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Nan Reed Twiss

Member since: 2004
Call Owner
Speaks: english

Torch Lake Exceptional Lakefront Cottage

27 Reviews
Bedrooms 4
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 3 - 7 nights

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Northern Michigan Cottage Rental Photos and Description

COTTAGE: 3 Bedrooms, 2 baths, sleeps 6; GUEST HOUSE (extra fee): 4 beds, 1 bath

Located on breathtakingly beautiful Torch Lake, this Non-Smoking property has been owned by the same family since the late 1800's. The cottage features natural wood interiors, two woodburning fireplaces, shelves of books, gorgeous views of the lake, coziness, and simplicity.

Equally suitable for families with young children or older couples, it comfortably sleeps six people, with a GUEST COTTAGE sleeping four more for an additional fee. We have 150 feet of lakefront, including a sandy beach, a private dock and boat hoist. The lake's sandy bottom is shallow for a fair distance, making it ideal for children. The cottage sits at the end of a private road in a secluded setting thick with mature trees. Its location on the east side of the lake affords spectacular views of the setting sun, especially from the large open air deck which overlooks the lake, and the near-constant lull of water lapping at the shore. There is also a smaller private deck, complete with a hammock swing (one of several on the property), off the master suite.

TORCH LAKE was named the third most beautiful lake in the world by National Geographic Magazine. The water is so clear you can see the sandy bottom all the way out to the 'drop-off.' On sunny days, the lake has ribbons of turquoise color that are reminiscent of the Caribbean. Torch is the largest lake in Michigan (19 miles long and about two miles wide) and is part of a chain of lakes which allows boating from Elk Rapids to Bellaire.

A 15-minute stroll takes you to the small and charming village of ALDEN. It has one of Torch Lake's four public boat ramps, a number of restaurants (both casual and fine cuisine), art galleries, a variety of shops, a playground, a public tennis court, and a library. Green woods and broad fields extend out from the town, offering great cycling and walking.

Popular tourist destinations such as Traverse City, Charlevoix, the Leelanau Peninsula, and Petoskey are all within an hour's drive. Should you choose to venture further afield, Interlochen National Music Camp (offering excellent concerts), Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, Mackinac Island, or Hartwick Pines are well worth visiting.

Because the cottage is a family heirloom, we request great care and consideration from our renters.

Keywords: Cottage

More Details
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
  • pets not allowed
Nan Reed Twiss (Owner)
Member since: 2004
Call Owner
Speaks: english

About Nan Reed Twiss

My great grandparents bought this property back in the eighteen hundreds, and it's been the beloved summer home to generations of my family (my children are now the fifth generation). The cottage which was left to me was built by my grandmother during the 2nd world war, and even though I've lived on both coasts of the US, in Europe and in Asia, I've never missed a summer. Birchwood cottage remains my favorite spot in the world...I just wish I could still spend all summer there as I did as a child. Now our family of five treasures the three weeks we save for ourselves, and scared though I was to share the cottage with strangers, so far, renters have treated the place beautifully.

Nan Reed Twiss purchased this cottage in 1890

Why Nan Reed Twiss chose Northern Michigan

I was lucky enough to inherit this gem. But why I would buy it (and I would!) is that Torch Lake is an extraordinarily beautiful lake, more beautiful than any I've ever seen. The colors are like the Caribbean, and the water is so clear you can see the bottom all the way out to the drop-off. The sandy bottom makes it especially beautiful. The area is so peaceful if it's peace you're looking for... and yet, if you want activity, you don't have to go far at all for inland entertainment. There are lots of artist's towns nearby, nice shops, some great restaurants, golfing, hiking...and the town of Alden is a brief walk away.

What makes this cottage unique

Our cottage is right on the water, so we sleep to the sound of waves lapping the shore. We watch the sunsets from our deck that overlooks the water or from one of our three hammocks placed throughout the property. The beach is perfect for small children since it stays shallow for a long way. In addition to the obvious sand-castle building, the kids also love to explore the woods and build forts with the driftwood or play on the raft. We love to swim, sail, walk or bike into town. There's so much to do in the area, but honestly, we're so happy at the cottage and on the lake, we generally just stay there.

