Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Birch Lodge Taxidermy

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As our many guests are aware, when you walk into the old lodge lobby you are usually greeted by the friendly faces of Deb and Bill. For decades, however, folks in the lobby have also been greeted by blank stares, courtesy of various mammals and fish associated with this historic north woods lodge. This particular glassy-eyed specimen is one of the few labeled wall hangers. A label on the rear indicates he was mounted by Wm. Grant, a taxidermist from Vassar, MI, for Alfred Getts, who shot it on November 22, 1929. (The label also stated the mount should be washed three times a year . . .). Another large mount has a metal 1941 Michigan Deer tag on a horn.

This vintage taxidermy is the "stuff" that was the focus of generations of sportsmen who stayed at the lodge. Hundreds of sportsmen stayed here over the years - as indicated by this paper-wrapped cardboard we found labeled "Deer Season 1956" with a plan of the lodge and cabins revealing over 70 hunters booked at that time (so this is how they kept track of guests in the pre-computer age!!!!)

Ah, imagine the "tails" these animal parts could tell!

Deb has been lightly cleaning and stabilizing our collection, fixing this Mallard duck's broken neck and blacking in a buck's cracked eyeball - saying it used to give her the "Creeps."
We can only imagine the memories associated with these guys (and gals?), but some provide insights.

We think this large walleye is associated with the long-time owners of Birch Lodge, the Badgleys - the one we think Ann caught and is proudly displaying to an embarrassed Cliff in an old photograph.

We think the most interesting plaques are the two smallest "racks" in the room because they are so personal to the lodge and its previous owners. On the rear of this first spike mount, written in cursive in pencil is, "First buck ever killed, 1st day of season 2:00pm Alger Michigan 1940,"

and on this second is, "Clifford's 1941 Buck Alger", both we believe written proudly in Cliff's own hand. The second is perhaps a bit more impressive than the first (and Cliff doesn't appear to have been quite as excited), so  perhaps Cliff was becoming a better hunter?????

All these dead things play into the unusual wallpaper in the Birch Bar which appears to celebrate the "Spirit" of the Sportsmen - with ghostly images of hunters and fishermen pursuing their prey:

Whether or not hunting and fishing are in your plans, we hope you can make it up to Birch Lodge to create some memories of your own.  We'll leave the stuffin' and glassy eyes to those guests who eat a few too many of Deb's yummy muffins!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Loons on the Lake....Trout Lake, MI!

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In the evening the light comes across the lake and illuminates the birches in front of Birch Lodge with a beautiful glow.  This is the time I like to walk along the frontage and reflect on the day.

 The loons have been very active this year, and we have frequently had one pair out in front of Birch Lodge.  Others seem to come and go, initiating a great deal of calling and display.

Last evening, I decided to walk down to the beach, and noticed as I walked along that I was being followed.....by a loon.

At first I thought this was coincidence, but I paused....and so did it.  I continued on, and so did the loon!  I sat on the beach a bit, and it sat in the lake watching me....STRANGE!

It's mate began to call down in front of the lodge . There was no action from my little stalker, but I got up and began to walk back....of course it followed along.

 When we returned it rejoined its mate as I sat in front of the motel and thought about it.  I noticed that I had on black jeans, a black jacket and a white turtleneck....could it be it thought I was a real BIG loon?   Perhaps it was right!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Three Lakes Picnic Area and CCC Camp Strongs

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Located less than a dozen miles from Birch Lodge, and Trout Lake, MI, Three Lakes is just the place for a nice afternoon trip.  Pack a lunch and head for the picnic area at Three Lakes.  From Trout Lake, MI, head north on M 123 watch for the sign for Strongs Rd. on your right.  Follow Strongs road and watch for the picnic area sign on your right.

 This is a small pine covered picnic area, not usually very busy with tables, grills and toilets on the south side of Walker Lake.

  Three Lakes Campground is located on the north shore.

 A nature trail loops around the lake, making about a one mile walk through the woods along the shore.

  This is a pretty walk  and not very difficult so be sure to take your camera.

