Bruce and I have long talked of building a log cabin, our dream home. However our other dream of traveling the world has instead dominated our resources. But now, it’s possible that we might just live in the Pellston Regional Airport (PLN) in northern Michigan, kind of like Tom Hanks in “The Terminal.”
A Log Cabin Airport
As you arrive, you feel like you have entered a great wilderness hunting lodge or made a mistake and landed at a private property of some kind.
The terminal is made almost completely of cedar logs harvested in northern Michigan. The passenger waiting area is outfitted with over-stuffed leather couches, complete with pillows and afghans, a couple of cozy rocking chairs, a worn wooden coffee table filled with magazines, all situated in front of a massive 28-foot high river rock fireplace.
There’s no other airport terminal in the United States like it. It’s actually, you know, comfortable and pleasant. You pray for a weather or mechanical delay.
A Log Cabin Vacation Destination
If you rented a cabin in northern Michigan for your vacation, which a lot of people do, you might find much of the decor that you find in the passenger waiting area. Cross-country skiis and snowshoes, all hand-crafted by local artisans, hang on the wall. Mounted wildlife, donated by a local resident, contributes to the wilderness feel.
Locals have fallen in love with the airport, making it a destination for meetings and for lunch at the full-service restaurant. There are conference rooms and a business center with private work stations made out of white cedar logs. There’s free wifi (are you listening ATL?) and lots of electrical outlets. No sitting on the floor huddled around one outlet here.
Safe and Secure Log Airport
The terminal design was underway before 9/11, yet increased security measures did not change any of the log components. After passengers get through security, a glass divider with an etched birch tree design contributes to the northern Michigan feel. A loft-like observation deck allows family and friends to see passengers after they have gone through security.
Many travelers find this airport most convenient for visiting Mackinac Island, which is just about 20 miles away by car. Or, if you’re an Earnest Hemingway fan, you might come this way to follow his footsteps through northern Michigan.
But in researching stories in northern Michigan, I learned that Pellston and nearby Petoskey often tie International Falls Minnesota as the coldest spot in the US each winter. A beach shack in the Caribbean is a nice dream, too.
In the Michigan mitten, Pellston is located at the tip of the middle finger.