Happy New Year from Wilderness Bay!!

Happy New Year from Wilderness Bay!  We hope your year is filled with all things good! Things are going well here at WB. Thankfully, we have had our first round of snowmobilers!! Of course, to have them, we needed snow.  Well, that is one thing I know I can’t control! We were so thankful when the snow started to fly as that is crucial to our winter business.

Dan has been out and comes home to tell me of the beauty he has witnessed out on the trails. To say I am a novice snowmobiler is generous. I have been out once on my own sled… when I got back, I couldn’t even get my own helmet off.  I am determined to get out there more to give it a try again. Dan loves it, and I want to embrace being here in the Northwoods.  My goal for next sled ride, put my helmet on and take it off all by myself.

Snowmobiles at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

This weekend we had the Gibson and Mroz family in for sledding.  Monday, they decided to get the kids out on the lake to start teaching them responsible, safe sledding.  Our bay was the perfect place as it was a quiet time and there are no obstacles.  The kids were doing a great job with direction from their parents.  It’s so much fun for us to see one generation pass down the love of sport to the next.  We love building relationships with those families too.  The picture on the left was this year and the picture on the right was last year.  We sure hope they will continue to come back and see us each year!  

Gibson and Mroz Families at Wilderness Bay Lodge and ResortGibson and Mroz Family at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Ice Fishing at Wilderness!

We have also had ice fishermen who have had good luck out on the Cisco Chain! I am happy for them, but I won’t be joining them in that venture.  We appreciate them staying here at WB! I will watch them from my window, all snuggled in with my fuzzy socks and a candle burning. I appreciate their tenacity and sense of adventure… from under my blanket in my chair. 

Ice Fishing at Wilderness Bay Lodge and ResortWalleye Ice Fishing at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Septic at Wilderness…..

I have made it through two paragraphs and have not mentioned the septic project.  Someday, we won’t talk about it at all. But for now, it is a daily topic.  Here’s how our mornings start out everyday…. I text Dan from work, “are the guys there working?” Then I get a play by play of if they’re here and if so, what stage they are on of the project etc. etc.

Let me just tell you, this has been a huge test of my OCD medication. I don’t like messes or things not to look just right.  I am proud of myself, I haven’t even had to breathe into a paper bag.   It is a mess out there. Mounds of dirt, huge trenches… It is for the good though. This is going to be a huge success for the resort. It is long overdue.

Stu (our Aussie) is the project manager.  He loves this whole process and thinks they are doing it just for him, full of mud and stink, he couldn’t be happier.  Soon, it will all be behind us, no pun intended.

Lift Stations at Wilderness Bay Lodge and ResortSeptic Field at Wilderness Bay Lodge and ResortNew Septic at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Store is slow in Winter…

The store has been s l o w. We sell bait and eggs mainly.  Dan continues to be down here every day. We said we would be open all season and want to keep our word. We continue to learn what works for us and our Cisco Chain Community and our guests. Still learning and finding the balance. 

Juls Turns 21!

We had a wonderful holiday season. To kick off our holidays, our daughter Juls turned 21!! We took her to Beauty and The Beast the musical in Oakbrook Illinois.  We went to dinner with her big sister Jen (and new nephew Cal,) and two of her Aunts and Uncle. 

For all of you who have met Juls or seen pics, you can imagine the shock of the bartender as she sat at the bar at Magianos and ordered her first drink.  (I should tell you that her first ever drink order was a Miller Lite for her dad.) We all stood off to the side and watched the whole process. The bartender checked her ID and said, “wow, you really are 21 today.” She got her beer and barely made it off the bar stool as she is so tiny.  We erupted in cheers for her. 

Juls felt very good about the transaction and then ordered a “hard Shirley Temple” which she proceeded to take three sips out of over the next three hours we were there.  She is the only 21 year old I know that orders a drink and visits Santa on the same day😉

Juls From Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Orders Her First Drink on 21st Birthday

Exhausting Elves!

The elf on the shelf family reappeared on Thanksgiving Day.  We have FIVE ELVES.” Four adults and one baby elf.  The elves are a big part of holiday tradition for Juls.  Lets just says they really love the fact that they are resort elves.  Our older kids think they’re creepy. They’re exhausting. Juls of course wants to know how they had a baby.  I told her to ask Dan to explain. I am not going to explain elf sex.

Elves at Wilderness Bay Lodge and ResortElves at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Christmas in Illinois!

