Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Sunday, August 21, 2011

One Step at a Time, Birch Lodge is Simply Electrifying

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We finally got the last of the 8 rooms in the motel ready for guests this week, and once again we are fully booked. The number of guests has exceeded our expectations - many returning "regulars" but a majority finding us on line and staying for the first time. The motel rehab and clean-up and ongoing housekeeping has reduced the time available to work on the old lodge, but we are now moving forward.

Bill began electrical upgrades in the office recently, but quickly reached the limits of his expertise. Deb simply doesn't consider his success in screwing cfls into knob-and-tube wired fixtures a great leap forward.

So, somewhat reluctantly, this past week we've had electrical contractors out for bids to begin work on upgrades. A permit has been pulled and work should begin this coming week on the lodge office and Bill's office upstairs. Next phase will be the public areas on the first floor.

This past week also saw construction of permanent steps for the front porch that are in character with the building, replacing the temporary steps that were only constructed on the front. Guests can now access our vintage steel lawn chairs and wicker from the lakeside and each end. Of course, the excellent view from the porch needs no improvement.

Also, we've finished priming and applying paint to the west wing Doctor's Suite hall - replicating the original coral of the hallway. We've also begun painting the rooms in the wing. With flaking paint removed and calcimine paint scraped and sealed, the painted rooms are light and bright. The place is starting to feel like old times. If we allow ourselves to be optimistic, we may be able to start hosting guests in the lodge as early as next year.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Antique Boats at Birch Lodge

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As a member of the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce we are happy to be included on their wonderful website. We noticed that Les Cheneaux Antique Wooden Boat Show is next weekend, Saturday-Sunday August 13 and 14, one of the largest shows of its kind in the nation.

Deb and I hope to get over to Hessel which is only about 45 minutes from Birch Lodge, and it is a darn scenic drive.

This got us to thinking about our own old boats here at Birch Lodge, which while not good ol woodies, we think are still pretty neat.

The previous owners of the lodge deposited about a dozen galvanized steel rowboats at the wood edge. These craft are 14 to 16 feet long with wooden gunnels and had wood grate flooring. These probably date to the 1940s and are in many of the old photos in the lodge.

We selected the best preserved of the batch and they are now being restored, down to the green, yellow and red paint job, by Trout Lake Services in town. You can see they still retained this paint scheme when they were in still in service in this vintage 1970s image.

We hoped to have them back this summer, but you will definitely see them in the water next year. Meanwhile, maybe we will see you at the show!

Oh, and Deb is a big sailboat lover too. She gets this from her dad who loved sailing and building boats. Some big and small. One of her favorites is this small model that is now at the lodge.

It is a wooden model crafted by Deb's father about 1930 from plans provided by Popular Science Magazine. It is intricate in detail, including lead anchors produced from molds by Don Rhead, and extending to the sails, which he stained with tea to simulate age and weathering. Check it out when you visit!