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Plus lots more as we slowly head south. Michigan has thousands of lakes and is surrounded by four of the five great lakes. We, who grew up in Michigan, understand that no matter where you are in the state, you are only a few minutes from some lake or river. But to us, the Northwestern corner of the lower peninsula is the best part of this water wonderlandin any season.
In the winter there is lots of skiing downhill and cross country , ice fishing, and snowmobiling. Spring and fall are colorful, and fishing is fantastic. This area is famous for its steelhead in the spring and salmon in the fall. But, of course, we love the summer the best of all. In the summer, you can enjoy everything from soaring in a glider, to exploring ship wrecks at the bottom of Lake Michigan.
Or you can play in the waves of Lake Michigan, tube down a river, rent a sailboat or powerboat, hike hundreds of trails, bike the gentle hills, fish for hours, shop in quaint harbor towns or attend rehearsals or a concert at Interlochen Music Camp. And there are many golf courses known nationally for their challenges and beauty. Last month we shared a little about the Silver Lake sand dunes. Sand dunes are common all along the Lake Michigan shoreline but quite honestly the best sand dunes in Michigan are right up here in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Protected by the national park service this area is rich in history and beauty.
The park also includes underwater sanctuaries and the two Manitou islands which are about one and one half hours away by boat. But I am getting ahead of myself. Driving north and west from Lansing, we always enjoy the beauty of the trees.
I had forgotten how beautiful they are in Michigan. It goes north into the Leelanau Peninsula then turns south at Northport and runs along the Lake Michigan shoreline until it joins Route 31 near Manistee.
These old friends are a joy to visit; it was just plain restful. We marveled at the cherry trees which were still heavy with fruit. Norma and I spent one afternoon shopping all by our selves in the busy harbor town of Suttons Bay 2.
Imagine walking from shop to shop with sailboats floating by, just out of reach. It is a beautiful sight. The harbor at Northport Music is big in this area especially in the summer. It was all the more beautiful because of the cool, soft breeze, and the sun setting gently into the water. Suttons Bay likes jazz too and has a festival in July. Leland 6 is a charming harbor town on the west side of the peninsula and full of wonderful, artsy shops as well as what is lovingly referred to as Fishtown.
Fishtown is a strip of weatherworn shanty type shops situated along the Leland River as it prepares to empty into Lake Michigan. The Leland River at Lake Michigan in Leland All three towns host art festivals and a myriad of other festivals throughout the year.
One of our favorite things to do in the summer is attend the chicken dinners sponsored by the various Catholic churches in the area. They all serve upwards of 1, dinners on a Sunday afternoon. It is a good idea to grab a local newspaper when in the area. Lighthouses dot the whole coastline of Michigan and now that light-houses are no longer manned many are open for visiting.
The newly renovated, completely furnished Grand Traverse Lighthouse 5 at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula is a must to visit. It is one of the oldest on the Great Lakes and marks the end of the peninsula and the west side of Grand Traverse Bay.
President Millard Fillmore ordered it built in July of and it stood its watch over ships of all kinds in its hey-day. After your visit inside, you might like to sit on one of the park benches and watch the sail boats and sea gulls at play. One of the highlights of this area is Crystal Lake; this big lake which runs east to west almost touches Lake Michigan at Frankfort. The effort only succeeded in lowering the level of Crystal Lake which, however, uncovered gorgeous sandy beaches and it remains a vacation paradise for that reason.
We used our location here to explore some other fun spots nearby. One that is famous world over is the Interlochen Center for the Arts at Interlochen The academy was founded by the late Dr. The 1, acre wooded campus which is located between Duck Lake and Blue Lake was originally inhabited by Ottawa and Ojibway Indians; interlochen means "between the lakes.
So we made a special trip to spend a few hours. As soon as we entered the campus we stopped at the visitor information center. A student volunteer shared that there were any number of rehearsals we could sit in on and gave us a printed schedule. He then suggested that we might be interested in the self guided tour.
We heard flutes and followed notes which seemed to float in the air and then collide with one an other. We discovered dozens of students practicing inside and outside of what looked like tiny attached stone houses.
When we got close, we could finally block out the music from their neighbor and just concentrate on one. It was easy to see that these kids are very talented and serious about music. We spent the afternoon strolling between the cellos, percussion, woodwinds, brass and so on. We found the organ house and I counted at least 10 organseach enclosed by four walls, windows and a door.
Everest Movie vs. True Story of 1996 Mount Everest Disaster
Several organists were playing and we sat and listened for a while. One time we happened upon a whole section of flutes about The director was coaxing them into playing just right for their part of the symphony, concerto or whatever. Because it is a center for the arts, everything from acting to sculpting is studied and they invite guests to stop by and see what is going on in any class.
If you like concerts big name entertainers to high school bands or classical to pops Interlochen is the place to go. Tickets are available in advance and some school band and teacher recitals are free.
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This hilly region fringed with massive coastal sand dunes is a fun place to visit. There is so much to see and do. You can hike on the many trails which range from short and easy to steep and strenuous. You can hike the dunes, hike along birch lined streams or through dense beech-maple forests. Or if you are not into nature, you can window shop in more quaint towns like Glen Arbor, Empire and Frankfort.
This river is gentle and shallow so it is safe even for youngsters. The two hour trip is easy and lots of fun, but the best part is at the end when the river empties into Lake Michigan. The warm current pushes you gently out into cold Lake Michigan. I find it amazing to stand with one leg in the river and the other only inches away in the lake and feel the many degrees difference in temperature.
Of course you can ignore the float trip and just go and play at the end of the river. The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a must for all who visit the park. This one-way, self guided drive has 12 stops so that you can make this a leisure trip. The Manitou Islands 11 which are part of the park may be visited but on a limited basis.
Boats leave from Leland for a one and one half hour trip to S.
September 1996 issue of the Movin' On newsletter.
Manitou Island at 10 a. Once on the island, you can hike some of the trails, take a tour of part of the island in the back of a pick-up truck or you can set up your tent and stay a while.
There are no facilities on the island; every afternoon at 4 p. One afternoon was enough for us although we saw families with little children who were going to stay for up to four days. It would be nice and quiet and the waters around the island are as clear and pretty as imaginable. North manitou Shoal Lighthouse South Manitou Lighthouseup close There is a little history about the island in the unmanned visitor center.
The island was first settled by W. Since the island was half-way between Mackinaw and Chicago, it was a good stopping point. By the population reached its peak at then started to decline. Farming was the only means of livelihood and schooling for children only went up to the eighth grade.
North Manitou Island is larger and the ferry from Leland stops there, but only once a day to discharge or pick-up backpackers. If you get dropped off there, there is no way off the island until the next day.
The lighthouse by N. Manitou sits out in the lake all by itself. We were told that when it was manned, three coast guardsmen lived there for three weeks on and one week off. How would you like that lonely life? Back at the Homestead Resort, we enjoyed a leisurely float inner tube down the Betsie River. Designated as a wild and scenic river, we saw only one house and it was set way up on a hill.
We did see all sorts of birds and beautiful trees. It was so quiet and peaceful that I actually drifted back to another time and became a pioneer. Situated on a acre personal wildlife sanctuary on the Betsie River, you can watch the presses print all sorts of beautiful paper products using the original block prints created by Gwen. All designs depict nature in all its glory and all printed items are very reasonably priced. There is so much more we could share with you about this area, but as you can see we have run out of room.
Potpourri by Ron The game of choice at our family reunion was Gin Rummy with partners. Judging from the noise at the Friday night camp site everyone was enjoying the game.