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James Smith

Member since: 2013
Speaks: english

Smittys GA "right in the middle of it all"

24 Reviews
Bedrooms 6
Property type house
Minimum Stay 3 - 7 nights

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Northern Michigan House Rental Photos and Description

Quiet comfort with room to move. 6BR - 4 Bath (Sleeps 14)

Smittys GA is a unique home situated on a very private seven acre partially wooded site, surrounded by flower gardens, featuring neo-classical inspired architectural elements uncommon to the area.

The main home features 3 bedrooms (1K,2Q), 2 loft bedrooms (1Q, 2T), 3 bathrooms, 2 spacious living rooms with 20' ceilings , an exercise room complete with a flat screen TV, stereo, universal weight machine, Precor elliptical glider and yes a ceiling fan. The home also features a screened in, fully finished, heated (hopefully not needed but there if it is) 3 stall garage with an all-weather ping pong table which can safely be taken outdoors, Tournament Foosball table (indoor only), stereo and also a lighted, marked, outdoor (driveway) 1/2 court basketball court also with stereo.

Inside the home the dining room opens to the formal living room (living room one) which runs the length of the house from Northern to Southern exposures. To the North the living room opens through double doors onto an airy enclosed screened porch featuring a 20' ceiling. The screened porch in turn, opens through double doors onto the rear of the homes two spacious decks. The rear deck overlooks a large and active organic fruit and vegetable garden which abuts the balance of the properties acreage. There are approximately 5 acres behind the home which in turn adjoin the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park land. The property is surrounded by another 28 acres of land held in the Leelanau Land Conservancy.

Returning to the main home, the formal living (East end of home) room opens to the south (front of home) through double doors onto a sunny 320sf redwood front deck. This deck is in the feature thumbnail picture and is surrounded by flower gardens so don't forget to use the zoom feature on this one.

The middle door in the photo is the mainly used entrance on the front of the home. It enters into a large foyer and mudroom built to separate the house into two zones where, for instance, kids could watch an action movie in one living room and parents could read a book in the other or vice versa. The foyer leads to the mudroom and both also feature Brazilian terra cotta tile as an aesthetically warm but thoroughly protective flooring area and space to shed the shoes. Here you will find a thoroughly stocked walk in pantry. You will also find multiple closets built to accommodate our (multiple kids).

Through the mudroom turning to the right leads to the kitchen. Left at the mudroom leads to the second living room which intentionally incorporates many of the trim design elements of living room one. The spacious second living room was built to feel more casual and features high knotty spruce ceilings, two ceiling fans, an eight foot tall sliding window wall on the northern exposure and a spiral staircase to the 2nd loft bedroom as well cushy comfortable Natuzzi leather sofa, loveseat and chair and a Denon surround system.

Continuing west through the second living room takes you to the third bedroom featuring a queen bed, skylight for those spectacular starry nights and a sliding doorwall to the north deck. Continuing on you pass across the 'pass-through' which is the door nearest the garage. The 'pass-through' was designed to allow quick access between the front yard and the back yard. Accordingly this area also features Brazilian terra cotta tile and a place to 'kick off your shoes'.

Continuing on westward takes you past the 3rd bath and into the exercise room. Here you will find a universal weight machine, a Precor glider, flat screen TV, wet bar, a second refrigerator, and entrance to the garage which was described early on.

The finishes in the home were selected for both durability and comfort with floors being 75% hardwood, 15% quarry tile and 10% carpet. You will find carpet only in the master suite and the two loft bedrooms. The home features knotty spruce ceilings in both the 2nd living room and the exercise room. Countertops are ceramic tile in the kitchen and granite on both the kitchens breakfast bar countertop and the wet bar in the exercise room.

Appliances include a 2nd refrigerator just off the exercise room and front-load washer and dryer just off the kitchen. The kitchen features a Fridgidaire slide-in 4 burner range, over the range microwave, Kitchenaid dishwasher, blender, Bunn coffee maker and grinder, etc.

Above the garage is another 800 sf of living space which may be rented separately before and after the main season. It is, or will soon be, listed separately as “Little Smittys GA”. This “carriage house” apartment features hardwood throughout, one bedroom with a queen size pillow top bed, 1 bathroom with a shower stall, apartment sized “stacked” washer/dryer laundry unit, an open kitchen with a Jenn-Air electric range, Kitchenaid refrigerator, appropriate cooking and dining utensils, skylights, a ceiling fan, flat screen TV and bar seating and an open dining area which together would easily seat 6 adults comfortably.

