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Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927

Torch Lake Exceptional Lakefront Cottage

Bedrooms 4
Space 1,855 sq ft
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 2 - 7 nights


About the property

COTTAGE: 3 Bedrooms, 2 baths, sleeps 6; GUEST HOUSE (extra fee): 4 beds, 1 bath

Located on breathtakingly beautiful Torch Lake, this Non-Smoking property has been owned by the same family since the late 1800's. The cottage features natural wood interiors, two woodburning fireplaces, shelves of books, gorgeous views of the lake, coziness, and simplicity.

Equally suitable for families with young children or older couples, it comfortably sleeps six people, with a GUEST COTTAGE sleeping four more for an additional fee. We have 150 feet of lakefront, including a sandy beach, a private dock and boat hoist. The lake's sandy bottom is shallow for a fair distance, making it ideal for children. The cottage sits at the end of a private road in a secluded setting thick with mature trees. Its location on the east side of the lake affords spectacular views of the setting sun, especially from the large open air deck which overlooks the lake, and the near-constant lull of water lapping at the shore. There is also a smaller private deck, complete with a hammock swing (one of several on the property), off the master suite.

TORCH LAKE was named the third most beautiful lake in the world by National Geographic Magazine. The water is so clear you can see the sandy bottom all the way out to the 'drop-off.' On sunny days, the lake has ribbons of turquoise color that are reminiscent of the Caribbean. Torch is the largest lake in Michigan (19 miles long and about two miles wide) and is part of a chain of lakes which allows boating from Elk Rapids to Bellaire. See this article for a good overview and some great pictures:

A 15-minute stroll takes you to the small and charming village of ALDEN. It has one of Torch Lake's four public boat ramps, a number of restaurants (both casual and fine cuisine), art galleries, a variety of shops, a playground, a public tennis court, and a library. Green woods and broad fields extend out from the town, offering great cycling and walking.

Popular tourist destinations such as Traverse City, Charlevoix, the Leelanau Peninsula, and Petoskey are all within an hour's drive. Should you choose to venture further afield, Interlochen National Music Camp (offering excellent concerts), Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, Mackinac Island, or Hartwick Pines are well worth visiting.

Because the cottage is a family heirloom, we request great care and consideration from our renters. We also ask that you be very respectful of our neighbors – the cottage is in a residential (not rental) area. For that reason, we don't allow jet skis in order to preserve the peace. Thank you for your understanding!

Keywords: Cottage

More Details

Nan Reed Twiss
Member since: 2004
Premier Partner

This VRBO partner has demonstrated and is committed to fast response times, the best rates, and a great guest experience.

Speaks: english
Response time:
Within an hour
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
May 22, 2018

About Nan Reed Twiss

My great grandparents bought this property back in the eighteen hundreds, and it's been the beloved summer home to generations of my family (my children are now the fifth generation). The cottage which was left to me was built by my grandmother during the 2nd world war, and even though I've lived on both coasts of the US, in Europe and in Asia, I've never missed a summer. Birchwood cottage remains my favorite spot in the world...I just wish I could still spend all summer there as I did as a child. Now our family of five treasures the three weeks we save for ourselves, and scared though I was to share the cottage with strangers, so far, renters have treated the place beautifully.

Nan Reed Twiss purchased this cottage in 1890

Why Nan Reed Twiss chose Alden

I was lucky enough to inherit this gem. But why I would buy it (and I would!) is that Torch Lake is an extraordinarily beautiful lake, more beautiful than any I've ever seen. The colors are like the Caribbean, and the water is so clear you can see the bottom all the way out to the drop-off. The sandy bottom makes it especially beautiful. The area is so peaceful if it's peace you're looking for... and yet, if you want activity, you don't have to go far at all for inland entertainment. There are lots of artist's towns nearby, nice shops, some great restaurants, golfing, hiking...and the town of Alden is a brief walk away.

