Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

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.