Lexington House Bed & Breakfast provides special backdrop for unique stays

Joe Benoit dreamed of having an ice cream shop. His wife Donna had always pictured what it would be like to own a bed and breakfast. The former Macomb County residents visited Lexington one summer and, as chance would have it, their dreams came true shortly after and the couple became the new proprietors behind the Lexington House Bed & Breakfast.

Joe and Donna Benoit.While on a summer visit to Lexington, the couple drove past the Lexington House Bed and Breakfast and the on-site ice cream shop, Scoops of Lexington. A month later, Donna’s sister sent her a real estate listing for the exact property they had seen earlier. She asked her nephew, a real estate agent, to make the appointment.

“We were here in mid-February and we loved it. I knew this was it,” Donna Benoit says.

We love our history around here. To see people come to town, buy these beautiful old homes, and open them up to the public is wonderful to see,” says Lori Fisher, Lexington Village Manager. “Lexington is home to several bed & breakfasts and each offers a very personal and unique experience. What a great way to be able to touch history and be part of its preservation.”

Donna Benoit says that she has always enjoyed hospitality and making people feel comfortable and at home. It’s typical for the Lexington House innkeepers to sit down and chat with guests every morning. First-time guests become repeat visitors and leave as friends and chosen family.

“Today, more than ever, in this society where we are a humanity that doesn’t really communicate in a face-to-face situation any longer, it’s really important to have that one-on-one, face-to-face communication with people,” she says. “That’s how we thrive because we can provide that.”

The dining room at Lexington House Bed & Breakfast.

Donna Benoit says there’s a sense of trust and a rapport that’s built over time. It helps that a strong foundation from previous owners Dan and Nadine has cemented the bed and breakfast as a reputable staple in the Lexington community.

“They have been so helpful, supportive, and are good friends today,” Donna says of Dan and Nadine. “We just love them so much and we’re able to carry on some of their traditions. Over time, we’ve made some updates and are making things our own. They’ve been very supportive with our updates and love it, so that’s really nice.”

While the 1870s home has ‘good bones,’ the couple has made a few alterations to make it their own. Although they updated most of the rooms with different colors and schemes, the names of the rooms remain unchanged. There are three king rooms and two queen rooms on two floors, all with their own bathrooms.

Downstairs, entering through the gardens, there’s a woodsy forest-themed room with tongue-and-groove wood, a fireplace, and exposed brick. The Garden Room was left as-is, a previous room that guests have come to know and love. Upstairs, there’s the French Country Room with a shiplap headboard and neutral colors. It’s the largest room, featuring a couch, table and chairs. The Cottage Room no longer has wallpaper, but features a French blue color scheme with a light green and blue floral bedspread and pale yellow accent chairs. The Victorian Room features an updated fresh, green springy color.

The Cottage Room at Lexington House Bed & Breakfast.

The parlor area features books, cards, and games for guests to enjoy, as well as sweets, coffee, and tea throughout the day. Other amenities include free Wi-Fi, daily housekeeping, an outdoor patio, and add-on services. As for Scoops, the new owners have doubled the amount of ice cream flavors guests can order, maintaining the high-quality Guernsey Farms Dairy flavors as well as some Ashby options.

Joe Benoit works in the kitchen at Lexington House Bed & Breakfast.“It’s a dream come true,” Donna Benoit says. “He got his ice cream shop, and I got the bed and breakfast. Truth be told, we both work in both areas very well. He’s the cook. I do a lot of the marketing, advertising, and work in the ice cream shop along with the girls and our wonderful staff. Joe takes pride in our yard, he does a beautiful job of making flowerbeds.”

Fisher says she admires the passion the new owners bring to the community.

“Lexington is such a unique, comfortable town and I think our B&Bs are part of that experience,” Fisher says. “When I meet owners like Joe and Donna, I have to admire the love and dedication they put into keeping these historic homes up. The decorations are gorgeous and the gardens are beautiful, it is like a storybook setting that we can all enjoy.”

Last year, the Lexington House was a participating location in the Garden Walk event where over 400 guests strolled through the space. Introducing new visitors to the area and reuniting with returning guests is Donna’s favorite part about her job.

“What’s really important that maybe not all bed and breakfast owners do is that we sit down, have breakfast with our guests, and socialize with them. They like that,” she says. “This is our home and we’re inviting you in. We want to get to know each other and that's had a very positive effect on everyone.”

Although the bed and breakfast is open year-round, their peak season is summer. Typically, the winter is slower, although there are already guests eagerly booking their New Year’s Eve stays for 2025 and 2026. As vacation rental sites and apps like Airbnb and Vrbo gain popularity, Donna Benoit says there’s still something very special about bed and breakfast establishments.

“The significant difference with the bed and breakfast is that you get the treatment. You get the special breakfast cooked for you in the morning, and you have all the amenities of being in a home, but you also get to meet other people,” Donna Benoit says. “You get to converse at breakfast, and that is the coolest thing. I cannot tell you how many times we have five couples sitting at a table, and by the end, they have figured out how they know each other or have all these things or people in common. They leave as future friends, and that’s really cool. You’re not going to get that with an Airbnb or Vrbo.”

Tierney Park, located next to Lexington State Harbor, offers a variety of opportunities to enjoy the coastal community with amenities including a children's playground, a picnic area, an outdoor venue, and much more.

The location also proves convenient to downtown Lexington’s beach, restaurants, and shops. The outdoor gardens make for a picturesque seasonal setting to hold acrylic or watercolor painting workshops too. Ultimately, the innkeepers hope to continue the legacy of their business and maintain it as a foundational staple in the community.

As Donna and Joe Benoit are both directors on the Lexington Business Association board, they know that ‘it takes a village.’ 

“We understand it’s not just about your business,” she says. “It’s about the success of all of the businesses in Lexington. We’re all in this as a community, that’s what I really enjoy about this community is that support for each other and looking out for each other.”

For more information about Lexington House offerings or to plan a visit, learn more at lexingtonhousebnb.com.
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Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing resident, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at sarahspohn.news@gmail.com.