Purchasing a property at America’s premier freshwater resort, The Homestead in Glen Arbor, provides a lifetime of joy—and then some.

On a blustery January day in 1984, Duncan McPherson and his then wife made the four-hour drive north from their home in Ann Arbor to The Homestead, a Glen Arbor resort located on Lake Michigan and surrounded by the acclaimed beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. They’d come to tour the resort’s South Beach condominiums—although they were still under construction. “The building was just roughed in and there were no windows and sliding doors,” Duncan recalls. “We stood there in our down parkas shivering in the living room with the wind whipping off the lake and snow everywhere, trying to imagine what the beach view would look like in the summer.”

As it turns out, even in winter, with the view of North and South Manitou Islands across Sleeping Bear Bay obscured by heavy clouds, the site was enchanting enough to entice the couple into purchasing a unit in South Beach Building #1 that very day. Their new vacation home was finished by Memorial Day, marking the beginning of 38 years of blissful vacations spent at the beloved condominium.

Woodstone Neighborhood

Photo by The Homestead

According to Diane Kemp, real estate manager at The Homestead since 2007, that kind of longevity is not uncommon at this 400-acre resort that boasts a mile of Lake Michigan shoreline, several miles of the Crystal River, pools, tennis courts, a fitness center, spa, salon, restaurants, skiing and two wedding venues. “Out of our 1,100 homeowners, many have been here for decades—since the 1980s, ‘90s and early 2000s,” Kemp says. “People have so many memories tied up here—for most of them it is their favorite place in the world. Their kids grow up playing on the beach and often they have their weddings here. Even when the original owners pass, their kids will try to keep the property. And if they find they can’t, they still come for vacations and rent a unit.”

As with so many other families, the McPhersons’ memories revolve around beach days with their kids. The beach at The Homestead is a generous swath of silken sand and Lake Michigan is crystal clear. A couple water-side chairs for them and some sand toys for their two young daughters made the perfect day for the McPhersons. When the family did pry themselves away it was to enjoy the resort’s many amenities, including the Beach Club with its kid-friendly swimming pool and waterside restaurant. They also fell in love with the quaint town of Glen Arbor where, among other activities, their children took classes at the local art center.

Photo by Andy Wakeman

Given The Homestead’s wide range of real estate options, it’s never too late to start making your own family memories here. “We have more than 650 properties here in 30 neighborhoods that include single family homes and condominiums that are either waterfront, water view or forest view,” Kemp says. “We also have building sites and fractional ownership opportunities. With this variety, we offer a range of pricing as well, with waterfront the most sought after and highly priced. Current pricing ranges from about $100,000 to over $3 million.”

Nowadays, Duncan and his present wife, Mary Ann, spend as much time as they can at their South Beach unit with their blended family that consists of Duncan’s two daughters and Mary Ann’s daughter and son. All four young adults love The Homestead as much as their parents. Vacations still revolve around the beach, although Mary Ann always makes time to treat herself and the three girls to a day at the resort’s Spa Amira, where there is an idyllic pool outside the door and a view that stretches across the bay to the Manitou Islands. What’s more, Mary Ann’s brother owns a share of a unit at The Homestead, making it an ideal place to connect with his family.

Given all that their home at The Homestead has meant to them, the McPhersons are planning to keep it in the family after they have passed. “It will be the property of our four children, so that they can preserve it as a place for them to use during the remainder of their lives and leave for their children,” Duncan says.

Photo by The Homestead

Photo(s) by The Homestead