Guestbook comments from the owner

We absolutely recommend Birchwood cottage. There were so many highlights to our trip, it’s hard to choose. Sitting and reading on the deck in the afternoon. Motorboating around the beautiful lake. Bicycling around the lake as well (the hills to the east were tough!). Coffee and rolls in Alden. We had a great time overall.
Aug 2012
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based on 27 traveler reviews

Torch Lake Exceptional Lakefront Cottage
average rating of 4.5925927 based on 35 reviews
ann arbor

Back in Time

  • 5 of 5

If you would like a traditional, comfortable, back in time experience, then this cottage has all the amenities. The views of Torch Lake sundowns are still quite memorable, with plenty of big sky and soaring eagles, where pictures paint and books write themselves. This cottage aligns in a historic setting with large trees and a beach front with multiple views. You could sit on the dock, relax on an overlooking deck, or feet in the sand on the side beach. You can see water from bedside or the sunset around the fireplace in the family room. This is traditional, this is why we go north to unwind and it provides the perfect conduit for the experience. Utilities are updated perfectly and do not distract from a turn of century feel for the cottage. Thank you Nan for sharing your family heritage and for being a consummate host

  • Submitted: Oct 25, 2015
  • Stayed: Sep 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

Comfortable Cottage with a Fabulous Deck

  • 5 of 5

We stayed two weeks in late September at the Birchwood Cottage on Torch Lake near Alden, Michigan. The weather turned out to be perfect. Spent most of our time on the comfortable, spacious and separate deck that sits out over the water. Loved it! The views are expansive and the sunsets beautiful. This is a wonderful location, about a mile outside of Alden. There's a walking trail through the woods to the village that we used daily (when we weren't enjoying the deck or playing golf.) Excellent golf courses nearby. Be sure to stop at Shorts Brewery in Bellaire after a round at Hawk's Eye. Can't get any better than that! There are kayaks, a canoe, and bikes for the renters to use. The owner, Nan, went out of her way to accommodate all of our requests and needs. The cottage itself is comfortable, filled with many antiques, which add to the overall ambiance. The kitchen is well equipped, although we didn't prepare many meals there. Alden has a nice bar/grill for dinner and a tasty luncheon restaurant across the street from it, both of which we would recommend. This is a lovely, scenic part of the state, tucked away from the traffic and hustle-bustle of nearby Traverse City, but close enough if you want to go there. We really enjoyed our stay.

  • Submitted: Oct 7, 2015
  • Stayed: Sep 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Florida/N. Carolina

Beautiful house & very responsive owner.

  • 5 of 5

Wonderful house. Pleasant and very responsive owner. I would recommend this house to anyone who would enjoy a peaceful get-away. We rented this home for friends coming to our wedding. They were quite happy with the house and enjoyed it.


  • Submitted: Oct 3, 2015
  • Stayed: Sep 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Wonderful Family Retreat

  • 5 of 5

We had a delightful escape at Birchwood Cottage! Though the week we were there was the coldest of the summer, we snuggled in and played games, had fires, and bundled up to BbQ and eat on the deck where we enjoyed a lovely view. The trees around the cottage lend it a magical, tucked away and protected feel. The decor inside the cottage is charming and cozy. The location of the cottage is phenomenal. We had three young children and were able to bike to town to explore. The owner, Nan, is wonderful to work with. We plan to return!

  • Submitted: Sep 22, 2015
  • Stayed: Aug 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Sun City, AZ

Annual Family Vacation

  • 4 of 5

My family is trying to get together somewhere new and different every year. This was our first lake vacation as an entire family. We enjoyed our time at the cottage and the beach. We did bring our pontoon. We had difficulty securing to the dock. We had some extreme weather including hot, humid, and extremely windy for 3 days, including rain one of the days. We had to take more day trips away from lake than we planned. Obviously this had nothing to do with the cottage. All in all we had a good time. We visited town frequently, it is a neat little town.

  • Submitted: Aug 23, 2015
  • Stayed: Aug 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: It's too bad the weather was not the best this week... that unfortunately does happen occasionally. For future guests: if you have a pontoon boat, we have a mooring buy that will accommodate your needs. The dock is NOT a suitable place for securing your boat! (We also have a hoist for motor boats up to 3500 pounds.)
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Absolutely adore this cottage!

