Shanty Creek – Northen Michigan Resort

Four Season Place To Be

Finding a long lost treasure in your closet—Memories flood your brain, relationships attached to the treasure warm your heart. You’d do anything to recapture that time and place.

That’s how you want to feel about each and every one of your vacations, winter or spring breaks with your family and friends.

Fortunately that lost treasure has been dusting itself off—Bellaire, Michigan’s Shanty Creek Resorts. As a vision in the 1960s of founder Roy Deskin, the property became a world-class customer service resort peaking in the 1980s…But then quietly falling into the “forgotten friend” category as several different owners failed to recapture the glory.

Northern Michigan Paradise

“I don’t want a fast car
Don’t need a four lane highway
There’s not another place I’d rather be
Cuz out here in the country
Bluebirds sing for nothing
And the shade comes free with a tree
Yeah the shade comes free with a tree

The tree came with a mountain
Right beside the river where the ground makes one heck of a scene”

Shade-Joe Nichols Country Artist

Deskin never met Nichols but his popular song could have been spun in this Northern Michigan paradise. When Deskin thought about the high, tree-green hills and curving valleys surrounding Bellaire in Michigan’s Antrim County, he envisioned a challenging ski and golf resort, satisfying for everyone. He labored toward that dream, overcoming a typical run of obstacles, from the early 1960’s until his death in 1969. His estate then ran the resort until 1977 and in 1978 the Hilton Chain bought Shanty, consisting of the main lodge, golf pro shop, four chalets, and more than 480 acres comprising the Shanty Creek golf course and ski area.

One Mountain Over

Already dreaming about his mountain, Chicago stockbroker Daniel Iannotti’s envisioned a ski and golf resort patterned after those in Colorado—one that closely resembled a friendly European hamlet. In December 1968, his village, “Schuss Mountain,” became a reality. Golf was added in 1972 with a nine hole followed by nine more holes in 1977. An eatery, Ivanhoff Restaurant (now called Ivan’s) was added and in 1982 the famed SchussyCats began their annual summer run, staging song and dance shows.

Club Resorts Inc. purchased Shanty Creek in 1984 and Schuss Mountain in 1985. In 1986, they merged the two resorts, in essence doubling the recreational opportunities and amenities of both beautiful destination resorts. Two-thirds of the four season paradise was now complete.

Add Another Mountain—Cedar River Village

In 1997, Shanty Creek broke its ties with Club Resorts Inc. and became a privately owned property with individual investors at the helm.

The ownership change allowed Shanty Creek to embark on the multi-million dollar Cedar River Village expansion project with more skiing, a fourth golf course and an 85-unit upscale suite hotel with surrounding condominiums. Even Golfing legend Tom Weiskopf designed an 18-hole golf course (opened in 1999), the Cedar River Golf Club.

But the cornerstone property, Shanty Creek, even with an infusion of building in the surrounding area had become a forgotten wonderland that many owners had tried to breathe new life into but didn’t have the cash flow to fulfill the project. Then this past spring, Trinidad Resort & Club bought the resort and has started restoring it. Trinidad has a
wealth of experience in ski and golf resorts as well as real estate development. Their marketing and operational expertise developed the popular Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado. Their desire is to bring Northern Michigan new ideas and programs and quality opportunities.

The restoration process and new ideas are a welcome relief to many long-time Shanty Creek employees. Golf Pro Roger Gieseck, who began as an apprentice at Shanty in 1984 says, “It’s nice to come to work and focus on my job of helping folks learn to play golf and improve their game. Not worrying about where I can find a broom to clean something up.”

Refreshed and Improved

If you can’t remember your last trip to Shanty Creek or if you’ve never had the pleasure, the resort and club is a great place to vacation or base your vacation out of as there’s plenty to do in Northern Michigan.

Shanty Creek offers golf on several challenging levels with courses designed by Arnold Palmer, The Legend, Weiskopf’s previously mentioned Cedar River Golf Club, The Summit Golf Club and Schuss Mountain Golf Club. Golf Magazine rated a Silver Medal Resort and the Best Family Golf Resort in the Midwest by readers of Great Lakes Golf Magazine.

“We have four of the best golf courses, not only in the state, but across the country,” Gieseck says.

After you’ve played these courses, many more are within driving range just down the hill as the Chief and Bellaire Golf Clubs offer plenty of challenge and fun. A little further toward Traverse City are more professionally designed courses as well as many more cities in Northern Michigan.

Shanty Creek offers lessons and hosts the Shanty Creek PGA Classic tournament each summer. Last year’s purse was $16,000.

I’m Hungry

A new Executive Chef, Andrew Reh, has signed on to the Shanty staff. A Traverse City native, Reh has spent time in the Washington D.C. area working for the Ritz Carlton before working at the White House during the Clinton Administration for State Dinners and foreign diplomatic visits. With his Degree in Culinary Arts and wealth of experience, Reh came back to Michigan in 2004.

