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Smittys GA "right in the middle of it all"

Bedrooms 6
Space 4,000 sq ft
Property type house
Minimum Stay 2 - 7 nights


About the property

Quiet comfort with room to move. 6BR - 4 Bath (Sleeps 14)

Smittys GA is a unique home situated on a very private seven acre partially wooded site, surrounded by flower gardens, featuring neo-classical inspired architectural elements uncommon to the area.

The main home features 3 bedrooms (1K,2Q), 2 loft bedrooms (1Q, 2T), 3 bathrooms, 2 spacious living rooms with 20' ceilings , an exercise room complete with a flat screen TV, stereo, universal weight machine, Precor elliptical glider and yes a ceiling fan. The home also features a screened in, fully finished, heated (hopefully not needed but there if it is) 3 stall garage with an all-weather ping pong table which can safely be taken outdoors, Tournament Foosball table (indoor only), stereo and also a lighted, marked, outdoor (driveway) 1/2 court basketball court also with stereo.

Inside the home the dining room opens to the formal living room (living room one) which runs the length of the house from Northern to Southern exposures. To the North the living room opens through double doors onto an airy enclosed screened porch featuring a 20' ceiling. The screened porch in turn, opens through double doors onto the rear of the homes two spacious decks. The rear deck overlooks a large and active organic fruit and vegetable garden which abuts the balance of the properties acreage. There are approximately 5 acres behind the home which in turn adjoin the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park land. The property is surrounded by another 28 acres of land held in the Leelanau Land Conservancy.

Returning to the main home, the formal living (East end of home) room opens to the south (front of home) through double doors onto a sunny 320sf redwood front deck. This deck is in the feature thumbnail picture and is surrounded by flower gardens so don't forget to use the zoom feature on this one.

The middle door in the photo is the mainly used entrance on the front of the home. It enters into a large foyer and mudroom built to separate the house into two zones where, for instance, kids could watch an action movie in one living room and parents could read a book in the other or vice versa. The foyer leads to the mudroom and both also feature Brazilian terra cotta tile as an aesthetically warm but thoroughly protective flooring area and space to shed the shoes. Here you will find a thoroughly stocked walk in pantry. You will also find multiple closets built to accommodate our (multiple kids).

Through the mudroom turning to the right leads to the kitchen. Left at the mudroom leads to the second living room which intentionally incorporates many of the trim design elements of living room one. The spacious second living room was built to feel more casual and features high knotty spruce ceilings, two ceiling fans, an eight foot tall sliding window wall on the northern exposure and a spiral staircase to the 2nd loft bedroom as well cushy comfortable Natuzzi leather sofa, loveseat and chair and a Denon surround system.

Continuing west through the second living room takes you to the third bedroom featuring a queen bed, skylight for those spectacular starry nights and a sliding doorwall to the north deck. Continuing on you pass across the 'pass-through' which is the door nearest the garage. The 'pass-through' was designed to allow quick access between the front yard and the back yard. Accordingly this area also features Brazilian terra cotta tile and a place to 'kick off your shoes'.

Continuing on westward takes you past the 3rd bath and into the exercise room. Here you will find a universal weight machine, a Precor glider, flat screen TV, wet bar, a second refrigerator, and entrance to the garage which was described early on.

The finishes in the home were selected for both durability and comfort with floors being 75% hardwood, 15% quarry tile and 10% carpet. You will find carpet only in the master suite and the two loft bedrooms. The home features knotty spruce ceilings in both the 2nd living room and the exercise room. Countertops are ceramic tile in the kitchen and granite on both the kitchens breakfast bar countertop and the wet bar in the exercise room.

Appliances include a 2nd refrigerator just off the exercise room and front-load washer and dryer just off the kitchen. The kitchen features a Fridgidaire slide-in 4 burner range, over the range microwave, Kitchenaid dishwasher, blender, Bunn coffee maker and grinder, etc.

