Happy Leap Day!

Happy Leap Day from Wilderness Bay!! Whenever I write a blog, I look back at the last one I wrote so I don’t repeat myself. It was August when I last blogged!! Shame on me!! That’s life though, it gets busy!!  

Happy Holiday Season!

We hope everyone had a happy Holiday Season. We were blessed to have our kids and grandbabies home for Christmas! It was so nice to have them here. My granddaughter Amy and I played out in the snow. She loved throwing snowballs for Stu and making “snow sandwiches.” She makes a great sammi. Lots of giggles, and snuggles… my favorite. Our grandson Calvin (age 1), is a mover and a shaker, and he does all of it with a snack in each hand, lol, a boy after my own heart. We love spending time with our family, we cherish every single moment with them.

Always Decorating!!!

Mel and I decorated the Main Lodge porch for Christmas, it was so much fun! We spent an evening making swags with fresh pine. We went out into the woods to find branches for our planters with pine, and berries… It looked so festive, along with the white lights on the trees we put on the porch, it looked like something out of a magazine on a snowy night.

New Partners!!

We have big news to announce!! Our Wilderness Bay Family has grown!!! Our dear friends, Bob and Melissa McGuffin have joined us in a business partnership of Wilderness Bay. Melissa has been working with us for over a year and her passion for people, the resort and the Cisco Chain are just a few of the great additions she has added here at Wilderness Bay. Bob and “Mel” share in our quality customer service beliefs, and we have had fun this past year working together.  Dan and Bob working on projects that are exhausting and labor intensive…both work horses. Mel and I work together so well on décor and creative ideas.

This was a huge decision for Dan and me. We had long talks, as this has been “Our Baby.” We have built this place up from being abandoned, with no clientele to a warm, cozy, successful resort. We have poured everything we have into WB!!  But… there is the quality of life piece… It is very difficult to get away to visit our kids and grandkids, or even just a quiet weekend alone.

We also want to make Wilderness Bay even better as we have more visions and ideas and this partnership allows for this to be possible. One of our goals is to always be better and never stagnant… this partnership is a piece of the puzzle. We are excited about this and we are anxious for you all to meet Bob and Mel and of course their sweet dog Nala. Many of you have already met them and already love them!

Snowmobile Season

We are deep into our snowmobile season as we approach President’s Day weekend. The trails have been amazing. Yours truly has been snowmobiling more this year. Our group of “Up North Friends,” are big snowmobilers, so it has given me an opportunity to try something new… and I love it. Let me just say, I am not speedy. When I was first learning, Dan said the squirrels were passing me up on the trail.  I have picked up on my MPH though, you could almost call me “Turbo…” almost, lol.

The thing I like about it is the beauty.  It is breathtaking to go out in the middle of the woods, trees flocked with snow, the sky pink and orange from the setting sun… I would not see this if I was bundled up in a blanket on my couch. It is also about comradery. our kind friends have been so patient with my slower speed, because it is all about being together making memories.

As we speak, Dan is on a snowmobile trip, he just called from Lake Gogebic, he is giddy explaining how the trails are awesome and how “I would love it.” I just want him to come home in one piece, as some of you may recall, he was not in one piece last year when he came home with his busted clavicle.

New Rental – Lakeside Room!

We have been deep into projects here at Wilderness Bay. During out slow time in November, Dan, his Dad Don and our friend Bob McGuffin, turned our back room of the lodge into a rental. It is called “The Lakeside Room,” and it is beautiful. They installed a bathroom and a kitchenette. It is such an open feel yet cozy and homey. We want our rentals to feel like home… It is a bit more upscale than our cabins. It has a queen size bed and a big comfy couch for an extra person. We have already had renters and they love it!! I am excited to have summer renters as their view of the lake and sunsets from that room will be gorgeous.

New Rental – Otter Lodge

We have also added a home to the resort!! We call it The Otter Lodge.” It can sleep up to 15 people, making it ideal for big groups and families!! It has two bathrooms too, so you don’t have to tear anyone off the toilet to take your turn during  bathroom emergencies!! It also has a washer and dryer which is a nice bonus. We have had this in the back of our minds for awhile. When the previous owners started having health issues and talking about selling, Dan and I told them we would like to buy their home, they were gladly accepted as they are now in a nice sunny warm climate near family.  We have had rentals in the Otter Lodge already with great feedback. There is more we want to do up there!! Stay tuned….

