Faces In the Crowd: Mike and Heather Loveless

May 23, 2019

By Aaron Michell

Four years ago, Mike and Heather Loveless traded in their city lifestyle for something a little more rustic. They traded in their house in the suburbs of Detroit for a homestead in the country; complete with eight guest cabins, twenty campsites, multitudes of kayaks and canoes, and their own slice of heaven on the Muskegon River.
Taking over the Old Log Resort from Mark and Jeanette Knoph in 2015, the Loveless’s weren’t super familiar with Osceola County and Middle Branch Township.
They are now.
In love with their new home, location, and business, Mike and Heather are excited to see what new adventures 2019 has to offer. A “labor-of-love” as Mike describes the Old Log, the couple is looking forward to seeing old friends return to the resort, while hopefully making new ones along the way.
Because when people visit their resort, they’re also visiting the Loveless home.
As owners and proprietors of the M-115 resort, the Loveless family manages to stay plenty busy with their business throughout the year. But there’s more than just the Old Log to keep these two occupied.
Their son, Michael, 7, is just getting started with baseball season at McBain Elementary. Mike still finds time – mostly in the winter – to work as a contractor for his tile and granite company, while also playing bass guitar for his Farwell band. Heather, in addition to her role at the Old Log, is also the Vice President of the Michigan Association of Professional Paddlesport Providers. She’s on the Middle Branch Township Board of Review, and she bartends in the winter at the Buckhorn Saloon in Farwell.
So while Mike and Heather grew up in Troy and Southfield, respectively, the Old Log – and Osceola County – is now their home.
And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
We caught up with the Loveless’s recently to learn what they’re all about. We learned a lot about the resort, their family, their interests, and what brought them to Middle Branch Township and the Muskegon River.
We learned that Mike and Heather Loveless are more than just a couple of faces in the crowd.

Heather and Mike Loveless

Marion Press: So what made you want to buy a resort in Middle Branch Township?
Heather: It was less about buying a resort, and more about fleeing the city, I guess. We had our son, Michael, and we wanted to get out to a more conservative, rural area.
Mike: And it’s beautiful out here – it was a no-brainer.
Heather: [The Old Log] just popped [up for sale] in front of us. He said, ‘you’re crazy’; I said, well let’s look at it.
Mike: And I looked at it, and I said, ooh – I might be able to do this.

MP: You guys are from Macomb County originally. What did you do before you took over the resort?
Mike: I was a tile and granite contractor, and she worked in sales for a security company.

MP: And that just wasn’t what you wanted to continue to do? You didn’t enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city?
Mike: You know, money don’t make you happy. So you’ve got to do something that makes you happy. This is a calmer environment – the city’s a rat race. And housing was just ridiculously expensive.
Heather: We wanted our son to grow up in a less populated area. We spent a lot of time in the car; a lot of time in traffic. There were a lot of bad attitudes; bad roads. So we put everything on the line, spent every penny we had, and crossed our fingers.

MP: So how did you find the [Old Log Resort]? You took over for Mark and Jeanette Knoph, right?
Heather: Divine intervention is what I like to call it! They had put it up for sale in May of 2015, we saw it in August, and we made a few trips back and forth to spend time with them and get to know them. And there were a few people looking at it, so it wasn’t a gimme. We became friends, and they decided to sell it to us. I think they thought they were going to sell it and never see it again, but it didn’t work out that way. We canoe with them all the time. We love them and they’re still part of the Old Log. They’re like celebrities around here. A lot of their people – about 80% of their people – still come that came when they had it. So when they show up and their people are here, it’s a big thing.

The Old Log Resort

MP: What does the Old Log have to offer?
Heather: The Old Log’s not only a resort that we own, but we own, operate, and live here. So it’s our home that you come to – so we do a really good job of maintaining it and taking care of it.
Mike: Hospitality is our number one thing here.
Heather: We have a lot of folks who are regulars: they come back the same weekend every year. We do all the work ourselves. I’m doing the bathrooms and the store; Mike’s doing the canoes and all the maintenance. And people like that it’s got a rustic charm – these cabins are a dying breed.
Mike: We deliver our firewood in wooden wheelbarrows, and I get to hang out and talk with people the whole time. It’s like you’re camping in our backyard. And our pricing is extremely reasonable.
Heather: It’s a personal experience. We have a really beautiful stretch of river [on the Muskegon]. If you look around at other liveries nearby, you’d probably see that we’re the most inexpensive.

The Old Log Resort was once a grocery store many years ago.

MP: We’ve got Memorial Day weekend coming up. Are you guys expecting to be pretty busy?
Heather: We are. It’s a pretty busy one. All the cabins are booked. I think we have maybe two or three campsites left. The phone’s been going nutty; people are trying to get a cabin last minute – unfortunately we don’t have anything, but I guess that’s a good problem to have.

MP: What is your favorite part of living here at the Old Log?
Heather: Having a really long day. For me, it’s having a super long weekend, and Sunday comes around and you either hit the river, or you go sit in the river.
Mike: I enjoy my time. That’s something in the city that I never had. I’d work 90 hours a week, plus, and I didn’t ever stop. To be able to go out and split the wood if I feel like it, or cut the grass; or just say, ‘Hey, the sun’s coming out… let’s go kayaking.’ So we have the freedom to do whatever we please. But we do work hard. We work extremely hard, but it’s at our own pace.

MP: Living at the Old Log Resort, we’re going to assume that you must enjoy the outdoors.
Heather: We do enjoy the outdoors. We’re avid kayakers – we’ll even go in January.

The Loveless family out and about on the
Muskegon River.

MP: What?!
Heather: Oh yeah! All winter until it freezes. And obviously not on a windy or rainy day. But in the winter, if it’s snowing and there’s no wind, and all the leaves are off the trees, you get a really good view of all the animals. We don’t fall out though.
Mike: You’ve got to be careful. But it’s beautiful.

MP: When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?
Heather: Our son, Michael, just started baseball. We like to eat out at restaurants; I like to find restaurants that are really good – which can be hard to do living in the middle of nowhere. Good food, good family, good friends.
Mike: We don’t do much to be honest with you! We live a simple life and we have no problem with it. We’ll go up to the Timbers, we’ll go to the Buckhorn; the Horseshoe. We’ll go to Big Al’s in Lake.
Heather: We love the Blue Heron up in Cadillac – oh my goodness, it’s so good. We have our places that we’ll go, and we’ll try something new if we have time or if we’re closed.

MP: You took over the Old Log in 2015. What have you guys learned in the last five years?
Heather: Owning a resort will keep you on your toes, for sure. But I love Osceola County. I love, love, love this county. It’s beautiful; it’s just great. It’s a very nice place to live.
Mike: The people are great. Everybody we’ve got to know in town has been great. The campground is a labor of love. We don’t make a lot of money here – if you put our hourly wage it’d be below minimum wage standards for sure.
Heather: But we moved up here not for money. We moved up here to be happier.
Mike: Time with family is everything. What’s the point of living your life and working for money if you don’t have time?

MP: What is the best advice that you’ve been given? Or maybe some words of wisdom for other people who may be looking to go out and try something new?
Heather: Seize the day. Life’s too short to not take a chance. We took a chance, and it was terrifying. He owned a tile company; I’d been at a place for seven or eight years. We were vested; we had 401k’s. But again, that doesn’t make you happy.
Mike: Make your own luck.

MP: In ten years, where do you see yourselves?
Heather: Staying right here. We’ll be doing the same thing.
Mike: On the Muskegon River somewhere. Hopefully this is a twenty-year plan. Hopefully by the time I’m 55…
Heather: Maybe our son will take over, maybe not.

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