We are pleased that you are interested in learning about our bed and breakfast (whole house rental). We are 'people persons', and this has been a most enjoyable business venture. We love to hear our guests say 'wow!' when they first walk in the Black Bear Log Home or the Cabina West. Most all are very excited upon their arrival, and say very kind things about their stay. They also say that our online pictures don't do justice to the cabins. Our guest journal is full of wonderful testimonies of a pleasant, positive, grateful stay with us. We are members of the Illinois Bed and Breakfast Association. Sharon is currently a regional board representative, and Van has been vice-president in the past.
We, the innkeepers, live on-site and will be glad to help you with activity, siteseeing, and lunch suggestions, etc. We like to know your approximate arrival time, so we can meet, greet, and orient you to the cabin, and answer any further questions. As you come down our lane, you will see our ranch home. Turn to the right (rock road directly in front of our home) and you arrive at the Black Bear Log Home. Or follow the road to the left of our house and this leads you to the Cabina West. (Our home sits on the south end of the pond, the Black Bear Log Home sits on the east of the pond, and the Cabina West is to the west, but an easy walk to the pond.) No swimming or water activities allowed due to no lifeguard provided, nor any water depth markings posted.
We moved to the country in 1989 from Vandalia. Van wanted a place to hunt for himself and our 3 boys, who are now grown men that still love the country life. The BnB was Van's idea after his retirement from the IDOC. Sharon is a retired RN, also from Vandalia's State Correctional Center, and pretty much 'runs' the BnB, and does most of the interacting with the guests. Van takes care of the yard, firewood, maintenance, etc. The Black Bear Log Home opened in August 2007, and the Cabina West opened November 2010. We have met some wonderful people through this business.
We have 200 acres of which you are welcome to roam as you wish. 120 acres are woods, with mapped walking/nature trails available. The ~3 acre pond has blue gill, bass, and catfish. In 2007 our boys caught a 25 pound catfish, and in March 2012 they brought in a 50 pound carp! You can see a picture of it on our Facebook page (Bear Grove Cabins - Bed and Breakfast) You are welcome to bring your poles and bait and try your luck!! You may keep and clean your fish (IF BIG ENOUGH!) and have this for lunch if you'd like. (Lunch is on your own). In 2013, Van built 2 chicken coops, so you will get farm-fresh eggs during your stay, and you can see them if you go for a walk of our place. If the timing is right, we might even let you help gather the eggs (usually around 3 or 4 each afternoon). In 2015, Van got Maggie, his first registered Angus cow. His herd has now grown to 9, and our whole family is involved. We have Betsy, Princess, Cookie...to name a few, and Van's prize possession, Bill the bull whom he got from Colorado the summer of 2016.
Come stay with us. Enjoy peace, solitude, and the beauty of nature. Each day we provide your evening meal and breakfast. And you get a bottle of wine each evening. We don't bother or pamper you...we just offer home cooked meals, a clean and comfortably furnished home of your own, and a peaceful, quiet, wooded country place for you to enjoy nature.
Relax, Renew, Refresh, Revive, and (hopefully) Return. =)
Welcome to Bear Grove Cabins
Van & Sharon Boatman
PS-- We now only have 2 property dogs, Babe (our yellow lab), and Dingo (a stray mutt we adopted/rescued in the spring). Our black lab, Bear, that seemed to be everyone's favorite, passed in July, 2016 on the hottest weekend, and return guests have already missed Weston, whom we lost on Christmas Eve. Some weekends we even have the granddogs visit. Our cats you will probably never see, especially if the granddogs are here!!
And if you are lucky, we might bring out our beautiful grandchildren, Jack & Gracie, for you to meet. We get to enjoy them frequently on the weekends.