Archive for the ‘Leelanau County’ Category

Some early spring M-22 touring led us to Glen Haven, a charming historic settlement that is now preserved and maintained by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Below, I am pictured in front of the Glen Haven Canning Company building where fruit was processed and shipped to market via Lake Michigan. Now the Cannery building is home to the Great Lakes Boat Museum.

Our M-22 tour continued as we drove up the Lake Michigan Coast to the village of Leland, home of Fishtown. Since, it was a Friday night, we decided to dine at the Bluebird Restaurant for their 1/2 off pizza special.

The bacon and pineapple pizza was a taste sensation!

We concluded our trip with a drive through Suttons Bay and along the West Grand Traverse Bay coastline back into Traverse City. Not a bad way to spend an evening…touring the scenic M-22 highway, stopping in historic villages and enjoying great food with great company. That’s what life is all about here Up North.


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A short drive up the coast of West Grand Traverse Bay brings you to the quaint village of Suttons Bay in Leelanau County. The village offers a bevy of restaurants and boutique shops, including Bahle’s department store. We recently made the drive to partake in the Bahle’s annual winter sale where winter clothes, shoes and gear is 50% off! It’s worth the drive, if you’ve never been!

We stopped at Martha’s Leelanau Table for lunch, a former residence on the main street that was converted into a restaurant.

If the charming red facade isn’t enough to lure you inside, certainly the from-scratch cooking will win your taste buds over.

Once inside, the homey atmosphere makes you feel welcome and at ease. The friendly wait staff is quick to tempt you with the daily soups and specials.

I opted for a soup and sandwich combo. The soup was a bell pepper-tomato-swiss combo with the perfect blend of spices. It was amazing. The Croque Madame panini sandwich was exquisite!

It was a great! I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon!

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It was a date with a girlfriend that brought me out to the big lake (that’s Lake Michigan in case you were wondering) in mid-July. That day, the big lake seemed endless, the color of the water seemed vibrant and the air was light. There was a sense of calm to the day. 

When I woke up that morning, I already knew it would be a great day. I was greeted on my morning walk with a stunning early morning sky- brilliant pinks and purples-and wished I had a camera. As I walked with the dog, gazing at the sky, I smiled. I felt privileged to be awake. The next clue that the day was off to a supreme start came with a completed crossword puzzle during my morning coffee-and-the-paper routine. Just like I do each time I complete a crossword puzzle, I remarked, “today is going to be a good day,” then I put my pencil and puzzle down and am off to shower with a little extra bounce in my step. Next on tap, I had a big meeting in the morning followed by a drive to Glen Arbor to spend some quality time with a friend I’ve known since kindergarten. I had been meaning to catch up with her for months.
It was there, sitting on a beach towel, mulling over life with a dear friend and gazing at big blue that I got the news- a new job! I had interviewed with the City of Traverse City that morning and received a call the same afternoon with a job offer. It was a thrilling feeling, the onset of change, diving into a new work life chapter. At the same time, the natural surroundings gave me a peaceful, serene confidence in my next steps. We then waded in the water and dove in. It felt like I was taking the plunge, embracing my new job, and it was refreshing.

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Nothing says Appreciating Life Up North quite like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. A recent trek along the Sleeping Bear Point Trail accessed through Glen Haven was truly remarkable. A girlfriend and I, and our four-legged friends, hiked the dune. We got caught up on the latest and greatest details in each other’s lives while walking through some amazing scenery.

We happened to see eight deer running up the dune in the distance. They stopped atop the dune overlooking Lake Michigan and looked back at us for a brief moment- all eight of them- their white tails on alert, then they crested the dune and were out of sight. Later in the hike, we passed their deer trail. It appeared to be a well-worn path that’s been taken before.

It’s amazing that we were the only people on the trail that day besides the white-tailed deer. It was a warm January day of which the sun shone intermittently and a seasoned northern Michigander could get by without wearing mittens. We marveled at how lucky we are to live so close to such beauty and wonder.

How important is a connection to nature? For me, I’ve felt that it provides a quiet environment to think things through, regenerates feelings of inspiration and awe, and helps me feel grounded. Whether it’s an occasional visit to Sleeping Bear Dunes, my regular walks to Ashton Park or Hickory Meadows, my backyard garden, or even the creek behind my parent’s house. These special places provide me with a real connection to this world and my life in it. Glen Haven reminded me of the value to reconnect with nature and the environment. Everyone needs to feel connected to this earth. It’s a part of us.

In the picture above, even Wyatt took pause on the side of the dune to look out into the distance and reflect on his doggy existence (I’m sure he’s the introspective type.)

Previous pontifications about Sleeping Bear Dunes include musings about the Empire Bluff trail and camping at Platte River.

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Last month, I wrote about our walk to Cedar Lake on the Leelanau Trail. In that post, I promised that David and I would be back in the winter months to enjoy the trail and the DeYoung Natural Area while covered with snow. The 15-mile Leelanau Trail is groomed for skiing and lucky for us, the trailhead is located just 4 minutes from our house. We arrived in no-time, clicked into our skis and were off. We enjoyed the sunny skies and friendly smiles from the fifteen other skiers we passed.

We also decided to take the winding Conservancy trail through the Cedar forest to the fishing platform to take a peek at the ice on the lake. We noticed a few ice-fishing shanties on the lake especially near the public access boat launch area. It was a beautiful outing to enjoy the fresh air, stretch our legs and work up a sweat. We’ll be back for sure.
Trail grooming updates can be found on the TART Trails website.

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A few weeks ago, David and I went for a looooong walk with the dog. We walked from our house to this stunning Cedar Lake fishing dock.

The walk consisted of taking the TART and Leelanau Trails and the 1/4 mile foot path trail in the DeYoung Natural Area. The 145 acre natural area which includes nearly a mile of Cedar Lake frontage has been permanently preserved by the Leelanau Conservancy. Portions of the preserve are actively farmed and the historic barn and farmhouse are being restored.

When it was all said and done, we walked about 5.5 miles. This winter, we plan on doing this walk again (albeit a bit abbreviated) either on skis or snowshoes.

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Ahhh… nothing like a hike up the dunes to Big Blue! The 3.5 mile round trip trek is quite the climb but worth the effort!
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We went on the hike when David’s brother and niece were in town. It was a chilly 60 degrees with a slight drizzle here and there, but we toughed it out and made the climb.
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We were all smiles heading up the steep climb…Dune Climb (9)
And I wasn’t kidding when I said steep!
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The view of Glen Lake (both Big and Little) is worth the climb even on a dark dreary day.
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David makes the climb representing the Cubbies and the Wolverines. Ugh. (Can I get a Go Green Go White holla?!)
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We keep climbing higher and higher. When you turn around, the view of Glen Lake becomes even more awesome!
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Before we reached Lake Michigan, we kept thinking “just over this dune” and we’d crest the dune and see more dunes and more dunes. We knew we were getting close when we could hear the sound of waves crashing.
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Ahhh… makes journey suddenly worth it! Lake Michigan is just so stunning!
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A quick self-portrait to memorialize the trip (I need longer arms!)
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Of course, what goes up, must come down. You have to run down the dune. It’s just no fun to walk. How can you not leave this enchanting hike without a smile on your face.
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Do the dune climb!

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