Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blaney Camp 9

Several years ago, in August of 1990, to be exact, Doug and I were wrapping up a vacation in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. On the day we started for home, we came upon the Seney National Wildlife Refuge and decided to spend some time there. As a result, we didn't get far that day.

By the time we left the Wildlife Refuge, the hour was getting late; and we had no idea where we were going to spend the night. The nearest town of any size was about 45 minutes to an hour in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go.

We were approaching the intersection where we would have to make the decision about whether to continue towards home and possibly have to drive hours before we found a motel or to turn in the other direction and, hopefully, find something within an hour or so.

Just then, we saw a sign that said "Blaney Camp 9," advertising nightly rates of $35. Even 20 years ago, that was a pretty attractive rate. 

We decided it wouldn't hurt anything to at least stop and look at the place.

The "office" was actually the home of the proprietor. The "rooms" were separate little cottages. As we learned later, this had been the site of an old lumber camp. The man who now owned it had turned it into a bed and breakfast of sorts. I think he was sizing us up as much as we were sizing him up during our initial meeting. We must have passed his inspection, though, because he took us to a unit to let us see it.

We were charmed.

The cottage was tiny, but immaculate. The furnishings included a very inviting queen bed, a chest of drawers, a comfortable chair, and a television.

The bathroom, though also tiny, was equipped with all the usual necessities. In short, it was perfect. It looked like a little honeymoon cottage; and, as it happened, that night just happened to be our third wedding anniversary. We couldn't have found a more charming place in which to spend it.

We marveled, as we often do, at God's gracious provision.

Our host can be seen here, making his breakfast deliveries.

The next morning, our host delivered to our cottage door muffins fresh out of the oven, freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee, and a copy of the Detroit newspaper. (Thus earning the "bed and breakfast" designation of his little enterprise.)

For several years afterward, our host sent us a Christmas newsletter, as if we were old friends. Then, eventually, the newsletters stopped coming.

Five years ago, 15 years to the day after our first visit and during another anniversary trip to the Upper Peninsula, we drove by Blaney Camp 9 to see how it was faring. Sadly, it appeared abandoned and neglected.

It was disheartening to see the place in such a state of neglect, but we will always remember fondly the charming place it was when we stumbled onto it the night of our third anniversary.
I wonder what has become of our host of that day. I hope he's happy.


  1. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4
    What a wonderful story of this very verse. It thrills my heart to hear how the Lord guides our every step.

  2. KD - That's a great passage of scripture. God is faithful. Thanks for the visit and the encouraging words.

  3. How wonderful is this! What a sweet place to stay and yet sad that it has been abandoned now. Glad you found this place! Happy weekend!

  4. Lori - We truly felt that this little place, out in the middle of nowhere, was a gift from God to us that night. You have a great weekend, too, Lori. Your plans for it sound wonderful.

  5. Hi Linda, What a fabulous little place that you two found... It did sound like a B&B. I'm sorry that it is no longer there... I'm sure it was sad for you all to see it in such condition 15 yrs. later. Someone needs to go in there and buy it --and fix it up... Wouldn't that be neat???


  6. Betsy - It was just so special to find this place sitting out in the middle of nowhere, when we had thought we might have to drive for hours before finding a place. It WOULD be nice if someone tried to revive it, but we don't get up that way often and probably would never know about it. :)

  7. What a touching, but ultimately sad story. I hope the owner is happy too.

  8. Sandra - If memory serves (and, often, it doesn't), the owner had gone there to get the business started and was to be joined by his family when it became profitable enough. I kind of wish I'd kept one of his Christmas newsletters. Now, I don't even remember his name.

  9. It's nice that he gifted you with a memorable anniversary evening. Perhaps one day he'll come across this post and fill you in on what happened. (At the rate the internet is shrinking this world - it just might happen.)

  10. As a kid these were popular all over, so I often tried them out as an adult.I wonder if this was not profitable or just loss of interest.

  11. Frank - That thought did occur to me. It's unlikely, but it could happen. Thanks for the visit.

    Steve - I'd never seen a lumber-camp-turned-bed-and-breakfast before. You say they used to be all over? I guess I've led a sheltered life. :)

    Blaney Camp 9 was out in the boonies. I'm not sure where their clientele would have come from, so maybe it was a lack of business that caused it to close.

  12. Too bad it was no longer up and running but it sure sounds like it provided you with a wonderful place to spend your anniversary.

  13. Hilary - If this place hadn't popped up when it did, who knows how much longer we might have been on the road before finding a place. Then we might have been cranky for our anniversary. :)

  14. Aren't you lucky that you had those photographs from your first visit! A couple of years ago Jack and I drove back to the tiny town where I lived when I was little...we were on our way somewhere else and just decided to take a little detour...much like you did.

    Anyway, most of the town was gone! I was quite saddened by that. So I can identify with your disappointment. Frank's right, though...those people might just find you through your blog. I hope so.

  15. Cheryl - I guess we're better off sometimes, not going back to places that we remember fondly, because things do change; and we can't recapture those long-ago moments. But sometimes we just have to try. :)

    If the owner of the place ever does find me through the blog, and if I'm still able to put a coherent thought together, I'll write a post about it. :)

  16. Thank you so very much for posting these photographs. I drove past the place last weekend and was sad to find it deserted, with no sign of the main house anymore. The owner had done such a beautiful job of bringing the cabins back to life. We stayed there at approximately the same time you did, quite possibly in the very same cabin, judging from your photos. So sad that this didn't work out for the people who took such good care of it for a short time.

    1. kb8dvk - Thanks so much for taking the time to leave your comment. We've never met anyone else who had stayed there. When I first saw that I had a new comment on my post about Blaney Camp 9, I thought it might have been the owner who had come across this post. I had hoped that he might see it someday and drop me a line. When I saw your comment, I checked out your blog and was sorry to see that it seems to have been abandoned. I liked what I saw, especially that one line about the decade "in which my photographic memory loses a pixel here and there." I may use that myself one of these days.


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