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“Met our every need”

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Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Ahmeek B&B and Inns
Reviewed 16 January 2012

Met Our Every Need

During our stay at Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn, Innkeepers Mary and Bill Frabotta made us feel most pampered. From the welcoming notes of the music box in our room, to the evening dessert and Mary’s piano music, the comfort of time well-shared, or a breakfast worthy of a second plate – everything was perfect. Sand Hills offers so much more than just a room; you feel like you are part of the family, living in the elegance another era. The lighthouse alone can fill hours as you explore the tower and steep yourself in its history. The setting is spectacular. Recreational opportunities of all kinds abound within a short distance. We slowed down, dropped the stress of everyday life, and left feeling totally renewed. Don’t miss this place!

Room Tip: Each room has a unique character and its own charm. During a tour of each room, Mary told us the sto...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Jean_John_Mitchell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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71 - 77 of 113 reviews

Reviewed 27 September 2011

This inn is a winner. The atmosphere inside is cozy, comfortable, and elegant in it's own way. The hosts, Bill and Mary definitely have an agenda for you with desert at 8:30 every night and a wonderful gourmet breakfast. But that is part of the package and it never felt intrusive. For me it enhanced the experience of our stay. These are two visionary inn keepers who share their incredible vision. My wife had just finished Chemotherapy and we wanted a lovely escape for a few days just to relax and hang out. We found it. We will go back.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Bill B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2011

We stayed at the Lighthouse this past August for 4 nights. My husband booked it 6 months ahead and spoke to Mary on the phone. We were very excited to stay in a restored old Lighthouse (the largest Great Lakes Lighthouse and the last operating one also). Mary told us about dessert and piano time on the phone so we knew the schedule. We knew going in it was a small personal type place and we were up for that. If we wanted impersonal, we would have stayed at a Holiday Inn.

There were a bunch of "regulars" there during our stay and everyone made us feel very welcome and comfortable.

Reading some of the negative reviews it is obvious some people are not able to "go with the flow" when on vacation. If you fall into this category, you probably should take a pass. It didn't seem like that big of a deal to us to have to be back at around 9 to have a homemade dessert served to us and piano time. (They were outstanding btw)

We found the accomodations and obvious passion and dedication of the innkeepers Bill & Mary to be incredibly special and charming. We very much enjoyed the guided tour of the Lighthouse and the freedom we were given to go up top anytime we wanted. We went up twice a day. Yes, breakfast was a little late to our liking and we would have liked to have coffee available earlier, but was that such a big deal? Nope.

The location is truly breathtaking. They did an excellent job on the renovation. It almost feels like being in someone's home as opposed to a more formal B&B. We liked that.

Breakfast is very good, not low calorie- so don't expect yogurt and fruit ok? It's vacation after all...Lots of places to hike, kayak, and cycle to burn it off.

Our room: We stayed in the Laurence Olivier room and we think that room is a good choice. All the windows face Lake Superior and we slept with the windows open listening to the water hit the shores as we fell asleep and when we awoke in the morning to the sunrise. The bed was comfy, good shower, VERY spacious room.

The area: Copper Harbor is just beautiful, feels very remote and not highly populated, good restaurants (Eagle River esp.), sun sets about 10pm so the days are blessedly long!

Overall, it's a VERY SPECIAL PLACE -with character. We were very touched by this lovely couple who worked so hard to bring this Lighthouse back to life and seem to find so much joy in sharing it with others who can appreciate it. We thought singing "Lullaby" to the Lighthouse showed reverence and was utterly romantic and sweet. Fixing up an old Lighthouse is really a very romantic thing to do. It sure isn't practical! We're very glad we found this special place and were able to experience it.

Room Tip: We like the Laurence Olivier room with a king sized bed, lake view, 2nd floor. If people stay up lat...
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  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Steve_and_Jocelyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2011

There's a scene in The Three Stooges "If a Body Meets a Body" where Curly, Moe and Larry find themselves spending a night in a haunted mansion where the eyes on a painted framed portrait follow our boys as they walk by. I have to say, that's how I felt at the Sandhills Lighthouse Inn. So let’s say you’re considering staying at this inn, but you’ve read some of the conflicting reviews. Is Merry Mary a control freak? Absolutely. We got in trouble for blowing off the piano recital/dessert one night, and she continued to harp on it the next morning. Honestly, the nightly Merry Mary Show got kind of old after the 2nd night. Show tunes and weepy soliloquies accompanied by carb-laden late evening snacks were what we got. What I wanted? Some hooch, but alas, there’s no bar at the inn. I suppose we could have smuggled in some wine or beer, but I fear Mary Merry would have frowned on it. Perhaps we would have been written up—like college freshmen—and it would still remain on our permanent record. I do recall one surreal moment during our stay that will be a priceless memory: Mary Merry was conducting the 3 p.m. (sharp!) tour of the lighthouse, and all guests were commandeered by her up one narrow stairway after another. An infirm, asthmatic man on the tour became red in the face and experienced labored breathing. He frantically searched his pockets for his inhaler. Finding it and restoring his breathing to a normal level, he expressed dismay that he didn’t think he could make it up the last couple of extremely narrow and steep stairways. Mary Merry scolded the old boy for his lack of resolve and reserve energy and commanded him to march! As this scene unfolded, I couldn’t help looking out the window and wondering exactly how the EMTs would be able to rig a winch up and extract the lifeless body. . .Miraculously, though, he made it through the tour and was downstairs that evening singing along as the phantom of the inn banged out a tune.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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27  Thank UpgradeSniffer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2011

