I brought my 3 kids - ages 7, 10 and 17 - to the UP for a few days to do some hiking. There is so much to see and do in the UP - I wish we had taken at least a week! We had a wonderful experience staying at the Bear cabin. Jill and Nickolas were so welcoming - my kids have been saying that they miss them since we left. Their homestead that they are building is impressive - it would be interesting to see it again in the summer.
Jill met us when we arrived and made sure we found the property ok and then gave us a tour of the cabin and how everything worked. They both later showed us around the property and let my kids hold and pet the animals. My two youngest are interested in woodworking and Nickolas showed us around his workshop and even gave my kids some woodworking books to read, magazines to take and large pieces of wood to take home for them to practice. The NCT trail is located right on the property and leads to Hogback Mountain, which we climbed one day for awesome surrounding views. Nickolas was nice enough to take the time and show us the way to the trail to make sure we found it. The dogs, Iris and Buttercup, are real sweeties (along with the neighbor dogs who also come to visit!). I think my kids would have been content to just hang out around the property asking questions and petting the animals the whole time!
The cabin was very comfortable and perfect for us. Pump water inside was very convenient. Outhouse was very cute, clean and didn't smell - one of the best I've been in! The fireplace was extremely easy to get lit and have a roaring fire in no time, which put out a great deal of heat that kept everything warm all night. I've stayed in other "primitive" cabins that required constant feeding of the fire for heat. This one wasn't like that at all - a great design! Get a roaring fire going for about 2 hours before bed and the cabin will stay warm until morning. PLENTY of wood - you will never need to chop your own. Furnishings were very comfortable and cozy. Unfortunately it wasn't until the last night that we discovered the sofa was a reclining one - oops!
I personally didn't get all the rest I wanted with 3 kids - so plan on going up again to stay by myself and will try out the smaller cabin that they also have on the property. Looking forward to going back soon!