January 15, 2022: Moonlit Snowshoe Hike Recap

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake,”
— Henry David Thoreau —

Last night’s moonlit snowshoe hike felt like a dream – it was truly a magical night for all.

About a month ago, the Outdoor Activities team at the Lodge was discussing different adventures to do this winter season and that would be special and unique for guests. Night time snowshoe hikes was one of the ideas. A great idea, especially with our drive to foster the night sky activities in the Keweenaw. Upon further discussion to hash out how the hikes would go and what dates would be good, someone suggested doing the hikes during the full moon!

We checked the lunar calendar and picked three Saturday nights that were close to a full moon: January 15th, February 12th, and March 19th. Yesterday, January 15th, was our first scheduled hike.

Our group met at the winter Outdoor Activities Center (OAC) at 6:30pm and prepped for our 7:00pm departure. We readied our snowshoes and poles, checked our lights, layered our clothing, and discussed the route. Some people brought their own snowshoes, others rented and some took advantage of the free snowshoes available to lodging guests. For some this was their first time snowshoeing, and for others this was their hundredth time. Regardless of experience, all that was needed was a sense of adventure. At 7:10 we headed out the door and began our trek. Mother nature gifted us a beautiful night. The moon was bright and we barely needed to use our flashlights.

The snowshoe trail was recently packed, so it was easy to follow in the moonlight. We traversed across the golf course and worked our way onto the Dancing Bear Trail. The moonlit shadows waltzed across the snow. Walking through the woods felt like a waking dream. We trekked under the cliffs glowing in the moonlight.

The group gathered for a moment on the edge of the woods and OAC guide, Tom Oliver, tried calling to a barred owl. He brought with him a small speaker with a prerecorded owl call. The group was silent, hoping to hear a call back; however, all we could hear was a gentle whisper of the night (there was hardly any wind). We trekked on, traversing back across the golf course. We snowshoed our way towards the main entrance of the Lodge on US Hwy 41. We crossed the driveway and started to climb the Blue Trail, a historic legacy trail built by the National Youth Administration (NYA) in the late 1930’s. We stopped one more time for Tom to try to get a barred owl to call, however, still no luck for a returned call by a creature in the wild. The Lodge was soon in our sights and the group made one final push up the last hill to the warmth of the historic Lodge building.

When we originally planned this adventure, we had no idea what the weather would be like. The Keweenaw receives over 200 inches of snow a year – let us just say it is SNOWS A LOT! We were gifted a beautifully clear night for our first ever Moonlit Snowshoe Hike at the Lodge. Fifteen of us had a magical experience that will be hard to forget. A dreamlike trek under the moon and the stars with friends old and new. It was truly fun, joyous and adventuresome.

Additional Resources

Rustic Worldly Soup & Bread Now Available at the Little Cabin Cafe

As the new year begins in earnest, Chef Wi and the KML kitchen team are excited to introduce a daytime culinary treat; rustic worldly in-house soup and bread. Now available from 11:30am-4:30pm, seven days a week in the Little Cabin Cafe, you can take a break from your outdoor adventures or simply pause from the weather and come in for a hearty and warm bowl of soup and delicious bread. You can enjoy your bowl by the Outdoor Activity Center (OAC) as you scout your next KML trail to tackle or simply eat by the fireplace and soak up the ambiance of the historic main Lodge building. 

The creation and exploration of this lunchtime offering began two months ago as a collaborative effort with Chef Wi, the KML kitchen team, and other Lodge team members. The discussions focused on providing our guests with an option that followed our rustic worldly food concept and be served in an efficient way. Based upon that collaboration, we are now excited to share this deliciously created culinary option. 

Each day there will be a delectable soup and bread combo available and if you are curious to find out what is offered do not hesitate to call us at (906) 289-4403 ext. 3 or just stop by. 

Christmas and New Year Dinners, make your reservations now

Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s holiday!

