We had found a nice log home on Lake Vermilion, but our family quickly outgrew it. When I heard that the remnants of Birch Point Inn, a historic turn-of-the century resort on Big Bay with open water views, including points and islands, was coming up for sale, I immediately drove over for a look.
I started counting the gray shake-style cabins as we walked onto the grounds. There were five — and I had five children! The friend I was with said: “You’re going to buy this, aren’t you?”
“If the main cabin is even decent, I think so,“ I answered, hesitant. Well, the main cabin was more than decent. We peeked in the windows of the dormered, two-story cedar-shake Cape Cod. It looked like something, although modernized, out of the 1800s. A large screen porch was on the front, where I could see us living in the summer. The grounds hadn’t been maintained, but it took little imagination to see my children and grandchildren playing in the expansive yard that sprawled down to a beautiful sand beach.
The grounds look like they have been carved out of the forest, with century-old moss-covered walks and walls. There are hundreds of red and white pines, which are particularly beautiful in the winter, with a mix of birch and maple giving us great color in the fall. It has been an idyllic family place. Last July 4th we put up more than 30 people (23 family, plus friends).
There are two garages, and we built a boat house for beach toys, kayaks and the sauna. The cabins are all unique, but we had to remodel two that were little more than large sheds. My wife, Mary, has created native gardens all over the property.
A little side story: My parents had taken me to a resort on Lake Vermilion that I remembered all my life. After I bought Birch Point Inn, I asked a neighbor who had come to the resort all his life how many big sand beaches existed on the lake. He said not many like this one. When I said that I had a memory of a beach that was so wide it had reminded me of Park Pointe, he said that before the previous owner planted grass, the sand had gone back 50 feet or so. Looks as if I bought the place that I had fallen in love with on Lake Vermilion.
Tim Munkeby, Tower, Minn.