Do you dread cleaning your home for Thanksgiving? Do you wish you had a bit more space for all of your loved ones? Consider a “destination Thanksgiving” (or Christmas) at the wilderness resort of Barothy Lodge, located 20 miles east of Ludington in Walhalla. This historic property on 300 acres of the Manistee National Forest along the Pere Marquette River features 15 cabins ranging from a one-bedroom log cabin to a nine-bedroom lodge. While rustic in décor, these are fully-equipped lodges with modern conveniences – each with kitchen, fireplace, deck, pool table, hot tub, washer and dryer and other amenities. And the fall/winter season is a prime time to visit Barothy for great lodging deals such as midweek discounts, a three-day weekend special and one free night if you book seven.
If you prefer to be closer to Ludington and our many downtown amenities, smaller families can book a Kitchenette Suite for a holiday getaway at family-owned Nader’s Motel and Suites on Lakeshore Drive. Eight ground-floor kitchenette suites are available with two double beds, a sofa sleeper, and full kitchen including stove, microwave, refrigerator and coffee maker.
Want to plow through a giant quilting project or indulge in a great book club discussion without the usual home distractions? Consider a crafters retreat in Ludington, where you can book an entire Edwardian-style home with The Reverie Retreat in Scottville. This new group lodging accommodation is in a stunning historic home built in 1909 featuring five bedrooms on the second and third floors that can sleep up to 13 people (six minimum for the booking). It’s perfect for quilting, scrap booking, sewing, yoga, knitting/crocheting, and other groups (including family gatherings and holiday getaways). The unhosted home can be rented for two nights or more, and guests have access to all three floors, including the fully equipped kitchen for cooking needs, a dining room, living room and another room set up with tables specifically for crafting. Need crafting supplies? Take a field trip to Nautical Yarn in Ludington..
Got a smaller group? Rent the third floor of the 1889-era Inn at Ludington – a 900 square-foot attic apartment that sleeps seven with two queens, one full and two twin beds, plus a kitchenette with refrigerator, electric teapot and coffee maker.
Late fall in Michigan is a special time, and not just because of the autumn colors. Many flock to Mason County to enjoy another outdoor pastime – fishing. November is a favorite month for steelhead fishing in the Pere Marquette River (known as the “PM” by locals), a designated national scenic river with 66 miles of clean-flowing waterways. Anglers from across the nation travel to Mason County to experience the legendary steelhead and salmon runs in this river. Barothy Lodge, noted earlier, is a perfect vantage point for a fishing weekend with its location on the banks of the PM. Another great fishing lodge option is Sauble Resort on a bluff overlooking Hamlin Lake, with four lodges open year-round that each sleep six people, plus #6 cottage that sleeps 10 people. Make a note to return in the spring and summer months when guests have access to a fish-cleaning station and marina with boat slips, pontoons and fishing boat.
It’s never too early to book lodging for Ludington’s New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, the city’s most popular annual event tradition. Now in its 10th year, this event is the quintessential New Year's Eve celebration – complete with outdoor beer garden, live music, fireworks, and the ball drop with 6,000 LED lights – all set against the charming backdrop of downtown Ludington. Think of it as one giant street party, as Ludington’s main intersection of James Street and Ludington Avenue is open only to pedestrians that night after 9 p.m. Make dinner reservations at one of Ludington’s many downtown eateries – from brewpubs like Jamesport Brewing and Ludington Bay Brewing, to fine dining standouts like P.M. Steamers and Table 14. Many stores are open until midnight, for shopping and a warm-up. At 9 p.m., head toward the large, heated entertainment tent and beer garden at James Street Plaza, featuring live music plus beer, wine and champagne for purchase. At the stroke of midnight, look skyward to watch the ball drop (one of the largest in West Michigan), followed by a dazzling fireworks display over downtown. The event is free though drinks can be purchased.
Make a safe, walkable evening of it and book lodging within walking distance of downtown Ludington. Try the historic Stearn’s Hotel for close proximity to all the festivities. Or snag a room at one of the Victorian bed and breakfasts lining Ludington Avenue such as Ludington House B&B (eight rooms, including two suites with fireplace and whirlpool tub) or Lamplighter B&B (five rooms and suites).