Winter Test: Initial results are positive, Next Stage: Opening up to more guests

This winter the resort has not been open to the general public. However, we have had staff working at the Lodge most every day, and have been keeping areas of the resort warm.  This includes having heat on and water running, electricity turned on, and snow being removed for a select number of cabins, the hotel, and the Lodge building.  In addition, we have had a select number of guests stay in the cabins.

This is part of the plan for testing see how the resort infrastructure, the equipment, and the staff hold up to the cold weather and the snow.  Since November, we have gone through several cold spells where the temperatures have been in the single digits, and several snow storms (today is an excellent example, as we have had close to 12 inches of snow — see pictures below).

That said, we are now into our 3rd month of this test. The maintenance crew has done a wonderful job keeping the snow removed around the Lodge and the cabins (you can follow along via the webcams). The six cabins and the six hotel rooms have done well.  We have been able to keep them warm with a combination of forced-air and baseboard heating, along with fire in the fireplaces, albeit we continue to work on improving the heating efficiency of the historical structures. Storm window on the cabins help with insulating the cabins.

The water has continued to run, and we did not experience any broken pipes during these months due to freezing — this is even when we had temperatures in the single digits.  This was one of our main concerns as the water system had not been tested in the winter for 10 years; and when it was tested, it had only been run for two winters (2009 and 2010).

We have been on top of the snow removal with our equipment. We added a new tractor to the mix that has a snow blower — giving us two snow blower attachments that we can use to keep the snow at bay (one on the new tractor, and one on the older skidster). Along with the county plowing Golf Course Road, this gives us the ability to ensure people can access to and around the resort property.

Several guests rented cabins in December and in early January. They enjoyed their stay, and appreciated the serene atmosphere the Lodge provides people that appreciate the wilderness and the snow in the Keweenaw.  

Here are several quotes from the guests that stayed in December and January:

  • “Enjoying Copper Harbor. We dropped our things at the cabin [ before heading out]. Love it. We will be back and forth [ between the Lodge and Copper Harbor ]. Thanks for the opportunity to stay [ at the Lodge during the winter ].”

  • “So cozy! We had an amazing stay, the fireplace was awesome, we were so snug and the views of the mountain from the golf course were stunning! Hope to be able to stay again for longer this winter.”

  • “We can’t thank you enough for letting us stay in your cabin this week. We had a wonderful time! Everything was perfect and your property is beautiful! My husband was thrilled with the firewood and had a fire going every night….The cabin was cozy and comfortable; we couldn’t have been happier.”

Along with the tests we did last winter (Nov 2018 – March 2019), the past 3 months have given us more answers to our initial questions about winter operations. The results have been positive so far in this journey — step-by-step we are determining what will work in the winter time at the Lodge.  

The next step with the winter test is to increase the load on the infrastructure. As such, we are opening up the cabins to more guests to stay this winter. This increase in usage of the cabins during the winter time will provide us more data on how well the resort can hold up during the snowy season.

If you would like to stay in a cabin this winter, call us at 906-289-4403, extension 1. Or email us at reservations@keweenawresort.com and provide your phone number so we can call you back.

Realize that we do not have the Lodge, guest services, and food and beverage operations open to the general public at this time.  The Lodge building is not open, but is heated to keep water running through the building. Thus, the dining services are not in operations, and the Lodge Life Shop is not accessible to the general public. As well, the front desk is closed — guests do not check in at the Lodge, as they go straight to their cabins when they arrived to the property (check-in is arranged on the phone or online).

Note: If you are wanting to rent cabins in the summer / fall, those reservations can be made online via our online reservation system

[ Photos of cabins 3, 4, and 11 were taken by Chris Guibert. ]

Reservations Open for 2020 Season

Lodging reservations are now open, and now you can book your cabin for the 2020 summer / fall season.

[ Make a Lodging Reservation ]

The first day of the 2020 summer / fall season for the general public to stay in lodging accommodations at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge will be May 1, 2020.  This past season, we opened up the lodging accommodations on May 9th. So for  the 2020 summer / fall season, we are opening 8 days earlier than we did this year. This is in order to accommodate the Michigan Tech graduation events that happen during the first week in May (which was requested this year, but we were not prepared to open that early).

As with the 2019 summer / fall season, we will have 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom cabin options.  Each of these cabins have 1-bathroom in them.

A change we are making for this coming season is that we will have several cabins that will have 2-bedroom / 2-bathroom options.  This option will be available in cabins 17, 18, and 24.  Previously these were 1-bedroom duplexes. However, for the 2020 summer / fall season we will combine the two 1-bedroom units that are in the same cabin structure and utilize the door in-between the duplex units.  This will allow guests to rent the entire cabin structure and have a 2-bedroom / 2-bathroom option when they stay with us.

We look forward to seeing you at the Lodge in 2020. In the meantime, enjoy the winter season.

Note: We are testing several cabins during the winter time. You can read about this in our announcement in August where we mention we won’t be open for the general public this winter, but testing 6 cabins with winter operations.

Updated Hours of Operation for September and October

The summer season is finished, Trails Fest went well for the Harbor during the Labor Day weekend, and kids are now back in school. As such, activity at the Lodge will change over the next 30-60 days. 

From now until the end of October, we will be focusing on special events (weddings, historical dinners, and more) and the color season activity will take hold as the leaves start to change in the Keweenaw.  The golf course will still be open for play, albeit golfers will be wearing more clothing to keep warm on the links.  And there will be less daylight to get out and about to enjoy the outdoor activities.