Just north of Walker Lake (and the campground) is Brown Lake.  It is a small shallow bog fringed lake.
Brown Lake

 Here it is very easy to spot vegetation you may never have seen before in the wild, including insect eating pitcher plants and wild cranberry.

Pitcher Plant
  According to the Michigan DNR Lake Maps, this pretty little lake is only about 2' deep.

 But be careful walking there, don't get too close to the open water because there is a floating bog mat of vegetation.

 Not too dangerous, but potentially a very mucky event.
Wild Cranberry

Across the road from Walker Lake is Whitmarsh Lake, another small bog fringed lake.  Maximum depth of this lake is less than 10 feet, so I doubt the fishing is good.

  Brush surrounds the bog here and it is not too easy to explore unless you bring a kayak or canoe, but none the less, a pretty little lake.

Witmarsh Lake

Just south of the Three Lakes area on Strongs Rd. is the location of the CCC Camp Strongs. (There is a sign on the east side of the road.)

 Camp Strongs was established in May of 1933, with a group of about 200 young men from the Detroit area.  They lived in tents during the first summer, but by November, they had built and moved into their barracks.

This camp developed the Three Lakes and soldier Lake recreation areas, and  a log structure built by them still stands at Soldier Lake.

 The camp was involved in stream improvement, timber management and fire reduction, and collected pine cones for the forest nursery. 

They also planted several pine plantations in the area.  This camp was discontinued in 1941, and the buildings sold or razed.

Geocaching aficionados will be happy to hear there is a cache to be found here...Even if you don't geocache you may want to try to find their "treasure".

  Please play by the rules of the game and leave something for the next person to find.  Happy Exploring!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stay at Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI and Spend a Day with an Archaeologist!

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Did you always want to be an archaeologist?  Or do you have a child who would like to see what it is all about?  Well this is your chance.  We are teaming with one of our guests, archaeologist Sean Dunham, Principal Investigator at CCRG,  to offer this unique package for one lucky person.

The Montessori Children's House of Lansing, MI is celebrating their 40th year with a fun- filled open house and auction on April 27th.  We are pleased to offer this package as an item open for bid in this auction.

Birch Lodge Motel, Trout Lake, MI
Birch Lodge Motel

 The  "Spend a Day with an Archaeologist" package will include a day with Sean Dunham, and two nights lodging at the Birch Lodge Motel.

 The package will  go to the high bidder on that day.   Sean will suggest activites appropriate to the age and abilities of the winner.

So follow the link to find out about the Montessori Children's House of Lansing, and perhaps we will see you at the lodge!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI...a Time Capsule

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One of the fascinating things about Birch Lodge is that it is a time capsule.  Inside the upstairs rooms are still made up, and the old menus are still to be found in the dining room.  But most fun of all to me are all the old magazines. .  The old advertisements are amazing, but so are the articles.  My favorite has to be from Suburban Life, 1907.  The magazine is in black and white, but the cover is beautiful!

Obviously, this is my all time favorite--
an article intended to get the ladies to understand the convenience of owning and driving their own car!

 A woman can control the largest of machines...no need to call the chauffeur...

"Independent of Coachman and Chauffeur"

"A Delightful Way of Entertaining One's Friends"

And of course, A man is only a "mere passenger"! 

These stories and more.. Come browse through the old magazines, find out: 
.Will  Sonny and Cher break up?  Will Dinah have Burt's child?  Will Fidel's Cuba go Communist?' 

 Sorry, gotta go read some more old "news"....

Sunday, April 7, 2013

2013 St. Ignace, MI Area Calendar of Events

Print Friendly and PDF St. Ignace, MI is only a half hour south of Birch Lodge and Trout Lake, MI.  I felt that if you are planning your vacation, you may be interested in some of the area events scheduled for this year.
For more information on any event, please click here, choose the month, and click on the event!

May 25-26, 2013  Native American Festival
Location:  St. Ignace, Museum of Ojibwa Culture
Learn about the Anishnaabe culture through traditional drumming, dancing, food and music.

