When most people picture Michigan in the winter, a cold, snowy scene is probably one of the first images to come to mind. But for Michelle J., her family, and their friends, an Inspirato home on the chilly shores of Lake Michigan was the perfect place to embrace the Midwestern winter for a cozy weekend getaway.

Michelle and her family decided to book Grand Beach Estate—their first stay at an Inspirato home—for a long weekend trip in January. The goal was purely relaxation, and she and her husband were looking for a home large enough to house a big group, consisting of three families: six adults and seven kids—ranging in age from 12 to 16—in total.

“The house is so big—that’s why we ended up there,” Michelle said. “It had been on our radar anyway. Our kids do a lot of activities, so sometimes even a weekend is hard to get away, but it’s always been like, ‘Okay, (that house) is really close to us.’”

The property, nestled along the shore of the lake in scenic Grand Beach, Michigan, is only a 90-minute drive from their home in Chicago. Michelle mentioned you can actually see the Chicago skyline from Grand Beach Estate’s backyard.

For us … it’s super drivable. So we wouldn’t need plane tickets or anything like that, and when (my husband) saw that it was available for a three-day weekend, he was like, ‘Why don’t we just do this? It’ll be a mini getaway, we’ll invite some friends, and we’ll just have a really good time for a couple of days.’

Michelle J.Inspirato member

The estate, which sleeps 14, is a popular summer destination for Midwestern members looking to get out on the lake. But even in the off-season in the middle of January, it provided an inviting and cozy space for Michelle, her family, and friends to catch up over plenty of food and football.

“We were just spread out everywhere in that house. There were so many TVs—we had the games on and whatever else anyone wanted to watch,” she said. ”There was so much room inside the house—not only were there just a lot of beds and bathrooms for everyone at night, but during the day or when we were all hanging out, we could all be together or we could all be apart.”

Before they arrived, Michelle was also in touch with Gina, Inspirato’s Destination Concierge for Lake Michigan.

“Gina was fantastic,” Michelle said. “I didn’t want to do a lot of cooking … we brought a lot of groceries with us, and she was really good at coming up with ideas for our brunch, which was delicious.”

Michelle said Gina also suggested taking the kids to go sledding on a nearby golf course. Gina provided the inflatable sleds, and Michelle said it was a blast.

(Photos courtesy of Michelle J.)

“The concern is always like, ‘Are the kids gonna be bored while the adults are having fun?’ But there was plenty to do,” Michelle said. “They were watching movies, playing pingpong, playing foosball, doing puzzles, and just enjoying being together.”

Michelle also said that Gina set up a movie night for the kids in the basement game room. Michelle and her family had brought the DVDs, and Gina provided a projector, popcorn, and candy.

And for other Inspirato members planning to stay at Grand Beach, Michelle highly recommends the taco night, buffet-style dinner that Gina picked up for the group from a small local restaurant.

“It was delicious, and she brought everything we needed,” Michelle said.

Overall, Michelle said the estate makes for a great gathering place for friends and a weekend away from the city—even in the midst of winter.

“It’s a really nice house to hang out in. You don’t even have to leave. It’s on our list for a summer trip for sure … and we’ll definitely go back in the winter, too.”

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