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Reunion/retreat lodge opens on Big Sand Lake

Jeff and Bonnie Brand, with sons Spencer and Jefferson, operate the Pine Cone Lodge & Vacation Rentals on Big Sand Lake. Jeff’s brother, Chris Brand, is the on-site manager of the family-owned business that purchased the resort in 1961. They are in the loft of Spruces, the newly opened retreat. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

BY Sarah smith

At a time when family reunions and multigenerational vacations are gaining in popularity, Hubbard County resorts are rising to the occasion, providing swank lodging to the masses.

Pine Cone Lodge on Big Sand Lake is the latest to build a reunion/retreat home.

Spruces was unveiled May 17 at an open house that celebrated the local builders that contributed to its stunning ambiance.

The home has five bedrooms and will comfortably house 17 for the weekend – or a week.

It has a two-story great room with a spectacular view of the lake, dining and kitchen facilities.

A “grandparents room” with small kitchenette is handicapped accessible and will hold those seeking more privacy.

The “cousins room” upstairs can accommodate giggling girls, rambunctious teens and even stately adults.

Bonnie and Jeff Brand own the resort.

“We can take quilting groups, crafters or snowmobilers,” Bonnie said. The resort is open year-round.

The main floor holds a majestic 1906 table from the old lodge, refinished and updated.

It has a heated garage with public restrooms if you want to take the party outdoors.

It also has a high definition TV set, wi-fi and other amenities.

“I remember the old days when we had one phone in the office” that guests would use,” said Jeff Brand. His family took over the resort in 1961.

“This is what people want,” he said, pointing to the opulent great room.

A wall hanging is made of the chenille bedspreads that use to drape the beds. It has a homey, whimsical feel.

A photo montage of the historic resort shows lake life of decades past, of big fish that came from the lake, of adventures shared.

The resort also has a communal dining hall if guests want to mix and mingle. It is reminiscent of camping lodge days. You feel immediately nostalgic upon entering.

The Brands, who operate the resort with sons Spencer and Jefferson, and Jeff’s brother, Chris, have adeptly blended the old and new.

“We wanted to celebrate the people that worked here,” they said of the contractors who mingled with prospective guests and neighbors.

“We wanted to celebrate their work.”

The fortunate or unfortunate news is that the retreat house is already booked until fall.

But you can call 320-491-6952 in case of a cancellation or later fall reservation or log onto www.pinecone for more information.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

(218) 732-3364