Traverse City News and Events

Want To Own Your Own Island? Here's Your Chance

June 28, 2017

For nearly 70 years, four generations of Robin Adams’ family have visited what they call their “little slice of heaven”: their own private island in Traverse City’s Silver Lake. Now Adams is reluctantly preparing to part with the property – and is looking for the right person to become the new owner of Trega Island.

“It’s a magical place,” Adams says of the 3.8-acre island located near the southeast side of Silver Lake. “When I was growing up, it really did seem like it was magical. The property is pristine.”

Entire islands rarely hit the real estate market in Traverse City – and Trega Island is no exception, having stayed in private ownership within Adams’ family since her grandfather first purchased it in 1949. “The story goes he bought it out of the Wall Street Journal,” says Adams. “My grandfather had it, then my mother had it, now I have it, and all our kids have used it.”

Accessible by a short boat ride from a secondary on-shore lot on Silver Lake Shores Road, the island includes over 1,700 square feet of private Silver Lake frontage and a one-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage with running water and electricity. The mid-century home – which Adams’ grandfather modernized from an old 1930s hunting cabin – includes a woodstove, stone fireplace, pine paneling and steel kitchen cabinetry.

The island’s history is prevalent throughout the property, including in the remnants of an old outhouse and the foundations of the original hunting cabin. “A fun fact is you can still the footers, which were made out of pickle barrels,” says Adams. “They filled them with cement and put them down to use for footers. You can see the rims and wood there still.”

But it’s the natural elements of the property that make the island so unique, according to Adams. “Maybe because it’s isolated, (nature) has had a chance to expand out there,” she says. “We have deer and birds and wildflowers, wild blueberries and wintergreen and wild orchids. There are some century-old trees out there. In the last five years, we’ve seen eagles all the time; they fish in the lake and stay in the trees on the edges of the property. There are great blue herons and loons. Whenever I take people up there, we always have to go on a nature hike.”

Adams says Trega Island’s lush scenery was an inspiration to her mother, who was a well-known watercolor artist in Cincinnati. “She would plant herself at a table at the cottage and find things to paint on the island, like the birch trees,” Adams says. “Some of those paintings are hanging in the cottage.”

Though deeply attached to Trega Island – where Adams spent every summer of her childhood and now lives part of the year – she says she and her husband decided to sell the property as part of their estate planning.

“We have three children, and none of them live in Traverse City,” she says. “We didn’t want to have any animosity created by who would be taking care of it or paying for it. That happens in families, and it can be a mess. It’s very difficult, but we’ve given it a lot of thought and feel like it’s the best decision.”

Realtor Mark Hagan of Coldwell Banker Schmidt is representing the property, which hit the market in late May. The $1.15 million dollar listing includes Trega Island and its residential cottage, as well as an on-shore waterfront lot that includes a garage, parking space and an additional 65 feet of private waterfront frontage. The on-shore lot is also buildable, according to Hagan.

Adams says the right buyer will be “somebody who loves nature and likes to have privacy.” She adds her family is looking for an owner “who wants to be a new steward for the property.”

“We’re not in any hurry to sell it,” she chuckles. “If the right person comes along, that’s great. We’re living there now, so we’re happy to keep enjoying it in the meantime.”

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