Hello from Wilderness Bay! It has been a while since I have blogged. It’s funny how busy it can still be during our slow season. Up here in the Northwoods, everything closes down during the month of March and April. There are a few scattered restaurants still open, but it is a bit of a ghost town around here.
We are using slow season for projects and cleaning!!
Tricia, our friend that works with us will be spring cleaning starting this week. Every nook and cranny will be dusted and wiped. The mattresses will be flipped, dressers pulled out, and duck butts and deer heads will be vacuumed once again!! Their eyelashes will be dusted and teeth polished, we need to look good for the season!
Dan has been busy installing woodgrain floors in the kitchens in three of the cabins. This flooring had been gifted to us from our friends Cam and Mary Davidson. They are remodeling their gorgeous cabin and we were thrilled to put it to good use! What a difference it has made in the cabins. It really richens them up. Dan is pretty handy and was able to knock these out in a timely manner with the help of our friend and neighbor Bruce. Little by little we are making more improvements.
We have rearranged the store a little bit too! We have some new Wilderness Bay swag! Sweatshirts, three quarter length sleeve t-shirts, coffee mugs and tumblers for hot and cold liquids! We also now have new baseball style hats in various colors complete with camo!! Dan installed some galvanized pipes for our apparel displays. The store looks cleaner and streamlined. I have to watch myself when I get rolling with ordering these things, I need to remember we are not using someone else’s money to shop, lol.
Candy Store Updates!
Dan is not really a Pintrest guy by choice. I am always making him look at hair doos and resort ideas etc etc. One night, he’s like “check this out..” he was on Pintrest all by himself! He found a really cool idea for the candy store. We took all the old coffee tables that we had accumulated over the years, (some ours, some left here in the garage from the previous owners,) and cut them in half and mounted them on the wall for a cute and crafty shelving display in Juls’ Sweet Shop! My job was painting and display set up. This is my kind of project. However, sometimes, when I get home from being on my feet all day at my nurse job and I pull in to the resort and see power tools, and a mess, I have to take a deep breath. But Dan’s enthusiasm was contagious and I was all in. It turned out so cute!! We have so many ideas, most of which require lots of cash. This project was all about re-purposing. We have to find ways to make our lofty dreams come to fruition within our means.
More shelves, means more candy….
It’s been fun looking for additions to the candy store. I will google “retro candy, “ and memories come flooding back . When I was in grade school at St John’s in Rochester MN, we would go to a little store across the street called “John’s.” He would put our Bubbs Daddy gum, lemon heads, jolly rancher sticks etc etc in a little brown paper bag. I remember what a big deal that was. Fridays we got to chew gum at school, so all of us girls clad in our polyester school uniform jumpers (with matching shorts underneath so as not to ever see our underwear,) would head over there with our loose change and load up on bubble gum. Nothing like popping bubbles in Sisiter Mary Francis’s class. Amazing how seeing some of those old candies can bring back such vivid childhood memories. It is exactly what we try to do in Juls Sweet Shop. We want her store to be full of candy for the older generation to be transported back to their childhood and the younger generation to make new memories.
For your nature update…
It will not stop snowing. Last year Thousand Island Lake thawed on April 10. This year we have a little bet going at our house of when the lake will thaw. Juls prediction is June 1. Juls doesn’t have much of a concept on time and dates etc. I burst out laughing when she said this, but it’s not really that funny. She might not be too far off. Last week on Easter weekend, it snowed like crazy. Dan spent a couple of days snowblowing etc this week. We are over the snow.. it’s time to move on. The locals assure us we’ll be all good for fishing opener May 15th. If not, I will set up baby pools full of fish and set them on the ice covered lake for our fishing enthusiast.
Captain Stubing turns 1 this week!
Our dog Stu, “Captain Stubing” turns 1 year old April 9th!! When he was just 6 weeks old, he would sleep down in the store under the desk. People would literally come to the store just to see Stu. He brings so much happiness into the world. Stu has a new best friend. It is a flying squirrel named “Fly Boy.” He sits on the bird feeder on our balcony. As it starts to get dark, Stu lays by the sliding door awaiting his buddy’s arrival. He will not leave that spot. When the squirrel comes, Stu goes ballistic with anticipation. We let him out there and they play non -stop. The squirrel glides to the ground, then scampers up the pole and plays peek- a -boo with Stu. The whole while, Stu’s tiny stump of a tail is wagging a million miles an hour. It breaks our hearts when “Fly Boy” doesn’t show up. It’s like when your kid gets picked last to be on the team in PE. There are no words to console him. Just a milk bone and a hug.
The deer are back in full force, Dan had like 15 of them eating corn in our parking lot. It was like a big staff meeting. They don’t ever think there’s a slow season! He told them how we would like them to act when our guest are here. They are to frolic around eat out of our guests hands and pick up their droppings. I think it was a good meeting and they are all ready for the season. YES we pay them animal rights activists.
The septic system projects weighs heavy on our shoulders. Because it took so long for the planning of where to put it, the design, the test digs, the meetings with health dept etc etc, when it was finally time for the bids, contractors were already booked for spring. This was our biggest worry and it came true. I like to do this thing in my mind when I am stressed about something. A friend of mine calls it “awfulizing.” I imagine what the worst possible outcome of my worry is and if that indeed happened, how I will handle it. That is where we are right now. This is one of those things that is out of our control at this point. We are asking for bids for fall now instead of spring as we had so hoped. With our cabin rentals filling up for the summer, this will mean we will have to get the tanks emptied a few times a week. That is not cheap, but a necessity! It has been our most stressful situation to date. We will move forward, learning what we can control and what we can’t. We started planning this last July… we will wait a little longer and improve on the things we can control today.
Gearing up for second season…
So, we are using our slow season wisely. Gearing up for our second season. We are so excited!! It’s kinda fun knowing this summer not everything we do is our “firsts.” We have some knowledge and experience under our belts. However, there is still so much we want to do and improve on. Every single day we continue to learn about what it entails to run a resort. Some good, some bad, some frustrating, and some down right hilarious. I told Dan, we should do a reality show about this… you can’t make this stuff up.
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for following us on our journey. We appreciate every single one of you. If you are reading this, you have helped us in some way make through our first year. Stay tuned for our second season adventures!!
Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort is a family oriented facility located in Watersmeet, Michigan on Thousand Island Lake within the Cisco chain of lakes. We offer 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. We offer waterfront cabins, snowmobiles, boat rental, 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. New owners Dan and Laura Hance are excited for this opportunity. 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. Dan and Laura 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!