Thunder Bay Resort: A Michigan Must!
Isn’t it refreshing to find something incredibly unique where you least expect it? Case in point.
I was invited on a sightseeing familiarization trip with Pure Michigan to learn about the Sunrise Coast—the towns of Alpena, Bay City, and those around the “thumb.” One of the activities slated for me (and other travel writers) was an elk viewing and three-hour meal. Being a foodie and animal lover, this intrigued me more than the rest of the itinerary. It also ended up being my favorite thing on the three-day Michigan trip and was an experience to remember. Let me tell why Thunder Bay Resort, in Hillman, is a Michigan must!
Thunder Bay Resort is, first and foremost, a place to stay. The accommodations include an RV park, chalets, spacious villas, deluxe and whirlpool suites, and even a huge house (Twin Pines Log Home) Suites overlook the golf course, have kitchenettes, fireplaces, and can hold eight people. In contrast, villas are a bit bigger and can hold 10. Three bedroom/two bath chalets offer a functional two-story design with a large deck and gas grill. They can also hold 10.
The pull-thru RV setting has private patios, free cable and Wifi, a fire pit, full hook-ups, and a bbq/picnic area. The sites are all pet-friendly, too.
The Twin Pines log home has golf course views, two bedrooms, three baths, cable, Wifi, and a modern kitchen. It also features an open loft on the second-story that can be used as a third bedroom for larger families.
Thunder Bay Resort Amenities & Opportunities
The area’s only 18-hole golf course is at Thunder Bay Resort. Carts have a GPS for a more accurate golf game (shot distance), 3-D flyovers of every hole, and digital scorecards. This would be a fantastic place for college grads to reunite and enjoy a weekend of golf while staying at Twin Pines. Thunder Bay Resort also offers Murder Mystery weekends, family reunions, and hosts many weddings and private events.
There are paths at Thunder Bay Resort for hiking, biking, a fire pit area, horseshoe pits, and incredible bird-watching opportunities along the Sunrise Coast Birding Trail. In the winter months, tubing is a big draw, as well as skiing at Chippewa Hills Pathway and snowshoeing through Norway Ridge trails. Alpena, a town 22 miles away, is a popular fishing spot for small-mouth bass, and boating in the Great Lakes is super fun (weather permitting), no pun intended!
Summer allows for snorkeling and diving at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, or you can take the family to the fun, uber-cheesy Dinosaur Gardens in Ossineke.
Thunder Bay’s Clubhouse Grill offers a full menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast, think omelets or biscuits and gravy. Clubhouse Grills serves pizza, sandwiches, stir-fry, ribs, burgers, whitefish, burritos, and salads for lunch and dinner.
Elk Viewing/Dinner Experience
A unique offering at Thunder Bay Resort is the elk viewing and five-course meal. Guests gather at the lodge and board horse-drawn carriages to enjoy the 400 acres of Northern Michigan pine forests landscape and private collection of amazing Rocky Mountain elk. After about an hour of storytelling and admiring the elk, you’ll be whisked away to a New England-like romantic setting at Elk Antler Cabin for a tasty gourmet meal prepared on 100-year-old wood cookstoves.
Dinner consists of an appetizer, salad, soup, main course, and dessert. For starters, we had a jumbo shrimp cocktail with a pear and apple dumpling. Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and a Sweet Napa salad came next. The salad was so good, bursting with cherries, pineapple segments, and sliced almonds, but the Crown Roast of Pork was the star of the night. Huge slices of succulent pork loin topped with a citrus sauce and delicious roasted red-skinned potatoes were the entree. Dessert was pizzelles with white chocolate mousse, fresh berries, and compote, dusted with powdered sugar. The pizzelles were light and fabulous!
Red and white wines from Modern Craft Winery accompanied dinner. My favorite was the All Night Red. There were also mandarin and grapefruit appetizer wines plus ice wine for dessert. The meal was super filling, great tasting, and served by friendly, attentive staff. Black and specialty coffees, tea, and water were available too.
A spectacular fireplace with a blazing fire adds ambiance to the already gorgeous cabin. Be sure to check out the bathroom decor, most admirable.
After dinner, guests board the carriage and are driven back to the parking lot to their cars (or room for those staying) by the beautiful Percheron draft horses. The entire evening lasts about four hours.
Experience Northern Michigan
Thunder Bay Resort is truly one of Northern Michigan’s coolest ways to experience a host of unique regional offerings. Between the upscale food, wine tasting, majestic elk, natural setting, and accommodations, you are sure to love your time here. For these reasons, that is why I say Thunder Bay Resort is a Michigan must!
Points of Interest in the Area
There are several points of interest to see within a few minute’s drive of Thunder Bay Resort. The region is known for the sheer number of shipwrecks, which can be explained via Alpena Shipwreck Tours on a glass-bottom boat. Cruises are two hours and mention six of the wrecks, preservation of them, and lore of shipwreck alley.
There are also a handful of lighthouses to visit (Presque Isle is my favorite!) and the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, a great educational center. Finally, Mackinac Island is only a short drive and ferry ride away.
Thunder Bay Resort
Hillman, Michigan 49746
Phone (800) 729-9375
Pin This Post For Later!
Thanks to Pure Michigan for hosting my travels. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
Read more about Michigan in these posts: