Senses will be on full alert in these sanctuaries of silence, 10 Northern Michigan getaways in which quiet is interrupted only by flowing water, the squeak of snow or the pop and sizzle of your in-room fireplace.
[With Valentine’s Day nearing, you’ll also want to check out these romantic escapes.]
Book the North Woods Room ($199) at Horton Creek Inn—a three-story log lodge near Charlevoix—and snuggling by your in-room fire with a good book, maybe a soak in the whirlpool tub for two, are the agenda highlights after a hike amid the snowy pines.
Watch Lake Huron waves from an outdoor hot tub as snowflakes drift: priceless. The signature breakfast at Huron House Bed and Breakfast near Oscoda, delivered to your door, is a good perk too. From $189.
There are no signs of people—cars either—in Petoskey’s Bay View neighborhood in winter, when the Victorian cottages are shuttered, roads kept unplowed and silent save for the jingling horses and sleighs offering rides each Saturday night. Take a snowy stroll or just hunker in by the fire on February’s Winter Wonderland Getaway packages, $238 a couple for two nights, dinner for two included at the Terrace Inn.
Guests call it digital detox, the chance to pull a couple of chairs up to the kitchen wood stove at Hillside Homestead Bed and Breakfast in Suttons Bay and stay there for most of the weekend, browsing a circa-1800s cookbook, toy catalog or novel to the light of an oil lamp, or listening to the sizzle of frying bacon cured in maple syrup that was made onsite at the 1910 farm. (Try their recipe for rustic cherry pie at home!)
Pad down the stairs straight to your Friday fish fry or Saturday prime rib in the on-site pub—easy! A stay at the Thunder Bay Inn in Big Bay, north of Marquette, is about comfort—and history—as you chat by the same fireplace where one-time owner Henry Ford would entertain friends, like Thomas Edison.
Book cozy “Log Cabin” at Barothy Lodge on the Pere Marquette River near Ludington, and have the riverfront cottage to yourself. Or bring the bunch and book nine-bedroom Whitetail Lodge, with its indoor sauna and a whirlpool tub so big it could perhaps fit all 21 people the lodge can sleep.
There are just two guest rooms in the Jacobsville Lighthouse Inn along Lake Superior on the remotely beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula. Come winter they offer the sense of a lighthouse keeper’s isolation but with comforts like fireplace, electric sauna and full kitchen on 360 feet of Lake Superior shore. Book both rooms for $300/night.
A lighthouse with stunning views of Grand Traverse Bay from the top of its tower is yours for $75 for the weekend when you volunteer to be the keeper on watch at Mission Point Lighthouse for a winter weekend. Free WiFi, cable and a cooking-ready kitchen come with your room. (Read this volunteer lighthouse keeper’s log, and you’ll understand the magic.)
Go where the Danish concept of Hygge—a cozy way of embracing winter—has been perfected: the Scandinavian-style Nestledown Inn in Marquette, where paths are often lined with candles and popcorn, and hot-chocolate treats await after your snowy exploration.
Some days, you may have the whole 13,000-square-foot vineyard manor to yourself at Chateau Grand Traverse, where your room with vineyard and bay views also gives you the run of a massive estate with two fireplaces, plenty of books and games, free wine tasting and a complimentary bottle of your favorite vino. From $140, and watch for midweek deals.