Bringing back the glory of The Pines


ANTRIM COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- In 1938, The Paradise Pines Resort in Elk Rapids welcomed its first guests. For the next 5 decades, the roadside resort speckled with cozy up-north cabins had a great run. But it has sat empty for much of the past two decades. In that time, it had fallen into disrepair, roofs started leaking, the grounds became overgrown, and critters had found their way in. The future of the prime piece of real estate seemed uncertain. Developers had been eyeing the acreage for individual homes until 2016. It was that year that two home restorers stepped up, bought the property, and began the work of bringing the Pines back to its original glory.

Sitting on the front porch of what will become the resorts new clubhouse, Lisa Grise and Carl Fromholz are taking a short break from the seemingly endless to-do list at the Pines. Even before they bought it, they knew the pines was a special place. Lisa says “it's just the sort of place that gets your fancy, you know you stop and look at it and you are interested."

There is just something about the Paradise Pines Resort that sparks interest for most, but it had an even bigger draw for Lisa and Carl. Remembering back to the years before they made the purchase, Lisa explains "we have driven past it a few times in years past and we are house restorers so we have done a lot of work with old houses."

And much like their work with older homes, the Pines needed a lot of attention. Lisa says "it was in pretty rough shape, really hadn't had much care since the early 2000's, and some of the houses hadn't been lived in since the early 90's, late 80's, it was in pretty rough shape."

Damaged roofs, critters inside, and the resort which opened 80 years ago was more than showing its age. Despite the neglect, Carl knew deep down inside the resort had a future because of its past. Carl says "if you look at them right now, they are a testament of the quality of what they used to be back then, they are still standing. They have better bones than the houses do now, when you cut into one of the old pieces of wood, it's old growth, the cell structure is tighter, it's stronger it's heavier."

Carl and Lisa have spent months painstakingly updating the cabins, keeping true to their original spirit but with modern comforts. Carl says "we shop, we reuse a lot, we find products we can incorporate into the fixing of these houses, so everyone is unique and everyone is a little different and every time it's a brand new room to do."

It’s a new life for a roadside resort, something that was once common up north but is fading fast. Lisa says "it's the kind of thing you don't really see anymore, and I think people expect them to get knocked down and when you don't, they are like oh!"

Window by window, cabin by cabin, with great sensitivity, the glory of the pines is being restored.

What stood for decades, but easily could have been torn down will rise again to greet guests who make memories just like those in the past. It will be more than just Carl, Lisa and the guests who appreciate that day when it comes. It will also be a welcomed reintroduction of the Pines to the Elk Rapids community. Lisa says "there is nothing better than taking a house in really bad shape and making it beautiful again and having the neighbors look at you and say ah thank you."

Carl and Lisa have a full summer of work ahead of them. They are confident the Pines will be open next summer, and are considering welcoming a few guests later this fall.

To learn more about the Paradise Pines Resort, click here.

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