As he is just getting acclimated to the Resort and its menus, Reh does plan to put his stamp on the food offerings there.

“I have a passion for food and I’d like to bring a fusion of flavors to our menus,” he says.

One of Reh’s passions is ice carving and he has competed in many ice carving competitions state wide and nationally.

“I’d like to bring a competition here to the resort,” he says. “It draws a crowd rather quickly and is fun to watch and compete in.”

With a stellar resume and experience at hand, Reh seemingly has the resort’s menu in capable hands.

Work Off The Guilty Pleasures

If you feel those calories clinging to you or if you just want to work out, keep in shape or pamper yourself, Shanty has a full service Fitness Center complete with Wellness Spa, Nautilus equipment, sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room, manicures & pedicures, tanning and massage.

Guest can enjoy the spa facilities at Shanty Creek year round for the ultimate in relaxation. Within the spa guests will have access to the separate men’s and ladies’ locker areas, steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools, and fitness center.

Family Affair

Each person in your family is an individual. Shanty Creek understands that and offers plenty of action or rest for each member. Named the Best Family Golf Resort in the Midwest by Great Lakes Golf, Shanty Creek offers an unforgettable summer experience for everyone in the family.

Shanty Creek keeps kids busy! Camp Gandy for 5 – 12 year olds include activities such as swimming, hiking, games, arts and crafts and much more. And they don’t leave out the younger bunch. For the 2 month to 6 year olds, Shanty Creek’s Children’s Center combines quality care with creative play. Children in the center will experience a nurturing, playful and safe environment that includes stories, free play, art, music, outdoor play and rest time if needed.

While the kids are at play, parents can indulge in some fun of their own by teeing off on one of the resort’s four championship golf courses: Cedar River, The Legend, Schuss Mountain, or Summit Golf Club. Dad can iron out his game by spending the day at the Shanty Creek Golf Academy. Mom can treat herself to some well-needed pampering at our Wellness Spa with a soothing massage, or kick back and relax poolside or check out one of Shanty Creek’s several on-site retail shops.

Once the parents and kids are reunited, Shanty Creek offers a host of family-friendly activities. Families can explore Northern Michigan’s majesty by taking a guided hike through the resort enjoy a family campfire at Terry Wooten’s Stone Circle, where the renowned poet leads storytelling and songs. Goofy Golf, a Shanty Creek favorite, allows kids of all ages the chance to play a goofy game of “putt putt style” golf with crazy challenges and prizes. Families can challenge each other to a game of disc golf or head to the Summit Village outdoor pool and catch the Summit Splash pool party, pool games and more. It’s rare to find a resort that captivates kids of all ages – but Shanty Creek fits the bill with activities sure to please everyone in the family

Let’s Get Wet!

An indoor pool—an outdoor pool—a beach club—Shanty Creek has plenty of ways to get you wet—indoors and out.

On the lower level of the Summit Lodge the indoor pool with a maximum depth of five feet and a hot tub built in beside are a great place to hang out if there’s inclement weather or you need to hide out from the sun burn you’ve accumulated. And for added benefit, use the house phone and order some poolside food and beverage service. Towels are provided and there are plenty of snack and beverage vending machines just outside of the pool. Oh, and bring plenty of quarters for the miniature arcade and be sure to loosen up the animals in the crane game for my next visit.

Just outside the Summit Lakeview Dining area is the outdoor pool. Once glance at this beauty and you’ll swear Esther Williams filmed a movie there. The 60s era beauty has plenty of deck for sun worshippers and plenty of water for everyone else. Be warned, the pool is solar heated and you are in Northern Michigan. But it’s never been too chilly to not get in on a sunny summer day. And again, take advantage of the poolside phone to order your favorite Lakeview snacks and drinks.

And if the lakeside is what you need, head down to the Shanty Creek Beach Club on Lake Bellaire. Plenty of sandy shore and a nice warm and extremely shallow lake provide a grand setting for swimming, relaxing or playing on the beach. There are picnic area and a snack area with restrooms available.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

There’s plenty of outdoor winter fun at Shanty Creek also, two separate alpine areas, 49 downhill runs, two Terrain Parks, 10 lifts, 30 km of Nordic trails, Nordic Center, tubing runs, two full service rental shops, snowsports academy, and snowsports seven nights a week. And there are plenty of incredible snow ski and snowboard instructors whether you’re six or 60. They’ll get you up and skiing like a pro in no time.

Silent Sports

Any sport that doesn’t involve a motor—that’s the definition of silent sports. And Shanty Creek Resorts has hired a Georg Schluender to direct the area.

