Hello to all our friends of Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort and welcome to 2021!

I am so sorry it has been minutes since I have blogged. Life is crazy busy, and sometimes I feel like I need an oxygen tank to keep up.  However, we feel it is important to take some time to let you all know what has been going on behind the scenes here at WB.  We still have people who stay with us or just stop in the store who mention they have kept up with my blog.  I can’t tell you how much that means to us.  It gives you some  insight into our character and how we run our business.

So, I don’t know if you have heard about this virus thing going around…

Covid, “The Vid”, “The Rona”.   It has been tricky navigating through this as a human, a nurse and a small business owner.  We have tried to do the right thing from the get-go. By and Large, our customers have supported us by wearing a mask into our store, allowing us to do porch-side bait delivery service, and understanding our need to make changes that help keep both our customers and families safe. There are varied opinions on masks and Covid in general.  As a business, we follow CDC guidelines and respect the rules put in place.  We’ve taken precautions such as switching from our “scoop” yourself candy by the pound to pre-bagged candy in Juls’ Sweet Shop. It literally took three days to change the candy from jars to bags! We started using a “ghost buster” backpack that has a tank filled with germicide to clean every cabin in-between guests.

Empty Candy Jars at Juls' Sweet Shop at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort  wilderness bay lodge and resort fishing the cisco chain northwoods resort

Tough Decisions

We have lost sleep and shed some tears (well, I did),  while  making some incredibly tough decisions.  Weighing out doing the right thing, staying afloat and  keeping our customers happy. That is a tough balance for small business owners these days and we know we are not alone.

Unexpected Demand

We went from thoughts of cancellations and business survival mode to having our busiest summer ever.  We were overjoyed to have the majority of our regulars come back.  With the closing of the Canadian border many people, especially fishermen,  had their vacation plans change.  So we took in the peeps who had planned to travel to Canada.    We hope we have converted a few more folks to seeing more of what the UP has to offer! Hopefully we have won them over with our kindness and our “UP-ness.”


wilderness bay lodge and resort fishing the cisco chain northwoods resort wilderness bay lodge and resort fishing the cisco chain northwoods resort wilderness bay lodge and resort fishing the cisco chain northwoods resort wilderness bay lodge and resort fishing the cisco chain northwoods resort wilderness bay lodge and resort fishing the cisco chain northwoods resort wilderness bay lodge and resort fishing the cisco chain northwoods resort wilderness bay lodge and resort fishing the cisco chain northwoods resort wilderness bay lodge and resort fishing the cisco chain northwoods resort


We consider ourselves blessed to be busy when other business’ found themselves having to shut their doors.  Taking nothing for granted, we thank you all for your continued support.  Every chance we get we try to pay it forward to our community.  Contributing to fund raisers for local business’, making treat packages for our medical providers, and providing a smile to everyone that comes through our door.  Someday this will all be a memory… we will get through this together.

 Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Care Package raffle donationLac Vieux Desert Medical Clinic Juls Sweet Shop Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort thank you package  







Covid Candy Jar for Lac Vieux Desert Medical Clinic staff from Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Lac Vieux Desert Medical Clinic coffee and hot chocolate care package from Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort


Who says you can’t play in the cold weather?

With our reduced store hours due to Covid, we have gotten out to play in the snow and enjoy some snowmobile time.  Dan added a jump seat to his sled so Juls is able to be a part of our adventures.  Dan got in a little trouble from Juls one day when he decided to “send it” with Juls on the back.  She later thought it was the coolest thing ever and tells everyone about it.

 Dan Hance and Juls' Hance Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort on the Cisco Chain Full Send     Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort snow mobile Full Send

Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Snowmobiling on the Cisco Chain

 One of the gifts of living up here in the Northwoods is that we have all this beauty right outside our front door.  Even when I take the dogs out to pee at 5 am, I look up at the stars and remember how lucky we are to live here.

Bob McGuffin Melissa McGuffin Laura Hance and Dan Hance at Bond Falls snowmobile trip from Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Full Moon Thousand Island Lake Rd, Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Watersmeet MI

Trail 100 lake in the clouds Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort


On New Years Day, we had a Covid safe outing on Cisco Lake.  A great day spent with our friends enjoying some fresh air, ice fishing, a bon fire, incredible food and some hot tip ups!