What makes this cottage unique

Our cottage is right on the water, so we sleep to the sound of waves lapping the shore. We watch the sunsets from our deck that overlooks the water or from one of our three hammocks placed throughout the property. The beach is perfect for small children since it stays shallow for a long way. In addition to the obvious sand-castle building, the kids also love to explore the woods and build forts with the driftwood or play on the raft. We love to swim, sail, walk or bike into town. There's so much to do in the area, but honestly, we're so happy at the cottage and on the lake, we generally just stay there.

Guestbook comments from the owner

We absolutely recommend Birchwood cottage. There were so many highlights to our trip, it’s hard to choose. Sitting and reading on the deck in the afternoon. Motorboating around the beautiful lake. Bicycling around the lake as well (the hills to the east were tough!). Coffee and rolls in Alden. We had a great time overall.
Aug 2012
  • 1 of 8


Alden Cottage Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 1855 sq ft
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM
  • /
  • Check-out: 11:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • Children welcome
  • Parties/events not allowed
  • Pets not allowed ...
  • Non smoking only
  • There is a $100 non-refundable fee for cancellations.
  • No jet skis allowed on the property (out of respect for our neighbors and the peaceful area)
Location Type:
  • Beachfront ...
  • Lakefront
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Fireplace ...
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Parking
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wireless Internet
  • Wood Fireplace ...
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining Area
  • 3 Bathrooms
  • Master Bedroom Bathroom - toilet , combination tub/shower
    Cottage Bathroom - toilet , shower
    Guest House Bathroom - toilet , shower
  • 4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10
  • Master Bedroom - 1 queen , There is also a Daybed
    Upstairs Bedroom - 2 twin/ single
    2nd Upstairs Bedroom - 2 twin/ single
    Guest House - 2 twin/ single , 1 bunk bed
  • The Cottage sleeps 6. For an extra fee, you can also rent the Guest House to sleep 4 more.
  • Books ...
  • DVD Player
  • Games ...
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Television
  • Balcony ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Golf ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • Tennis ...
  • cinemas
  • restaurants
Leisure Activities:
  • boating
  • horseback riding
  • miniature golf
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • kayaking
  • sailing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • water skiing
  • wind-surfing
We have a raft that is available for our renters a short distance from shore. We also have lovely spots for reading or intimate conversations, including 1 Rope Hammock and 2 Hammock Swings that fit two people each. We also often have a badminton set up for the kids.


Excellent! 4.5/5 -
(40 traveler reviews)

62% Complete
27% Complete
5% Complete
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Torch Lake Exceptional Lakefront Cottage
average rating of 4.475 based on 48 reviews

Peaceful Fall Getaway

  • 4 of 5

Property is quiet, with nice sunset views from the deck and the living room. We enjoyed a fire in the living room on the first truly crisp October night that we stayed. The house is about a 10 mile walk from Alden and an easy drive towards Petosky, Traverse City, and Sleeping Bear Dunes Seashore.

  • Submitted: Oct 23, 2017
  • Stayed: October 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: I’m glad you enjoyed your stay. Important correction: we are a 10-MINUTE walk from Alden, not 10 miles :-)
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Beautiful lakeside setting, private, rustic charm - a pathwalk away from quaint Alden.

  • 4 of 5

We have enjoyed Birchwood Cottage for two summers - one week is never enough. The cottage provides a private setting, amazing views of the lake by way of big windows, a spacious lakeside deck, dock, beach, & hammock in the trees. We love the natural treed setting, the large dining and living room spaces and view from the Master. Much of the cottage is rustic. The kitchen is fully equipped, but older. The two bathrooms are small and could use some TLC, but the owner is sensitive to any/all requests and feedback, and responds promptly & kindly - to help make your Torch Lake stay a good one. We love the wooded walking path near the driveway that leads into the friendly, quaint town of Alden - where there are cute boutiques, small restaurants, a wine tasting room, ice cream stand, a store for basic supplies and food, and more. For us, the pluses outweigh the minuses . . . we will/would return for a third year.