June 7-16, 2013 Mackinac Island Lilac Festival
Location: Mackinac Island, MI
Week long events  and a parade celebrate the flowering lilacs, some are over 200 years old.

June 21-22, 2013  Annual Antiques (Vehicles) on the Bay
Location : St. Ignace
Original and restored classic and antique vehicles on display.  Period clothing, entertainment, and a Mackinac Bridge rally.

June 27-29, 2013  38th Annual St. Ignace Car Show
Location:  St. Ignace
 Hundreds of antique, custom, and celebrity autos take part in this internationally acclaimed event.  Parades, cruises, awards and more

July 12-13, 2013 8th Annual Vintage Snowmobile Club National Championship Show
Location:  St. Ignace
Top o f the Lake Snowmobile Museum (Naubinway, MI) hosts the show and swap meet.

July 13-14, 2013  Chicago Yacht Club--105th Chicago to Mackinac Race
Location:  Mackinac Island/Straits Area
Boats leave Chicago Saturday morning, and depending on conditions, begin arriving at the straits Sunday evening.

July 20, 2013  St. Ignace Fish Feast
Location:  St Ignace
The "Great Lakes Fish Fry", Food, Music and activities for all ages.

August 10, 2013 Les Cheneaux Island Antique Wooden Boat Show and Festival Of Arts
Location:  Hessel
One of the largest shows featuring antique and classic wooden boats.  The Festival of Arts is held in conjunction with the boat show.  Artists display and sell a variety of artwork, various events, food and music.

September 2, 2013 Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk
Location:  Mackinac Bridge
The once annual opportunity to walk the five-mile Mackinac Bridge

September 2-7, 2013 Owosso Tractor Parts Antique Tractor Show and Parade
Location:  St. Ignace
Hundreds of antique tractors cross the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City to ST. Ignace, MI, and set up for display and show.

September 13-15th, 2013  23rd Annual On the Waterfront Car/Toy/Truck Show and Swap Meet and the 18th Annual Richard Crane Memorial Big Rig Truck Show
Location :  St. Ignace
All category car show, collectible toys and swap meet.  The Big Rig Truck Show features awesome custom big rig trucks.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway, Bay Mills, MI (Part 2)

Print Friendly and PDF Welcome to the second installment of the Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway tour, which we took last fall.  This section begins west of Bay Mills, MI and continues west along Lakeshore Dr. to M-123.

Pendills Creek National Fish Hatchery, Bay Mills, MI
The Pendills Creek Hatchery, operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raises lake trout for stocking programs in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.  Tours are available by calling ahead. Some very interesting illustrated signs in the parking lot.   Stop and read them for some interesting information on the trout hatching and stocking program. 
Mouth of Pendills Creek at Whitefish Bay, Bay Mills, MI
 There is also an access point to Lake Superior across the road with a roadside park along Pendills Creek.  You can walk a short trail out Lake Superior at the mouth of Pendills Creek

"The Narrows" is an area east of Naomikong Point where the road is very close to the lake.  Searching for a reason for the name, I found only one reference to the narrow strip of land between the road and lake.

  The term seemed nautical to me, and looking at a map, I noticed that in this area, the deep lake waters come very close to the shore, only a narrow strip of shallows between them and land.  This might be of interest to note for any who might be temped to swim here.  The waters will be colder, and perhaps more dangerous that at "The Shallows".
Naomikong Point Overlook, Whitefish Bay, MI

North Country Trail, Naomikong Point, MI
Naomikong Point and Naomikong Overlook are an access point to the North Country Trail.  The name is from the Native American word for shoal point.  It forms the eastern boundary of the Tahquamenon Bay.

 The point itself is well north of the road, but the overlook is lovely, and there is a trail with stairs that will lead you to the water, this is a long walk, so be prepared to hike at least a couple of miles.  Or you can access the North Country trail at several other points along the drive.  You may also walk the trail to the south of the road which leads to Naomikong Pond.  This is a stocked trout pond.

