We arrived home safely after driving three days towards the home of the heat, snakes, and palm trees. No place is perfect. I keep getting reminded of that. Arizona had a heat that could evaporate a person alive. Houston has the most unwelcome garden guests of all, the sort that got Eve into big trouble in the garden of eden. And Michigan has winters that last longer than this southern girl could endure, the kind that causes one to dig steps into the snow just to get down a snowdrift into the front door. (no exaggeration) So we take what we get and we don’t throw a fit. That’s a lesson from Kindergarten that we all ought to incorporate into our living philosophy. I know for sure that the bible also has many teachings to this same effect. Such as what I was reading this morning in Romans 12:12 ” Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” God’s word is the ONLY way to keep my attitude in check. I humbly welcome the corrections I receive from it. The bible breathes truth and life into me and I crave it.
I’m home, but I’m not finished exploring with you some of the marvels I experienced while away for a a month. I hope you don’t mind if I continue to traipse through those adventures. The villages near Lake Leelanau are simply first rate. The village of Lake Leelanau itself is a pass through sort of place, though it has Dick’s Pour house if you are thirsty in a specific way (not), a couple of cute consignment shops with friendly keepers, a bitty post office, NJs grocery store that is as big as my bedroom and the obligatory gas station and ice cream shop. Mostly for me it is the way to get to Leland if I turn right on my bicycle, or the opposite way from Suttons Bay if I turn left. That’s all it is for me. Today I want to talk about Leland.
From the lake house I can ride my bike around the north Lake Leelanau in under an hour enjoying pretty views of rolling hills, orhcards, gardens, and the lake. Several times on my trip I’d put some cash, my journal, camera, and a book into my backpack knowing I would cut my ride into two for a leisurely stop and stroll through Leland. I like the coffee shop on the corner where I can rock in a wooden swing and watch the people on vacation. They are called “fudgies” because they swarm the locals to come buy fudge and fill the shops and marina with their money, and they are always having a good time doing it.
I have a few shops I faithfully patronize there. Sadly though the book store which was one of my favorites when I was a kid has changed hands too many times and no longer thrills me. I’ll be surprised if it’s there in the years to come. But the local artists are fantastic and I love to see what they are creating year after year whether it’s jewlery, clothing, house decoration or garden art.
The small village of Leland is sandwiched between Lake Leelanau on one side and Lake Michigan on the other. They are literally a couple blocks apart. So you can be at a quaint quiet lake house one minute or on the beach of Lake Michigan in another. There’s a busy marina where fancy boats come and go showing what the people who like to spend a lot of money for that pleasure look like. They seem to be enjoying themselves immensely. I’m not really a boating sort of girl. I’m a foreign country fanatic, but that’s another subject entirely.
It’s become tradition to take Mom and Pete’s boat from the dock at their house across the lake to the dock at the local restaurant, the Blue Bird, for alfresco dining in Leland. It’s an extraordinary experience. I don’t even think they tire of it’s charm even though they live there. We had the pleasure to make this trip twice during our visit, once for Tristan’s birthday dinner, and again on our last night in town where we dined inside the restaurant and enjoyed sharing the relationships mom and Pete have with the staff and other diners that go years back. Everyone enjoyed some fresh caught fish. (except me, deathly allergic)
There’s another tradition in Leland for our clan. The kids love to wander the town with their pocket money eager to unload it. This might be the only place they ask me to take them shopping. So we spent a fun afternoon with everyone including my grandmother who came north for two days, and the two bulldogs- shopping in Leland. The dogs were a big attraction. Especially Titus who is otherwise known as a chick magnet. The teenage boys were eager to walk him twelve paces ahead of our group because every pretty girl in town couldn’t help but stop to pet the dog. The boys shared a secret look, like, yeah, works like a charm. I even overheard a secretive whisper from one to another “thank you Titus”. I just shake my head knowing boys will be boys.
The little boys are a bit more interested in Fishtown where there’s the “Dam Candy store”. They like saying that over and over with a giggle. Fishtown is the old shanties where the fisherman would come in and sell their catch. Now they are preserved and converted into tourist shops. It’s right behind the marina and close to all the Main street shops. Beside Fishtown there’s a dam where the water falls from Lake Leelanau into Lake Michigan. There’s one sandwich shop in fishtown and really no other options for a quick grab and go lunch. Jack go hungry one afternoon when we were shopping together alone. So we had ice cream instead of lunch! He decided though when he saw the hot dog vender outside the toy shop he should have lunch after dessert.