Unique Up North Lodging
Aug. 10, 2014
A rustic retreat that’s been off the radar for years is getting an extreme makeover by an ambitious local couple with an eye for potential. Say farewell to the Boyne Valley Lodge, and hello to Elvyn Lea, a fanciful property meant for summer brides, family getaways, and corporate retreats.
Originally called The Village Inn, the main building was built in the 1950s in Boyne City to house ski groups, and was operated successfully later for many years as the Boyne Valley Lodge.
Set on 44 acres, the lodge features rural craftsmanship, separate wings and lounge areas, and an abundance of knotty pine walls and log-beamed ceilings.
Rocking chairs surround the fireplace, and a stone foundation provides heft, while big windows allow light to pour in year-round.
Some of the décor of the lodge has been redesigned since 2013 by its new owners, Monica and Michael Farrier, but the facility will keep its primary focus on what was its initial function: a haven for planned group visits for guests who arrive with a "shared purpose," as Monica Farrier puts it.
The European-style floor plan allows for one group of people to utilize the entire lodge, whether as a corporate retreat, an art or writers’ event, or simply to establish a sense of communication and community.
"We do coordinate some groups around a common theme on specified dates, and that provides opportunities for smaller groups and even couples and individuals to visit here," she said.
In the winter, there is a five-room minimum, with more flexibility in the summer, said Monica Farrier. "But we operate more like a retreat center than a hotel or B&B," she said.
Farrier and her husband were initially looking for a large house with some land where they could start a business together.
Both entrepreneurial by nature – Michael Farrier is an inventor, engineer, and artist, and Petoskey native Monica Farrier is a massage therapist who also worked in the hospitality industry – the couple understood what travelers Up North sought.
So after finding the property itself, they decided to rename it.
"Elvyn Lea," Monica Farrier said, roughly translates to "meadow of elf friends."
After researching the origins of their purchase, they decided to retain as much of the natural beauty of the wood, stone, and land as possible.
"We appreciated the thought that went into the design, and the trails and spectacular event lawn," she said.
"We saw so much potential, and so many possibilities."
The Farriers are keeping the ambiance of an earlier time, but have added modern comforts.
There may be no television (the Farriers feel that their guests don’t need the distraction from the peace and quiet) but they have installed high-speed Internet and AV and PA equipment to accommodate special events and meetings.
We like it this way," Monica Farrier said, "and we hope it will appeal to guests wanting to get away from the stressful aspects of modern life."
When the Farriers arrived, all of the rooms only had bunk beds, so they added in queen and king sized mattresses with fleece and flannel linens to keep the lodge feel.
Electrical and plumbing work, updated kitchen equipment, and an exterior paint change to deep brown gave the renovation a boost.
The new décor keeps a focus on themes of nature and Michigan in the "˜50s, with artwork from Gwen Frostic, Norman Brumm, and Stanley Kellogg.
"It was a romantic time in terms of nature art, and what better place to display it than in an authentic Michigan lodge of the period," Monica Farrier said.
As more people find out about the new Lodge, the Farriers say they plan on expanding.
"Every day we look around us and feel so grateful to have this extraordinary place to share," Monica Farrier said. "A project of this size requires a leap of faith, but we can’t imagine that people won’t want to come here and experience it."
For more information, or to book Elvyn Lea Lodge, visit elvynlea.com or telephone (231) 535-2475.