Are you looking for a chef-prepared Christmas or New Year’s meal? Our dining services will be open the normal hours during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The Little Cabin Cafe, 8am – 5pm and the Dining Room 4:30pm –9pm.

4:30pm & 6pm are the two specific special seating times for
Christmas Eve & Day
New Year’s Eve & Day

The Dining Room does require reservations. You can call (906) 289-4403 ext. 3, to make your reservation and pre-select your entrees for the special seating menus.

Christmas Eve & Day and New Year’s Eve & Day
Special Seating Meals
Prix Fixe at $120 per person, plus tax
Gratuity is included in our price. If you feel like you would like to tip, please learn more about our tipping policy (see details).

Lodging guests will receive 50% off!

Below is a description for each of the menus for the Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Special Seating menus.

Christmas Eve & Day Special Seating Menu

The entrees for Christmas Eve & Day (select 1 entree):

Beef Strip Loin  [ French-influence ] 
12 oz strip loin – grilled medium-rare topped with a mushroom Duxelle cherry-red wine sauce. Served with mashed potatoes whipped with Garlic “ Boursin” cheese and a side of vegetables.

Blackened Snapper Filet  [ Cajun & Italian Fusion-influence ]
Filet on Seafood Medley Risotto (crab meat, cold water bay shrimp, imitation crab meat, diced scallops) prepared in a light white wine-cream sauce. Served with a side of vegetables.

Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts Filipino Curry  [ Filipino-influence ]   
A curry packed with flavors and vegetables, warm spices, in a coconut milk base. Served on rice.

The meal is also served with a kale-based salad, and two appetizers:  Ahi Tuna Ceviche and Kafka Mini-Meatballs.

Dessert is Peanut Butter Tartlets.

In addition, dessert is served with Wassail, a special hot drink made of apple cider, orange juice, brown sugar, lemon juice, clove and cinnamon.

New Year’s Eve & Day Special Seating Menu

The entrees for New Year’s Eve and Day (select 1 entree):

Beef Strip Loin  [ French-influence ] 
12 oz strip loin – grilled medium-rare topped with tarragon-mushroom sherry wine sauce. Roasted potato with garlic butter. Served with a side of roasted vegetables.

Cajun Salmon  [ Cajun-influence ]
Salmon “en papillote”, Cajun style, topped with shrimp, served with a wild rice medley and roasted vegetables.

Baked Bell Peppers  [ Peruvian-influence ] 
Green and Red bell peppers roasted and filled with quinoa, root vegetables and herbs. Topped with feta cheese crumbles. 

The meal is served with a kale-based salad, and two appetizers:  Ahi Tuna Rice Balls and Pheasant Sausage Bites.

Dessert is a Chocolate Brioche, English Toffee Bread Pudding.

In addition, dessert is served with Wassail, a special hot drink made of apple cider, orange juice, brown sugar, lemon juice, clove and cinnamon.

To make reservations, call (906) 289-4403, ext. 3

December 4, 2021: Northern Lights Photography Workshop Recap

Our second photography workshop in our series focusing on photographing the northern lights was a success. We had 4 people participate in the session (limit is 5 persons), along with myself and the instructor, Nathan Bett. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with us for being able to get some practical experience following the instructional portion of the evening – the skies were cloudy and were intermittently dropping a bit of snow. Nonetheless, Nathan’s instruction and discussion was informative, interesting, and fun. Afterwards, even without having the chance to see or photograph the night sky, every participant expressed great satisfaction to me about what they learned.

For the first portion of the class, Nathan Bett shared his extensive knowledge of auroras, night-time photography techniques, camera technology, and helpful additional resources in a classroom presentation. Nathan then spent time helping each participant to become more familiar with their own personal equipment (which ranged from pro-sumer DSLR cameras to smartphone cameras). Typically, the remainder of the class is used for some hands-on learning, either by viewing the dark sky from one of the golf course fairways at the lodge or venturing out to an agreed upon nearby destination which can also provide expansive views of the sky.

