This summer I’m on a mission to explore uncharted territory in my own backyard, and improve Michigan’s economy one purchase at a time.
The strategy is simple. Visit 10 places I’ve never been before…just because, I’ve never been. First on my list: The Hodge Podge Lodge
The Hodge Podge Lodge
I’ve browsed the stores in Beulah for years, but I’d never noticed the sign for the Hodge Podge Lodge. Technically that’s because they’ve only been open just over a year. But that’s beside the point. What matters is how easy it is to stroll the same path without really paying attention to what’s new.
Truth be told, I first heard about the Hodge Podge Lodge when they signed up for a listing on the Traverse Traveler app. But it was their clever name, and the photo of a wooden lampshade that drew me to Beulah to check it out.
Located on main street in downtown Beulah, the Hodge Podge Lodge is somewhat hidden behind the elevated ramp enterance that leads visitors past a welcoming window display. An ever changing array of antiques, clothing and lamps line the large windows — an attempt to lure in visitors with a peek at the treasures that await inside.
Store manager Jennifer Kolinske greets all guests from behind the front counter, offering assistance if any is needed. I introduced myself and explained my mission to visit 10 Places I’ve Never Been, and admitted that the Hodge Podge Lodge was on that list. Her enthusiasm for the idea and the prospect of being included let me know I’d made a great choice for my first stop. So I got to work exploring the store and learning more about their history.
If you’ve never noticed the Hodge Podge Lodge in Beulah, but consider yourself a local, it may be because the store is just over a year old. But the building is not. In fact, the store is housed in the old Central State Bank building, circa 1912. Whether you recognize the exterior or not, you can’t miss the giant vault on the main floor that serves as an office.
The name of the business is no random assignment. The collection of goods for sale clearly falls into the category of Hodge Podge, with an ecclectic mix of antiques, vintage collectibles, new and resale clothing, arts and crafts. They added the word Lodge to incorporate the store’s primary artisisan focus: homemade lamps with a uniquely rustic lodge look. The lamps are a story on their own.
Store owner, Larry Revnell began making these unique lamps and selling them at arts & crafts fairs. Each lampshade is created from a single piece of wood, with no glue or veneer. Larry, and his brother Joe, have developed a technique for turning white pine logs into lampshades. The nature of the material is shown in every piece, including knot holes, and often revealing a raw and irregular bark edge and a soft golden glow through the thin wood. The brothers search for a base that suits each shade, thus creating one-of-a-kind lamps every time.
Most lamp bases are a collection of found materials, from antiques to driftwood, to towers built of beach stones. Some are quite rustic, but they’ve expanded to include classic shaply lamps for a more contemporary setting. The lamps are now exclusively sold at the Hodge Podge Lodge in downtown Beulah. So you’ll have to stop in to see their unique elegance.
The decision to open a store in downtown Beulah also reflects the creativity of the rest of Larry’s family. There are adorable crocheted hats and prayer purses made by his sister Teresa, and his daughter Chris is responsible for their popular tie-dye collection that lines the walls at the back of the store.
The Hodge Podge Lodge is one of those places where you have to look at everything, because the perfect item might be hidden in one of the nooks and crannies, next to a bowl of pipes or behind a vintage lunchbox. And I love the way Jennifer has mixed and matched all of the displays. There’s vintage glassware and tablesettings on an antique table, with a colorful handmade teddy bear waiting to dine. From hippie art, to handmade jewelry made from bottle caps and fabric scraps, you never know what’s around the corner.
I found my perfect purchase on the floor. In a small collection of resale shoes I discovered an adorable pair of heels. Lo and behold they were just my size. And best of all, the resale price: $10. How could I resist.
So I left with my $10 shoes, and plans to come back whenever I’m in Beulah. Because in a place like the Hodge Podge Lodge, the inventory changes almost daily. And I know the next time I stop by I’ll fall in love with something else.
The Hodge Podge Lodge is located in downtown Beulah a 254 S Benzie Blvd. For more information reach them by phone at 231.882.7010 or visit them online at hodgepodgelodgemi.com. Show them some love by becoming a fan of their new Facebook page. You can also find them on the Traverse Traveler iPhone app — our free mobile guide to the Traverse Area. Download on iTunes here.
If there’s a place in northern Michigan you’ve been dying to visit, but you’ve never made the time, I’d like to hear about it. Join the conversation on the Traverse Traveler Facebook page, and let me know where you’re going. And stay tuned, as I plan to explore the next stop on my 10 Places I’ve Never Been tour: Chateau de Leelanau Winery.