Currently the carriage house also has two additional sleeper sofas for additional sleeping space one of which may be substituted with a second queen bed for a small additional fee.

More Details
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
  • pets not allowed
  • wheelchair inaccessible
James Smith (Owner)
Member since: 2013
Speaks: english

About James Smith

My wife and I are were both born in Detroit and grew up in the area with Denice graduating from Wayne State and myself from Ferris State . We met early in 1996, were married in may of 1997, sold our homes, left our jobs, got new jobs, combined two families, bought this home and moved up here to start one new life together in August of 1997. Thinking back it makes us tired just to tell the story

James Smith purchased this house in 1997

Why James Smith chose Northern Michigan

Go out on the deck at midnight on a clear summer night and look up - you will begin to understand.

What makes this house unique

I am allowed 2000 characters to explain why and its probably not enough. Maybe it was the tree frog stuck to the glass of our front door during a warm summer rain. Maybe it was the distant howling of coyotes deep in the woods late at night or then again maybe it was the cement trucks buried in the mud up to their fenders a hundred yards into a forest (our front yard) during construction.

Or maybe it was just the countless other construction projects done for others or the days, weeks and years of us working out of town to make this all possible.

In the end it simply comes down to the land, the magnificent water that abounds in the area, the unpredictable climate and what we have gone through to tame this land and build a home that provides us constant comfort in an unpredictable changing climate.

We have slowly over 15 years time, carved our homestead out of what, after a storm has knocked out power for few days, sometimes seems like pure wilderness. This is such a beautiful place but when a late November windstorm roars in from the West, and the leafless trees are swaying 10 feet at the tops or a mid-winter snowstorm from the North drifts 3 feet of snow on the deck the day before the temperature plummets to zero, we are reminded that our presence at our quiet little place in the woods is up to the good graces of mother nature.

And that's okay we prefer it that way.

Guestbook comments from the owner

Hello Katie,

Thank you so much for your wonderful review and I am glad to have met you and your wonderful family.

In reading the review I noticed that you had stated that the listing states that we stated that we have Air Conditioning. This an important topic so I just want to respond and clarify things. Under amenities, after the general description of the property are several individual items such as "clothes dryer" , home gym etc. Here is where I was given a limited chance to input information on the availability of AC. This site allows/ encourages a descriptive response by not limiting an owners response by "drop down menu" to yes or no, on for example, AC.

My response on our listing under the AC heading is accurate and straight forward in that I unambiguously state for the purpose of clarity, that for air conditioning, we offer "ceiling fans through out".

Please note the VRBO system provided each of those topics and not us as the owners. I as an owner only respond to pre-established amenity criteria and input my information on them.

On this topic, it was not intended to be a yes or no input format because the responses to these items can and are frequently nuanced answers.

So for the sake of future renters seeking clarity on this topic I am stating that, No we do not offer Central AC, rather, given the chance to elaborate we state, "ceiling fans throughout". We do have ceiling fans in all living rooms and all bedrooms. In addition to the ceiling fans we also have 2 large portable fans available and a very large portable fan for the garage/game room.

Finally, in northern MI we are quite serious when we say that when you have 10 months of winter and 2 months of summer we are happiest just for it to be warm enough to want AC.

So to summarize my comments I can certainly now see why you may have thought that we listed AC when in reality VRBO provided an AC amenity heading and we responded "ceiling fans throughout".

As for throw pillows and the adittion of window treatments, the point is duly noted, valid and important to us. In fact is those renter driven suggestions that led to the complete kitchen renovation. Maybe when I get a chance I will update the listing accordingly.

We appreciate your review and we need to know what our guests are thinking so we are thankful for the review and hope that future renters understand that amenity criteria are established by VRBO and not us as owners. Respectfully, JS
Jun 2016
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based on 24 traveler reviews

Smittys GA "right in the middle of it all"
average rating of 4.9166665 based on 25 reviews

Magnificent place to stay!

  • 5 of 5

The property and home itself

Are gorgeous and wonderful! Can't say enough good things about our stay here. The owner James is wonderful to work with and we would highly

Recommend this home!!

