All in the family

The Long family members, from left, Jarrod, Doug, Amelia, Wendy and Julia welcomes guests to Terrace Beach Retreat from mid-May to mid-October.  Ariana Hones photos

by Ariana Hones

A change was needed from farm life.

So in 1967, Mace and Dollie Miller moved onto a Green Lake shore-side property which they would name “Miller’s Lakeshore Resort.”

Fifty years later, Wendy Long, granddaughter of the Millers, followed suit with her husband, Doug, and three children; exchanging their Ripon farmette for the red cottages on Green Lake.

The property already contained a long history of being a vacation spot for many people in the greater community, as well as a rich legacy of hospitality service for the Long family.

After all, when Wendy’s grandparents had first acquired it, their first guests were people who had made reservations with the previous owners.

As Miller’s Lakeshore Resort, her grandparents added intricate wrought iron to the buildings and stonework.

“My grandfather was one of those guys that could do anything and did do everything,” Wendy said.

Their last year in business was 1997, though they lived on the property until 2009.

When Wendy’s mother and uncle decided that they no longer wanted to manage the property, Wendy and Doug felt a call to the lakeshore.

On June 30, 2017, they purchased the property. This time with a new name in mind: “Terrace Beach Retreat.”

As self-ascribed “history nerds,” they learned the area was called “Terrace Beach.”

“Even when we went to vote, we realized we were in the Terrace Beach district,” Wendy said.

The property originally was home to Gen. John McDonald, known as “Sunnyside,” who was involved in the infamous “Whiskey Ring” scandal of Ulysses S. Grant’s second term as president.

In 1898, it housed the Terrace Casino.

“It it interesting to think about who was here before us,” Wendy said.

The three-newly renovated cottages sleep 12 people and in the next few years, the Long family hopes to renovate another building on the property that will provide an additional 12 beds to guests.

Like Wendy’s grandparents who hoped to provide “a little slice of heaven” to their guests, the Long family wants Terrace Beach Retreat to be a relaxing spot that feels like home.

The red-painted buildings provide the essence of the farm they left.

The woodwork that adorns the cabinets inside of each cottage is salvaged from the old barn on their farmette.

The bench inside their largest cabin is a refurbished pew from Grace Lutheran Church in Ripon.

And the 1901 map of Green Lake that will go on the wall?

A reminder of the journey thus far.

“It has been a rollercoaster,” Wendy said. “We had our wedding reception on this property 20 years ago last summer. We never imagined that we would be here again as owners.”

A lifetime local, Wendy helped her grandparents clean the cottages of Miller’s Lakeshore Resort from the time she was 14, and in the early 2000s she and Doug managed them during the summer.

Now under its ownership, the Long family is looking forward to seeing both new and familiar faces.

“We are excited to have guests and we have already met a lot of people and the response has been really positive,” Wendy said. “We had people last week that came here as children and they are excited to see the changes.”

On the inside of the main house, hand-carved wooden signs line the wall. They show the history of this property.

That history is growing increasingly more rich thanks to the dedication of the Long family to preserve it.

Over the entryway a new sign hangs that was painted and stained by Wendy and engraved by Doug. The wood cut down by Wendy’s grandfather 17 years ago from an old oak tree on the property.

It reads “Terrace Beach Retreat.”

Welcoming people home.