Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Birch Lodge - See you in April!!!

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The trees were bare, wintry skies moved in and the cabin became too cold to live in. We realized it was time and closed up the resort for the season - and yes, WE WILL REOPEN next April.
We winterized the lodge and motel by draining and blowing out ALL the pipes - ugh - Bill is beginning to think restoration back to a period BEFORE indoor plumbing might be an attractive option!

We knew it was time because the county road commission was placing the snow-stick/sapling-guides along the edges of the highway right-of-way (these are a low-tech way to keep the plows on the road when there are blizzard white-out conditions). One is at the left of the image here - along with another good winter-is-coming-marker, the golden tamarack trees.

So, among other activities, we stacked the picnic tables up against the motel and broke out the snow blower attachment for the lawn tractor (although Randy, from town, does the heaviest plowing with his 4-wheel drive pick-up truck).

We couldn't help but chuckle about one recent development - now that we are closed for the season, the Canadian Northern Railroad has reconstructed the track crossing near the resort entrance, and the smooth, paved drive is ready to receive, uh, deer?

The closing of the property seemed at times frenetic, compounded by the fact we had moved into the motel temporarily where we could have reliable heat and frozen plumbing was less likely. It was kind of cramped and we were feeling it really was time to leave. However, with all the great people we met this year and the fond memories we have from sharing this special place, we found it difficult to lock up the gate. Even our furry family members weren't at all happy to be leaving, especially Polly (ever seen a Basset sulk?).

We keep repeating, it won't be that long until we return and reopen for guests. Just keep clicking your heels together and repeat, "There's no place like Birch Lodge! There's no place like Birch Lodge!!!!!!" (Geez, does this make Deb the Wicked Witch of the West? Of course not, hmmmm, maybe Wicked Witch of the North??? Guess that makes Bill a Munchkin . . .)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Birch Lodge Late Season is Prime Time

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While the temperatures remained in the 50s, Bill decided to scrape and paint the somewhat neglected members of our Birch Lodge structural "family." The entrance gates, which closed for the season November 1 and will be the only public face for the property until next April, were scraped, primed and painted.

The outbuildings behind the lodge had bothered us because they were along the drive leading to the main lodge and impacted visitors' first impressions. They looked run down. The fish cleaning shed got a new roof and painted trim, while the bait shop, the workshop, and the barn/laundry were washed, had siding firmed up and were also scraped and primed (although the bait shop's recent vintage light tan siding panels and window frames were stained brown).

Finally, the light tan paneled pole barn near the cabin, the first building visitors see entering the grounds, was stained brown to give it a more aged appearance and blend in more with the setting.

Unfortunately, much of the stain ended up on Bill, which also gives him a more aged appearance - although he will NEVER blend in with his setting!!!