The Murray family has been dreaming of retiring to a four-season lake house in Northern Michigan. They narrowed their choices down to three: Walloon Lake, Traverse City’s Long Lake and Burt Lake north of Petoskey. Explore the details of each home and find out which one they ultimately picked.

David and Janet Murray had lived all over the continental U.S., including Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston, before choosing to settle in Birmingham, Michigan, 20 years ago. “Once we moved to Metro Detroit, it did not take long for us to fall in love with Northern Michigan,” David says. “To be able to enjoy all that Northern Michigan offers within a few hours’ drive is so fun! We are super-active, enjoying lake living, golfing, hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, paddleboarding, kayaking, fly fishing and bird hunting … it’s a veritable playground up here!”

In 2018, David retired from the investment management business and Janet recently retired from the Birmingham Public School system. Once retired, the couple turned their attention to a long-time dream of theirs; to own a second home, and not just any second home, but a four-season Northern Michigan lake house. They knew exactly what they wanted—a home with three or more bedrooms and two or more baths on a private setting with a naturally wooded landscape. To find it, they enlisted the help of Wally Kidd of Kidd & Leavy Real Estate. “Wally was instrumental along the way, offering experienced insight, important considerations and dependable guidance,” Janet says.

Their price range was $500,000 to $1 million, and they weren’t picky on the exact location. “Initially, Wally helped us research and visit both existing homes and vacant lots between Burt Lake and the Traverse City area,” Janet says. As long as they were under a four-hour drive from their primary residence downstate and close to a Northern Michigan town center, such as Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Charlevoix, Boyne City or Traverse City, they would be happy.

With these qualifications in mind, the Murrays, alongside Kidd, set out to find a Northern Michigan lake house that felt like home. “We probably researched over 50 different listings during a one-year span, and with the help of Wally Kidd, visited 15 to 20 finalists,” Janet says.

After narrowing down their myriad options, they were left with three final listings to choose from:

Finalist No. 1 | Evergreen Lane

A well-maintained four-bedroom, three-bathroom home on 187 feet of sandy Burt Lake frontage with easy access to Petoskey and Harbor Springs. The grounds boasted a beautiful garden area and an open layout on the lower level that would work well for entertaining. Furniture, dock/ boat hoist, pontoon and jet skis were available for purchase outside of the listing, along with a pole barn and 3.87 added acreage. “It was a large and beautiful home, impeccably maintained with modern amenities, great location on Burt Lake, natural lakefront landscaping and immediate access to protected nature trails behind the house,” David says.

Cheboygan County | Asking Price: $1,175,000

murray home, walloon lake, northern dream
Home on Burt Lake in Michigan.
Home on Burt Lake in Michigan.

Finalist No. 2 | Linwood Lane

An empty lot with 94 feet of sandy waterfront on the North Arm of Walloon Lake. The property, ready for an original home build, was located just a few minutes from the Walloon Lake Country Club and Petoskey. “The Linwood Lane lot on Walloon had one of the best views on the lake, looking straight down the lake from the North,” David says. “It was a wooded, narrow lot with an awesome neighbor on one side and with several other good friends on Walloon.”

Walloon Lake, MI | Asking Price: $565,000

Home on Walloon Lake in Michigan
Home on Walloon Lake in Michigan

Finalist No. 3 | Crescent Shores Drive

Completely renovated in 2015, this 1931 log home set on more than an acre of land combined rustic charm with modern luxuries on Long Lake. A large deck off the back of the house overlooked the water, and there was an outdoor shower alcove, a classic boathouse with a ramp and a patio/ picnic area. The open concept kitchen/living area opened to the dining room with windows overlooking the water. “It had a separate guest house on close to 250 feet of frontage on Long Lake with super-nice neighbors, only 18 minutes from downtown Traverse City,” David says.

Traverse City, MI | Asking Price: $1,185,000

Traverse City home on the lake.
Traverse City home on the lake.
Traverse City home on the lake.

It’s Time to Vote! Which Home Did The Murray’s Get?

Now that you’ve viewed all three homes, which one do you think the Murray family actually purchased? Cast your vote and see the answer! VOTE NOW.

Find this article and more in the May 2021 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine; or subscribe and get Traverse Magazine delivered to your door each month.