Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Friday, September 30, 2011

Biking in Trout Lake and the Eastern U.P.

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Birch Lodge is located on an officially designated bicycle route as presented at the Eastern Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission website (under GIS maps, MDOT Eastern UP Bike Map).

Since Labor Day we've had three bicycling groups pass through and stay at the Motel. Two of the groups have been from Adventure Cycling, a nationwide group that sponsors tours including several across northern Michigan (website: AdventureCycling.org).

All the groups enjoyed the funky motel and historic lodge as well as the grounds. Using different sets of muscles after a day on the road, some took the Birch Lodge kayaks out for a spin on the lake and others went to the Birch Lodge Swimming Beach for a dip.

At night, they sat around our fire pit and exchanged stories.

For a short time we were "tagged" at the road entrance - letting fellow bikers know we were the place to stay. We've been told they will spread the word about Birch Lodge to fellow bikers and to be ready for their return next year.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Birch Lodge Interior Progress

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We have been scraping off old paint, washing as much of the underlying calcimine paint off the plaster as possible, and priming with EXPENSIVE sealer. Work has progressed on the second floor lobby that opens out onto the porch deck. And, Hoo-Boy, those were some ugly looking walls after the prep work for painting was completed!!! We don't know why the walls appear brown on the base layer - was it a function of the calcimine aging, or were the lobby walls originally a brownish tint? In some places it does scrub off. Same story in the dining room.

We've painted the walls a cream color for now. We will anxiously await to see if the new paint does adhere to the newly prepared base. Might make for an initeresting Spring!

And just when you thought the fun was over, we're also working on the dining room!!! The same scrape-scrub-rinse-seal-and-paint routine. (But, is anything about this Birch Lodge place ROUTINE???)

In addition, our electrician has begun rewiring the first floor, after our explicit instruction and supervision to disturb the lodge's historic fabric as little as possible.

SEPT-ember, Tanks for the Memories

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Well, have you missed us? We have been somewhat remiss in our bloggly duties. A whole lot has been going on. Or, perhaps I should say a "hole lot" . . . We are the proud owners of a shiny(?) new septic field with not one, but TWO tanks, WOO-HOO!!!

The old Birch Lodge septic tank was metal and in poor condition. We decided while we replaced the brown water tank we'd also bring everything up to code and install a gray water tank in case we, or subsequent owners, decide to re-open the commercial kitchen. So, huge 1200 and 1000 gallon tanks and field were installed northwest of the lodge. Sadly, a few trees had to go.

We have to console ourselves with the fact we now have a simply dandy place to put up the steel gnome cut-out croquet wickets we found in the back of the barn.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fall Colors at Trout Lake, MI

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The calendar may still say it is summer, but we know it is now fall. The first leaves are starting to change, some subtle gold and burgundy are giving color to the backdrop of green that surrounds Birch Lodge.

The birch trees have not started to color, nor have the sugar maple that make such a statement with their orange and red colors, but we know it will come soon. The nights have been dipping into the forties and the sunlight has taken on that strong low autumnal glow as it sets, illuminating the bark on the birch with a Maxfield Parish-like glow.

The fall flowers are also now in full bloom.

The native goldenrod, asters and the joe pye weed along the lake rival any perennial bed.
Lake edge blooms

Less showy, but still favorites of mine are the orange jewel-weed and white turtle head blossoms.

Birch lodge has always been a special place to see the colors in the fall. The wind often goes still in the morning, and the gold of the birches, and orange and red of the maples on the Birch Shores peninsula are reflected in the mirror-like water. So beautiful. Also, the fall is a time of quiet here, most of the cottages on the lake are summer homes, and after Labor Day, most of the owners close their cottages and head south.

Our season is slower after Labor Day, but we plan to stay open as long as weather permits, hopefully into November. The heat is on in the motel, and if you have a chance, come on up and see the beauty of fall here. The kettle is on, and I'm getting in the mood for some pumpkin spice cookies!