All-in-all, this workshop lasted around two hours, during which time several of Nathan’s tips for taking night sky photos were discussed and he was able to spend some time with each participant – getting to know them each a little better and teaching them about their specific cameras and their settings.

Auroras occur throughout the year. However, darkness is needed to be able to see them. The long periods of daylight during the northern hemisphere’s summer months tend to render most of them, during that time period, invisible to our eyes; so, we most often focus on seeing northern lights during the remainder of the year. The months of January, February, and March, because of their long nights, tend to be the most popular times to go Aurora hunting. Additionally, The dates surrounding a new moon tend to have darker nights, which could increase the likelihood of photographing the northern lights (if the weather cooperates). I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend – long, dark nights to learn about and possibly see/photograph the northern lights and then (here at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge) plenty of snow to play in during the day.

The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge has scheduled multiple Northern Lights Photography Workshops for this winter season – each one scheduled for a weekend around the time of a new moon. Our next Northern Lights Photo Workshop will be held Saturday, January 29th, 2022 at 7:30pm.

Please see our Calendar of Events for the complete listing of upcoming workshops, then contact the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge – Outdoor Activity Center or Events Department for more details and to reserve your space.



About the Instructor: Nate Bett

Nathan Bett is a photographer and educator in Hancock Michigan. Although originally from Marquette, Michigan, Nathan recently relocated to Hancock from New York City, where he taught at the City University Of New York, and represented a major camera manufacturer as a technical specialist in photography. He now spends his time indulging in the over abundance of natural beauty in his native UP and spending excesses of time outdoors with his family. Nathan maintains a passion for photography and the outdoors that he delights in sharing with students. His work can be viewed at nathanbett.com and @natebett and @artmonstermedia on Instagram.

November 6, 2021: Northern Lights Photography Workshop Recap

We are now shifting into our northern lights season with workshops, and held our first northern lights photo workshop this past Saturday, November 6th. We had three night sky photography workshops during the summer, and a fall color photo workshop in October. This northern lights photo workshop is a nice transition into the winter, where we have the possibilities of seeing the northern lights in the Keweenaw (October to April has the highest probabilities to see the northern lights).

The northern lights photo workshop on Saturday was a success. We had 3 people at the session (limit is 5 persons), along with myself and the instructor, Nate Bett.  All the participants expressed great satisfaction to me afterwards.

For the first half of the class, Nathan Bett shared his techniques in a classroom presentation. The second half of the class we journeyed out onto the ninth fairway and had some hands on learning.

The “class room” portion of the workshop lasted around an hour and a half, during which time several of Nate’s nuggets for taking night sky photos were discussed and he was able to spend some time with participants teaching them about their specific cameras and their settings.

After finishing up the indoor lecture portion of the workshop, we journeyed to Hunters Point, in Copper Harbor, with our cameras for some hands-on learning.

We were fortunate to have the clouds clear and Nate was able to show the photographers that if the atmospheric conditions warrant it, even with lower KPI values, the sensors of the cameras could pick up Aurora glow. He also demonstrated light painting, during which one of the photographers caught a beautiful bright shooting star. We were out on site until 10:30 pm and participants were still eager for taking more pics.


Our next Northern Lights Photo Workshop will be held December 4th.  Please contact the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, Outdoor Activity Center or Events Department for more details and to reserve your space.



About the Instructor: Nate Bett

Nathan Bett is a photographer and educator in Hancock Michigan. Although originally from Marquette, Michigan, Nathan recently relocated to Hancock from New York City, where he taught at the City University Of New York, and represented a major camera manufacturer as a technical specialist in photography. He now spends his time indulging in the over abundance of natural beauty in his native UP and spending excesses of time outdoors with his family. Nathan maintains a passion for photography and the outdoors that he delights in sharing with students. His work can be viewed at nathanbett.com and @natebett and @artmonstermedia on Instagram.