Claudia, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

  • Submitted: Sep 6, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Overall 2.5 stars

  • 2 of 5

Beautiful lake and nice beach but overall house while quant was below expectation for the cost.

  • Submitted: Aug 21, 2017
  • Stayed: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for your feedback, Eileen. I rarely receive low ratings and I am sorry that the cottage did not meet your expectations. To future renters: I have learned the renter's concerns and have already addressed them. That said, Birchwood is an older cottage, so if you are looking for the equivalent of the Hyatt, you should look elsewhere. If you like the charm of a cottage with history and a northern-woodsy feel, this may be just for you.
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Great weekend getaway!

  • 5 of 5

Great location, very well kept house, and had everything to accommodate our yearly Memorial Day Weekend getaway. I would highly recommend this place to anybody looking to relax on gorgeous Torch Lake for a few days.

  • Submitted: May 29, 2017
  • Stayed: May 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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A wonderful vacation spot by the lake

  • 5 of 5

The location of this cottage at torch lake is one of the most relaxing, beautiful places I've been to. The dock area is great for grilling food and hanging out on the hammock and swing chairs. The fact that this place also has a beach with a fire pit is a great plus. Taking the canoe and kayaks out on the water was lots of fun.

The cottage itself is very homey and comfortable. The grand piano is a great touch and is soothing to play by the lake. There are many helpful notes and signs put up around the house so you know where everything is.

This house is very close to a playground/ basketball court/ tennis court, so my friends and I would walk out there to play some sports and then head back to the cottage for a dip back into the water. There are also cool stores nearby so you can grab ice cream on the walk back home.

This cottage was a great time and I can't wait to come back to it sometime!

  • Submitted: May 18, 2017
  • Stayed: May 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Everything a weekend getaway should be

  • 4 of 5

My family and I just returned from a truly wonderful weekend at Birchwood on Torch Lake. The occasion was to celebrate my 70th birthday. This was the best birthday ever. Everyone had a great time and did not want to leave to go back home. Beautiful lake, great views from the deck and house. And the house itself is roomy, comfortable and all you would expect a house on the lake to be.

  • Submitted: Oct 11, 2016
  • Stayed: October 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Dockside-Torch Lake
Great location, very popular. Food is nothing special, but it's still fun to go and watch th...
Grass River Natural Area Rd
Alden's Mill House
Lulu's -- CLOSED
Nearest Airport
26 Miles
Travers City Cherry Capital Airport
Nearest Barpub
1 Miles
Alden Bar & Grill
Nearest Golf
12 Miles
Shanty Creek Resort or Elk Rapids Golf Club
Nearest Restaurant
1 Miles
Several in Alden
Nearest Point of Interest
Muffin Tin
Nearest Point of Interest
Afterloon Delights
Nearest Point of Interest
Alden Bar and Grille
Nearest Point of Interest
Dock Side
Nearest Point of Interest
Nearest Point of Interest
Nearest Point of Interest
Shorts Brewing Company
Nearest Point of Interest
Siren Hall
Nearest Point of Interest
Grass River Natural Area
Nearest Point of Interest
Torch Lake Sandbar

We often have set up a badminton net in our yard that our children (12-17) enjoy a lot. (They make up all sorts of games with bouncy balls and racquets.) So when they have had enough fun in the sand, water and sun, or enough time playing games indoors, there yet one more activity :-)


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Property Damage Protection $59
Refundable damage deposit $500

For more than 6 people (up to a total of 10), you can also rent our Guest House for an additional $700/wk ($100/night during Spring/Fall seasons). (We only rent the Guest House in conjunction with the Main Cottage.)
Signed Rental Agreement & first payment due within 3 days of booking to reserve dates. Please review details carefully and feel free to contact us with questions.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.