What a great summer!

Hello from Wilderness Bay!! I just re-read my last blog, (so I don’t repeat myself as I am getting old and I do that now,) and realized my last blog was Memorial Day!! Labor Day is quickly approaching!!! Needless to say, we’ve been busy this summer.  It has been a really good summer.  We have been full since May! Thanks to all of those who post kind reviews and recommend our resort to their friends and family.  The fall is shaping up to be busy too!! It is such a blessing.  

You’ve heard this before…. but we are getting closer!

New old news to report.  We Still don’t have our new septic system in yet.  To say this has been a stressful process is a true understatement. Trust me when I tell you there have been sleepless nights and gray hairs sprouting. 

We are still awaiting bids from contractor, who is awaiting prices for pumps from supplier etc etc.  Waiting for their phone calls reminds me of when I would sit by the phone waiting for a boy to call.  The anticipation that one day when I get home, Dan will say, we got the bid numbers and a start date.  I have it envisioned in my head, there will be rainbows and glitter confetti, it’s going to be exciting.  It is a fine balance of being at the mercy of others schedules and being kind and NOT LOSING OUR SHIT!! (No pun intended.)

We started working on this project last July and have the end of this fall to complete it.  This is a huge costly deal for us.  We need it though to keep the integrity of the resort at the level we want.  We want it for our guest to have the best experience possible.  It is a test of my faith and my ability to turn things over to the man upstairs.

Rumor mill….

There was a rumor that “Wilderness Bay was closing because we needed to get a new septic system and it was going to cost 150,000 dollars and we couldn’t do it.” Ummmmm when I heard this I about cried.. I think I did tear up. This is our worst night mare to have any negative things going around after working so hard to build our business. That was my take on the rumor. Dan, who is so grounded and has such a good head on his shoulders, laughed. He was so excited that we made the rumor mill!! Life is all about perspective.

 Wilderness Bay Open


July 4th!

On a fun note, we had a successful July 4th! It was very hot and sunny.  We had a huge day in the store. There was even a pontoon traffic jam to dock and come in our store! It was also nice as our daughter Jen, son in law Mike and his mom Jami  and grandbaby Amy got to spend the weekend with us. Amy loves the gummi worms.. I hope she will have fond memories of coming here and asking papa for a worm or a cherry ball from Auntie Juls Sweet Shop.  She made a new friend while she was here. One of our guest son’s and she hit it off.  They ran through the sprinkler and played non -stop together.

Sunshine Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Soakin’ in the sunshine at Wilderness Bay!

Granddaughter Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Amy was ready to help Grandma Toots decorate!!

Granddaughter Daughter 4th of July

Patriotic Girls at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort!

This successful Fourth of July weekend, contributed to some of the 11,000 transactions we have had in the store since we opened! I remember when we first opened, everyday I’d come home from my nurse job and ask if we had any customers in the store.  It was not uncommon for those first few weeks to have only one person stop in .. or no one.. When I stop and think, we really have come a long way.

More projects…

Dan has been doin’ some projects around the resort.  One of my favorites?!?

Making improvements to the grounds

The deer stand is down!! It had been at the edge of the parking lot, obstructing our view out front.  A new split rail fence will replace the ugly deer stand. Not that I would mind bloody deer carcasses hanging outside my bedroom window, but I really prefer the fence.

Deer Stand at Wilderness Bay

Deer Stand is Coming Down!

Improvements at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Loved this tree but 90% of it was dead so it’s gotta go!

Improvements at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Bruce helped us take this tree down! Just a little tug with the truck and it was gone!

Updating equipment to be more reliable

One of our rental boats was not performing up to par.  The last thing we want is our customers to be all set for a great day on the water and have a boat issue.  We decided rather than fixing it half ass, we would buy a brand -new motor for our Voyager fishing pontoon.  There always seems to be a chunk of change needed for this or that as we continue to build our business. When making these decisions, we do what’s best for our guests and rental customers. We realize that building our reputation and keeping our standards high is of utmost importance to us.  Needless to say, we now have a turn key, worry free motor on that boat. 

Preparing for storage

Dan has also been using his electrical skills to do some fancy wiring for boats and ATV’s to be charging in our garages.  It is nice to have some storage room for this. The winters up here are no joke.  We like our equipment to be tucked safely away, much a like a bear in hibernation. 

Nature moment….

For our nature news!! In the wee hours of this morning a tree fell on Thousand Island Lake Rd.  An unfortunate driver hit the tree, upon hitting the tree, another tree fell behind his car.  It was like a tree car sandwich.  He was not injured! Dan (along with Craig from Vacationland Resort) went out to help chop up the trees and get them off the road.  He got to use his burly man chain saw. Just a freak accident.  I am glad no one was hurt. Thousand Island Lake Rd has been completely paved now.  The nice winding road through the woods becomes like a race track.

