2012.08This is probably the question that brings the most laughter into our lives!  Managing a family and a small business is anything but retirement!

When we made the decision to take our lives in a different direction, swim against the current so to speak, we knew it wouldn’t be easy but we were pretty sure it would be worth it.  We have five children.  When we took on Mountain View Lodges, the oldest was grown and married with a family of her own, the next was in the Army and the third had just graduated from High School and was planning her College Career.  So, the youngest two, ages 6 and 16, moved here with us, along with Mom.  This business is definitely a family business.  It takes many hands to accomplish all that needs to be done each day.  After 10 years, we have a fairly nice rhythm going.  Since that time our son in the Army helped out for a year, and our other kids have pitched in when needed. Our 16 year old is now in the Navy.  So, we are down to four…Rick, Jen, Karsten and Mom.

img_1507Due to the type of work we do and many other factors, we have chosen to homeschool our youngest, Karsten.  Each year she has had the choice to attend school, but has opted to continue and she will be a Junior this Fall.  Her education has included customer service, business management, cleaning and a variety of other skills.  She is quite creative and has become a beautiful photographer over the years, just like her Dad who continues to sell his photographs in the Gallery.

The Gallery was opened as the second stage of our business in 2008.  Rick Varecha is a phenomenal photographer and enjoys heading out in the forest for great shots of waterfalls, wildlife and everything nature.  He and Karsten have also shot some weddings in the area. You can view some of his work at www.thewildup.com.  Karsten and Jen work on various glass projects from jewelry to sun-catchers to night lights. You will also find hand-crafted notecard, hand-dyed silk scarves, knitwear and wool mittens.

555_1375In 2011, Rick added chainsaw carving to the mix and currently carves all summer.  You can watch him at work while visiting the area.  The Gallery also carries a sundry of necessities for visitors, Nuwati Teas and scented candles.  Most items in the Gallery are created by the Varecha family.  The Gallery was listed in Michigan Travel 2012 as one of the 10 Artsy Spots to visit in Michigan!

Even if you are not staying at Mountain View Lodges, be sure to stop in and check out the Gallery!  If you need more information, call 906-885-5256 or visit us at www.facebook.com/mtnviewlodges or www.mountainviewlodges.com