High-End Homes: Big cottage in Macatawa Park offers step back in time to 'Gilded Age' for $1.3 million
MACATAWA, MI - The big cottage at 693 Lakeside Road is not especially elegant apart from its location in the heart of Macatawa Park, a resort community that dates back more than 130 years to the Gilded Age.
After all, when you're spending "the season" at your cottage in Macatawa Park, there's really no need to put on further airs.
It's the legendary community that served as the summer home to L. Frank Baum, author of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," during the 1890s.
More recently, the offspring of Amway Corp. co-founder Jay Van Andel have capitalized on the exclusive setting by building personal castles and condos for resale.
Listed for $1.3 million by Realtor Andrea Crossman-Ortman, the three-story 5-bedroom cottage sits on a dune overlooking Lake Michigan, surrounded by about 200 cottages that have been part of Macatawa Park for more than a century.
The new owner will become part of the Macatawa Park Cottagers Association, a venerable group for whom "the season" officially begins the Friday before Memorial Day and ends the Tuesday after Labor Day.
Owned by well-to-do families who hail from throughout the Midwest, Macatawa Park still has a lost-in-time feeling. The cottages behind its gates are packed in tightly, in part reflecting its original development as a horse-and-buggy community.
During "the season," cars are banned from using the road along the beach, the speed limit is 15 mph and "quiet hours" are observed from 11 p.m. until 9 a.m. Construction activity also is limited.
"Once you get out here, it's a step back in time," says Crossman-Ortman.
Today's cottage owners share the long beach that stretches to the Holland Channel and the iconic "Big Red" lighthouse that guards the channel. Letters are dropped off or picked up at the post office, a community-building exercise rather than an inconvenience.
First developed in the 1880s, Macatawa Park was a resort that was served by ships from Chicago, South Haven and Holland's harbor. Ships were bringing tourists to the dunes as early as 1872, according to "Macatawa Park: A Chronicle," a 1991 history by Holland historian Don van Reken.
In the early 1900s, Macatawa Park served as a final stop on the Interurban Railway that ferried tourists from Grand Rapids to Jenison Electric Park, a nearby amusement park. Macatawa Park included several resort hotels to serve its weekend guests and the summer resort crowd that have since been destroyed by fire or torn down.
"This probably is one of the newest ones out here," said Crossman-Ortman of the cottage she has listed for its out-of-state owner.
Built in 2000, the coral-painted shingle-style cottage sits at the top of a long staircase that leads from a smaller 40-foot lot on which a sun deck has been built on the lower tier. Behind the cottage, there's a large dune that seems like an unlikely candidate for further development.
Inside the cottage, the atmosphere is warm and simple, with a large kitchen and dining area on the main floor. There are several informal seating areas, including one with a wood-burning fireplace for cozy nights and next to it, an octagonal sun room for basking in the sun.
For watching sunsets over the Big Lake or watching boats on the channel next to Big Red, there's a wrap-around porch and engineered wood deck.
Upstairs, the master bedroom is lit by a transom bay window that offers lofty postcard vistas of the beach and lake. The en-suite bathroom includes a Jacuzzi bath tub and walk-in shower with lots of light provided by its west-facing windows.
The upper level also includes three other bedrooms and a single bathroom for family members and guests to share.
The lower level includes a game room and bathroom with access to a lower porch overlooking the water. The lower level also includes a fifth bedroom.
The cottage is served by the municipal water and sewer system, a natural gas, forced air furnace and central air conditioning.
Written by Jim Harger. Jim covers business for MLive/Grand Rapids Press. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google+.