Our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY at Wilderness Bay!

Hello and Happy New Year from Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort!  And Happy One Year Anniversary to us!!  We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.  Our kids and grandbaby were all home for Christmas.  Nothing makes me happier than having our family all together under one roof. (Including four dogs.)  It was our first Christmas here at the resort.  We spent time sledding on a glider sled that Dan and I got for Amy.  I’m not gonna lie, we had more fun on it than she did. 

Every one of us cooked and ate so much food.  Dan made beef wellington on 12/20 which was the anniversary of our closing date on the resort.  Heads up, that meat takes a long time to cook, but at 9pm we ate a really nice meal.    BoBo wore his ugly Christmas sweater that was a bit snug on him which makes it even funnier.  Stu got neutered on Dec 21, so needless to say I ruined his Christmas. He had to wear the cone of shame for the holidays.  We considered decorating it with garland and lights…   

Juls was glad to know that Santa found our new home without any problems.  Jen and I spent time making fleece blankets for all the cabins.  (We want our guest to feel warm and cozy.) Dan installed a woodburning stove in our “lake room” in the main lodge.  It heats the entire first floor.  It was actually warmer in here than it was in the Bahamas at one point!  We actually Googled it.  A huge shout out to our friends Cam and Mary Davidson for giving us that stove that did not work out in the remodel of their new lake home. 

Christmas Sweater at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Cone of Shame at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Granddaughter at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Juls at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Sledding at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Sledding at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Remembering the move…

This week marked the one year anniversary of our move to the North woods! I remember moving day like it was yesterday.  It was bitter cold.

The day we moved out of our home, memories flooding my mind of the 12 years we spent together in that home.  I had a lump in my throat.. lots of goodbyes to our friends and neighbors.  I felt like I could smell the memories, Dan making chex mix on holidays, smells of cut grass and crunchy fall leaves, the smell of the little candle inside the carved pumpkins on Halloween.  Walking around the house picking up the last remaining items, haphazardly throwing all the remaining stuff in boxes, loose change, miscellaneous socks, dog bowl and some cocktail napkins.   The boxes were taped shut and loaded. I vacuumed before we left, I noticed how pristine the carpet looked where our furniture had been contrasting with the wear and tear of the kids and various dogs that were part of our lives in Iowa.

We valium’d up our cat “Regis “ and hit the road.  He screamed for the entire trip.  Needless to say, I was a bit stressed.

Moving In Day at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort


As the movers unloaded the semi, we stood in what is now our convenience store directing the moving guys with all our worldly possessions. (It is amazing that literally half of our belongings are up in the big garage and I don’t miss any of it.. whatever’s out there. )The store and our home upstairs felt foreign and cold. It was dusty and needed a deep cleaning.  I was excited but also on the verge of tears.  “We’re really here and this is really happening.” We sat in the empty store at a little table with the moving guys eating subway sandwiches, (that I had to drive 40 minutes to get, which was a shock to me.) I remember them talking to us, I was only half listening as I was preoccupied with thoughts of turning this place into our home.

Store before stocking at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Linen Inventory at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Cleaning cabins at Wilderness Bay Cabin inventory for Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort


Man have we come a long way in a year.  We sorted through all that was left behind, deciding what we would keep and what we would donate.  We cleaned like crazy.  Everything from soaking the window blinds in the tub to vacuuming up dead flies to washing walls and vacuuming taxidermy butts. Our touches are everywhere throughout the resort.  Our home upstairs is like a birds nest that overlooks the lake. I always have good smelling candles burning and there are soft blankets strewn about.  On the walls hangs pics of our children and family.  There are dog nose prints on the sliding door where our guys watch the deer out back.  It is officially our home and it feels like it.  Looking back on move in day, I didn’t forsee how cozy I now feel here. 

Granddaughter at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort  Granddaughter with dog at Christmas at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort


Nice to Get Back to See Old Friends

I took Juls back to Iowa two weeks ago to visit her old high school and see the show choir premier. We still miss the big city.  She practically hyperventilated as we drove into town and saw things like “Target” and the mall.  But we can always go back there to visit.  We drove through our old neighborhood and saw our old home. We saw as many old friends as we could in a 48 hr time frame. It was so nice to see people who really knew us. There are so many people we would have liked to see…

Juls was beyond excited to see some of her old friends.  It almost made me sad that she was so excited.  To say this transition to the northwoods has been difficult for her is an understatement.  We continue to try to find new opportunities for her.  She has been working one day a week at the court house in Watersmeet.  In Feb she will start working three days a week at the Ottawa forest welcome center.  I told her she can be like Snow White welcoming people to the forest.

