Michigan Fishing Resorts | Wilderness Bay Lodge & Resort | Laura – WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!

It’s opening week! We officially opened Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort on Monday May 1.  The “Now Open” flag blowing in the wind proudly. It has been so nice to see humans.  It’s been a long winter, and our interaction with people has been scarce. We have had the pleasure of meeting neighbors and folks just coming up to their cabins.  We love getting to know people and hear their stories. Our neighbors even brought us a Gerber daisy plant to welcome us.  I love that kind of personal touch, it made my day.

 Today, is Wisconsin’s fishing opener and we have had a few fishermen stop by looking for bait as we are right on the Wisconsin boarder.   It will be here in time for Michigan fishing opener! Bring on the minnows!! We also just got approved to sell fishing license, so fish beware…  they’re comin’ for you.

Dan has been putting the docks together, his first one took him a day.  He put two together in a half a day this week.  He is learning.  I told him, next year we will look back on our first season and laugh at all our trials.  People keep promising, that this will all become “old hat.” We’ll see about that! Our boats are starting to come in.  We will have three aluminum fishing boats, one fishing boat and two pontoons.  One of the pontoons will be geared for the fisherman or woman who has difficulty getting in or out of boats! We don’t want “advanced maturity” or a knee injury to keep people from enjoying a favorite hobby!

The animals are out, flying squirrels, fox, turkey, ducks, loons, wolves, fisher, deer, reported bears nearby,…. Today I woke up early to a giant raccoon on our balcony! His fingernails were as long as Jackie Joiner Kersee!! (for you youngsters, she is a track star that had nails that curled around and around.) Did I mention flying squirrels? Those little critters are cute until they fly, they freak me out. I might start sleeping with a tennis racquet and a helmet.  I am embracing the north woods and all the beauty and wild life, but if I get a flying squirrel stuck in my hair, I might have to go. 

The cabins are ready! I made all the beds.  It took me a lot longer than I thought.  As I was tucking the sheets on the corners of the mattress, I had a flash back to nursing school.  Sister Cassion taught me how to make beds.  I hope I would make her proud.  Again, in a million years, I didn’t think those skills would come in handy for anything but hospital beds. Making the bunk beds up is a tricky.  I was glad there were no video cameras capturing that scene! I asked Dan if it would be rude to ask our guest to sleep on top of the comforter so I never have to make the top bunk again! I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

 Dan and I did a final walk through together, with clip board in hand, checking our lists.  Smoke detectors, pizza pan, new pillow, right down to a box of Kleenex on the back of each toilet.  Dan even looked in the new garbage cans and I got razzed for throwing a wrapper in the garbage because they “should be clean when our guest walk in.” LOL. But that is how much we care and I sure hope it shows.  Our first guests come in this Wednesday, so we will get a chance to get some direct feedback which will be nice.  

Our store looks good, shelves lined with anything you could need while in the north woods.  Our store is open 7-7, 7 days a week.  Today, I got up to open so Dan could sleep in.  Yesterday, I got to sleep in.  Finding ways to balance everything is tricky but we’ll figure it out! Juls was up and at em’ today, inspired by our successful day yesterday. She wants to sell more candy!! She also enjoyed a bag of Chex Mix for breakfast.  She has eaten more inventory than we have sold!


As our guest trickle in, we are encouraging them to let us know if they came in for something they couldn’t find so we can order it in to have for them next time they stop in. Yesterday was our busiest day yet.  Dan is patiently teaching me how to use the cash register. It is quite possible that part of my brain is missing.  Give me a bloody open belly case in the operating room or medical symptoms on one of those medical shows and I’ll tell you the diagnosis for the patient before the doctor walks into the room, … but a simple thing like a cash register presents a challenge! It is not in my wheel house but it will be soon!

 I have had fun putting some of our touches on the store. Juls candy store is packed with every kind of candy imaginable.  Her store has been the most fun project I have done since we’ve been here.  The bright colors , sugary worms, and shiny gumballs are so inviting.  She loves showing the guests around and loves to make a sale.  It really makes her happy and gives her a sense of accomplishment.  She did pocket the first five dollars she made.  I think she really thought that her store was filled with candy for free and any money coming in would go right in her pocket.  I had to explain that we do not have candy trees out back and we had to pay to fill her store.  A sad concept for her to grasp. 

We have had a lot of calls for reservations and that is exciting.  My face always lights up when I get a text from Dan about another booking.  We do a mini celebration with every reservation.  This is actually happening! May 1 finally came, it was such a pipe dream and here we are.  Thank you for all of you who have supported us along our journey, family, friends, some old and some brand new.  We appreciate every call, every kind word of encouragement, every referral, every like and share on Facebook.  We pour over every single one and it feeds us with motivation to keep moving forward.  We have not taken one day off since we moved here on January 28.  It’s been exhausting, fun, stressful, exciting, happy tears, and sleepless nights.    Dreams are not given to you while sitting on the couch.  We’ll keep moving, we are truly grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime. 



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!



  • Myra Laing 05/07/2017 at 6:34 pm

    Looks like a great place!!!! Fun and relaxing!


  • Julia George 05/09/2017 at 3:39 pm

    Wonderful news – welcome from one of your neighbors on the lake! Good luck with this venture – we are thrilled that the property is operating and I am personally excited to have access to a stocked store, especially since the market in Lando is no longer open. Will stop in to introduce myself and get my fishing license soon!


    • Wilderness Bay 05/20/2017 at 7:57 pm

      Julia, We are excited to meet you too! Many neighbors have stopped in to introduce themselves and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Still waiting on our equipment from the DNR for selling licenses, but we have been approved! If you need help getting a license, stop by anyway! We can help! We hate that the market in Lando is closed, but we will do our best to support the Chain in having the basics. We’ve started conservatively, but hope folks will let us know if there is something they need we don’t have so we can see if we can get it for them! (our delivery comes Wednesdays, so if we know before then, we can try to order!) See you soon!


  • Holly McCormack 05/09/2017 at 9:50 pm

    Welcome to the neighborhood, look forward to meeting you. It’s really nice to see your store, giving visitors and locals that option.
    Holly McCormack
    MCCM (McCormack’s Cisco Chain Marina)
    …….. if you ever need any help with those docks, I may know someone. 😊


    • Wilderness Bay 05/20/2017 at 7:53 pm

      Holly, How nice of you to reach out!! Can’t wait to meet you folks! We’re only putting three docks in this season along with the pier and I just finished getting the third one in the water today! PHEW! We need to know more about your business so we can send folks your way too! Have a great season and thanks for your support!!


  • Lynda Babbitt 05/10/2017 at 7:15 pm

    Glad to hear you are open, and things look fantastic in your photos.

    Wishing you a successful first season, with many more to follow. I hope I get a chance to stay at Wilderness – it looks like s great resort,

    Lynda Babbitt


  • Suz Baldus-Strauss 05/10/2017 at 9:01 pm

    I have watch this unfold from the day it was just an idea! The joy, stressors, excitement, andworries have become daily sensations .. for you and those who love you. I just want you to know how proud I am of all of you, on many different levels. Keep up the good work. I deeply believe that what goes around comes around…and so you will be richly rewarded with the warmth and love and openness you give so freely!


    • Wilderness Bay 05/20/2017 at 7:50 pm

      Thanks so much for the support Suz!! You’ve been one of our greatest cheerleaders and supporters! Can’t wait for you to come back and see where we are now!! See you soon! Love ya!!


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