“We are committed to making this Shanty Creek a leader,” Schluender says. “We just put fifteen thousand dollars into our mountain bikes and accessories. We’ve got seven miles of multi-use trails ready.”

Schluender has worked all over the country as an outdoors guide from the West coast to the East coast and many spots in between. His enthusiasm for these sports and his dedication to creating the best atmosphere for resort guests should make Shanty Creek the place.

“We want to partner with the best outfitters and not just charge our guests $35 bucks an hour and throw them in a kayak. We want to teach you how to kayak and then take you on a guided tour of the amazing chain of lakes.”

Their growing list of sports also includes disc golf and they are pursing a relationship with the Professional Disc Golf Association

Working for the Weekend
A great way to enjoy the amenities of Shanty Creek—plan a business meeting there. The helpful staff offers 26 meeting rooms that provide over 35,600 sq. ft. of meeting space. And they can accommodate meetings of up to 1,000 people. You have your choice of The Lodge at Cedar River with state-of-the-art conference facilities. Complete audio/visual services and a fully equipped business center available. Or set ups at The Summit can handle your business meeting needs.

If you’ve just escaped for a weekend of work without your business friends, you’ll be able to relax in resort comfort and take advantage of Shanty Creek’s free wireless Internet.

Providing high-speed Internet access is a growing trend for some resorts – many at a fee. Shanty Creek now offers high speed Internet across all three villages, including guest rooms, lobbies and meeting pace.

“Offering this service at Shanty Creek is important to us because we value every guest,” says Scott Maison, Director of Lodging at Shanty Creek Resorts “We strive to provide the tools necessary for our guests to be comfortable at their home away from home.”

Local Flavor

And if your seeking to hit the sights and wonders of Northern Michigan, Shanty Creek Resorts can be your hub as it sits within a half-hour of Traverse City fun and about 90 minutes from Mackinac Island. There are plenty of places to play in Traverse City as it handles all the needs of tourists and locals alike. Miles of beaches with swimming, kayaking, para-sailing and much more available are open during the summer months.

Nightlife, shopping and even minor league baseball can be found easily in this Northern paradise. For more details on the area, log onto the Traverse City’s Visitor and Convention Bureau’s Website at, www.

Heading north and east will take you on a fun drive through Petoskey and other storied Michigan cities and towns on the way to Mackinac. Wildlife and man co-exist in these hamlets that offer fun in the sun and plenty of places to hang out with family and/or friends. At Mackinac City you have the option of playing on either side of the five-mile long Mackinac Bridge. Both ferry services offers rides from both sides of the bridge and plenty of fudge, sundries, water parks and restaurants to entice you. But it’s worth the five dollar round trip to venture over the bridge to the upper peninsula and get the sight of where Lake Superior and Lake Michigan come together. And there’s a bridge museum where you can get the full story on this historic landmark and see photos of the building process.

Once in the UP you can hop on either ferry and be on Mackinac Island in minutes. Step back in time and enjoy fudge, carriage rides, biking, shopping and much, much more.

Closer to Shanty Creek and Bellaire is Torch Lake. If you’ve got the itch to fish or swim or just cruise the world’s third most beautiful lake, then head to Butch’s Marina. He’s got plenty of rental boats available along with everything you need to enjoy yourself on the water. And be sure to call in your broasted chicken order, folks drive for miles around to snatch up this delicacy and you don’t want to be left out.

All around Shanty Creek there are fun things to discover. U-pick cherry orchards and farms, charter fishing on larger lakes in the area, trout farms where you can catch your own, Bellaire Smokehouse for the best bacon and smoked whitefish anywhere (and they’ll smoke your trout for a small fee) and plenty more. Northern Michigan is a paradise waiting to be discovered everyday and Shanty Creek Resort is your first step in rediscovering this land.

Nichols seems to sum up Shanty Creek Resorts and the founder’s original dream:

“The mountain counts for something, the view is worth a fortune
And the shade comes free with a tree
I never had a dollar that could buy me what I’m feelin
But I’m feelin bout as good as I can be
I need to be reminded when I’m lookin for a bargain
Not to overlook what’s right in front of me

I’ll never make a killing tryin to make a living
But I make enough to raise a family
I bought a piece of heaven off county road 11
Where the shade comes free with a tree
Yeah where the shade comes free with a tree

I never had a dollar that could buy me what I’m feeling
And I’m feeling bout as good as I can be
I need to be reminded when I’m lookin for a bargain
Not to overlook what’s right in front of me

I don’t want a fast car
Don’t need a four lane highway
There’s not another place I’d rather be
Down county road 11
There’s this little piece of heaven
Where the shade comes free with a tree
Yeah, where the shade comes free with a tree

Yeah, the shade comes free with a tree.”