  • 5 of 5

My family has been renting this cottage for several years and we love it! It is exactly how a lake cottage should look, feel. It is walking distance to Alden and the lake is gorgeous. We love all the open, common spaces in the home and how peaceful the area is where it is located. Can't say enough good things about the owner, Nan. She is a real gem and always an absolute pleasure to deal with. We will continue to make this our second home in the summer. :)

  • Submitted: Aug 9, 2015
  • Stayed: Jul 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Dockside-Torch Lake
"Great location, very popular. Food is nothing special, but it's still fun to go and watch th..."
Grass River Natural Area Rd
Alden's Mill House
Lulu's -- CLOSED
Nearest Airport
26 Miles
Travers City Cherry Capital Airport
Nearest Barpub
1 Miles
Alden Bar & Grill
Nearest Golf
12 Miles
Shanty Creek Resort or Elk Rapids Golf Club
Nearest Restaurant
1 Miles
Several in Alden
Nearest Point of Interest
Muffin Tin
Nearest Point of Interest
Afterloon Delights
Nearest Point of Interest
Alden Bar and Grille
Nearest Point of Interest
Dock Side
Nearest Point of Interest
Nearest Point of Interest
Nearest Point of Interest
Shorts Brewing Company
Nearest Point of Interest
Siren Hall
Nearest Point of Interest
Grass River Natural Area
Nearest Point of Interest
Torch Lake Sandbar

We often have set up a badminton net in our yard that our children (12-17) enjoy a lot. (They make up all sorts of games with bouncy balls and racquets.) So when they have had enough fun in the sand, water and sun, or enough time playing games indoors, there yet one more activity :-)


Rates & Availability

Torch Lake Cottage Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
Spring 2016
Apr 1 2016 - Jun 17 2016
3 night minimum stay
Summer 2016
Jun 18 2016 - Aug 26 2016
Changeover Day: Saturday
7 night minimum stay
End of Summer 2016
Aug 27 2016 - Sep 4 2016
3 night minimum stay
Fall 2016
Sep 5 2016 - Oct 31 2016
3 night minimum stay
Spring 2017
Apr 14 2017 - Jun 16 2017
3 night minimum stay
Summer 2017
Jun 17 2017 - Aug 25 2017
7 night minimum stay
End of Summer 2017
Aug 26 2017 - Sep 3 2017
3 night minimum stay
Fall 2017
Sep 4 2017 - Oct 30 2017
3 night minimum stay
My Standard Rate
7 night minimum stay

Additional information about rental rates

Refundable damage deposit $500
Property Damage Protection $59
Tax Rate 6.0%

For more than 6 people (up to a total of 10), you can also rent our Guest House for an additional $700/wk ($100/night during Spring/Fall seasons). (We only rent the Guest House in conjunction with the Main Cottage.)
Signed Rental Agreement & first payment due within 3 days of booking to reserve dates. Please review details carefully and feel free to contact us with questions.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the owner or check their rental agreement when booking the property.
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Northern Michigan Cottage Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 1855 sq. ft.
Location Type:
  • Beachfront ...
  • Lakefront
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Fireplace ...
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Parking
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wireless Internet
  • Wood Fireplace ...
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining Area
  • 3 Bathrooms
  • Master Bedroom Bathroom - toilet , combination tub/shower
    Cottage Bathroom - toilet , shower
    Guest House Bathroom - toilet , shower
  • 4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10
  • Master Bedroom - 1 queen , There is also a Daybed
    Upstairs Bedroom - 2 twin/ single
    2nd Upstairs Bedroom - 2 twin/ single
    Guest House - 2 twin/ single , 1 bunk bed
  • The Cottage sleeps 6. For an extra fee, you can also rent the Guest House to sleep 4 more.
  • Books ...
  • DVD Player
  • Games ...
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Television
  • Balcony ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Golf ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Tennis ...
  • children welcome ...
  • non smoking only
  • pets not allowed ...
  • cinemas
  • restaurants
Leisure Activities:
  • boating
  • horseback riding
  • miniature golf
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • kayaking
  • sailing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • water skiing
  • wind-surfing
We have a raft that is available for our renters a short distance from shore. We also have lovely spots for reading or intimate conversations, including 1 Rope Hammock and 2 Hammock Swings that fit two people each. We also often have a badminton set up for the kids.

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