Mel Redecorates Store!

We have made changes in the store!! Mel had an idea to make it more like “General Country Store” like, not so BP Gas Station like. So… she found crates, baskets, tables, old wooden wire spools and I came home from my nurse job and it was like a magical fairy appeared in the store!! It looks so adorable!!! She and Dan rearranged the layout several times during the day.

I got home from work and was like, “I don’t like the table there.” (The great thing about Mel and Bob, is we can say that, and we all work together until we are all happy.) So, as Mel says, I am better at layout, so (me still clad in my nurse’s uniform,) Dan and Mel rearranged again and all agreed it looks amazing.  We are excited for you to stop in and see the new look!! It feels homier and that is what we are all about.

New Kabota!  

Everyone is very excited about this news, Wilderness Bay now has a Kabota tractor!! It will be so useful here at the resort. Since we opened, Dan has been blowing snow on the John Deere Tractor with his ski goggles on. Some of you have seen the “Hans Solo” pic with Dan covered in snow with his goggles on. He now can blow snow in a nice heated cab. Dan and Bob looked for just the right tractor, sending pics back and forth all day like two kids… We sent pics to all of our friends of “the new baby.” It’s a great addition and will help us carry out many more ideas we have.

Mel and Dan worked together to move this insane amount of snow we have, Dan was the blower and Mel came through and broke it up with the Kabota. Team WB is stronger together!! Bob in his General UTV and Dan in the Ranger both with plows have moved so much snow!! It takes entire days, sometimes, it is hard to keep up with here in the North Woods!! I am so thankful that Dan has two arms this season….such an added bonus.

Nature News…

In Nature news, there is a ton of snow. The deer struggle to leap through the deep snow, I swear Stu is going to catch one.   Stu LOVES the snow and everything about it. He thinks it snows just for him. In other nature news, there are no mosquitos right now so that’s cool. The tiny chickadees have been eating out of our feeders, all fluffy. I always wonder how their feet don’t get cold. BoBo turned 9 on Ground Hogs Day, shocking, he saw his shadow.

Those of you have met Bo know his shadow is not hard to miss, lol.  He celebrated his b-day with a bone cake topped with sprinkles. We had to be careful, BoBo loves him some cake, we didn’t want him to eat the candle with the flame on it.

And last but not least, spring will be here before you know it. I know this because Yankee Candle has come out with their spring line of candles. I don’t know if my husband or the FedEx guy have made my candle addiction public or not, but I am throwing it out there now, my name is Laura, and I am addicted to Yankee Candles. It is all part of my desire to make this place feel like home!! Smells, looks, textures, feelings, all warm and cozy.


I think that is all my news for now. Our summer season is strong on the books!! Everyone who is reading this has contributed in some way to our success, whether it be manual labor, maybe you’ve stopped in our store to buy some candy from Jul’s Sweet shop, or an ear to bend when things get stressful. All of that matters, it is all part of “Us.” We thank you for that. Seriously, thank you.



Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort is a family oriented facility located in Watersmeet, Michigan on Thousand Island Lake within the Cisco chain of lakes.  Enjoy snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter months and game fishing for muskie, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, crappie and bluegill in the spring, summer and fall months. 

Our guests enjoy waterfront cabins, boat rentals, a candy shop and convenience store where you can purchase hunting and fishing licenses.  We pride ourselves on being family oriented with the desire to a place that you will call your home away from home. 

Owners Dan & Laura Hance and Melissa & Bob McGuffin are excited to be your hosts.  Dan comes to this resort with thirty years of experience within the hospitality field and Laura will continue nursing with over twenty five years of knowledge and experience within the health care field.  Mel brings over 20 years in sales and Bob continues to fly as a commercial pilot.   

The owners want their love for people, their work ethic and combined talents to make Wilderness Bay their dream come true.  We look forward to hearing from you!





  • Anonymous 02/29/2020 at 11:38 am

    So fun to read your updates! I had heard through Mary that you were getting a Kabota! Wonderful! It is all about the right tool for the job!
    Can’t wait to come down to see the store! Until then we will wave as you snowmobile by and as we go by!
    Take care neighbors!
    The Tuttle’s
    Kathy and Ralph


  • Carl Wassell 02/29/2020 at 3:47 pm

    Great news


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