Always Working on Improvements

Dan has been busy fixing things.  Since I last blogged he has installed two new water heaters in the cabins. We had come home a few weeks ago from an overnight and Dan was unloading the car and heard water running…. It had been below zero… those two things are a bad combo.  Even I know that.  It had been a domino effect of misfortunes but now the Loon cabin has a brand new water heater.  

He is installing a laminate wood floor in the kitchen of one of our cabins as we speak.  Slowly but surely we (he) continues to improve our resort.  We still have so many dreams and wishes of things we’d like to do at the resort, but funny, it all cost money.  We are finalizing plans for the new septic system, speaking of money… This will be our biggest undertaking to date.  It will be nice to get that behind us.. no pun intended.


We got one foot of snow last week.  Dan spent the entire day out on the little John deer tractor, ok, it’s really a riding lawnmower with a snow blower on the front, moving snow.  He was out there bundled up complete with ski goggles.  He doesn’t like to admit it but he thinks it’s fun.  On the top of my wish list is a plow for his truck. It was a much needed snow as we rely on snow to get snowmobilers here.  And we gottem!

Yesterday it got up to 40 degrees which makes the trails slushy.  That’s not good.  But then the temps dropped low enough to freeze everything over.  They say the groomers like those conditions because they can create a good base on the trails.  I find myself praying for snow and cold.  It is tough to rely on weather for business as I am not in control of the weather department.  I can’t imagine what the farmers go through..

Snowblowing at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort Snowblowing at Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort

Still Lovin’ the Nature

For the nature report, the deer have still been coming by for snacks.  The other day, Dan threw corn out for the deer.  Guess who else thinks corn is a nice crunchy snack? Our dogs. I have heard an owl in our midst but haven’t seen him.  And our cat Smokie Joe Jones, killed a varmit outside, tossing up in the air… so proud of himself.  He was showin’ off in front of a bunch of snowmobilers.  He proceeded to eat his prey like a piece of corn on the cob.

First Year is Under our Belt

We have learned so much this past year as resort owners. Looking back on moving day has caused me to reflect how far we’ve come.  It has gone better than we hoped.  We have grown as individuals and as a family.  It feels like home. This year there will be more growth in our adventures and knowledge.   I might even touch the leaches this year, we’ll see. 

Thank you for everyone’s continued support.  Thank you for taking time to read this blog.  It is with your help that we have survived year one.  As I write this I can’t help but wonder what this next year holds in store for us.  Not everything will be a “first” which is nice.  We are a bit more seasoned with a year of ups and downs under our belt. 

Come and See us This Year!

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.  Our resort offers waterfront cabins, snowmobiles, boat rental, a candy shop and convenience store where you can purchase hunting and fishing licenses. 

We pride ourselves in being family oriented and a place you will call your home away from home.  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!




  • Carl & Joyce 02/01/2018 at 12:07 pm

    It a pleasure to good neighbors like you guys. You are a great addition to the neighborhood.


  • Anonymous 02/01/2018 at 4:51 pm

    Congrats on your first anniversary! So nice to know such wonderful folks live down the way! Will stop soon to just chat!
    Kathy Tuttle


  • Mary Orth 02/01/2018 at 5:35 pm

    We certainly enjoy reading your blog! We surely miss you guys when we visit Beth and her family. Keep us posted! This is Mary and Steve Orth , Beth’s mom and stepdad.


  • Jane Baldus 02/09/2018 at 7:24 am

    I love reading your blog. Having by only seen the finished, cozy and beautiful resort, it was crazy to see the before photos. What a transformation. Your place is so beautiful and inviting. You and Dan have brought your loving touch to every nook and cranny of your home and resort. I am so happy for your family. What an inspiration!


  • Jane Baldus 02/09/2018 at 7:25 am

    Oops, please edit typos


Leave a Comment