Lil s on the Lake is a very quaint and charming seasonal cottage (available early April until early November) that is located right on Crystal Lake! (Only Lake Street separates the cottage from the Lake.) It has now been in the same family for over 80 years and, starting in 2018, the family has opened the cottage up for vacation rentals with us managing the cottage for them. The cottage is named after the current owner s grandmother, Lillian Storrer, who bought the cottage in the 1930 s and spent summers there each year until her death in the 1980 s. She even gave birth to one of her children right in the cottage!
The cottage has 4 bedrooms, but only 1 bathroom. Two of the bedrooms are upstairs and two of the bedrooms are downstairs. The upstairs bedrooms are "family style" in that there are no doors to the bedrooms. (Obviously this might be an issue for a group of couples.) One of the downstairs bedrooms has a queen-size bed. The other downstairs bedroom has a full-size bed. One of the upstairs bedrooms actually has two full-size beds and the other upstairs bedroom has one full-size bed in it. The large upstairs bedroom with two full-size beds in it also has a great view of Crystal Lake! All of the bedrooms have storage closets in them and we provide a pedestal fan for each bedroom. (The cottage does not have air conditioning as it usually gets a pleasant breeze coming off of Crystal Lake and it very rarely gets uncomfortably warm in the cottage.) There are also 3 fold-up single beds that we keep on the very large indoor porch. Counting these beds, the house actually sleeps 13 (5 * 2 + 3 * 1) comfortably. Counting the very large indoor porch, the house is about 2700 square feet in size, so there is lots of room for people to move around and be comfortable.
The kitchen is well-equipped with a large stainless steel refrigerator, range, small table, and a quaint wall of older, handmade cupboards. Note that the cottage does not have a dishwater. The kitchen is well-equipped with a good collection of cooking and dining utensils, including silverware, plates, and bowls. The hot water heater for the house is also located in the kitchen. (There is only a small crawl space below the cottage and it does not have a basement.)
The cottage has nice, open living and dining room. The dining table seats 6, but we have extension leafs that can be used for larger groups. The living room has a matching cozy sofa, loveseat, and chair in it. There are 3 ceiling fans that help to cool the dining room and living room. The bathroom has a shower, toilet, pedestal sink, mirror, and lots of closet space.
In terms of heating, we should point out that the cottage does not have a furnace. Thus, it is closed for the winter months from approx. early November until early April. For the spring and fall, we do utilize several electric heaters as well as an electric fireplace to heat the cottage as needed and keep it cozy. (Two of the electric heaters are actually built into the walls: one of these is at the west end of the house in the living room and one is at the east end of the house in the bathroom.)
The yard is huge! It s completely fenced-in, so it works great for dogs! The house is very pet-friendly and guests are very welcome to bring up to 3 dogs. (If you are looking to bring more than 3 dogs or any other kind of pet, please talk with us first before making a reservation so that we can let you know if we can accommodate your pet(s).)
In addition to being pet-friendly, both the cottage and the neighborhood are very family-friendly. The cottage works great for large families and/or extended families. We also love to host groups of couples, singles, and church or special interest groups.
The interior styling is admittedly rather dated, but a number of updates have been done to the house and we find that most people find the older styling quite charming with lots of character. The cottage has fairly new windows, screens, and exterior doors throughout the house. (The interior doors are still quite old.) It also has a large, newer stainless steel refrigerator, a flat screen television, and the beds are all less than 5 years old. We also provide cable television (through Spectrum) as well as wifi (also through Spectrum).
One of the great features of the cottage is the incredibly large and fenced-in yard! It works great for both pets and children! There are actually 2 gated entrances to the yard (both off of South Center Street) and cars are welcome to park anywhere in the yard. There is a gas grill that is available for guests to use (we provide propane) and there is also a bonfire pit in the yard with a number of relaxing adirondack chairs for having nice bonfires. (We do not provide firewood, but basically all of the gas stations in the area sell firewood bundles for $5 to $10 per bundle.)
Another great feature of the cottage is Crystal Lake and the cottage s proximity to both it and the nearby public beach on Crystal Lake. Crystal Lake is a beautiful, clear, clean, and deep lake with lovely hills around it. The cottage is at the southeastern corner of the lake. The lake is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful lakes in Michigan. It is very family-friendly and is a popular location for swimming, fishing, and boating. The nearby public beach on Crystal Lake is just 2 blocks away and can be seen from the yard, porch, and one of the upstairs bedrooms. Note that there is a boat dock in front of the cottage, but it is used by the neighbors and is not available for use by guests.
The cottage is also located just 2 blocks away from downtown Beulah. Beulah is a cute little northern Michigan town located on the east end of Crystal Lake. The town was founded name iin 1880 by Reverent Charles E. Bailey and its name is actually Biblical in nature. It has a cute little main street (Benzie Blvd.) which has a nice collection of shops, restaurants, cafes, a post office, and a couple of bars. We would particularly recommend Ursa Major Bistro and L Chayim Delicatessen in terms of places to eat in downtown Beulah. One of the neat surprises in Beulah is that there is a wonderful interactive children s science museum called COGnition right on Benzie Blvd. just a short walk (less than 5 minutes) from the cottage!
The cottage is located in beautiful Benzie County, one of the most pristine and natural environments in all of Michigan, and there are a number of other things to do in the area:
* Probably the most popular attraction in all of northwest Michigan is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It is incredibly picturesque collection of natural beauty in terms of Lake Michigan, dunes, forests, wildlife, and inland lakes and rivers. There is a vast collection of hiking trails throughout the park and kayaking, canoeing, and tubing on the rivers and lakes is also very popular. The park starts about 8 miles away from the cottage, just north of the west end of Crystal Lake.
* The cottage is just a 10-minute drive from the lovely beachtown of Frankfort on Lake Michigan. Frankfort and nearby Elberta offer a fun collection of beaches, shops, restaurants, cafes, a movie theater, a microbrewery, and a few bars. Frankfort has a very popular public beach on Lake Michigan and Elberta (just across Betsie Lake from Frankfort) offers a more pristine and much less navigated natural beach. (Dogs are allowed everywhere at Elberta Beach, but are only allowed on certain portions of Frankfort Beach.) The Frankfort Lighthouse is also one of the famous and historical lighthouses on Lake Michigan.
* There is wonderful bike trail nearby. It s called the Betsie Valley Bike Trail and it runs 22 miles from Frankfort to Elberta, then along the Betsie River to Beulah, and then on over to Thompsonville. It is accessible just a few blocks from the cottage.
* The area is widely renowned for fishing! Crystal Lake is excellent for perch as well as rock bass. Ice fishing on Crystal Lake for smelt is a popular activity in the winter. Coho salmon, lake trout, and northern pike are also fished in the lake. Salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, the Betsie River, and the Platte River (just north of Beulah) is definitely the biggest fishing attraction though.
* The cottage is just a 5-minute drive from the Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theater. Although it s one of the last drive-in movie theaters in Michigan, it s thriving quite nicely and is a very popular place for an affordable family or couples outing.
* If a larger city environment is desired with more and trendier shops, restaurants, and nightlife, then Traverse City is just 45 minutes away from the cottage. It is the cultural, entertainment, dining, and shopping hub of northern Michigan and, although still relatively small and very safe, it provides a bit of "big city feel" to tourists and locals.