Road cycling is dangerous. Cycling in
close proximity to traffic is dangerous. This information
depicts the ride activities of the author. They are not
intended, nor should they be used, as a guide.
Bishop’s Cottage on Grosse Ile was built
in 1886 as the summer home of an Episcopal Reverend who
eventually raised a family of seven in the Bavarian inspired
house. It has been a historical icon of Grosse Ile Island
since then, known for its location along the water and its
distinctive period architecture. The structure was renovated
for Bed and Breakfast use by current owners Katherine and
Verne Brockmiller. The restoration is as splendid as it
is authentic with delightful still lifes found throughout
the house and especially in the huge 800 square foot parlor
Cyclists discovered Bishop’s Cottage
five years ago on Grosse Ile. The Brockmillers immediately
recognized a niche market of tired, thirsty cyclists looking
for a pastoral garden setting with refreshing drinks and
snacks as a turn-around destination on rides from Detroit,
Dearborn, Northville and all points off the island. Even
island cyclists convene at Bishop’s Cottage on weekends
and weekday mornings.
Kathy and Verne also added a café’
inside Bishop’s Cottage. The Café has become
a central oasis for cyclists and a pastoral lounge and recovery
area in the lush gardens and garden tables next to the Cottage.
The Brockmillers have built a wonderful retreat
from the roads surrounding Grosse Ile and a delightful destination
within convenient reach of most Southeast Michigan road
riders. Here is a look at one of our frequent visits to
our favorite road ride destination, roughly 35 mile round
trip from Dearborn:
We go south on Outer Drive as we always
have on our Grosse Ile rides from Dearborn. Morning
traffic is light and there are seldom strong winds.
We cross under several railroad and freeway bridges
on Outer Drive headed toward Jefferson.
We turn right on Jefferson, as we head toward Wyandotte
Jefferson changes its name to Biddle.
The "Pay Bridge" to Grosse
Isle is the only bridge operating to the island. The
older "free" bridge is closed for repairs
for the next year. As a result, you can expect more
traffic than normal crossing the Pay Bridge.
Bridge employees have been allowing cyclists to cross
for free. The toll was .50 cents. Motorists on the
bridge are used to seeing cyclists and are courteous.
Views from the bridge are beautiful but be careful
on the steel grating!
The bridge company told us they are
waiving the cyclist's toll to speed traffic across
the bridge and through the toll gates now that the
free bridge is closed.
Most mornings you can expect light traffic on the
bridge except at rush hour.
The bridge to Grosse Ile seperates the riding experience
from the typical road environment to a truly rural/coastal
setting that is very beautiful and unexpected so close
Turning onto East River between the
U.S. and Canada across the deep-water channel in the
This may be one of the most beautiful stretches of
rideable road in the U.S. with opulent views of million
dollar mansions and the wonderful waterfront as a
backdrop. Look to your left- on a clear day you can
see the GM Headquarters in downtown Detroit at the
Conditions here can be windy.
The freighters carrying ore and other cargo make
their way up the deep water channel that divides Canada
from the U.S. We almost always see freighter traffic
early in the morning as ships make their way from
the industrial complex in the Rouge area north on
On the weekends the waterways are full of pleasure
Swans are frequently seen along these waters.
The road is generally good pavement with some rough
patches and pretty lawns and fields to either side.
This is the last stretch up to the turn on Macomb
St. to Bishop's Cottage. It is the one slight uphill
gradient on the island.
Bishop's is a cyclist's haven. Since bike riders
made Bishop's Cottage a destination Kathy and Verne
have been catering to groups of cyclists who ride
50 miles to get to the Cottage.
The meticulously maintained grounds and beautifully
designed garden patio is the perfect setting for cyclists
looking for a good turnarond point and a place to
re-fuel and rest on a long ride.
Here we reach the stone path welcoming riders to
the Cafe' garden.
The Cafe' at Bishop's Cottage is a gathering place
for bike riders and a chance to buy fresh coffee,
muffins, pastries and even smoothies and cold drinks.
Kathy is always quick to heat up muffins and pastries
and provide riders with ice for drinks while making
sure the coffee is fresh and hot.
Before retiring to a table in the garden for a rest
we load up on food and drinks for the ride home.
We've always been impressed with how enthusiastic
Kathy and Verne are toward cyclists. They have truly
discovered the cycling niche and embraced our crowd
as welcomed guests.
