This year-round resort is nestled in the Betsie River valley at the site of the earlier Buck Hills Ski Area (1956) ski run and lift. Today it has the appearance of a twenty-first-century village deeply rooted in the heritage of northern Michigan.
In 1985 the Petritz family, along with their daughter, Chris MacInnes, and her husband, Jim, created a master plan for Crystal Mountain, which the Frankfort family acquired in 1966. From 1994 to the present they expanded the recreational center to include skiing and golf, clubhouses, lodging, dining, and a pedestrian-friendly village with quaint eateries and shops. In 2010 Crystal Mountain has become the kind of “Up North” place of their imaginations for which city people yearn, inspired by the early-twentieth-century resorts of northern Michigan.
The large three-story Kinlochen lodge and clubhouse (2002, Robert Holdeman of aai) is the centerpiece of Crystal Mountain's village. Named for Kinlochaline, the castle of Scotland's Loch Aline and of the MacInnes clan, the building recalls Scottish golf resorts. Yet its execution in native stone and wood ties it to northern Michigan. Holdeman created the brightly painted gable-roofed Cottages at Water's Edge (2003–2004) with dormers, porches, and fireplaces after early 1900s northern Michigan wooden cottages. Displaying individuality and surprise, they cluster tightly together every which way on both sides of The Park at Water's Edge.
Michigan Legacy Art Park (1995–present, David Barr) displays sculptures set along a woodland trail and an amphitheater to celebrate the majesty of the environment.