  • Submitted: Jul 19, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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A Wonderful and Memorable Stay at Smitty's

  • 5 of 5

We had such a wonderful time in Glen Arbor, and Smitty's was definitely the very 'near-perfect' place for our family vacation. We had daughter and son-in-law and their girls, ages 12 and ; son and daugher-in-law and their 2-1/2 year old boy and nine month old twin girls, and of course, us - Grammy and Papa. Jim, the owner, was very helpful with any questions and we had. The beds were comfortable (but never as comfortable as home), space was so wonderful for all of us; and the beautiful garden was available to us for anything that was ripe (we had fresh strawberries, pea pods for salad, and fresh basil). Owner had planted a large number of new trees to replace the trees that were lost in a storm last August, and he always would text about a time to come over when he needed to deal with irrigation. He never popped in unexpectedly and respected our vacation time as our own. The location was perfect - very short trip to town (walking or biking distance), close to hiking, kayaking, dune climbing at Sleeping Bear Dunes, or just relaxing in the hot tub, in the sun room, or on the large deck that is well equipped with very nice deck furniture. The kitchen and bathrooms were fully stocked with supplies; such as detergent, soaps, toilet paper, paper towels, lots of spices, oil, and an array of items in the pantry. The house was clean, appliances were high-end, and furnishings beautiful.

In the first sentence above, I mentioned the "very-near perfect place" and will just fill you in a little on why I stated it that way. First, as others had mentioned in their reviews, we missed having window treatments because the rooms were so very light. Also, the description on VRBO states it has air conditioning but it does not. That only bothered us on day of arrival and next day because after the temperature cooled down and was very comfortable at night with the overhead fans and open windows. The carriage house was perfect for our 2 older granddaughters; but again, it was hot the first two days and nights. I would also suggest there be more throw pillows for the couches because they are large and fit a tall person perfectly - none of the women in the group are tall and had a difficult time sitting on them because our legs are short and comfort was an issue without something supporting our backs. All this being said - it was still worthy of a five rating from us. It was wonderful time for all!

  • Submitted: Jun 28, 2016
  • Stayed: Jun 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Beautiful house and setting

  • 4 of 5

We had a group of 12 women that stayed in this beautiful home! The house was very large, so large you almost need a map to navigate where you are going! The kitchen was fabulous with everything you need. I have rented several house and this was by far the best stocked kitchen with "extras" and every pot and utensil you could ever ask for.

Our only compliant is the lack of curtains on the windows as many have said before. It's a bit creepy at night to undress in a room with no curtains to close. Also, instructions on how to use the electronic devices would have been helpful. With no men in our group, it took us a couple hours to figure out how to watch a movie!

Thank you for the easy renting process and the use of this home! We loved the hot tub and the closeness to Glenn Arbor!

  • Submitted: Feb 11, 2016
  • Stayed: Jan 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Northfield, Ohio

Thanks for a memorable week!

  • 5 of 5

Our family spent a week in Glen Arbor last summer. Smitty's was perfect for our family of twelve spanning three generations, ages three to mid-sixties. This home is nestled in the woods but convenient to everything. The living areas were spacious, with plenty of room to spend time together or to spread out a bit when someone needed a bit of solitude. We enjoyed the tasteful, comfy decor, the newly remodeled kitchen, and the garage with ping pong table. There is a huge picnic table on the deck where all twelve of us could enjoy a meal together. An added bonus was the colorful flower garden in the front of the house and a huge vegetable garden in the back. No need to buy greens for salads! And then there are the birds, my favorite being the red headed woodpeckers. You just can't beat Glen Arbor for its natural beauty, the sweet small town feel with plenty of restaurants, and the opportunities for walking the beach, climbing sand dunes, hiking the trails, viewing the sunrises and sunsets, and gazing at the stars. We built so many memories. Everyone wants to return!

  • Submitted: Jan 17, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Troy, MI

Wonderful Family Vacation!

  • 5 of 5

This rental definitely deserves a five star rating! Our family of seven adults and five children, ages 13 to 6, have vacationed here twice. Our large group had plenty of room to spread out with enough beds and baths for all. The two distinct living areas were a plus! We enjoyed a salad of fresh lettuce from the vegetable garden and the beautiful perennial gardens were a great setting for family pictures! The kids enjoyed the hot tub, basketball in the driveway, the game room and riding their bikes into Glen Arbor. The fire pit surrounded with adirondack chairs was another highlight. The newly remodeled kitchen and new appliances almost made you want to cook, but it was more fun to eat out in the many nearby towns and, of course, Traverse City! The rental totally lived up to our expectations. The owners take great pride in their home and it shows!

