You no longer have to leave Washtenaw County to enjoy a luscious, ecologically green, private island getaway. AshKay Island, located in Manchester Township in the southwest corner of the county, is eight acres of lush forest, wildlife, and peacefulness, enjoyed outdoors under the stars or in a 1,700-square foot cottage that is 100 percent off-grid without missing any amenities.
“I think everyone should have an experience like this once in their lives, and share it with their kids,” says owner Andy Bobo. “We all get so busy in our lives. Isn’t it time to unplug and get back to what really counts?”
Andy and his wife Nikki purchased the island in September 2013 and gave it its first name, AshKay Island, after their daughters, Ashley and Kayley. Included in the purchase was an access easement where guests can park cars while they’re visiting the island. A pontoon to make the 2 1/2-minute trip to the island is included in the rental price.
Working with architect Kyle Marsh, the cottage was designed from the ground up in a master bedroom and loft design that includes three Amish-made queen beds, one full bed, two singles, and floor mats for sleeping up to twelve. The cottage has two full bathrooms, laundry room, mechanical room, and full kitchen. Twenty-seven windows and doors bathe the interior in light.
It is a fully functioning hardwood home. The Amish hickory cabinets are topped with dyed concrete countertops. Pine, oak, aspen, and cedar paneling takes the place of conventional drywall. The spiral staircase leads to a 700-square foot loft that overlooks the living room.
Heating and cooling for the cottage are delivered by an internal wood stove and a Mitsubishi ductless heating and cooling unit. Electrical power is created by solar utilizing 30 Mitsubishi solar panels, 24-2 volt batteries, a charge controller, and inverter system. The cottage is standard 120 volts and has backup power if needed by a Honda 7,000-watt generator.
According to Andy, “To date we have not needed the generator; the solar has performed better than expected and enables the cottage to be fully functional on solar, so we are 100 percent off-grid. I can keep the cottage 68 degrees F on a 90 degree F day and the cost is zero. The solar panels collect the energy anyway and if I don’t use it the energy goes to waste.”
• 4 decks and porches, and couch for 5 by fire table provide plenty of relaxation opportunity
• 6-seat bar-top table puts guests high above the deck railing
• fishing, kayaking, and boating provide exercise and entertainment
• 8’x10’ floating dock provides relaxation and a place to swim in the deep clear water
• 10-minute walking path around the island
• spectacular sunrises and sunsets
All this plus wireless Internet and cable.
• fifteen minutes from Michigan International Speedway, ten minutes from Clinton and Manchester, and fifteen minutes from Tecumseh and Brooklyn
• situated at the very edge of the Irish Hills, close to a variety of attractions, ice cream parlors, and restaurants
“You are completely alone and secluded while being fairly close to civilization. Families can reconnect and still be close enough to small towns to stay as busy as they want.”
The cottage sits on eight acres of a true island that is accessible only by boat. “The island,” Andy explains, “is actually a high point in an area that was flooded to build a dam for a saw mill in the 1800s.” Iron Mill Pond, or Iron Lake by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, covers 156 acres; the island is in the farthest west area of the lake.
Oak, hickory, beech, maple, tulip, and elm trees grow straight and tall in abundance. Turkeys and geese run free. According to Andy, “Without the constant bombardment of deer, the island has plant life that is uncommon on the mainland including native wild grasses. The deer come down the hill on the north side of the lake that surrounds the island and drink at the water’s edge on the mainland. They can easily be seen from the back deck or while kayaking around the island.”
Clearing of the area for the cottage and drain field began in August 2013. All trees cleared were hauled off by barge and traded for the concrete countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms.
“The barge was necessary to bring over the many supplies necessary for the project including the excavator, skid steer, tractor, and all building materials. The boat trip on the pontoon is only 2 1/2 minutes, but by barge it is closer to ten. I have no idea how many trips were made but the barge when loaded burned five gallons per trip.”
In April 2014, the well required by the county before construction of the cottage could begin was dug by pounding a 2” well shaft 35 feet into the groundwater below. The well flows 20 gallons per minute.
Construction followed immediately. The cottage and the septic system south of the cottage were built by Andy’s dad, Dave Bobo. For the harder framing a construction crew was assembled. “I can honestly tell anyone that without my dad, who did 80% of the entire build, it would never have been completed. He knew he was building a legacy property that will most likely be passed down to his granddaughters, Ashley and Kayley.”
The framing season came to an end in November 2014 as the ice formed on the lake and the outboard motors stopped pumping water. After a brutal winter, it began again in April 2015.
Framing was completed in the summer. The steel roof was installed and all electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, tile, and interior trim work was completed. The entire home is built to standard building code and well insulated. Dave Bobo installed the septic system.
The cottage received its occupancy permit in December and has only been open for guests since January. Interest and bookings have come from guests in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Georgia.
“From the beginning we planned on creating a vacation rental home where families of all ages could get away and relax. We adopted the slogan, ‘Yes, we rented our own island.’ A close second was ‘Up north without the drive.’ Both are true. Guests can brag that they roughed it on a private island while watching cable TV, surfing the web, and lounging on the back deck under the stars.”
You no longer have to leave Washtenaw County to enjoy a luscious, ecologically green, private island getaway. Book your cabin rental in Michigan today! For more information: Contact Andy Bobo, AshKay Island, 13150 Sharon Hollow Road, Manchester, MI 48158; (734) 732 2138, firstname.lastname@example.org, /.