November 3, 2021: Dark Sky Light Management Workshop Recap

We held a workshop on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 that covered light management, and what we are working on at the Lodge to foster dark-skies at the Lodge and in the Keweenaw.

The Lodge has been working to reduce it’s light pollution on the dark sky for the past year or so. KML staff member, Mike Miller, has been responsible for the light management, and inventorying the lighting at the Lodge. As part of that activity, he has been able to see where the Lodge can improve on both lighting and energy efficiency. This has helped move the Lodge forward with the International Dark Sky Park designation application that is currently being reviewed by the International Dark-Sky Association.

In this workshop, Mike went through the history of the Keweenaw and the Lodge to give the attendees a perspective of where the Lodge has come from, and what makes the Keweenaw so special — including for stargazing. He went through the negative effects that artificial light has on one’s environment, and then what we have been doing at the Lodge to decrease our effect on light pollution. 

Here is a bullet point of the topics covered:

  • Brief Lodge/Keweenaw history and background
  • International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) background info
  • Defined Light Pollution, its varieties (glare, cluster, light trespass, and skyglow), and explained the effects of light pollution on the environment (fireflies, sea turtles, birds and insects specifically), as well as the negative effects on humans.
  • IDAs various requirements for outdoor lighting
  • The Lodge’s strategy for choosing our dark sky lighting and our lighting management plan
  • Q&A

The 30-minute talk can be viewed via the link below. 

About the Instructor: Mike Miller

Mike Miller is a staff member at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. As a member of the facilities maintenance team at the Lodge, he is responsible for the light management at the resort, and has been working to have the Lodge’s lighting be dark-sky compliant in order for Lodge guests and the general public to enjoy the stars at the top of the Keweenaw.

October 8-10, 2021: Fall Colors Photo Workshop Recap

“Bad weather makes good photography”

…is one of Ansel Adam’s more memorable quotes and one of the guidelines that we followed for the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge’s first annual Fall Color Photo Workshop.

The idea for the workshop came together in September after the August Night Sky Photography workshop. The vision was for a team of photographers associated with the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge (KML) to put together a multi day photography workshop centered around the color season in late September – early October — a time of year that the Keweenaw is well-known to exhibit its beauty.

Tom Oliver, a nature and wildlife photographer; Nate Bett the instructor for the night sky workshops who is a broad, multifaceted photographer and me – Chris Guibert a commercial photographer with an emphasis in outdoor recreation. We agreed to each instruct a learning session at night and then lead the group to different daytime photo locations. I quickly created an itinerary that would hit some of the Keweenaw’s most iconic and picturesque locations. I knew that we were late to the start to properly promote the workshop, however, we did not want to miss the opportunity this year to try it (the color season only comes around once a year). In addition, it follows our philosophy at the Lodge of performing small experiments until we find what works — a constant learning process by doing (not just talking about doing it). We had three of us that were willing to do it, and that is the first step of action that we want to be known for at the Lodge.

No Sign-Ups

The day before the workshop (Oct 8th) we checked the registration list. Nobody had signed up With no one signed up we could have scratched the workshop. However, that is not in our DNA at the Lodge. The number of people attending is not one of our success metrics. Our success metrics revolve around providing a WOW experience for guests one by one. Thus, it was an easy decision to continue forward with the itinerary. It would provide us the ability to test the schedule and do walkthroughs of the presentations, take photos using the Keweenaw wilderness as the subject matter. This time of year is a time of rapid change in the Keweenaw. The leaves are changing color, Lake Superior is cooling creating a dense fog in the mornings and storm systems can roll in without notice. This is a photographer’s dream – to have varying weather patterns change throughout the day.

[ See the itinerary ]

Here is a recap of our escapades as part of the workshop – giving you a glimpse into how we operate a workshop at the Lodge.

