Welcome to Big Bay (the village's namesake), a large secluded bay on Lake Superior.
Squaw Beach Retreat is private, but not remote--the way we describe our place. Imagine a cozy, but roomy-enough log cabin built of 10 inch native wood logs and hardwood floors on a clean sandy beach surrounded by a pristine bay. As you look straight north from the deck towards Canada across the world's biggest fresh water lake, the bay 'arms' rise to over 60 feet of forested cliffs on either side. Big Bay (the bay, not the village) is designated as a safe harbor of refuge because a working 1897 lighthouse perches atop one of these arms on the eastern point, and a welcoming harbor with a small marina is tucked in on the western side of the bay, a short stroll from here. We are dog friendly, and when we had ours here, they absolutely loved splashing through the shallow water at lake's edge!
More about the cabin itself: we have a nice loft area upstairs with two twin beds and a futon/couch looking down to the great room. The master bedroom with the log 4-poster King is directlly off the great room downstairs. There is a a full kitchen with a pass.-through bar, a separate dining room/lounge area, a roomy bathroom, a small office/all purpose room, and an enclosed entry hall. The great room looks through sliding glass doors to the deck overlooking the water. You can watch the entire bay from inside due to the expanse of long windows on 3 sides.
Scattered family vacation getaways and permanent homes are nestled along the beach shaded by a variety of Northern evergreens.
Across the private lane leading to the cabin is a wooded area which backs up to a protected wetlands that stretches for more than a mile-- home to eagles, red-headed woodpeckers, and numerous other rare birds as well as an abundance of wild ducks and geese and native wildlife. There are even moose sightings in the area from time to time, and their numbers are growing, according to a recent survey and some lucky residents around 'this neck of the woods.'
The charming little village of Big Bay is on a slope about a mile and a half from here, offering most things needed in the way of restaurants (3) a grocery/general store, gas, outdoor outfitting supplies, a laundromat, a couple of unique shops featuring many local artists and Northwoodsy items, two lovely old churches, and friendliness. All of that, and not a single stop light! The uniqueness of Big Bay that made us want to have a place here is that it maintains the charm of a village at the end of a road--when you look at a map, you see the road stops here where the Huron Mountains take over! Not a drive-through community, so there are no franchises at all, just 'Mom and Pop' type of businesses that are very friendly.
The history of Big Bay is so very interesting and varied, ranging from Henry Ford's enterprises here to the exclusive Huron Mountain Club (over a century old) to movie-making to the rich tradition of the early lumberjacks of the U.P. Big Bay is also very proud of the one-of-kind and very special Big Bay Bay Health Camp.
While you may just want to get away from city life and partake of the abundance of outdoor activities or simply unwind on the deck gazing at the ever-changing moods of Lake Superior, the city of Marquette (population around 19,000) is only 25 miles through the woods to the south and offers any service or amenity that you might want or need. Marquette is considered the 'hub' of the Upper Peninsula, home to Northern Michigan University, a regional medical complex, as well as sightseeing, museums, shopping, historical sights,golfing, restaurants, and way more.
Since you will need to pass by or through Marquette to reach Big Bay, we recommend that you make a stop at the Tourist Center in Marquette or the Visitors' Welcome Center in Harvey to arm yourselves with brochures on this entire area, so you won't need to waste a moment of your time here wondering what to do next in Michigan's awesome Upper Peninsula. The only problem you might encounter? So much to do--so little time! In our 15 years here, we are still exploring and discovering.
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We are a semi-retired couple who divide our time between this place and a farm. We grew up in a metropolitan area, so this place has been a refreshing change from the busy, urban life we knew This log cabin on Lake Superior is our vacation home which we have loved for several years, and we planto open it up for guests to enjoy during July when we are tending our garden and hay south of here.
We were drawn to this location initially by the unspoiled natural beauty that abounds in every part of the U.P. Then, we kept finding other benefits that made traveling here an awe-inspiring experience. There are outdoor recreational opportunities to be enjoyed in every season, yet Big Bay doesn't have that 'touristy' feel. If you want to venture out, Marquette is only a short drive away (25 miles) with its many points of interest and amenities, but within minutes of here or there, you can be exploring a wilderness area and not encounter another soul-- the only sounds being those of birds and wind whispering through the woods.
Where do I begin to describe the special things that we about living here. We like the fact that it is never crowded, except for the night of the annual summer fireworks display when there are parties and bonfires all up and down the beach. But it is usual that on many mornings you can walk out on the beach and get that fantasy feeling that all of this natural beauty is just for you! Speaking of fireworks displays, there have been a few times that we have witnessed the Northern Lights over Lake Superior. True, it is not often, but it does happen and when it does--pure magic! .
Another thing I love about staying here is that we are able to take a nature walk in any direction (except due north, of course). On the quiet, unpaved, but well-maintained lane going past the cabin, I like to walk listening to the protected wetlands between here and town that stretch for over a mile. You can view them in all of their glory if you walk the beach side down to where the family cottages end, and past there climb a gentle slope overlooking a paradise for water birds and all the local wildlife. I also love walking on down the lane or along the beach to the little harbor and marina that often has little fishing boats, large and small sailing boats, along with fancy cabin boats--whoever happens along and ties up. This is an official harbor of refuge, so we have had some very interesting boats coming in when the lake is living up to her reputation for being unpredicatable at times! Last year a gigantic iron ore freighter anchored in our bay for a couple of days to wait out one of those infamous November storms. In the summer and fall months, however, the waters are mostly delightful for recreation and soul inspiration.
Many waterfalls in the area, birdwatching, rock hunting, chipmunk feeding, baywatching, year-round special events in town, tours of the 1897 Big Bay Lighthouse (still working), a picnic at panoramic Thomas Rock, countless marked and unmarked trails for hiking and biking through beautiful natural landscapes, a small harbor/ marina within easy walking distance. Big Bay is also a place with a fascinating history for history buffs. Among the many well- known people who built vacation getaways here was Henry Ford, who established a branch of his business in Big Bay in another era. Movie
buffs will enjoy the story line behind the filming of parts of 'The Anatomy of a Murder' here. Just down the road in Marquette. discover a full range of activities, including golf, tennis, movies, gyms,shopping, restaurants, museums, mine tours, and more While there, be sure to watch one of the giant Great Lakes ore boats unloading at the ore dock and then take a drive around Presque Isle. A must-see.There are also many 1 to 2 hour day trips to other interesting spots in the UP.
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