About us

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. 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, 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 closed Memorial Day weekend, 2018.  (our son and his family from StL moved in...with grandkids Jack and Grace!!)  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. One hundred and twenty acres are woods, with mapped walking/nature trails available. The ~3 acre pond has blue gill, bass, redear, 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 brown eggs during your stay.  You can see the chickens 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 4pm each afternoon).  In 2015, Van got Maggie, his first registered Angus cow.  His herd has now grown, and our whole family is involved.  We have Betsy, Princess, Cookie…to name a few.  Van's prize possession, Bill the bull,  whom we got from Colorado September of 2016, and thus GA's birth in June, 2017, which came as a big surprise to us!  In the spring of 2018, we had 8 new calves...Leah, Ribeye, Lucky, & Anni to name a few.

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 solitude and nature. 

Relax, Renew, Refresh, Revive, and (hopefully) Return.   =)

PS– We now have no property dogs.  Babe (our yellow lab), Bear (our black lab), and Weston (Weimariner) all went to doggie heaven within a year and a half of each other.  But you may see our granddog, Dingo (a stray mutt adopted/rescued in the spring 2016), or Holly (pitbull).  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 full time, now that they've moved into the Black Bear Log Home!