Day 1: October 9th

Nate, Tom, and I met at 8:00 am at the trailhead and started the hike up Bare Bluffs. This short hike leads to a spectacular view of Lake Superior and the tip of the Keweenaw. As we approached the summit the fog was swirling all around us. Occasionally the sun would peek through the clouds creating some dramatic moments.

We took photos in all directions waiting for the fog to lift to capture the idyllic views. The fog never lifted. We threw in the towel and headed down the bluff back to the vehicles. We drove to the Bear Belly Pit Stop on Lac La Belle, refueled the vehicles and stomachs, and explored the Lac La Belle shoreline with our cameras.

After lunch (12:00 pm) we headed up to the Delaware Mine to document the stone ruins and machinery from the old mine that was built in the 1800’s. The crumbling stone architecture which is being taken over by the forest is a photographer’s dream. The light was changing by the minute, and the bright yellows of the birch trees created a beautiful canvas to create images from.

At this point we made an audible call and steered slightly away from the planned itinerary. Tom broke away from the group to head back to his responsibilities at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, and Nate and I ventured over to Mount Bohemia to scout the location as an option for next year’s workshop. We hiked the Cliff Trail to a scenic lookout overlooking Lac La Belle and Lake Superior. Even though the sun was directly overhead we were able to grab a few pics that showed off the fall colors across the Keweenaw Peninsula and added this to the list of potential spots for next year.

A final afternoon (4:00pm) stop at Haven Falls allowed for a contrast in perspectives. Nate worked on some detail shots while I climbed into the falls for a self portrait.

After a much needed dinner break, the three photo musketeers reconvened for Tom’s presentation on wildlife photography in the Lodge’s conference center (7:00pm). His informative discussion provided tips on equipment, techniques, and had an emphasis on ethics.

Day 2: October 10th

On Sunday morning, Nate and Tom met at Hunter’s Point in Copper Harbor. The dynamic sky and oncoming rain provided an opportunity for some moody morning shots of Lake Superior.

Tom, Nate and I regrouped at the Lodge and the two of them warmed up with some coffees from the Little Cabin Cafe (10 am). The rain continued but Nate and I decided to head out to our last destination, a new, hand-hewn cedar bridge off of Mandan Road.

[ 11am ] The Fall Colors were peaking along the road and we quickly climbed out of our vehicles and started shooting between passing rain clouds. Walls of orange, yellow, and browns lined this sleepy dirt road.

We drove a little farther and found the unmarked trail head. I rode my bike to the bridge while Nate hiked in with the photo gear. We worked on photoing action shots of me riding across the bridge and marveled at the beauty of this handcrafted work of functional art made by local trail builders Rock Solid Contracting. With the changing color of the leaves, the pictures had a vibrant backdrop to them.

This was the last location for the workshop. As we packed up our gear and headed back towards the cars we reflected on how many places we visited in the last 72 hours and how quickly the weather changes in the Fall on the Keweenaw. We visited various designated locales in the Keweenaw during this multi-day workshop. We all grew as photographers, instructors and friends. We had a chance to work the kinks out of the itinerary and practice our presentations. And we crafted some unique images that will forever capture the fall colors on the Keweenaw in 2021.

We welcome anyone to join us next year for the Fall Color Photo Workshop or for one of the other workshops we will be offering throughout 2022.


Golf Update for the KML, Summer 2021

With the focus on being a resort-oriented golf course as an amenity for Lodge guests, along with being accessible to the general public, the overall condition of the golf course continued to improve again this year (reports, throughout the season, from many long-time patrons such as “the course is in the best condition they I’ve ever seen” have been common all season). The Outdoor Activity Center (OAC), was staffed every day of the season and there was only one day (21 September) that the course was closed, due to extreme weather. We continued to have over 3,000 rounds per year, while providing 15-minute tee-time intervals so that individuals do not feel rushed — one of our biggest compliments is that golfers are able to enjoy a quality wilderness experience at the top of the Keweenaw.

