Birch Lodge, a nationally designated historic hospitality retreat located on the shores of Trout Lake, is undergoing a comprehensive restoration in time for the 2019 season.

New owners and operators Bob and Maureen Kraemer and Jim and Carol Woodruff plan to expand the number of guest rooms and on-site amenities while honoring more than 100 years of history. They expect the lodge to reopen this spring, and reservations are currently being accepted.

Birch Lodge first opened its doors in 1912, bolstered by the logging and railroad industry. A classic American lodge in the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it was transformed into a resort-style destination in 1926. Over time, improvements have included the ever-popular Birch Bar, added in the mid-1940s, and eight waterside motel rooms, which opened in 1964. Today, Birch Lodge is a historic landmark listed on the National Register for Historic Places.

“Historic preservation and restoration has been a focus area for us for more than 20 years, and Birch Lodge caught our eye immediately as part of our search for a historic property in Michigan,” says Bob Kraemer, the president of Birch Lodge and co-founder and principal of Kraemer Design Group in Detroit. “There are times when historic buildings off the beaten path go uncared for, and over time the history is lost. The opportunity to bring new life to Birch Lodge means travelers will enjoy visiting us for years to come, especially history enthusiasts, nature lovers and anyone who wants to soak in all the Upper Peninsula has to offer.”

The planned restoration includes the expansion of guest rooms in the main lodge building, which will be known as The Inn at Birch Lodge. Room options include four layouts: king suite, king, queen and double queen. There will be 12 total rooms in The Inn. Other updates include an updated dining room and a new dining concept offering locally sourced food and drink options. Improvements have also been made to the eight rooms in The Motel at Birch Lodge.

“We also have plans to increase access to recreational activities like boating and on-site special events to inspire a feeling of community here,” says James Woodruff, who brings decades of boutique hospitality operations experience to Birch Lodge. Woodruff’s experience spans from coast to coast, Rhode Island to Oregon, with storied properties like Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.

“We’re mixing the history of the lodge and the memories guests have from decades gone by with modern amenities and a classic American resort feel,” Woodruff says. “We think visitors will love all that we have in store for them this year.”

Birch Lodge ownership is currently seeking individuals to fill open positions that will support operations of the 20-room property, including full- and part-time roles to serve as room attendants, guest experience specialists, chefs, servers, gardeners and laundry attendants. Those interested in applying for open positions should email

Nestled between Trout Lake and Little Trout Lake, Birch Lodge is a destination for rest, relaxation and recreation. The lodge’s central location just 30 miles northwest of the Mackinac Bridge makes it a premier destination for history buffs, nature and wildlife lovers, and vacationers looking to unwind in the peaceful beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Birch Lodge features a private beach and is located on 20 acres of land, perfect for hiking, picnics and other outdoor activities. For those travelers looking to venture out and explore the Upper Peninsula, Birch Lodge is just a short drive to waterfalls, lighthouses, boating trips, shipwreck tours, ghost towns and more.

—Press release provided by Identity PR

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Photo(s) by Birch Lodge