We’ve had a couple snakes around. One was on our pier and a lady asked Dan to come out and move it. He’s a veritable Indiana Jones. One snake I encountered was slithering through the grass and was the exact same color as the green grass.  I haven’t walked on the grass since that day… JK.

We’ve seen porcupine and more bucks this year!!

Porcupines Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

They are cute FROM FAR AWAY!!!!

Buck near Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Still has velvet antlers, but check out that rack!

Goose Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Captain Stubing checks out a baby goose!

Stu has been fishing off the dock with his bare paws. He watches in the water for fish and jumps in to try and catch them.  He loves his life here. Dan tried to give him his first bath outside with the hose.  He smells like a summers worth of lake swimming, deer poop rolling, goose chasing, hole diggin’ fur.  He is a hot mess. His fur looks like a rug that has been in a flood.  The bath did not go well. Stu screamed like a little school girl and his cries echoed throughout the resort.  I will be making a grooming appointment the day the lake freezes.

Both Stu and BoBo are on parole for sneaking into one of our guest’s cabin and eating some of their people food and their dogs food!! The two of them could make a movie together, “Bo and Stu’s great Northwoods Adventures. “

Michigan Miss Amazing Junior Miss Goes to National Pageant!

As many of you know, Juls participated in The National Miss Amazing Pageant in Chicago in August.  Our friend Tricia and her hubby Tony ran the resort while we were gone. It is a big deal for us to leave the resort, especially when we were full! With their help along with our friend Melissa McGuffin who helped in the store, we were able to have our entire family there along with friends and family. Team Juls was 22 people strong!!

Miss AmazingFamily Miss AmazingFriends Miss AmazingQueens Miss Amazing

Life changing event…

132 young women made it to the special needs pageant. She did not walk away with the title but she did a fabulous job.

Dan got the honor of being Juls “right hand man” and escorted her on stage in her evening gown.  The way she looked up at him when they walked off the stage was priceless. It was a very touching moment.

We could not be more -proud of her poise and grace throughout the pageant.  She won the hearts of many and met some incredible young women, (and of course cute boys.) It really is a life changing event to watch all these girls and women get up on stage to perform their talent. Bright lights, big stage, huge crowd… there were tears, shaky knees, and start overs but they all made it through. These young women are a true example of living life to the fullest. They don’t let anything get in their way of achieving their dreams.

Miss Amazing Escort

Juls and Dan backstage at National Miss Amazing Pageant

 Miss Amazing Juls Juls will continue to be the reigning Miss Amazing Michigan Junior Miss, so last weekend Juls was the greeter at the health fair at my workplace, “Lac Vieux Desert Health Center.” They were one of Juls many sponsors for her pageant. She wore her gown, sash and tiara and got glammed up by one of my co-workers Andee.  She turned on the charm. It was so sweet as little girls were asking to get their picture with her.  Weird, no one asked me to get their picture with me.

Juls’ moves and we become “Empty Nesters”!

Juls Keenagers

Juls also has decided to “be more independent.” On her own accord, she decided to move into an assisted living facility about an hour from our home.  She has her own room and her own bathroom. We decorated her room just like a college dorm room. This is a HUGE step for her. 

She has been there two weeks as of tomorrow.   We talk about 8 times a day, lol and she facetimes us at night so she can see all of our pets.  She can come home on the weekends or not, whatever she chooses.  I bawled my face off all the way home after dropping her off. A mix of tears, happy and sad, bittersweet ..

She loves to get mail if anyone is interested, I can provide her address. Dan and I are empty nesters for the first time in our 26 years of marriage as Dan had Jen who was a toddler when I met him. We are too busy right now to see how it feels, but as we head into our slow season, we’ll get a better idea. We’ll probably spend our free time talking about our kids.

Empty Nesters at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Looking forward to Fall and Winter guests!

Thank you all for helping us have an incredible summer her at Wilderness Bay! We look forward to color watchers, hunters, snowmobilers and all-season candy eaters to come to WB.  The standard for our guest experience remains a high priority for us. We will not let up. We like to treat our guests and customers like family.  That means, you will get a gift bag with your gift shop purchase complete with buffalo plaid tissue paper, because we want you to feel special. We don’t care if you’re 6’3” wearing all camo and carrying a gun.. you will get a gift bag whether you want it or not, lol.

Thanks for a great summer!

As always, thank you for taking the time to follow our crazy journey.  We really do think this would make a hilarious reality tv show. I know if you’re reading this you took time out of your busy life to spend some time with us.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We ask for prayers for a successful septic system install by our deadline… or shit will hit the fan!!


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





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