This is a beautiful old farm house built in 1890 about 1/4 mile north of the historic Village of Empire. The building has been updated, but still has the old feel of comfort and tranquility. There's a glassed in wrap-around porch that is just perfect for lounging on a rainy day with a large dining room table for 'almost-outdoors' meals.
The house is at the end of a short, private road (no traffic) in a grove of very old locust trees in the southwest corner of a 40-acre parcel. The property has a very pretty little stream flowing across part of it a few hundred feet away and below the house. Adjacent to the 40 acres of wooded private land is a nature area protected by the Leelanau Conservancy with comfortable walking trails.
There's a very nice public beach in the Village of Empire with a large playground and access to both Lake Michigan and South Bar Lake (warmer water). If you're feeling fit, you can also walk about one mile north and west from the house, through the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore forest to emerge on a very secluded sugar-sand beach on Lake Michigan.
Bronwyn is an English teacher at Northwestern Michigan College. Joe is the director of a nonprofit community service organization in Traverse City. We're very active in several of the region's nonprofit groups and enjoy lots of outdoor activities. We're also members of the Beach Bards, a nonprofit group of four poets and storytellers. We gather with lots of friends and visitors every Friday night to recite poems, tell stories and enjoy some music around a big bonfire next to Lake Michigan at the Leelanau School near Glen Arbor - come join us.
Bronwyn Jones purchased this house in 1933
Bronwyn inherited this property from her grandfather ('the professor') who purchased it from one of Empire's founding families in 1933. The old farm house was purchased by Professor Jones as a summer get-away, which it was for many, many glorious summers. In recent years, the house has been a beloved retreat for family members.
We love the tranquility and seclusion of Grove House. But we also love the connection to a beautiful historic village with lots of amenities in Traverse City, just 25 miles away. The Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore is truly a jewel on the world's inland seas. We enjoy picking up some towels and a small cooler and walking the mile or so to the secluded Lake Michigan shoreline, swimming and reading all day, then watching the sunset (have you seen the green flash?).
My wife and I stayed at Grove House in September 2014, at summer's end. As we described the property to friends we could see they didn't quite understand -- a beautiful old farm house on 40 wooded acres, walking distance from Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan, and the sleepy town of Empire. But it's exactly as the owner promised. No surprises; no disappointments; more beautiful than we could have imagined. Walking 40 acres of wooded hills and abandoned orchard with our overjoyed Lab; walking the path to Lake Michigan with the beach to ourselves. If you can live with one bathroom and seek rural lake shore privacy, this property will ruin you. We have no idea where else to go.
We had a terrific week at Grove House and Northern Michigan. The town of Empire is very convenient and cozy. We walked to the beach and it was beautiful and virtually private! The house was very comfortable, we especially liked the relaxed seclusion. Our two dogs Trooper and Shadow also gave it a "five paw up" rating.