  • Submitted: Jan 13, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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60th anniversary family get away

  • 5 of 5

Our group included 11 adults and a 2 year old. We were gathering from several different states to celebrate my parent's 60th anniversary. The large, spread out home fit our group nicely. We enjoyed cooking several meals together in the beautiful, new, spacious kitchen. We all gathered to watch the Stanley Cup finals together, we had basketball shoot outs, ping pong tournaments, etc. We enjoyed relaxing times in the hot tub. We made a bonfire in the fire pit. We went on wine tour excursions, a trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes, Fish Town, Sutton's Bay, the lighthouse, etc. We enjoyed strolls in Glen Arbor. Overall a wonderful family memory. Thank you to the Smiths for sharing your lovely home with our group!

  • Submitted: Jun 23, 2015
  • Stayed: Jun 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
30.74 Miles
Cherry Capitol Airport, Traverse City MI
Nearest Barpub
1.05 Miles
Nearest Ferry
92.98 Miles
SS Badger Ludington, MI
Nearest Golf
7.55 Miles
Dunes Golf Club
Nearest Train
159.91 Miles
Amtrak Grand Rapids MI
Nearest Motorway
1 Miles
Nearest Restaurant
1.05 Miles
Nearest Ski
3.21 Miles
Nearest Beach
2.75 Miles
Public beach Glen Haven, MI

The property is located on a very private 7 acre wooded lot on a scenic drive near the heart of Glen Arbor's scenic Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore area. Cycling, hiking, swimming, beach combing, boutique shops, winery's, art galleries, great restaurants - it's all here. Relaxation is what we do.


Rates & Availability

Glen Arbor House Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
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Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
2016 Mid- Summer
Jun 18 2016 - Aug 26 2016
7 night minimum stay
Late Summer/Fall 2016
Aug 27 2016 - Nov 11 2016
3 night minimum stay
2017 Mid Summer
Jun 17 2017 - Jul 21 2017
7 night minimum stay
Lisa Krause Rate
Jul 22 2017 - Jul 29 2017
7 night minimum stay
2017 Mid Summer
Jul 30 2017 - Aug 26 2017
7 night minimum stay
Late Summer/ Fall 2017
Aug 27 2017 - Nov 11 2017
3 night minimum stay
My Standard Rate
3 night minimum stay

Additional information about rental rates

Property Damage Protection $99
Cleaning fee $300

Off season and weekend rates possible. Please inquire with owner.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the owner or check their rental agreement when booking the property.
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Available arrival
Available stay (no arrival)


Northern Michigan House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 4000 sq. ft.
  • 1 story
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Fitness Room / Equipment ...
  • Garage ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wood Stove ...
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • 4 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 4 - toilet , shower , Carriage house bathroom with acrylic shower stall
    Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower , Master bath and shower, custom glass doors, kohler fixtures
    Bathroom 2 - toilet , shower , Tile bath and shower, custom glass doors, kohler fixtures
    Bathroom 3 - toilet , shower , Tile bath with kohler acrylic shower, custom glass door
  • 6 Bedrooms, Sleeps 14
  • Bedroom 2 - 1 queen , Features pillowtop mattress
    Bedroom 4 - 1 queen , Loft bedroom features pillowtop mattress
    Bedroom 6 - 1 queen , Guest Apartment BR features queen pillowtop mattress
    Bedroom 5 - 1 queen , 2 twin/ single , Bedroom 6 features queen pillowtop mattress
    Bedroom 3 - 2 twin/ single , Loft bedroom 3 features two twin beds
    Master Suite - 1 king , Kingsize Pillowtop
  • DVD Player ...
  • Foosball
  • Game Room ...
  • Ping Pong Table
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
  • Boat ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
  • pets not allowed
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Pool / Spa:
  • Hot Tub ...
  • churches
  • health/beauty spa
  • library
  • marina
  • playground
  • restaurants
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • miniature golf
  • paddle boating
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • sledding
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • basketball court
  • cross country skiing
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • ice skating
  • jet skiing
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • roller blading
  • sailing
  • scuba diving or snorkeling
  • skiing
  • snorkeling
  • snorkeling/diving
  • snowboarding
  • snowmobiling
  • sound/bay fishing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • water skiing
  • water tubing
  • wind-surfing
Sorry no pets, no smoking in the rental

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