My husband and I have been going to Sandhills Lighthouse for years. We absolutely love it there and go every year around our anniversary in the fall if possible. I usually don't post reviews but after reading the negative comments some people have made about this wonderful place and people I had to write something.

I have never encountered a bad attitude towards any of the guests, whether they showed up late, went to bed early, skipped breakfast, etc. One is always treated like family. We've met wonderful people over the years. The food is to die for. Mary will always make beignets for me when she knows we are coming to visit. They are very hospitable and wonderfully entertaining from just listening to Bill talk about his photography studio he once owned to the renovations of the lighthouse and taking the ferry across the straights to come to the UP before the Mackinaw Bridge was even built. Mary has more energy than 10 people put together. Is the place spotless? No. Mary does the laundry and cleaning herself. For someone to complain their bed is not made amazes me. Do you own a maid at home that follows you around picking up after you? Do they live there and this is their HOME? Yes. If you are expecting the Ritz Carlton with cold impersonal service then this is not the place for you. If you want to meet very friendly kind individuals, sit around a table exchanging tidbits from where you are from and what to do in the area, then make a reservation. No TV, your cell phone won't work (service in the Keweenaw is spotty) and best of all no children, this is heaven on earth.

Dessert is amazing and not to be missed. People talk while Mary is playing the piano. I've never been told to be quiet or gotten dirty looks for talking. My husband and I will go to eat at the Eagle Harbor Inn the first night we are there and the second night Mary always makes us a reservation for the Harbor Haus in Copper Harbor (great food, gorgeous view) with always enough time to get back for the delicious desserts. For you "city folk" it's another world up here, restaurants don't serve super late dinners, things are laid back and quiet. There's nothing fancy about this area. Don't come here expecting your city life back home, it doesn't exist no matter how hard you look for it.

Sandhills is a place to relax and get away from it all. Bill and Mary treat you like family and are gracious and accommodating. I can't imagine anyone seeing this place any way differently. We tell everyone about this place and if they get a chance they should spend a night or two.

Room Tip: The Northwest Balcony is the room we always request.
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  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Jks784
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2011

We stayed at Sand Hills July of 2010. It was truly one of the best experiences we had. A lot going on in our lives at that time and it was such a relaxing healing time for us. We fell in love with Mary and Bill, and felt we made life long friends, Her breakfasts and desserts were to die for. Looked forward to the evening piano recital, and then up to a warm and cozy room after. We were planning to go back this year, but my Mother passed away late Spring. We dream of our 4 nights there and of returing again.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 106judithk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2011

It took several years for us to get to Sand Hills after we found out about it and we were not disappointed! Fortunately, I didn't read the reviews on this website before visiting. The nature of B&B's is that you should expect to "exit the fast lane" on your vacation, if this is not what you are looking for, then stay at a traditional hotel/motel. The website for the lighthouse is informative and there should be no surprises about what is offered by Bill & Mary. We never felt "pressured" in any way to attend the evening concerts with dessert, nor did we see that expressed to or about another couple who were visiting to purchase property and arrived during the concert each night. With not much going on at night in the area it was an enjoyable way to pass the evening, talking, eating and visiting with other couples. Bill and Mary are artistic people and refreshingly different but without their vision we would not have the opportunity to stay there today. For the restoration purists, what you see today was done with no government assistance and the only way to maintain it is to make it self-supporting and we love the romantic setting of B&B's. If you want the 'pure' experience there are other lighthouses open to the public in the area. I did notice that the negative reviews on the whole are rather old and as such I feel that Bill and Mary have learned by experience. Our experience was in line with the other 5 star reviews and we will be part of the "loyalist group" who return again!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank msdavies1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn

Address: Five Mile Point Road, Ahmeek, MI 49901
Region: United States > Michigan > Upper Peninsula > Ahmeek
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Ahmeek
Price Range: $124 - $218 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
Sand Hills Lighthouse Hotel Ahmeek

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