planning northern michigan ski vacations with friends: notes on homestead in glen arbor last year

I love living in Northern Michigan where, with a season pass, I can jump on and off a ski hill at will and get back home to tend the laundry or whatever. Once a year, though, I like to stay at a Northern Michigan ski resort for a weekend. It changes the experience. The mornings are earlier, the nights are later and there’s never a worry about the drive home. Because one can dash back to the condo, you don’t feel like you have to carry all the possible options for the day in your ski bag. And it is a really relaxing way to spend time with friends. 

Last year, a group of families spent the weekend at The Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor in a house, Loggers Run 14 (lots of photos below). One group stayed Friday, the second stayed Saturday. We were spoiled for space. The kitchen was a dream. And I love that Big Chill feel of everyone cooking and collaborating in the kitchen. 

Some tips: 

In Glen Arbor, there is a Convention & Visitor’s Center fee. That is generally not quoted as part of the price over the phone, unless you ask. When you’re dividing up the lodging fees among several checkbooks, you’ll want to know the total bill in advance. When you rent a home, you should also expect a cleaning deposit that will tie up funds on your credit or debit card until the cleaning crew has been in and confirmed that you haven’t run off with the TV. If you use your debit card, that cash is essentially not available until they close out that account and then the banks might take a day or two to clear the account as well. 

When you have two families each on a different night, you’ll need to coordinate the ski passes a bit. Everyone wants to ski Saturday, and packages usually cover just enough for who’s staying on Saturday night. Our season passes helped us make sure everyone was included. 

Don’t try to keep everyone together all the time. Some folks will be up and ready to ski early, others will want a leisurely breakfast. Getting a larger group to do something all at once is akin to turning the Titanic. Instead, consider touch points in the day, like meet for lunch at 1:00 at the slope side restaurant, which is called CQ’s at Homestead. Those who are hungry a little early can get there early, eat, and see the other folks as they are coming in. 

At Homestead, they offer dining passes for lunch and breakfast in their ski packages. You’ll want to ask the staff at CQs what can be substituted in and out of the packages. They are flexible if they know that you’re trying to stay within the packages.  

It’s okay to put an apple on the plate of a toddler that isn’t getting fruit and then give that apple to the teenager that eats 12 times a day. Before the kids grab one of those stunning cupcakes at lunch, find out if that’s part of the package or if you’ll be paying extra.  The panini were very big last year and two of our little ones spilt one. The staff is exceptionally helpful and even made sure all our kinder had milk like they were supposed to.

Getting around Homestead is easy because of the shuttle. A quick call and voila you’re on your way to anywhere! During the busy times, the shuttle is running a circuit and by the time you get out to the meeting place, he’s on his way back around. The driver we had all weekend has been doing this for years, and he’s just wonderful.

Homestead’s Snowdrop Warming Cabin served as our gathering point slope side with a toasty wood stove and lots of chairs and cubbies. It’s a good place to pull ski boots on and off and we stored our snacks there while we were on the hill. It’s also a good place for those touch points, ala, “Everyone who wants to get a shower in before dinner should meet at Snowdrop at 5:00.” 

Our Logger’s Run adventure was the fifth year I’ve organized an overnight at a Northern Michigan ski resort for my local gang. We’ve been to Crystal Mountain Resort and to Shanty Creek Resorts, too. Vacationing with close friends is not something I did as a kid, so I’m still learning how to make it work best. And each year we do it a little differently, including a few more folks. This trip was by far the biggest and had some of the biggest fun, too. I’m already planning this year’s adventure … I can’t wait. 

When you stay at one of Northern Michigan’s ski resorts, you can hang around long enough for one of these beautiful sunsets. This view, with Sleeping Bear Bay in the background can be had on the backside of Homestead, with the C-lift in the background. 

Logger’s Run 14 has a lovely sitting room where one can escape the din of the great room with a New York Times and a cup of coffee. 

Beautiful bathrooms … 

The front hall doesn’t seem at all important until you realize how much time one spends putting boots on and off. This one was large and wide, with a seat and hooks to make the equipment caching easier. 


This room, way at the end of the hall, had three beds, plenty of space in the middle and was perfectly positioned for noisy, rough-housing little boys who go to bed early. 

Dinner, all together. One of my most favorite benefits of a weekend vacation on Northern Michigan’s ski slopes with friends. 

And there are those sweet moments that can’t be planned, like big kids reading Dr. Suess and Beatrix Potter books to the little guys. 

All the bedrooms were large. Divvying up the bedrooms has often been a challenge for me. When you’re dividing up the lodging expenses, who gets the master? Logger’s Run 14 didn’t have a “bad” bedroom in it. 

Homestead has wonderful ski school staff. I’ve been in group lessons with many of them and have learned a lot every time. Here’s Jeff with the blue sky competing with the blue bay. 

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