You know the spots, the small mom-and-pop resorts with cabins near the water with lots of heart but not a lot of fancy stuff. The owner is a hands-on sort of person who treats you and other guests like you’re old friends.
These places provide the getaway basics many people pine for: solitude, breathtaking scenery and the intoxicating sound of waves licking at the shoreline, lulling you to sleep.
We talked with the owners of four of these comfortable-fit resorts that hug Lake Superior – or in one case, its biggest tributary – to find out what keeps their customers coming back and what might be the future for such welcoming and longtime icons of lakeshore vacations.
Within our region, we’ve chosen one spot from each state and the province to sample what’s happening around the Big Lake: Anderson’s North Shore Resort, just northeast of Grand Marais, Minnesota; Peterson’s Cottages and Vacation Homes, a little more than a mile west of Ontonagon, Michigan; Royal Windsor Lodge on Lake Nipigon, north of Nipigon, Ontario; and Superior Rentals, 2 miles south of Bayfield, Wisconsin. Read what each has to say about their resorts, past, present and future.
Superior Rentals, Bayfield, Wisconsin
Nestled along the Lake Superior shore about 2 miles south of Bayfield on Highway 13 you’ll find Superior Rentals.
“I started in 1989 with one cabin” that was built around 1918, says resort owner Susan Defoe Prevost.
Today the resort, on the sheltered Pike’s Bay, has beachside cottages and two larger buildings, the Chart House and the Lighthouse.
“We get a lot of weddings, and we get a lot of reunions,” Susan says, as well as corporate gatherings.
Sometimes families choose to host their wedding reception at the resort and will rent all the available units, making it a private space to gather.
The resort can accommodate 60 or more people for overnight stays.
The Lake definitely draws guests to the resort with its long stretches of beachfront. Susan provides fire pits and paddleboats.
Many of Susan’s guests are families with children and pets. With children riding bikes and playing on the grounds, and to protect her two dogs (who welcome guests), Susan has posted a 5 mph speed limit at the resort. Vacation is a time to slow down, after all.
“The visitors seem to relish in the privacy and laid back atmosphere far away from the ‘madding crowd.’”
Guests keep coming back (she has a 92 percent return rate) to Superior Rentals because of the location and the privacy, says Susan. Cabin No. 1, for instance, is 70 feet from the beach, sleeps five, is very private and is always booked.
To succeed as a resort these days means long days. “You do a lot of your own work,” Susan says. “I work 14 to 16 hours a day.”
Like many owners of small resorts, Susan has thought about her goal for retirement.
“Ideally,” according to Susan, she wants to “sell the resort … and work for the new owners.”
Superior Rentals, 2 miles south of Bayfield, Wisconsin, on Highway 13. 715-779-5123, www.superiorrentals.net.