The golf course opened on June 1st, with the OAC operating 8am – 6pm for the entire season. Golfers were able to either check in for their tee time at the OAC or make tee times via our online tee time system (provided by Lightspeed Golf).

We managed the operations throughout the season so we could provide optimum customer service. With our first tee time each day being 8am, and our last tee time 6pm, we were able to staff the activity center with team members that could answer questions about the golf activities, as well other activities (e.g., biking and hiking).

The OAC staff catered to our qualities in being a historic wilderness resort that focuses on providing an outdoor experience. We have incorporated being fun, joyous, and adventuresome by introducing alternative forms of golf to the Keweenaw (e.g. FlingGolf and Disc Golf, and we continue to look into adding footgolf to the golf repertoire), we have freshened up our merchandise offerings, and enhanced the experience for our customers overall.


Resort Golf Course

Starting in the 2020 season, we made the decision to be a resort-oriented golf course. This meant no longer holding tournaments, having memberships available, or golf cart storage. This decision was made so we did not have resources being diverted from our primary reason of operations — being a resort (as opposed to a country club). This allowed us to focus on our primary target market – the guests that stay at the resort.

As with 2020, this year we continued to see people stay in cabins, and have both their golf clubs and their bikes with them. They would ride in the morning, and play 9-holes in the afternoon. Or they would play golf one day, and ride and/or hike the next day. Having biking and hiking trail access from the property, and a golf course out their cabin door, allows Lodge guests to easily take advantage of what the Keweenaw and the Lodge have to offer without having to use their cars.

Number of Rounds

This year we had 3,139 rounds. This is a decrease of 265 rounds from 2020, where we experienced 3,404 rounds — an 8% decline, after seeing a 17% increase in 2020 over 2019.  The most rounds played in a single day this year was 66, with our average number of rounds per day being just over 23. Based on the data available for the past three seasons, we are trending upwards toward our goal of hosting 30-50 rounds per day, with 15-minute tee time intervals — giving us the ability to provide a quality wilderness experience for our guests.

EZ-GO ELiTE Golf Cart Fleet

We introduced a new fleet of fifteen E-Z-GO RXV ELiTE carts this year, bringing golfers a new experience for getting around the course at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. These carts are powered with Samsung SDI Lithium Technology batteries, providing golfers excellent mobility without sacrificing the wilderness golfing experience. Each EZ-GO ELiTE was also equipped with GPS technology which allowed us to prevent the carts from driving on greens, tee boxes, or through the rough, which helped us maintain the condition of those sensitive areas, as well as the carts themselves. [read more about our fleet, here]

Club Car Tempo Walks

This season, we also brought in a new technology to focus on how the sport was started – walking a round of golf. Our Tempo Walks (Club Car’s robotic caddie) brought an old experience for getting around the course at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge back to life. Enjoying the game of golf with a nice stroll through the wilderness of the Keweenaw with the wildlife is an aspect that sets the Lodge golf course apart from other area golf courses. [ read more about our Tempo Walks, here ]

Caddytek Push/Pull Carts

Eight CaddyTek EZ-Fold Pushcarts were added to our rental selection this year. The pushcarts have a number of features which received numerous compliments throughout the season, such as: wide-base wheels that allow the cart to easily roll on different surfaces. adjustable handles for multiple pushing positions, a lightweight and durability design, and foldability for efficient storage when not in use.

Callaway Club Rentals

This past summer, we also offered full sets of 2021 Calloway clubs for our club rental. The men’s sets  included, the Callaway Epic Speed Driver and 3-wood, Maverick irons (4-9) and wedges, and Odyssey White Hot OG #7 putters for both right- and left-handed sets. The women’s sets included the Callaway Big Bertha REVA Driver and 5-wood, Maverick Max W Hybrids (4 & 5), Irons (6-9) and wedges, and Odyssey White Hot OG #5 putter, in both right-and left-handed models. The OAC staff was regularly hearing from golfers who rented the clubs how pleased they were with their performance and availability.

