AJ’s Walleye Lodge prepares for winter tourism
The lodge is booked for the holidays. However, travelers are concerned about potential changes after the current COVID-19 extension ends.
BERGLAND, Mich. (WLUC) - U.P. tourist destinations are usually busy this time of year. However, the light start of winter weather and uncertainty surrounding future COVID-19 restrictions have changed that.
AJ’s Walleye Lodge in Bergland is closed, but co-owner Mary Beth DeFazio is hard at work to open back up on December 26.
“It’s in the shoulder season,” said DeFazio. “We’re just waiting for some snow and our winter season to kick off.”
DeFazio says the lack of snow has held off outdoor tourist activities, although conditions are beginning to look up.
“We’ve had about three to four inches of lake effect snow the other night,” DeFazio said. “We’ve got several days in the next week that they’re projecting snow.”
According to DeFazio, the lodge is booked for the holidays. However, she says travelers are worried about changes that may or may not happen after the current coronavirus extension ends.
“I have to really stay in touch with my guests because they are concerned about what happens if the governor doesn’t open us up on December 20, and the snow,” explained DeFazio. “Those two factors will play hand-in-hand in determining the success of our winter season.”
AJ’s Bar & Grille opened July 1 of this year. DeFazio is hoping to reopen for dine-in service on December 20. She’s also preparing other ways to stay in business.
“We have the ability to open for takeout, and we’ll do that starting December 25,” DeFazio said. “We also have the ability for some winter outdoor seating, so we’ll be prepared for whatever. We’re trying to make our guests as happy as we can.”
DeFazio says although it’s been an extremely difficult year for both the lodge and the restaurant, she’s optimistic when looking toward the months ahead.
governor doesn’t open us up on December 20, and the snow. Those two factors will play hand-in-hand in determining the success of our winter season.”
“I think that optimism and having a positive attitude is the only thing that we can do right now,” said DeFazio. “And mask up! Having a positive attitude and a good frame of mind goes a long way right now.”
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