We spent Christmas with our kids in Illinois.  Our daughter Jen, her hubby Mike and little Amy and baby Calvin were excellent hosts.  Our son Drew, aka “Uncle Meatball,” joined us as well as Dan’s parents and sister.  We had lots of snuggle time with grandkids, and laughs with our big kids. All of our kids are doing so well right now.  Juls asked me what I wanted from Santa, (as she is one of his elves and has connections) I told her, “all I want is my kids to be happy.” I truly mean that and it seems to be so right now… all is right with my soul. It was nice to get filled up with love (and food) and recharged to return to the resort. 

Drew and Juls from Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort at Christmas

Cheetah Amy from Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort at Christmas

Auntie Juls and Amy at Christmas

Grandson Calvin at Christmas

Staff Meeting With The Animals….

Not much on nature news.  I found evidence of a mouse in our home upstairs so I will be staying at a local hotel until further notice.   Yes, I had a staff meeting with our two cats and two dogs about their responsibility of assuring no live varmits make it into our home.  Do you think they were listening?… we’ll see.

Stu had cut his leg open on a branch earlier in the fall and underwent sedation and stiches to be repaired. He spent a week in his cone of shame.  He then was a free man and promptly re-opened his leg wound while tearing through the woods at 100 mph. Long story straight, he spent 16 days in his cone of shame.  This crazy dog continues to re-open his leg because he CAN’T HELP HIMSELF!!! Stu is all boy, and he loves nothing more than to chase deer. He thinks they are his friends. Good thing I am a nurse and have access to wound care products. 

BoBo has been struggling with his arthritis.  He tried to keep up with Stu.. he’s too fat for that business and he’s older.  He is on like three different medications and can barely stand up at night.  It’s tough to see. Juls, who’s home for the weekend said, “BoBo is my best friend.”

We love all our animals so much, I hope you’re not sick of hearing about them. But most people reading this blog or staying at our resort quickly fall in love with them too.  We had a guest tell us they are part of the “charm of the resort.” Perfect.  That is exactly what we hoped.

Never mind that the health department came to inspect our store and Smokie Joe Jones decided to prance his fat ass right by the inspector.  For those of you that don’t know Smokes, he looks like a footstool with legs. No way he could be missed by health inspector. Needless to says we got “dinged” for the cat but otherwise we did great.  Too bad I wasn’t here, I would have gone into great length explaining that he keeps our mouse population down etc etc which in the long run is better for the store etc etc. Oh well, we have ‘til April 3rd to “correct our cat issue.” Lol….

Smokey Joe Jones at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Moving Into Our Third Season!

As we venture into our third season, we continue to appreciate every guest, every inquiry, everyone who stops in our store, you all add up to our success!! Expect to see us continue to make changes to improve Wilderness Bay, we will continue to strive to be even better than we were last year. We are excited to see what 2019 brings!!

As always, thank you for spending a few minutes with me, reading my blog. I still get goose bumps when people mention they “love reading it.“ Until, next time, thank you from our family to yours for being part of our WB fam.


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. 

The Resort has waterfront cabins, 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. 

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!




  • mike johnson 01/21/2019 at 3:55 pm

    looking forward to our third year staying at wilderness bay along with Keely , stay warm.


  • Julie George 01/21/2019 at 4:11 pm

    Great job Laura, thanks for taking the time………beautiful resort, beautiful area – and beautiful family. You have been given lots of blessings!


  • Lynda Babbitt 01/21/2019 at 5:37 pm

    Love your blog! So glad you spent time with your family in IL for Christmas! Wish we would have known. Oakbrook is so close- we could have met for a drink or something! Can’t believe July turned 21! Absolutely love her and hope she is doing well!


  • Whitney 01/21/2019 at 6:02 pm

    I love reading these blogs of yours!! Stay warm and see you next month again!


    • Wilderness Bay 04/11/2019 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks Whit!! We flew over your house and Wrigley on our way home Monday (4/8) We waved, but you ignored us.


  • Anonymous 01/21/2019 at 9:28 pm

    I love reading the blog!! ❤️ Thank you for writing it!


  • Janet Evans 01/23/2019 at 2:37 pm

    I absolutely love reading your updates! I worked with Dan way back when—when he worked for Snyder. It’s great to see how far you have come.


  • Kathy Tuttle 01/25/2019 at 5:13 pm

    So great to read all your news! Blessings abound!
    I am glad to hear you have eggs! When I am on the road that is Ralph’s goto meal! Now I know he will always have dinner!
    I wave each time I drive by! 🙂
    It is so wonderful to know you are in the neighborhood!
    I will have to stop by soon!
    Take care
    Kathy Tuttle


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