Golf Course Maintenance

Our golf course maintenance crew has done an exceptional job this season keeping the course in great shape. We strive to have the greens in excellent shape, good tee boxes, and finally decent fairways. We have received positive responses from players returning to play from previous year. Throughout the season, we have heard from players that the “course has never been this good in the past”. Now that the season has come to a close, the grounds crew is preparing for the upcoming winter in order to prevent snow mold and other casualties that could possibly harm the course in the future.

Fling Golf

This season we continued to offer guests the opportunity to play FlingGolf – think golf, but using a Lacrosse stick to throw the ball instead of hitting it with a club.  We had an array of FlingSticks available for rent a t the OAC. Not only was FlingGolf fun and family friendly, it allowed for a unique alternative to golf, broadening our options to guests. We received regular, positive feedback from guests as well as staff on how much fun FlingGolf is at the Lodge. 

Disc Golf

In addition to the improved shape of the golf course, our OAC and maintenance staff worked on improving the playability of the Disc Golf course on the opposite side of the property. In recent years, the disc course was rarely maintained on a regular basis, which led to an overgrowth of obstructive vegetation. This caused the course to not be as enjoyable to play. With the Disc Golf course better maintained, and providing Disc Golf rentals at the OAC, many of our lodging guests, as well as those who love to explore the area, have been able to enjoy the Disc Golf course multiple times.

Wildlife and Nature on the Golf Course

An aspect of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge’s golf course that is regularly commented on by guests is the likelihood of seeing wildlife on and around the course. Whether it be crows sounding a “wake-up alarm” around the cabins, painted lady butterflies feeding on nectar from the viburnum planted in front of the lodge, deer eating apples from the apple tree along the Hole 4 fairway, or the occasional black bear that strolls through our campus, one-on-one encounters with wildlife really emphasize for people the surrounding wilderness landscape and connect them personally with our environment. These are just a couple of the many examples of wildlife encounters around and on the golf course this past season. 

A pair of Sandhill Cranes nested on the course again this year. Their nest was not successful; however, they remained on the course throughout the season until they migrated south. They became very accustomed to the golfers and golf carts and provided some great opportunities for photos. 

A pair of Merlins (a type of small falcon), nested in a pine tree between Holes 8 and 9 this season. They successfully fledged three young. A windstorm in early September forced them out of their nest because a large branch fell through it. Fortunately, the young were developed enough to fly and all survived.

As usual, there continues to be a healthy population of squirrels and chipmunks on the property. Near the end of the summer, an immature red-tailed hawk discovered this fact and took up temporary residence near the OAC. It was, on multiple occasions, seen gliding low among the trees, then snagging an unsuspecting chipmunk or squirrel for its meal.

We recognize the value of maintaining healthy ecosystems and getting the chance to encounter wildlife in such ways. To help protect our environment while preserving the natural heritage of the game of golf, the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge has joined the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf (ASCP-Golf). ASCP-Golf is an education and certification program developed by Audubon International to help enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide, improve efficiency, and minimize potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations. The ASCP-Golf program takes stock of and then develops a plan for improvement around six key environmental components: Environmental Planning, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, Water Quality Management, and Outreach and Education.

While much of our effort to gain this certification will occur without much notice by guests. When you visit us over the next year there are some aspects you might see. For instance, we have already started an effort to convert some of the areas of rough to help local pollinators and aid in Monarch butterfly migration by planting native wildflowers and grasses. If you see work being done on the course and are not sure what it is, please ask. We are very excited to talk about the future of the ASCP-Golf at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.