Accordingly, we have adjusted our hours of operations for September and October.  The changes that have been made are as follows:

  • The Front Desk hours have changed from 7am – 10pm to 8am – 8pm.
  • The Lodge Life Shop hours have changed from 8am – 10pm to 8am – 8pm.
  • The latest time to reserve a golf cart has changed from 7pm to 6pm, with carts to be returned by 8pm.

The food and beverage hours of operations have not changed at this time.

You can see the latest hours of operations at any time by going to the Hours of Operations web page.

TVs — Not what we are about

If you are coming to the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge to watch TV, then you have probably booked in a resort that isn’t for you.

Since last October, we have worked with DirectTV to try to upgrade our system from analog to digital.  However, they never sent anyone up to make the upgrades; but rather, would push the responsibility on us to do the site survey and tell them what equipment was needed.  This resulted in many of the TVs in the cabins not having access to DirectTV — thus not being usable. 

At the same time, the new owner was disappointed with how technicians had installed 12 satellites on our property in the past, resulting in unsightly wiring between the cabins at the Lodge.

After 9+ months of numerous calls and being told things were going to get fixed, we have become exhausted in working with DirectTV. We have evaluated that it is best for us to focus more on the wilderness experience and building out a Wifi network throughout the cabins and the Lodge. 

Thus, yesterday, after trying to work through the issues and headaches with DirectTV, it was agreed with DirectTV that we would cancel our service with them. The result, DirectTV was completely turned off from the Lodge as of midnight last night. 

This year we have not advertised we had DirectTV, as that was not one of our selling points at the Lodge. Our core selling points at the Lodge are the wilderness and the history of the Lodge.  Thus, our target market are guests that want to enjoy the Keweenaw wilderness, and take in a historical resort that was built as part of a WPA project in 1934.

We understand that it might be an inconvenience to not have a TV available for a program you just cannot miss or just to do something if it’s rainy.  As we build out the WiFi network on the property, it will become more readily available in the cabins.  Plus, our team is happy to provide plenty of information on area activities or board games. If TV is a major deal breaker, there are a number of establishments in Copper Harbor that have TV service.

Thus, if you have already booked with us and require TV to enjoy life, before you check-in you are free to cancel your reservation at any time, free of charge.

No microwaves in the cabins and hotel rooms. Why?

We have made a conscious decision to not provide microwaves in the cabins and hotel room.  This is for environmental purposes, energy consumption reasons, and health and smell reasons (cooking hot food in a cabin tends to stick in the cabins, especially with log woods in historic cabins — kind of like when someone smokes in a cabin — which isn’t allowed).

That said, the Lodge is happy to provide a microwave for medical reasons on a case-by-case basis, as we understand there are medical needs that require something to be heated up. Each cabin and hotel room comes equipped with energy efficient mini-fridges for cold storage. 

Our staff is committed to making your stay with us comfortable, so please visit our front desk during your visit if you have questions or need assistance. 

Experiencing The Keweenaw: Connie’s Adventure

Connie Hiltunen, our head of housekeeping, has been working at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge (KML) for over 19 seasons — she started working at the Lodge in 2000. Her upbeat attitude has been a sure staple for all who have met her.

Before joining the Lodge in 2000, Connie worked in Copper Harbor with the Country Store.  She wanted to experience a change, but stay in the harbor.  She began working at the Lodge in the pro shop. When she first started in the pro shop, she knew nothing about golf; however, she quickly picked up on the golfing lingo and found herself at the pro-shop for two years. Connie enjoyed the various conversations she had with the many golfers she met; whether they were locals from town, tourists from out-of-state, or members of the golf league.

After working in the pro shop for two years, she decided to take a year-long break from her work at the lodge. When she returned, she spent one season working in the kitchen before being offered the position of housekeeping supervisor in 2004. Connie has remained the head of housekeeping since 2004, and her dedication to this position is the result of having an amazing housekeeping team that makes working at the lodge a great experience.  

Some of the things that Connie enjoys about working at the Lodge for all these years would be the wildlife and scenic drive that she is able to see and experience every day. Last year, there was a doe and two fawns that would often hang around the golf course and lodge. Connie was fortunate enough to see both of the fawns up close when they wandered beside her office window. The fawns were not the only small animals that could be seen at the KML, such as the sandhill cranes that spend each year walking along the golf course with their younglings. She had recalled the rare experience she had one year when there was a moose that had traveled onto the golf course. The facilities staff had originally spotted the moose, which had wandered from the wall at the edge of the course and moved up to Hole 6. If you are looking to see wildlife, the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge would be a good place to start.

One of the fawns from outside Connie’s office window.

As head of housekeeping and a seasoned employee, you would believe Connie would have many stories about the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. She shared a comical story about a special instance with the local wildlife and one of her housekeeping staff. A few years back at the lodge, there were several foxes that had made their home near the entrance of the resort. While cleaning one of the cabins with the door open, one of the housekeeping staff turned around to see the fox looking in on them. The staff had to quickly sneak behind the cabin door and shut it before the fox had a chance to venture into the log cabins.

For Connie, the one thing that will never get old while working at the Lodge is the ability to see the beauty of the area on her commute to Copper Harbor. The scenic drive is something she would recommend to anyone traveling through the area. She travels the Brockway Mountain Drive and Route M-26 in the mornings, where she insists the sunrises are absolutely unbeatable.   

Every year, Connie is drawn to come back and work at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. If you stop over to the Lodge, you will find yourself surrounded by the beauty of the pines, wildlife, and the coziness of our cabins. For all travelers, I would suggest listening to Connie’s advice – take a moment to wake up early and experience a Keweenaw sunrise at the top of Brockway Mountain. It is only a short drive from the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, and although the mountain can be seen from the first tee of our golf course, the view from the top of the mountain is truly captivating.