"The Shallows" is a beautiful boulder studded stretch of beach with shallow water extending well out into the lake.  This area was noted by the native Americans as an excellent fishery. 
Beach at "The Shallows", Whitefish Bay, MI

The shallow waters will warm quickly, and beach goers might take this into consideration.
We enjoyed the long stretch of beach and the rocks here.  A good place for photos.

  The North Country Trail passes along the beach here. 

North Country Trail, Whitefish Bay, MI

"The Bark Docks" is another lake and North Country Trail access point.
It actually runs parallel the road along the beach.  You can walk short or longer segments to see interesting bird and plant species. 
Beach at "The Barkdocks", Whitefish Bay, MI

  Don't look for docks here, you won't see them.  I believe the name may reference the location of docks used by loggers to ship hemlock bark.

 This was much valued for its tannic acid, and used extensively in tanning leather.
All is gone now, but another great place to access the lake, and another wonderful sandy shore. 

Bald Eagle, Whitefish Bay, MI

This was the last stop on our tour, as the Byways pulls away from the shore as it approaches it's end at the intersection  of M-123.  It was at this point also, that we spotted the eagle, perhaps bidding us goodbye and beckoning us to return again.  We will, I hope you do too.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway, Bay Mills, MI ( Part 1)

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Whitefish Bay Scenic Byways Map, Bay Mills, MI
Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway Map
Many staying at Birch Lodge, in Trout Lake, MI visit Tahquamenon Falls Park.  However, another drive not to miss is a trip along Michigan's Whitefis Bay Scenic Byway, less than an hour a way.

Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway runs 27 miles between Bay Mills, MI and M 123 south of Paradise. This route follows along the south shore of Lake Superior.  There are a number of scenic and historic sites to enjoy.  The beaches are numerous, and the crowds are few, offering an opportunity to leave the crowds behind and enjoy the serenity of Lake Superior.

You could easily plan one day to see the historic sites, and return another day to hike segments of the North Country Trail and enjoy the shore. (Toilet facilities are situated along the route for your convenience.)  Pack a lunch or some snacks as much of this area is withing the Hiawatha National
Forest, and there are no places to stop once out of Bay Mills.  This tour begins at Brimley, MI, and proceeds to the west of Lakeshore Drive. (This is also FH 3150 and FH 42.)   

Spectacle Lake, Bay View, Mi
Spectacle Lake, Bay Mills, MI

Spectacle Lake Overlook.

Just a short way from the Bay Mills Indian Cemetery, is a turn off for the Mission Hill/Spectacle Lake Overlook.  It climbs the steep, tall (roughly 300') wood sand dunes via a narrow roadway to the top.  We found this road a little harrowing, but it was worth the trip to the top.
Road to Spectacle Lake Overlook, Bay Mills, MI

 The view is wonderful, and there are some hiking trails along the steep dune edge.

Hiking Trail, Spectacle Lake, Bay Mills, MI
Hiking Trail at Spectacle Lake Overlook

  Mission Hill Cemetery is across the small overlook parking area.

Point Iroquois Lighthouse, Bay Mills, MI
Point Iroquois Lighthouse, Bay Mills, MI

The Point Iroquois Lighthouse is located just west of Bay Mills, on Iroquois Point.

  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is open for tours.

It is the subject of of an earlier blog.   I hate to repeat myself!   Read about it here:  Point Iroquois Lighthouse.

The Big Pines Picnic Area is a beautiful  day use area on the lakeshore.  The area is covered in large red pine.  Toilets and grills are available, and the beach is sandy.

Least your eyes get weary, I think that is enough for now.   Check the next blog for our next exciting installment.....

Monday, March 25, 2013

Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, Mi is on Facebook!

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Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI page

Breaking News!  Birch Lodge and Motel are the newest Trout Lake, MI businesses on Facebook!

Oh  my goodness...will wonders never cease!  Neither Bill or I are techies, but we are slowly learning!  Our latest endeavor it to develop a Facebook Page for Birch Lodge.

 There we will post photos, happenings, and bits of information that you may need to know about the area. 

Because there are other Birch Lodges out there, our Facebook Page is called:

 Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI. 

 Please check us out and "Like" us.  Thanks, and wish us well.