Above the garage is another 800 sf of living space which may be rented separately before and after the main season. It is, or will soon be, listed separately as “Little Smittys GA”. This “carriage house” apartment features hardwood throughout, one bedroom with a queen size pillow top bed, 1 bathroom with a shower stall, apartment sized “stacked” washer/dryer laundry unit, an open kitchen with a Jenn-Air electric range, Kitchenaid refrigerator, appropriate cooking and dining utensils, skylights, a ceiling fan, flat screen TV and bar seating and an open dining area which together would easily seat 6 adults comfortably.

Currently the carriage house also has two additional sleeper sofas for additional sleeping space one of which may be substituted with a second queen bed for a small additional fee.

More Details

James Smith
Member since: 2013
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within an hour
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
August 13, 2018

About James Smith

My wife and I are were both born in Detroit and grew up in the area with Denice graduating from Wayne State and myself from Ferris State . We met early in 1996, were married in may of 1997, sold our homes, left our jobs, got new jobs, combined two families, bought this home and moved up here to start one new life together in August of 1997. Thinking back it makes us tired just to tell the story

James Smith purchased this house in 1997

Why James Smith chose Glen Arbor

Go out on the deck at midnight on a clear summer night and look up - you will begin to understand.

What makes this house unique

I am allowed 2000 characters to explain why and its probably not enough. Maybe it was the tree frog stuck to the glass of our front door during a warm summer rain. Maybe it was the distant howling of coyotes deep in the woods late at night or then again maybe it was the cement trucks buried in the mud up to their fenders a hundred yards into a forest (our front yard) during construction.

Or maybe it was just the countless other construction projects done for others or the days, weeks and years of us working out of town to make this all possible.

In the end it simply comes down to the land, the magnificent water that abounds in the area, the unpredictable climate and what we have gone through to tame this land and build a home that provides us constant comfort in an unpredictable changing climate.

We have slowly over 15 years time, carved our homestead out of what, after a storm has knocked out power for few days, sometimes seems like pure wilderness. This is such a beautiful place but when a late November windstorm roars in from the West, and the leafless trees are swaying 10 feet at the tops or a mid-winter snowstorm from the North drifts 3 feet of snow on the deck the day before the temperature plummets to zero, we are reminded that our presence at our quiet little place in the woods is up to the good graces of mother nature.

And that's okay we prefer it that way.

Guestbook comments from the owner

Hello Katie,

Thank you so much for your wonderful review and I am glad to have met you and your wonderful family.

In reading the review I noticed that you had stated that the listing states that we stated that we have Air Conditioning. This an important topic so I just want to respond and clarify things. Under amenities, after the general description of the property are several individual items such as "clothes dryer" , home gym etc. Here is where I was given a limited chance to input information on the availability of AC. This site allows/ encourages a descriptive response by not limiting an owners response by "drop down menu" to yes or no, on for example, AC.

My response on our listing under the AC heading is accurate and straight forward in that I unambiguously state for the purpose of clarity, that for air conditioning, we offer "ceiling fans through out".

Please note the VRBO system provided each of those topics and not us as the owners. I as an owner only respond to pre-established amenity criteria and input my information on them.

On this topic, it was not intended to be a yes or no input format because the responses to these items can and are frequently nuanced answers.

So for the sake of future renters seeking clarity on this topic I am stating that, No we do not offer Central AC, rather, given the chance to elaborate we state, "ceiling fans throughout". We do have ceiling fans in all living rooms and all bedrooms. In addition to the ceiling fans we also have 2 large portable fans available and a very large portable fan for the garage/game room.

Finally, in northern MI we are quite serious when we say that when you have 10 months of winter and 2 months of summer we are happiest just for it to be warm enough to want AC.

So to summarize my comments I can certainly now see why you may have thought that we listed AC when in reality VRBO provided an AC amenity heading and we responded "ceiling fans throughout".

As for throw pillows and the adittion of window treatments, the point is duly noted, valid and important to us. In fact is those renter driven suggestions that led to the complete kitchen renovation. Maybe when I get a chance I will update the listing accordingly.