UP North Fun Bunch New Years Day Fishing Fun Cisco Lake Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Bob McGuffin and Juls' Hance New Years Day Fishing Outing on Cisco Lake near Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort


Check out what we’ve been up to!

It has not been all play here during our reduced hours. We continue to add to our list of dreams and keep track of our list of accomplishments.  Never stagnant… always striving to take things to the next level because you deserve that.  

  • New mattresses in the cabins!  You’re not here to sit inside and watch TV.  While we know the time you do spend inside is probably sleeping, we have definitely improved that part of your stay.
  • A generator for the entire resort. (Juls favorite project as she is terrified of losing power). Never be in the dark again…unless it’s your choice.
  • A new sign at our entrance to welcome you to Wilderness Bay!

Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort New Sign Construction Dan HanceWilderness Bay Lodge and Resort New Sign Construction final product

  • Store Canoe Light Fixture. Thanks to Dan’s creative mind for making his vision come to life! (Inspired by a light fixture seen in a hotel lobby in Madison, WI and of course Pinterest.)

Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort General Store canoe lighting project  Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Canoe Lighting Project in the General Store on the Cisco Chain


  • New apparel!! Hats, flannel shirts, sweatshirts! 
  • The Eagle cabin has been completely upgraded with new bedding, light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, bathroom flooring, living room drapes, ceiling fan and new living room, bedroom and kitchen furniture pieces.

  Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Eagle cabin update  Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Eagle cabin updateWilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Eagle cabin update

  • New docks!
  • New lighting along the shoreline. It’s a beautiful way to navigate home when you’re coming off the lakes for the day.  Enjoy the soft light it casts on the piers and shore line.  Not only do they look nice, they also have  power plugs built in to keep engines ready for the next day! Thanks Bob!
  • Drainage field for the lakeside lawn. The boys got to use their toys!! Thank you to all of our guests for putting up with the mud and inconvenience the past two summers.   It was a mess, and while we thought about promoting it as a mud bath spa, we opted to plant grass seed.  Hard work for Dan and Bob but well worth it.

Dan Hance Bob McGuffin Kabota Tractor Play Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort  Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort drain tile project  Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Cisco Chain drain tile project

  • New walkway into the Eagle cabin. A steep slope made entry to the Eagle a bit tricky.  Dan and Bob made a bridge over the trouble spot and now it’s not only easy to manage but can double as a fashion runway.Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Dan Hance Bob McGuffin Eagle Walkway


  • New water pressure tanks. Making for even distribution of water pressure and saves our well pump from being over worked. 
  • Addition of our new “executive suite,” called The Lakeside Room. It comes complete with a kitchen, large bathroom, incredibly comfortable furniture and some fancy odds and ends to make it cozy.
  • The Otter Lodge! A great addition to the resort. It has two bathrooms, a large kitchen and four bedrooms for those that want to be able to spread out and not hear each other snore!
  • We added an Alumacraft fishing boat with a brand new trolling motor. It comes equipped with a depth finder and live well.
  • Wi-Fi throughout the resort. Can you believe it? Now if you activate Wi-Fi calling on your phone you can use it for more than a paper weight during your stay.  Or take a break and get away from it all.  We won’t tell.

Wi-Fi tower at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Otter Lodge

  • New split rail fencing lining the drive.
  • New vinyl flooring on the Voyager pontoon and a new topper.
  • Replacement of the counter surround in fish house.
  • New gasoline line reel and cabinet for storage near gasoline to clean up look of shoreline.

What’s Next?

So, as you can see, we’ve been busy behind the scenes.  As always, there is an ever growing list of things to do.  If you’re bored during your stay, feel free to bring a shovel and pitch in.  Or just pack a cooler and some cold beers to enjoy the show.

  • Update décor and fixtures in Wild Wings cabin
  • Level the porch on the Eagle cabin
  • New roof on the Main Lodge
  • Staining all cabins and outbuildings
  • Redoing the second bathroom in the Otter lodge
  • Finish basement in the Otter Lodge
  • Finish walkways from cabins to lake
  • Plant lots of grass seed!!

