Learn how to live off the grid at LogHaven B&B

Learn more about alternative energy while staying off the grid at LogHaven B&B, situated on 80 acres just north of West Branch.

Though you’ll experience life off the grid at LogHaven B&B, you’ll find that this #MichBnB offers all the comforts and conveniences that guests expect. No hardships here.

Paul and Gail Gotter didn’t know much about alternative energy before deciding to trade their suburban Chicago life for the rural charm of property that had been in Gail’s family for four generations.

They made plans for a large log home, but the power company’s quote of $78,000 to bring electricity to the property was initially a setback.

“That’s what brought us to alternative energy,” Paul says. “We didn’t start out to be tree huggers.”

Using what the Gotters have learned in the process of building an alternative energy system, Paul developed and periodically presents a one-day seminar called “A Basic Introduction to Alternative Energy.”

Alternative energy course is not overly technical

“I’m not an electrician. I’m not an electrical engineer,” says Paul. His background in sales will be an advantage for most attendees: less ohms and amperes; instead, a more basic education, which a good salesperson excels at delivering.

Coming into the session, “if you don’t know what questions to ask about alternative energy, that’s a good sign,” Paul says. “For most of our purchasing life — buying a car, for example — we know what questions to ask. On the topic of building an alternative energy system suitable for a home or small business, most people don’t know the first question to ask. That was our experience, anyway.”

Solar panels at off-the-grid LogHaven B&B
One-day course will show you how wind energy and solar panels — silently doing their job adjacent to one of LogHaven’s long porches — can reduce reliance on the power grid.

Paul will hold the seminar for as few as two people and as many as 10. It costs $125 per person and runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a lunch included. Most attendees combine it with a stay at the B&B. Spouses are encouraged to attend, and a discounted price of $200 for two is offered. “It’s important that both spouses understand and agree about this” if they’re going to attempt it, Paul says.

The one-day session would appeal to:

  • People who are curious by nature. “They have no intention of acting on this but want to learn more.”
  • People who have or want to build a cabin up north or on rural acreage but available power is a long way away.
  • People who want to live as independently as possible and reduce their dependence on any type of outside suppliers.

Wind and solar energy power life at LogHaven

LogHaven B&B relies on a combination of wind and solar energy to charge the batteries that provide electricity to the house. The Gotters also have a back-up propane generator for times when wind and solar aren’t doing their jobs.

Off-grid living requires few life-style changes, but the couple follow two common-sense conservation measures that are applicable anywhere:

  • Turn things off when not in use.
  • Use a power strip to cut the power to computers and other electrical items when not in use because, otherwise, it’s still drawing power.

Gail said in a TV interview: “You don’t have to live off-grid to be energy-conscious.” For the Gotters, “it’s just part of life. It’s not anything that we even think about anymore.”

Opening a B&B was an idea born of conversations with friends while porch-sitting after the house was built. With a porch that extends around most of the multi-gabled house and that offers views of passing wildlife and unpolluted night skies, LogHaven practically demands some porch-sitting time of guests. The family-friendly and pet-friendly B&B offers three guest rooms.

In addition to the availability of Paul’s alternative energy workshop, favorite activities of people who stay off the grid at LogHaven B&B include visiting local wineries, cross-country skiing, antiquing, canoeing/rafting on the Au Sable River, visiting Amish country, golfing, bird watching, and hiking in the Huron National Forest. Guests are also invited to bring their own horses for trail riding. A barn and pasture are available.

Contact Paul or Gail Gotter through their website or call 989-685-3527.