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Torch Lake Exceptional Lakefront Cottage

Bedrooms 4
Space 1,855 sq. ft.
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 3 - 7 nights


About the property

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

Nan Reed Twiss
Member since: 2004
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within an hour
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
May 17, 2017

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
  • 1 of 8


Alden Cottage Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 1855 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • non smoking only
  • pets not allowed ...
  • children welcome ...
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 ...
  • 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.


Excellent! 4.5/5 -
(35 traveler reviews)

Torch Lake Exceptional Lakefront Cottage
average rating of 4.542857 based on 43 reviews

Everything a weekend getaway should be

  • 4 of 5

My family and I just returned from a truly wonderful weekend at Birchwood on Torch Lake. The occasion was to celebrate my 70th birthday. This was the best birthday ever. Everyone had a great time and did not want to leave to go back home. Beautiful lake, great views from the deck and house. And the house itself is roomy, comfortable and all you would expect a house on the lake to be.

  • Submitted: Oct 11, 2016
  • Stayed: Oct 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Cozy Cottage in a wonderful location on Torch Lake.

  • 4 of 5

The cottage was very cozy and clean. The view of the water was incredible. Especially the sunset! The beach area was clean and the kids loved it. Just a few minute drive and you could grab groceries or a bite to eat in Alden. We had a few very minor issues when we arrived to the cottage but the owner was very responsive and prompt to our request to get handled. She was also very polite! Our only disappointment was the master bedroom did have a "musty" kind of stench. Maybe could use some fresh paint to clear that up. And also the water is very hard (It's well water). So definitely bring bottled water to drink. We would definitely stay here again!

  • Submitted: Sep 27, 2016
  • Stayed: Sep 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Our guest is absolutely right about the water... we DO have a water softener, but I learned AFTER he left that it was not working. I immediately called the water softener company and it is now working once again :-) As for the master bedroom, I will certainly look into this. We had the bedroom painted two years ago, so that is not the issue. Maybe it was a particularly humid period? I don't know, but I am grateful to these guests for bringing this issue to my attention.
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Northville MI

A Loving Alcove ....

  • 4 of 5

You could feel the family heritage here. This is a beautiful, old house. Extremely relaxing and peaceful. And, a perfect spot on Torch Lake. Loved our stay.

  • Submitted: Sep 24, 2016
  • Stayed: Sep 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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peaceful retreat

  • 5 of 5

My three sisters and I stayed at the cottage for three nights in September. We loved sitting and reading on the deck, the beautiful sunsets and had fires in the outdoor fire pit. Cottage kitchen had everything we needed so we really never left the property. Very nice short walk to Alden and we did make it to Shorts in Bellaire. We all enjoyed our stay. Had a few questions for the owner and Nan replied promptly. Thanks for sharing you beautiful place.

  • Submitted: Sep 17, 2016
  • Stayed: Sep 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Brownstown, mi

Great northern Michigan getaway!!!!

  • 5 of 5

My family and I had a wonderful time during our stay at your cottage!! My husband and I have 3 small children (3, 5, 6) and they had a blast. The water was so clear and shallow enough for them to enjoy. The cottage was rustic and everything we wanted in an up north get away!! We rented a pontoon boat and cruised the lake for a day. Over all the trip was a success. Thank you for renting your home to us.

The Gates family,

Brownstown MI

  • Submitted: Sep 11, 2016
  • Stayed: Aug 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
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East central MI

Can't wait to return to this slice of heaven on Torch!

  • 5 of 5

First let me say our family of 7 has rented its fair share of vacation properties over the years, with our kids ranging in age from pre-school to late teens/college age... so we've experienced a wide range of comfort, amenities and owner hospitality. That said, we all agree that the past week spent Enjoying (capital E intended) a stay at Birchwood cottage is one of the overall best vacations we've ever had! From the start and continuing during our stay, owner Nan has been a delight to work with.. extremely polite, timely and detailed in response to our inquiries, and even in immediately sending a workman to repair a minor appliance glitch we encountered during our stay.

The stunning beauty of Torch Lake and fun, laid-back ambiance of the surrounding area speak for themselves, so this review will focus on the cottage and its many benefits. The rustic charm is evident the minute you set foot inside, yet it boasts the convenience of modern appliances (we were tempted to steal her dishwasher, it was so whisper quiet, and her washer/dryer, which were both lightning quick). The large, well-outfitted deck directly over the water was a delight during early morning coffee and gorgeous sunsets, as well as offering welcome shade from the midday sun. The hammock and hanging swings within earshot of the lake sounds were great nap-inducers. A sturdy dock and shared swim platform provided easy access to the shallow gradient and soft sand of the lake bottom. The generous loan of kayaks and a canoe (with a separate release form) made for tranquil paddles to explore the shoreline and changing color palette of the lake's depth contours. The reliable in-house wifi made staying connected a breeze, and allowed our teens to avoid an outbreak of "fomo fever". The large dining table made for fun mealtimes and gaming, while the extremely comfy master bed provided us with some of the most restful sleep we've had in months (aided by the sound of the lake lazily lapping at the shore through the screened sliding door). The well-shaded lot ensured that the cottage's interior stayed cool during even the hottest days, and the multiple efficient fans and flow-through layout allowed for great cross-ventilation of the main floor rooms. The location at the end of a wooded lane made for very convenient access, off-loading and parking. The short drive or walk to Alden for great food and shopping was a huge plus.

All in all, a fantastic week in a restful and fun-filled paradise!

  • Submitted: Jul 31, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • 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

Alden Cottage Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
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

Property Damage Protection $59
Refundable damage deposit $500
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.
Enter dates for accurate pricing
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