That is just a sampling. We are always tossing around ideas and plans… we have a voting system amongst the four partners, majority vote wins, we all accept the outcome and work together!!

The Last Resort…UP Style

Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Owners left to right Bob McGuffin Melissa McGuffin Laura Hance Dan Hance

If anyone out there is a TV producer, we would like to pitch the idea of a reality tv show called “The Last Resort.”  It would be about the day-to-day life and operation of resort ownership.  We find ourselves wishing we had caught on camera some of the laughs and unbelievable things that happen here at WB.  I would watch this show… lol. Between our guests and us it’s hilarious.  For example, Dan spent an hour scraping baked beans and grease off the front porch of a cabin that a guest had thrown out the front door. Bobo thought they made him a picnic as he quickly scarfed down the scraps.  That mess froze into the packed snow.  I’m sure the critters will be happy.  Us…not so much. You can’t make this stuff up. 

We all want the same thing…

Amongst some tears, lack of sleep and stress there is laughter and friendship among the four of us.  We all want the same thing, that is quality customer service and the best possible experience for our guests here at WB.  A lot of our guests think that Dan, Bob, Mel and I are family.  Nope, we chose each other as friends and now we feel like family.  A lot of people say, “this would be a dream job”.   It is very fulfilling, but it is hard work, long hours, and a 24/7 commitment.

Many guests we now call friends.  We have met some incredibly interesting people and loved on many dogs.  We have gotten some very nice customer reviews and when that happens, we smile.  It helps us to remember why we do this and somebody taking the time to appreciate that in a public arena makes it all worth it.

Everything’s better with Bacon!

We have also welcomed a new addition of a puppy named “Bacon” to our WB family. He is almost 6 months old.  Bobo has been working hard to teach him how to be a gentleman. We get a lot of questions about where Stu, our Aussie is.  He is living in Illinois on a family farm.  It was heart breaking to re-home him and we miss him everyday.  He is doing well and we are blessed to be able to get updates on him from our daughter.

Bacon Hance at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Pet Friendly











Stay tuned for more updates here at WB…

When snowmobile season wraps up, we plan to work on more projects and take some time to get away with our families.   Not much happens in the Northwoods in April and it is a chance for us to re-group, fill our souls with fun and grandkids and come back refreshed.

Thank you again to each and everyone of you who take the time to read our blog.  It is because of you we do what we do.



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!


  • mike johnson 02/04/2021 at 1:54 pm

    great place to vacation , great friends now to go along with it . get to know them better each time we go !


  • Kathy Tuttle 02/04/2021 at 1:56 pm

    Oh my … you all have been working hard . Love the new sign . Great landmark. Watching the snow and wishing you well!!!


  • Tamra 02/05/2021 at 6:12 am

    It is so heart warming to watch your resort continue to grow & shine!!! Much love from Illinois! Congratulations!!!! Really hope to visit your awesome resort some day!!!!

    I continue my passion for my 2nd year as part of the catering food & beverage management team at St Ambrose University. I will forever carry the torch for over & above guest service that was always been a part of me but finely tuned, encouraged, shaped & mentored by Dan!
    (The Stoney Creek “dream team” will always be family)


    • Wilderness Bay 02/18/2021 at 2:58 pm

      Aww, thanks Tamra!! Miss your enthusiasm and zest for life! Glad to hear you are doing well at St. Ambrose! D


  • Evan Johnson 02/13/2021 at 12:43 pm

    What a pleasure is was to read your latest blog!!! Especially looking forward to coming up in June since we had to stay home due to the Covid. Evan has been coming up since he was a kid and I then joined him in 1973 when we were married, so the area has a special place in our hearts filled with lots of memories!! All your improvements sound great, especially Wi Fi in the cabins!! Have a good Spring! See you in June! Evan & Judy Johnson – Hebron, Indiana


  • Anonymous 02/23/2021 at 4:47 pm

    Nice all the upgrades sure keeps everyone busy . Maybe a tiki bar lakeside. What a great picture of the guy holding up the northern and bass . Can you photochop out the guy who photo bomb standing in the fish cleaning house. . Looking forward to meeting bacon.


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