Upper Peninsula’s Historic Birch Lodge to be Updated

Birch Lodge in the Upper Peninsula is renovating its 20 rooms and expects to reopen in time for the 2019 season. // Photograph Courtesy of Birch Lodge

Birch Lodge, a hospitality retreat on the National Register for Historic Places located on the shores of Trout Lake in the Upper Peninsula, is undergoing a comprehensive restoration.

The expansion will increase the number of guest rooms and on-site amenities. New owners and operators Bob and Maureen Kraemer and Jim and Carol Woodruff hope to reopen in the spring, and reservations are being accepted.

The lodge, located at 21830 South Birch Lodge Dr. in Trout Lake, first opened in 1912 and was supported by the logging and railroad industries. It was transformed into a resort-style destination in 1926. Improvements over the years have included the addition of the Birch Bar in the 1940s, and eight waterside motel rooms that opened in 1964.

“Historic preservation and restoration has been a focus area for us for more than 20 years, and Birch Lodge caught our eye immediately as part of our search for a historic property in Michigan,” says Bob Kraemer, president of Birch Lodge and co-founder and principal of Detroit’s Kraemer Design Group.

“There are times when historic buildings off the beaten path go uncared for, and over time, the history is lost. The opportunity to bring new life to Birch Lodge means travelers will enjoy visiting us for years to come, especially history enthusiasts, nature lovers, and anyone who wants to soak in all the Upper Peninsula has to offer.”

The restoration will include the expansion of guest rooms in the main lodge building, which holds 12 rooms and will be known as The Inn at Birch Lodge. Room options will include king suite, king, queen, and double queen.

Other updates to the building will be made in the dining room, and a new dining concept offering locally sourced food and drinks will be added. Improvements also have been made to the rooms in The Motel at Birch Lodge.

“2019 will mark the start of a new era at Birch Lodge, with the introduction of new offerings like our fresh dining concept for guests and locals. We also have plans to increase access to recreational activities like boating and on-site special events to inspire a feeling of community here,” says James Woodruff, who brings decades of boutique hospitality operations experience to Birch Lodge. He has managed properties across the country, including The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

Birch Lodge is hiring for full- and part-time positions including room attendants, guest experience specialists, chefs, servers, gardeners, and laundry attendants. Those interested in applying can email james@birchlodge.com.

The resort is located 30 miles northwest of the Mackinac Bridge and features a private beach and 20 acres of land. It is a short drive from waterfalls, lighthouses, boating trips, shipwreck tours, ghost towns and more.