Sunday, August 13, 2017

Old School Cabins have at Home Appeal

Bud's Cabins in Lovells has a homey feeling. 
     Recently, I stumbled on a website for some newly renovated tourist cabins near Mackinaw City, right on the beach with a view of the bridge.  I hope to see more such revivals of old cabins, which for many years fell out of favor with travelers.
     While we've seen a revival of ''buy local'' that hasn't seemed to have spilled over into the world of  lodging in Michigan. I wish it would. Cabins and small mom and pop motels are usually owned by a local family or business person who spends money to move the local economy forward. While writing my Michigan travel guide, Michigan: An Explorer's Guide, I was required to only list locally-owned establishments. It made me a devotee of them. They are listed in the book,
     Small cabins give you an Up North feel, especially if they have wood paneling. They also offer more privacy than a motel or hotel. That little extra space between them makes for better neighbors. They feel like a small, cozy home, where you can leave the beer cooler on the porch and hang your fishing waders or bathing suits up to dry. So much the better, if they have a small kitchen and kitchen ware. A home cooked meal is a joy on the, and a break from the constant dreariness of burgers and pizza.
     When I'm traveling through the state to update my Michigan: An Explorer's Guide book, I check out big hotels, small mom and pop motels, but when I settle down for the night, I try finding a tourist cabin.
     There use to be more of them in the 1960s and 70s when I started travel the state, but got a bad name and became untrendy for many years. My wife was one of those cabin haters. I'd pull up in front of a place and tell her: "Think about it." She didn't spend much time contemplating the subject. The answer was always the same. A simple "no."
     But not everyone was like my wife, so some cabins have survived. I've got many of them listed in my guide. The publisher wisely has a policy of not including chain hotels and motels. We all know what it's like inside a Super 8.
     Here's a list of favorite cabins around the state from the guide, in no particular order. Many resort-style cabins require you stay two days or even longer. Check their websites, which I've included, for more information.

     Penrod's Cabins in Grayling. Stretching along the Au Sable River, the brown log structures have knotty pine interiors and rustic, log furnishings, and have the feeling that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Some have kitchens and there are picnic tables and grills. A great place to stay after a day on the Au Sable River. They're close to downtown, and rental canoes are available.

     Pere Marquette Lodge in Baldwin. There are five cabins and one house for rent along the Pere Marquette River. They have knotty pine interiors and some have kitchens. There are also grills. They are fairly old, but clean. A great place to crash after a day on the river either fishing for canoeing. They'd also be a fun place to just crash to get away from the world.

     Sunset Cabins in Grand Marais, Upper Peninsula. These are quintessential U.P. cabins with beach access and a view of Lake Superior. They're tucked away in a secluded area, but call early, many are booked well in advance.

      Bud's Cabins in Lovells. Located  just north of Grayling on the north branch of the Au Sable, the three cabins are a throw back to the 1940s when deer hunters and anglers didn't want to do much more than keep the rain off their heads and get shower. There wasn't a TV set in the one I rented, but there's a lovely deck on the river to kick back on at the end of the day. They're closed in winter.

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