was ready. Many of the current menu items are based on original recipes from the late 1800's. Ordering was a bit of a challenge because our waitress was hard of hearing, requiring everyone in our section to repeat their menu choices loudly. This would come in really handy if you are one of those people that scans the plates of your fellow diners to see what looks good. We tried the 'best' burger and the famous all-you-can-eat fish fry. The food is surprisingly upscale in taste without the usual matching upscale price, and everything we had was fantastic. The portions were generous but we still managed to share some dessert before sliding into a food coma. (Updated to add that sadly, the White Horse Inn closed without notice about a month after we visited there. I swear we had nothing to do with it). ((Updated again - new owners! Yay!))
Metamora is a quaint, pretty little town nestled in rolling hills. It's a nice place to stop by on your way to somewhere else. You can get a terrific meal there. But if you want to celebrate horses, you'd better get there early.