We booked our stay at Wilderness Haven for the week of December 27-Jan 3, 2009. We stayed in the "Fish Shanty" cabin which was clean and decorated nicely, but had a very bad smell at times. We decided that we would try out dog sledding as we are a bit tight on money and thought a winter vacation would be something exciting and new for us. According to the web page it seemed like this would be the place to go - close to home and affordable. Spring lake is just across the street from the cabins and would have been beautiful to dog sled on, but the ice had a coating of slush on it due to some warmer weather and it was unsafe for the dogs to run on. I quite understand this and would not want to endanger the owner's dogs in anyway. I was under the impression that John also had trails in the woods (as noted on the the website) that we could go on, but he stated that "these had not been cut yet". So we were a bit disappointed that dog sledding was out of the picture for that week. We did not experience any of the "down home hospitality" that the other reviews delineated. I never met Jerri, (although she was present to take our check) and when we did run into John, he was abrupt and seemed too busy to try and schedule another activity or make suggestion as to what to do during our stay. We were on our own. FYI to future travelers to the Hayward in winter - The town is very much "shut down" during the winter months. In other words, there is not much to do. We have an 8 year old boy who was very much looking forward to dog sledding, snow shoeing, etc., but none of this was available. We went to see a movie in town and to the bowling alley. (I could have stayed home and done this). Most of the antique shops were closed. Out of six shops only two were open and they wanted top dollar for junk. John and Jerry were out of town Tuesday and Wednesday of our stay. I got the impression that we were there at a bad time for them. I would have much prefered to have been told this rather than go all the way up there and not have anything to do! We did not get a tour, explanation, or any information about dog sledding. I do not know any more about this sport than I did before we came. Inevitibly, we left for home on Wednesday due to the smell in the cabin and the lack of anything to do in town or at the cabin/lodge. I was told that there was a fire place in the cabin (which ended up being gas), and there was no t.v. The CD player was broken (only the radio worked). The lodge grounds were littered with a lot of scrap metal and such. We did some ice fishing as we brought our own equipment, but this gets a little labor intensive for an 8 year old. I would suggest that if you are anticipating dog sledding, that you make sure that conditions are "right" before you go as it seemd that weather plays a huge part whether or not you will actually be able to do so or not. We were very disappointed in our stay at Wilderness Haven Resort and will not return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A Wilderness Haven is close enough to town for convenience, but far enough away to enjoy wildlife. It is not uncommon to greet black bear, deer, bald eagles, foxes, or bobcat after running into town for milk and eggs! Fishing at Wilderness Haven is one of the main draws. It is amazing the quantity of fish and wonderful experinces Spring Lake provides. ... more less