Kathy knows the names of most of the cyclists who
ride to Bishop's and recounts the people who have
come and gone over the previous week from memory.
Water, Coke, Diet Coke, Iced Tea, Smoothies, the
best coffee on the river and a host of other refreshements
are on ice and freshly brewed in the Cafe'.
On hot summer days the cooler wind off the river
and the iced drinks at Bishop's Cottage are an enticing
goal at the turn-around point of a ride.
Smooth, hot and strong. Our early morning efforts
are caffiene infused from Bishop's coffee.
Kathy fawns over cyclists, putting on fresh pot after
fresh pot on the weekends to fuel the stream of riders
coming to the cottage. The kitchen is stocked with
fresh ingredients for smoothies and a wide variety
of pastries and other mid-ride snack items.
Here Mario mixes his special brew with cream and
honey as an energy drink for the return trip.
As a coffee lover, Bishop's coffee is rivaled only
by that found at Astoria Bakery in Greektown.
Having opened on May 1st this year, the garden
patio at Bishop's Cottage is in beautiful condition.
Verne Brockmiller can be seen in the garden daily,
trimming and planting, watering and feeding. Birds
add a wonderful soundtrack to the garden patio.
Here we chat about the wind on the way home while
Frankie does business over the phone. On weekday mornings
we usually pick up a moderate tailwind on the way
back from the island.
A still life of modern cyclists' gear in the garden
at the Cottage.
Bishop's became a destination years ago when Frank
Andreu Senior (father of former pro cyclist Frankie
Andreu) visited the cottage and struck up a friendship
with owners Kathy and Verne. Since then it has become
a mecca for road cyclists.
It is common to see a pack of cyclists headed each
way on the pay bridge to the island, especially on
While modern cyclists discovered the cottage a
few years ago this photo on the second floor suggests
cyclists from a previous era also rode in the area.
Grosse Ile is rich in local history and Bishop's
Cottage is a showcase of local historical artifacts.
Bishop's was restored with many period pieces when
Kathy and Verne took over ownership.
The decor is delightful and authentic.
One of the garden decorations keeps two green eyes
out for butterflies on the patio.
The wondeful attention to detail everywhere you look
makes the entire Bishop's experience one you want
we've looked forward to every spring since the place
became a cycling destination.
We love the whimsical touchs to the garden patio
like the green-eyed cat who watches over the songbirds.
The guest rooms on the second floor. More than
a few cyclists have discovered Bishop's Cottage during
a ride and then returned as guests of the Bed &
Breakfast or for Kathy and Verne's Thursday night
jazz ensemble in the garden patio.
This beautiful canopy bed is in a room overlooking
the garden patio.
Fluffy pillows and regal canopies recall a time when
the Bishop actually lived in the Cottage.
An 800 square foot parlor dominates the main floor.
This sitting room is a popular common area for guests.
Be sure to look at the antique photos of the Cottage
during the winter.
The parlor is also a showplace and gallery for the
many antique artifacts on display in the Cottage.
Sunlight casts a warm morning glow on another nice
still life in the parlor.
Kathy invites cyclists upstairs for the guest bathrooms.
It doesn't take long to feel at home at Bishop's
Cottage. The place has a peaceful, quiet feel that
is so refreshing during a tough ride.
Spring sunlight casts warm glow into the parlor
at Bishop's Cottage.
On rainy or cooler days cyclists sit in the indoor
cafe' next to the kitchen just behind this parlor
Kathy and Verne also host wedding receptions, corporate
gatherings, private parties and other events at the
The cottage is closed during the winter which only
makes it more of a summer time treat.
After a sporting 17 miles to reach Bishop's Cottage
a break gives us the opportunity to enjoy a light
breakfast and fresh coffee.
Before each stage of the Tour de France top pro cyclists
enjoy a portable village with a patio setting stocked
with food and drinks. Nine-time Tour de France finisher
Frankie Andreu mentioned how the patio reminds him
of his fondest Tour memories.
Kathy Brockmiller doesn't like having here photo
taken but isn't shy when it comes to taking care of
the many cyclists who visit her and husband Verne
at Bishop's Cottage.
You can phone the Cottage at (734) 671-9191 for information
and event bookings. The Cottage is located at 7573
Macomb, 48138 on Grosse Ile.