Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Birch Lodge Modern---Again

Print Friendly and PDF Many people these days, even those who wish to immerse themselves in nostalgia and historical environments, expect "modern amenities" in accommodations.

Back in the day, Birch Lodge was proud to be up to date, and we want to bring it up to date again. Back then, to be "modern" you had to have indoor plumbing - and it is now almost to that state with Internet access and full-spectrum TV.

We did appreciate the old funky RCA color TVs in the motel rooms, but the roof antenna only pulled in two Canadian stations.

While Canadian TV is interesting, lets face it, that is not much of a choice, and after September 1 even these won't be available as Canada ceases analog broadcasting.

Thus, we somewhat reluctantly have acquired satellite Internet and TV for our guests. In the motel rooms we provide the DirecTV commercial package.

We thought this image of the old antenna juxtaposed with the satellite dish symbolized well the technological transition, as does this one showing the old and new televisions.
We now offer wireless connection through HughesNet in the lodge's Birch Bar, lobby, and dining room as well as on the full-width veranda - darned nice places with tons of atmosphere to sit with a cup of joe and check your email and facebook.

Can you imagine yourself behind the computer pictured here on the front porch, or there in the Birch Bar, or perhaps there in the front lobby???

Oh, and did we mention we now have an online reservation link on the website? Check the calender for availability and book yourself a room now! Soon the link will be set with our credit card processor so you can book and pay online with a secure link.

For two Luddites like us that never had more than rabbit ears and first thought dial-up web access was the bees knees, well, jeepers creepers and 24-skidoo, this is quite a change!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Birch Lodge; Signs of Change

Print Friendly and PDF Birch Lodge Road Sign

Big News! We now are officially recognized by county road commission! During our research we discovered that the first section of our drive is actually a county road. We requested a road sign to help direct visitors to the lodge and a couple days ago we received our S. Birch Lodge Dr. sign.

This addition is complemented by our new business sign. While the original sign was pretty cool, it was deteriorated and did not convey the information we wished. So, we contacted MacAinnis Signs out of Rudyard, and they produced new panels and signage.

Birch Lodge New Sign
Birch Lodge Former Sign

While admiring these improvements, a CN train happened by (apparently heard about the new signage and wanted to check them out . . .), so I snapped a photo of it too. (My thanks to the engineer who only rang his bell and didn't blast his horn.)

And, FINALLY, we were able to get the old Birch Lodge dock back in the lake. After inspection of the old dock sections that had lain on shore for several years, we found it necessary to discard about half whose planks were in poor condition and more importantly had structural metal that had rusted through. The remaining sound sections with aluminum framing were sanded and stained and reassembled.

We now have about 90 feet of marine access --- and some nice photo ops for the lodge.

Birch Lodge Viewed from Lake

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Birches, Beaches and Butterflies

Print Friendly and PDF
Earlier this week we had temperatures in the mid-80's and sun.

Apparently, this was what Yellow Swallowtail Butterflies were waiting for--they appeared in droves!

Why so many? Aside from identifying them, I had never bothered to read up about them before.

Well, as it turns out, the Yellow Swallowtail has as one of it's preferred host species the birch tree!

They are primarily a tree top species, and lay their eggs on birch.

I have never seen their caterpillars before, but will watch for them this year. The adults prefer pink or red nectar flowers including milkweed and bee balm.

When we walked on the beach, they formed a band of yellow along the wave line. We thought they were after the moisture.

We found out that the young males, in particular, draw sodium and potassium as well as amino acids from the moisture to complete their development.

When one finds a good spot, others will be attracted too in a behavior called "puddling". We were able to watch some clusters form as the butterflies fluttered all about us.

They will also draw nutrients from other less seemly substances such as human perspiration, carrion and animal droppings.

I guess the moral of the story is don't be so flattered if a butterfly lands on you-- you probably just need to take a shower!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

More Trout Lake Memories from Birch Lodge

Print Friendly and PDF
We really enjoy receiving messages from people who have stayed at Birch Lodge and have fond memories of this very special place. We received emails from families of former owners, people who have worked at Birch Lodge, and many people who spent vacations here.

One of our most recent contacts, for example, was from Lisbeth, who wrote about spending "six glorious days" when Farm Bureau families met here for a vacation lodge and was delighted to see the lodge "glimmering in the sunlight just as I remember it 50+ years ago".

And then there is Karen, who told us she reads our blog to check on progress. She and others - have told us that reading the entries make them feel they are visiting Trout Lake all over again. Many have shared photos of their stays at Birch Lodge - and we love this. We hope to have a wall of images showing good times had by visitors through the decades.

Going back to Karen again, she included a fish story and a picture taken by her uncle Bill of a really nice bass caught in Trout Lake, probably during the late 1970s. She relates, Cliff Badgley came out to the dock to assess the catch and surmised "that's the third largest smallmouth I've seen taken from this lake." A fish tale, perhaps? Let's just say that Karen was suspect: "probably said that very same thing to EVERYBODY, but I believed him." Does look like a nice catch though!

By the way, we still have some of the steel boats in that photo, and hope to have some of them back in the water this year.

Thanks again to everyone, and keep the photos and memories coming!