We appreciate your review and we need to know what our guests are thinking so we are thankful for the review and hope that future renters understand that amenity criteria are established by VRBO and not us as owners. Respectfully, JS
Jun 2016
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Glen Arbor House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 4000 sq ft
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 14
  • children welcome
  • pets not allowed
  • non smoking only
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Fitness Room / Equipment ...
  • Garage ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wood Stove ...
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • 4 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 4 - toilet , shower , Carriage house bathroom with acrylic shower stall
    Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower , Master bath and shower, custom glass doors, kohler fixtures
    Bathroom 2 - toilet , shower , Tile bath and shower, custom glass doors, kohler fixtures
    Bathroom 3 - toilet , shower , Tile bath with kohler acrylic shower, custom glass door
  • 6 Bedrooms, Sleeps 14
  • Bedroom 2 - 1 queen , Features pillowtop mattress
    Bedroom 4 - 1 queen , Loft bedroom features pillowtop mattress
    Bedroom 6 - 1 queen , Guest Apartment BR features queen pillowtop mattress
    Bedroom 5 - 1 queen , 2 twin/ single , Bedroom 6 features queen pillowtop mattress
    Bedroom 3 - 2 twin/ single , Loft bedroom 3 features two twin beds
    Master Suite - 1 king , Kingsize Pillowtop
  • DVD Player ...
  • Foosball
  • Game Room ...
  • Ping Pong Table
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
  • Boat ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Pool / Spa:
  • Hot Tub ...
  • churches
  • health/beauty spa
  • library
  • marina
  • playground
  • restaurants
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • miniature golf
  • paddle boating
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • sledding
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • basketball court
  • cross country skiing
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • ice skating
  • jet skiing
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • roller blading
  • sailing
  • scuba diving or snorkeling
  • skiing
  • snorkeling
  • snorkeling/diving
  • snowboarding
  • snowmobiling
  • sound/bay fishing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • water skiing
  • water tubing
  • wind-surfing
Sorry no pets, no smoking in the rental


Wonderful! 4.9/5 -
(33 traveler reviews)

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Smittys GA "right in the middle of it all"
average rating of 4.909091 based on 34 reviews
West Des Moines, Iowa

Absolutely an amazing property to stay at

  • 5 of 5

From the very beginning (meaning booking 18 + mos in advance) James was wonderful to work with. We had a family of 11 that we were trying to find accommodations for in Northern MI and the Smitty GA rental met every family requirement. The property itself is beautiful - you felt like you were on your own private island but yet at the end of the driveway you had so many options - between the bike trail, Glen Lake, Glen Haven, Glen Arbor, Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Sand dunes, Crystal river, Leland are just to name a few. At night it was wonderful to come back from our adventures and enjoy the spacious deck and some always enjoyed the hot tub. The house has a wonderful fully loaded huge kitchen that was easy for many of us to be in and help make meals. And we had many nights where we would all gather around the large fire pit and share so many fun stories and memories. The house is large and beautiful and housed a family of 11 very comfortable between space, bedroom and bathrooms. And the game room was full great entertainment for the younger generation. In addition to a wonderful home - James was wonderful to work with and so helpful in giving up information of things to do and where to go. Our family had an absolutely fabulous vacation and made so many wonderful memories - and the core of that started with finding the perfect accommodations. Thank you for a wonderful stay!!

If you are looking for a perfect place to stay with a large group - The Smitty GA is your place.

  • Submitted: Aug 12, 2018
  • Stayed: July 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Amazing time

  • 5 of 5

The house is amazing!!!!!! You can hang out on the back deck with tons of Birds, black squirrels, Turkey's, deer, etc. to look at. Great location, Awesome fire pit with endless wood, hot tub my kids loved, game room was a great escape.We would definitely return!!!! Owner was great.

  • Submitted: Jul 18, 2018
  • Stayed: July 2018
  • Source: HomeAway
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Great stay over Labor Day Weekend

  • 5 of 5

We had a great time with my family and my sister's at this great property. There was lots of room in this wonderful property. Great location in Glen Arbor. We rode bikes, climbed Sleeping Bear, kayaked and had a campfire. A great time had by all!

