Stayed here for the weekend while enjoying a 5 hour paddle with about 20 other members of the Michigan Chapter of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association. The Lodge is on the AuSable River, one of the most popular Rivers in the state of Michigan. Never knew this Lodge existed. But I soon learned, the real outdoor lovers are very aware of it. The Lodge enjoys year round occupancy despite it's humble setting. Positioned near the Stephan Bridge 7 miles East of Grayling the Lodge is modestly priced and modestly appointed. We had everything we needed for our adventure. The Lodge was clean and had running hot/cold water, a TV, wifi, and a small restaurant on the river that seats maybe 25. I'm not sure how many rooms there are, but my guess is 15-20.
The Lodge restaurant's food was spectacular. I'd easily give it a 4 star rating. Their gourmet menu had several fish/seafood options we all raved about. They don't serve wine or liquor so you are allowed to bring in your own adult beverage. If you stay there, they have coffee ready throughout the day...you just go in the back doorway to the kitchen and help yourself.
The founder of this Lodge was well known for his zealous protection of this pristine wilderness area. Thank Heavens!
The Lodge has an Orvis sanctioned bait and tackle shop superbly outfitted for the fly fisherman/woman. The employees know the river like the back of their hand and can give you up to date information on where to fish and what fly to use. They offer guided fishing, or you can go on your own. The Lodge also had some dockage you could fish off of or if you'd rather, they had chairs/benches that you could just watch the water pass quickly under the bridge and around the small island just off shore. The fallen trees in the water give the fish a terrific place to feed and find shelter.
Our group had a 5 hr. trek down stream with the current flowing very quickly. There were places you could stop paddling and let your canoe drift but with the fallen trees, occasional rocks, and periodic shallows you couldn't rest for long, so it was not only a beautiful float, but a great adventure. The trees along the river banks were just beginning to "change clothes" for us and the Fall colors were spectacular. We saw many schools of brown trout, some rainbow trout that were easily 18" long.
At night we gather at the firepit also along the river, Gates supplying the chairs and the neveer ending supply of wood for burning. Our room was next to the river. There was a front door and a back door to each unit. Kind of a 50's style motel. The only downside to this Lodge, was the beds. They didn't keep me awake, but weren't quite as comfortable as I'd have liked. They were clean and the room was very nicely heated.
There is a quiet natural elegance to this Lodge/Inn. Staff are friendly and so helpful. The service is excellent. I will go again and look forward to it. I could be a great spot for a girlfriend weekend. I'm thinking of taking my grand kids who love fishing in the Spring for a guided one-day fishing trip. If you're looking for a retreat, this would be the spot -- a place to recenter yourself. Or maybe plan a couple's weekend to reconnect with each other. The rates are very modest. I definitely will return again - hopefully many more times. It's that good.