Sleeping Bear Inn Welcomes Guests!

It is now the moment many of you have been waiting for!

Reservations are now open to book on our website At this time you can book available dates August 2024 through April 2025. Click to go to the reservation page.

If we are able to open reservations earlier than August, we will let you know in our e-newsletter & website.

Sleeping Bear Inn Guests Historical Photo

This step back in time image was shared with us today from our friend Bill. The black locust trees are thriving and it appears as though there are many guests at Sleeping Bear Inn on this day. Look closely at the two people leaving the dock area and their jaunty summer outfits.

The work at renovating the Inn is ramping up during this recently mild winter weather. Our electrician will be here next week to install outlets, ceiling light fixtures and other punch list items. In 2 weeks the refinishers will be in to polish up those original hardwood floors and bathroom flooring will be installed. George has been busy completing trim work and hanging doors in the guest rooms. The transformation has been very exciting!

Top 24 Travel Destinations in 2024!

According to a January 2, 2024 article written by CNN Travel Staff, “Refreshing, unsalty Lake Michigan lures boatloads of tourists in summer, but the shoreline, quaint towns and rolling countryside of Northwest Michigan have plenty to offer year-round.”

Of course, we agree and even though we have experienced some unseasonably warm temperatures over the holidays, this past week has been snowy and more January-like.

The image above captured by local photographer Michele Aucello features the Inn draped in a beautiful December sky with the northern lights lighting up our crystal clear skies.

We absolutely agree with CNN, Northern Michigan has plenty to offer year-round! You can view more of Michele’s photography on her website, and you can click to read the full CNN Travel article.

Walls Primed and Ceilings Painted

Northeaster Corner Room

This northeastern corner room has been primed and ready for a fresh coat of paint. Soon to follow paint, the trim will be installed and the maple floors will be ready to be refinished. We named this room Day Dreaming which is a nod to its longest inhabitant, D.H. Day who came to Glen Haven in 1878. The other six guest rooms on the second story of the Inn are primed and their ceilings painted too. The remaining rooms are named, Sleeping Bare; Dune Good; Bear Necessities; Lake Effect; Aker’s View and Miss B. Haven. We look forward to the days ahead when we can welcome guests to these rooms! Next week, the walls of the first story will start going up with paint and trim to quickly follow.

A Note from a Past Innkeeper

Yesterday we had a visit from the grandson of one of Sleeping Bear Inn’s former innkeepers. Roger and Dee shared with us a few documents and photos from Cora and Melphie Barber. Roger gifted us this precious postcard his grandmother Cora sent to Rapid City Michigan on June 15, 1910 while she was the Innkeeper and her husband worked with livestock in the barn that once stood behind the Inn. The barn no longer exists as it burned down and was eventually replaced with the Sleeping Bear Inn Garage. Sadly Cora wrote of the very sad news that their mail carrier from the Island had drown. Read more (new window)

Check out the postmark! Glen Haven was a thriving Village in 1910 with its own post office and look at this glimpse of the very familiar DH Day Barn and homestead that was the photo on the front side of the post card. Look closely, there are 2 men in the photo. I wonder who they are? Maybe DH Day and his employee Phillips who married DH and Eva’s daughter and lived at the pictured home and farm as Eva and DH preferred to live in Glen Haven.

First Wedding at Sleeping Bear Inn?

First Wedding at Sleeping Bear InnPlease meet Christina and Aaron who are getting married on the front porch of Sleeping Bear Inn this October and we believe this could very well be the first wedding to take place INSIDE the Inn ever! We know there have been weddings outside the Inn and vows have been renewed, however this could be a first. If someone knows differently, please let us know.

Although the entire Inn renovation will not be complete by October, the front porch will be and we are grateful it will be the venue for the wedding ceremony of this terrific couple. Sleeping Bear Inn certainly is not a typical wedding venue and probably will only be a fit for creative couples wanting something small and less traditional.

Aaron and Christina are Northern Michigan natives and after both spent time living out west, they met after returning to the Traverse City area around the same time, Aaron from Montana and Christina from Colorado. Both have a mutual love for wilderness and water. Whether camping, hiking, sailing, snorkeling, or skiing, spending quality time together in this beautiful area is one of their favorite pastimes. They feel fortunate to live in their little log cabin near the lakeshore with their sweet puppy, Bonnie. The couple feels incredibly honored to be a small part of the history at the Sleeping Bear Inn, a building Christina has admired for many years and we are very happy to be able to be part of their special day.