  • Submitted: Sep 15, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Glen Arbor-America's Most Beautiful Place...Smittys GA-Glen Arbor's Most Beautiful Home to Stay

  • 5 of 5

A Big Thank You to the Smith Family--we had a lovely time at your house! The house was perfect in every way--6 bedrooms gave us room to spread out and accommodate quiet space for napping babies...we were 4 young children and 6 adults. Everyone enjoyed pingpong, basketball, fooseball, watching the birds at the birdfeeders, walking in the garden...the children loved the sunroom (renaming it the "nature room" as they sat and watched birds and deer each day), and the adults especially enjoyed the fully-equipped kitchen, the deck for dining, and the hottub. Perfect location--just minutes away from beaches, Heritage Trail, downtown Glen Arbor, Crystal River, the dunes...with this central location and almost no travel time to get to beautiful places in the national park and surrounding area, we were busy every day with activities. James was helpful and quick to answer any questions, and made us feel very welcome. I'd recommend Smittys GA to anyone--thank you!

  • Submitted: Jul 29, 2017
  • Stayed: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences. We are so very happy to know that your family had a great time at our place in Glen Arbor and hope to see you again someday. All the best, J&D Smith
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Beautiful Property

  • 5 of 5

We were 2 families with 12 people ages 18 to 86. This house was perfect for us. The apartment had a separate entrance and was perfect for those who needed some alone time. It has a kitchen and sitting room, would be perfect for those with young children. The main house has 3 bedrooms, 2 loft rooms and 3 baths. The second story lofts were each open to a living room. We designated one the quiet living room and the living room off the kitchen the social living room. This worked perfectly for those who wanted a space to read. We cooked every night in the gorgeous kitchen which had 2 sink areas so several people could work there easily. We saw deer and fox in the mornings. Glen Lake and Lake Michigan were a 5 minute drive away. We rented Jet skis and a pontoon on Glen lake , a fishing boat on Lake Michigan and Kayaked down the Crystal River. Location was perfect for all activity.

  • Submitted: Jul 18, 2017
  • Stayed: June 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Beautiful Home in Amazing Surroundings

  • 5 of 5

My whole family of 13 stayed at Smitty's for a week this summer and we had an amazing time. The house is even better than the pictures (both inside and out). The gardens are beautiful and perfectly maintained, and completely surround the house.

You can tell the owners love this huge house as well. There is a beautiful, new kitchen, several updated bathrooms, and the 2 lofts are unique and fun. We had some bad weather, but being "stuck" here was the best possible place to be. The kids had fun in the rec room and hot tub, while the adults loved hanging out on the enclosed porch gazing at the gardens.

Finally the house is sprawling and has several "living areas" for people to gather and hang out in. This was particularly nice as one group could play music and games in one area and not be heard by the rest of the people sleeping in the house.

  • Submitted: Jul 10, 2017
  • Stayed: June 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you so much for your compliments. We can guarantee just about everything but the weather and you folks obviously new how deal with it. We were also very very impressed by how you cleaned up and left things. With young children it's not easy - we remember :) Tx, JS
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Nearest Airport
30.74 Miles
Cherry Capitol Airport, Traverse City MI
Nearest Barpub
1.05 Miles
Nearest Ferry
92.98 Miles
SS Badger Ludington, MI
Nearest Golf
7.55 Miles
Dunes Golf Club
Nearest Train
159.91 Miles
Amtrak Grand Rapids MI
Nearest Motorway
1 Miles
Nearest Restaurant
1.05 Miles
Nearest Ski
3.21 Miles
Nearest Beach
2.75 Miles
Public beach Glen Haven, MI

The property is located on a very private 7 acre wooded lot on a scenic drive near the heart of Glen Arbor's scenic Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore area. Cycling, hiking, swimming, beach combing, boutique shops, winery's, art galleries, great restaurants - it's all here. Relaxation is what we do.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Cleaning Fee $300
Property Damage Insurance $99

Off season and weekend rates possible. Please inquire with owner.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the owner or check their rental agreement when booking the property.