The Brothers’ PlaceBeaver Island

Sometimes the lone soul wants only the company of chirping crickets, a church bell chiming in the distance and all the time in the world to sit and dream.

Nowhere is that nirvana easier to reach than at The Brothers’ Place. Erected in 1928 as a summer retreat house by a Chicago order of the Christian Brothers — a religious association dedicated to Christian education — The Brothers’ Place no longer houses introspective men in black robes, but it’s open to anyone who wants, for a time, to live simply and thoughtfully.

The rambling, whitewashed lodge is entrenched in the pines at the end of a long gravel road, within walking distance of the island ferry docks. Choose from 38 bedrooms. Most are spartan singles — sporting a twin bed, a writing desk, a window — but souls traveling with mates can be accommodated with bunk beds, single rooms that link to form a suite, or a stay in the “penthouse,” which offers a double bed and sofa bed.

Your room, however, is not where you’ll want to spend your time. Parlors wait at either end of the downstairs hall. One boasts bookcases with lose-yourself novels like Gone with the Wind and find-yourself books like the Bible; the other an upright organ and board games. A screened-in porch, lined with porch swings, rockers and chairs, runs the length of the lodge.

Lemonade is available all day in the gingham-tablecloth dining room where a daily breakfast of cereal, oatmeal, breads, fruit and juices is served up. A hammock waits out front, bikes are available to borrow out back, and long dirt roads to wander and woods to explore are all around.

The Brothers’ Place is open in summer. Rates start at $40 per person for a single room. 231-448-2204 (630-920-0719 for summer reservations made during the off season) or

Lynda Twardowski is travel editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.

i>Note: This article was first published in April 2006 and was updated for the web February 2008.