June 24 - 28, 2022
Suttons Bay, Michigan
Our first long drive in many travel days, 228 miles from the UP, over the Mighty Mac bridge, and onto the Leelaneau Peninsula is a beautiful drive that goes by really fast! We haven't seen all of Michigan, but without a doubt, this area is our favorite. It is absolutely beautiful! Through rolling green hills, and right at the goats, I pass the driveway and have to turn around at the top of the road - but then quickly we're here!
Even better than the drive is our destination - the 5-star site at Jim and Diana's (ExplorVistas) is perfect. And all three of us are so happy to see them after way too long! Tessa is wagging and jumping when she sees them through the window on our approach. We might never leave :-)
We've been following the building of their cabin in the forest for a couple years, but in person it's mind-blowing! The location in the dancing maple trees is serene and beautiful, and their house and barn are stunning. They have either done the work themselves or overseen the contractors, and the pride of ownership shines in every detail. We're glad our visit means they get to take a short break!
Last time we saw them in Michigan we enjoyed Music in the Park at a nearby harbor. We haven't been to live music since then, and are excited that the first concert of the season is the night we arrive! Warm weather and a friendly crowd in a lovely setting - and we even find a great parking spot!
|A good turn-out for the season's kick-off.|
|Soon the dancers are up and having a great time.|
|I'm still a big fan of marinas!|
Since Tessa loves to cuddle with Jim and Diana, we do our travels together in the Jeep. Saturday we're off to Traverse City for a few stops. One of the things I like best about this area is the clean, cute, artsy, foodie little villages along the lake. And then there's all the wineries, cheeseries, breweries and cideries!!
|Raclette from Leelaneau Cheese and four unique varieties from the Cheese Lady - all delicious!|
There's still projects to complete, but we're able to visit inside the cabin with tasty pie from Traverse Pie Company (yes, they have gluten-free options!) and ice cream. The views from their wall of windows feel like you're in a tree-house!
Sunday is cooler, and we're off for a drive south to Point Betsie Lighthouse. I love, love this area! Still lots of trees, but rolling hills, orchards, small inland lakes, vintage farms, and vineyards make this one of the most consistently beautiful places we've ever visited.
One stop I need to make is Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor. I've promised Sherry (On My Own) that I'll get a cherry pie next time I'm here! Also need some wine and salsa - need.
Before the lighthouse we enjoy a great lunch and brews at Stormcloud Brewing Company on Main Street in Frankfort - another cute little town, this one just off Betsie Lake.
The lighthouse has no parking lot but we find space on the little entrance road in the dunes. The grounds include the keepers' house, fog signal house, gift shop w/small musuem, and a rare intact oil house. The lovely docent provides seven of us with an informative tour of the beautifully restored keepers' house and the tower (for those like Jim and Diana who make the climb).
|Point Betsie Point Lighthouse|
|Most pieces are from the period, but not original to the keepers' house. An exception is the china in the cabinet donated by the family of one of the keepers.|
|Our delightful docent explains the fourth order fresnel lens.|
|Up the tower.|
In the signal house is a movie made of a real-life rescue from Lake Michigan using the original equipment that Jim and Diana worked with during their time as volunteers nearby. It's very engaging, we're very vested in the outcome, we've watched almost 30 minutes, the final rescue is about to happen.
A staff person walks in, says they're closing, we have to leave. Uh??? We explain (passionately!) that there's just a few minutes left and surely he can wait. Nope! Turns off the TV, no apology, just rudely kicks us out.
We're in shock, have never been treated so poorly, commiserate all the way back to the Jeep. Bill is waiting for us, and I'm sure we sounded like foot-stomping kids who were just denied our dessert :-)) Alas, we'll never forget this historic site visit!
Another gab-fest in the cabin, then we're off to our own homes for the night.
Monday our hosts are back to work with still cooler temps to help them out on their house projects. We spend our last day wandering about taking photos, having brunch outside at the wonderful 9 Bean Rows, shopping in cute downtown Suttons Bay.
|Happy to find lots of country barns.|
|Gorgeous vintage school house.|
|This unique barn at a local winery blends into the rolling hills.|
|On a Centennial Farm - over 100 years in the same family.|
|Last time we were here the barn was surrounded by sunflowers.|
|This year it's a corn crop - not as pretty :-(|
Our arrival back at the cabin is perfectly timed, and we enjoy the perfection that is the outdoor space Jim is completing. Another favorite place from our last visit is Hop Lot, so we head there for more outdoor pleasure - this time it's cherry cider and yummy BBQ sandwiches. We even remember to get a photo!!
|Diana, Jodee, Bill, Jim|
It's hard to believe when Tuesday morning arrives and it's already time to move on! We had such a great time, and will definitely be back for another visit. Bill washes the filthy windshield and fills the water tank before hooking up. Hard to say our good-bye-for-nows :-(