Looking Forward: The 2022 Season

Looking forward to the next season, here are several items we will be focusing on in 2022:

  • Continue to promote exercise / walking, by carrying one’s bag, using a pull cart, or using a Tempo Walk 
  • Increase the awareness and activity of Speed golf on our golf course
  • Evaluate, design, and implement a Foot Golf course
  • Increase the awareness of the wildlife and nature associated with the golf course
  • Moving through the process of becoming a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Golf Course

Guest Chef Recap: An Authentic, Rustic Worldly Food Experience at the Lodge

Enjoying the concept of rustic-wordly food took on a French motif this past week with Guest Chef Gary Marquardt in-residence as part of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge’s Guest Chef Program. This unique program brings in a guest chef to share their speciality with Lodge patrons as well as expand the skill set of our own KML team.

Chef Gary is an award winning, certified executive chef with over 40 years of experience. Even with his long tenure in the food business, he continues to focus on learning new aspects of the profession. This mirrors one of our Core Values — to persistently learn. This was evident as he and KML’s resident chef, Widad Mueller, collaborated for weeks in advance of the event creating a delectable and innovative five-course meal centered around the French style of charcuterie.

The concept of charcuterie dates back to the Roman empire, but since the 15th century, it has been closely connected to France and French cuisine. Practitioners spend hours preparing various meats, in particular pork, in an effort to present them in the most diverse ways. Most commonly, the meats used are pork, fish, poultry, and game meats (ex. venison).

The focus of Chef Gary’s program revolved around a dinner on Wednesday, September 29th. Our guests reserved their seats for either a 6pm or 7:30pm sitting and were treated not to a menu, but a culinary journey that included specific wine and Michigan craft-beer pairings. Each sitting began with introductions of the KML chef and servers before an introduction to the evening’s courses by Chef Gary.

First up was a terrine, a wonderfully executed venison with cognac-infused pheasant sausage, cranberry, and wrapped in bacon.

Following this delicious appetizer, our servers delivered salade nicoise. This serving of mixed greens, tomato, boiled egg, haricot vert, pickled onion, smoked fish, and tarragon vinaigrette was paired with either the KM Ale or a Mondavi Pinot Grigio. These two starters were portioned well to set the stage for the three entree options to come.

Entree options included Ratatouille, Pan Seared Salmon-Beurre Blanc, and the marquee Choucroute Garnie. The Choucroute Garnie included special house made garlic sausage from start to finish by Chef Gary. The wine pairings options for these amazing entrees included Mondavi Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc and beer pairings included selections from Keweenaw Brewing Company’s Red Jacket Ale and Ore Dock’s Queen City — both craft-beers from Upper Peninsula breweries.

To close out this culinary journey, the final course was an apple tart topped with a calvados caramel sauce and a scoop of ice cream.

The two dining sessions allowed guests authentic opportunities to enjoy each course with their drink pairings and share in genuine conversations at their leisure in the Lodge’s historic Dining Room. Chefs Gary and Widad made their way around to each table getting to know them as well as inquiring about their interest in charcuterie. These interpersonal and culinary connections link directly to our rustic worldly food concept that we practice here at the Lodge.

As each sitting came to a close, many guests commented with excitement about the amazing taste of the food, the ability to try something new, and the time to be together. Many of our guests left saying they would be ready to sign up for the next one.

Behind the scenes

Part of the purpose of the Guest Chef Program @ the Lodge revolves around learning new things. As such, The kitchen team at the Lodge was able to work with Chef Gary during his residency in preparing the menu that he and Chef Widad worked on. This keeps the kitchen team energized and generates new ideas for our rustic worldly food.

Keweenaw Alliance Breakfast Talk – September 2021

As part of the Keweenaw Alliance Breakfast in September 2021, John Mueller, owner of KML, was one of the panelist talking about the summer 2021 tourism activities in the Keweenaw. He focused on 3 points: staffing, occupancy, and trails. The panel consisted of Brad Barnett (KCVB), Jen Julien (Vault Hotel), Wyndeth Davis (KHNP), Sean Gohman (KHNP), and John.

Slide desk from John’s talk on September 22, 2021

view the slide deck from the talk ]