Snow is here!
Yahoo!! We couldn’t be more excited that it has snowed every day for the last five days. That means I have to go out and push snow or get out the snow blower. It doesn’t hurt so bad especially when the phone starts to ring with folks wanting to make reservations! We laugh that while we may have close to 10-12 inches of snow on the ground now, back home in Davenport, IA it would be considered “SNOWMAGEDDON”!! Schools would close! Stores would be out of bread and milk. Drivers would be crashing into everything. Up here, it’s unusual NOT to get a lot of snow! We are excited for it as it begins our second season for snowmobiling and ice fishing!
Weather reports are calling for another 1-3 inches of snow today! We learn from area Snowmobile Club Facebook posts that conditions are close to trails opening by the weekend. The base is decent, but the problem is still the wet spots on the trails. While most have frozen over, some have been covered with snow which acts as an insulation and doesn’t allow it to freeze. PLEASE NOTE: Lake Trails will not be open this early. It’s not safe enough for sleds to be out on the lakes yet as the ice is still forming and not thick enough to support the weight. Don’t go out on the lakes until the trails are clearly marked. A big shout out and thank you to all the groomers have been out all over the Northwoods!
It’s been really slow here since late October. With this being our first year, we have learned so much, but remain humbled that there is so much more to learn. We literally could have closed down for the last month and a half without missing any business this year. BUT, we also had two groups of hunters come through that used to stay with us that just might stay with us next year. To me, that makes it worth the effort. We are looking forward to getting busy again so the snow is welcoming to us!!
Current and upcoming projects.
This Fall, I replaced the columns and the railings on the Deer Cabin with treated lumber. My neighbor Carl was a great help. I was intimidated with the task, but once we got going, it didn’t seem to be that big of a deal. I hate to get away from the timber columns and railings, but unfortunately they just don’t hold up to the weather here in the UP. Unless you are willing to be dedicated to treat them every year, they deteriorate and require replacement. I’ve opted to use treated lumber because it lasts longer. It also allows me to screen the porch in which becomes an additional improvement for our guests. If you haven’t experienced the mosquitoes in the Spring here, you’d understand why this is such a big deal.
I’m currently working on installing a woodstove in the lake room of our main building. We were fortunate to have our good friends, Cam and Mary, offer to give us the stove they were taking out of their cabin. This woodstove won’t be the main source of heat, but will be a great supplement to cut back on our propane consumption!
The next project in the works will be to replace kitchen flooring in each of our cabins. We currently have sheet vinyl tile which has served it’s purpose well, but it’s time for an improvement. I’ll be installing laminate wood floors in each and hope it will give a nice upgraded look to each of our kitchens. I’m posting this now to give me a good reason to get started on this project! I don’t want to promise what I won’t deliver!
We had Stops Heating and Cooling out of Land O’ Lakes install a new boiler in the main building. The one we inherited was old and the indirect hot water heater was leaking. Thankfully, after installing the new system, we found our hydronic system was water-tight, which was good news for us! I can now sleep at night knowing I don’t have to worry about the pipes freezing under our house. The guys that worked on the project put in long days and hours to assure everything was done well.
The septic system is in the final design stages and we look forward to getting it out for bid soon. Michigan really makes you jump through the hoops on a Commercial system, so we have to cross a lot of t’s and dot a lot of i’s. Our hope is to have a decent Spring where we can do much of the work before our season gets started.
Working on the “upside down”!
Today, I’d like to give a nice shout out to Oscar, who works for the company that hosts our website. He spend a couple of hours on the phone with me today to help me understand the “backside” of our website. For me, it’s easier to relate to the “upside down” of our website (credit Stranger Things)! We now feature a weather widget, recent blog posts and updated Instagram photos on our home page. I think it’s important because we know people want to see what is happening RIGHT NOW at Wilderness! I will work to take photos when I can to update! I know you snowmobilers appreciate eyes on the conditions!
We are also working on search optimization to help get our website better presence when people search for resorts and lodging in the U.P! I know this may sound boring, but it is so important for a small business to have a good web presence no matter what budget they might have. Since we have a very limited marketing budget right now, I have to do what I can to improve our web presence and I’m learning, but not fast enough! You can help us though!! Like us on Facebook. Review us on TripAdvisor and Google. Share our posts on Facebook with your friends. Everything helps!!
Happy 2oth birthday Juls!
This Friday marks our youngest daughter Juls’ 20th birthday. We started this journey at Wilderness Bay with the idea that this would be a great fit for her….she could run her own candy store, be the resort “ambassador”, and have fun exploring the Northwoods.
The move to the Northwoods has been a tough one for her. She graduated from High School last December which was her social network and now kids her age are far and few. So, while the transition has been tough, we are trying to get her involved in different stuff. Vocational Rehab with the State of Michigan is helping Juls get in to the world of work. She is currently volunteering one morning a week at the Lac Vieux Desert Court. The Judge and staff there have been fantastic to create a meaningful role for Juls. One of Laura’s friends has also offered to take her to the food pantry to help there. We have also hired a high school girl to come once a week to hang out with Juls to help break up the time. Becca has already been a big boost for Juls!!
We still plan to make her 20th birthday fun by going to Wisconsin Dells (only to find out Juls doesn’t want to go to a waterpark ….. oh well, there’s plenty of stuff to do) Then soon after, we will celebrate our first Christmas in the Northwoods. We are excited to have our daughter, her husband and our granddaughter here from Northern Illinois. Our son will be back again from Minneapolis. Our house, wherever it is, always is HOME when we have everyone here. Even though I grumble about pulling out all the boxes and decorations, I love how Laura make our home feel cozy and welcoming for our kids. This year is no exception.
If we wouldn’t want our own family to stay….
We are proud of what we do here at the resort. Our reputation is at stake. Our integrity is at stake. We have so many dreams of what we want this place to come, we have to check ourselves to remember we can only do so much at one time. At the very least, we continue to stand on one simple principle. If we wouldn’t want our own family to stay here, why would we ask guests to pay to stay here? That keeps it pretty simple. We hope our blogs give you a chance to get to know us better and help you want to stay with us!! We just sent out holiday cards to our customers for the first time and it was fun to look back on all the folks that have blessed us with their business and friendship in the last year. Happy Holidays to you and your families!
Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort is a family oriented resort in Watersmeet, Michigan on Thousand Island Lake within the Cisco chain of lakes. We offer snowmobiling & ice fishing in the winter. Fishing for muskie, northern, largemouth, smallmouth, walleye, crappie and bluegill is plentiful spring to fall months. Waterfront cabins, boat rental, a candy shop and convenience store with hunting and fishing licenses are available. We pride ourselves on being family oriented with the desire to a place that you will call your home away from home. Dan comes to this resort with thirty years of experience within the hospitality field. Laura shares over twenty five years of knowledge and experience within the health care field. They 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!