Planting Trees in Glen Haven

Dave, Peg & Maggie planting trees

It may not have been the most optimal time of year to plant new trees and the trees we found were not quite as tall as we had hoped however we could not be more thrilled with the opportunity to start replacing trees in Glen Haven. The Park settled on Black Cherry as the replacement for the Black Locust trees planted in the 1920’s and later largely wiped out of Glen Haven in the devastating storm of 2015. I am pictured here with faithful volunteers Peg and Dave as we plant in locations the NPS archeologists first examined in April for potential Village artifacts.

Given the all-clear, and with generous donors answering a call for tree sponsors, we were all set to purchase trees. George finally found a source with trees, not quite as large as we had hoped, however still hearty and we set out to plant as soon as they arrived. Mother Nature cooperated by turning the clock back to spring and the trees have hardly skipped a beat! Since we purchased smaller trees than we anticipated, we will use the leftover tree donations to purchase additional trees to plant along Glen Haven Road in the Village.

Group Reservations for 2024 at Sleeping Bear Inn

mLive’s Emily Bingham stopped by to talk with Maggie about taking group reservations for 2024:

A little more than a year after restoration work began at Sleeping Bear Inn, the long-shuttered historic lodge within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is now taking group reservations for 2024.

The 150-year-old inn, which sits along Lake Michigan in the park’s Glen Haven Historic District, is currently booking “whole inn” rentals next year for events such as weddings, family reunions and company retreats. Individual reservations for the eight-room inn will be coming very soon for next year as well, according to Maggie Kato, president of the non-profit Balancing Environment And Rehabilitation, or BEAR, which is overseeing the work.

“The number one question I get asked wherever I go is, ‘When are you opening?’” Kato says. “We feel good about 2024. We’re working very hard to make sure the inn has its historic integrity, and that takes time.”

Click through to mLive for more and click here if you’re interested in booking a whole Inn rental.

Memorial Day Greetings

Happy Memorial DayJeff from Northwoods Hardware in Glen Arbor dropped off 30 low-grow sumac plants and 3 rose plants a few days ago and thanks to several volunteers, we were able to plant them all by the Memorial Holiday weekend. Phyllis and I started removing the grass and the next day, Steve, Peg, Dave and John continued the work. On the third day, Peg returned and we were joined by Sharon and David. We have added 4 yards of mulch to the 5 new beds we created to surround the eastern and northern sides of the Inn and lined the beds with rocks that we found around the Inn.

Thank you to the volunteers that helped; so many visitors to Glen Haven this weekend have commented on how terrific it looks!

As our subcontractors have wrapped up their respective parts of the project, George has been busy replacing the windows and siding getting the Inn ready for insulation. We will also be getting ready to paint the interiors of the two second story Garage apartments.

These Guys Make Us Look Good

These Guys Make Us Look GoodI first met Tony, (smiling on the left) years ago when I worked for Genesee County Habitat for Humanity. Tony finished the walls for dozens of Habitat homes and he re-surfaced from semi-retirement to help us work on the Sleeping Bear Inn. How exciting these past two weeks have been as we have seen subcontractors move forward our project including these walls on the second story of the Garage.

If you drove or biked by the Inn last week, you probably saw the massive septic system being installed by AJ’s Excavating from Honor. Or maybe you saw the rocks that outline the front lawn being put in place. If you missed seeing those, hopefully you will get a glimpse of volunteers working on the new boardwalk outside the Inn over the next few weeks. We are grateful to work alongside professional contractors who have adjusted their schedules to fit in our project and to dedicated volunteers that keep us moving forward.

Electricians, Plumbers, Excavators, Oh My!

Electrical work at Sleeping Bear InnHappy Spring from Glen Haven! The season has brought back all of our subcontractors to the Inn and the progress is exciting. The porch floor is refinished and fabulous (check out the photo on Facebook, the link is at the bottom of the page). The 3 chimneys have been relined and wood burning inserts have been installed in the fireplaces. Yesterday and today, the electricians have run several hundred feet of wire throughout the Inn.

Tomorrow our excavator will start the work on our septic system and next week the plumbers and fire suppression professionals will be back to finish their rough installations in the Inn. George finished installing all the new windows in the Garage and the drywaller will start hanging and finishing next week as well.