I recently visited Leland, Michigan. I hadn’t been in years but was excited to visit and join in Leland Gal’s 5 year anniversary. And, honestly, it’s Northern Michigan… you really can’t go wrong up there. The water is a shade all its own and is as clear as can be. There is a very relaxed beach town vibe complimented by good old Midwestern friendliness.
Fishtown is a small village comprised of shanty shops down by the water. You can picture what it must have been like back in the day to work in one of the shantys. Fishtown is still a commercial fishing village, as we saw on an early morning stroll when racks of fresh lake trout and salmon were being prepared. Not surprisingly, Fishtown was named a Michigan Historic Site in 1973.
Fishtown is a “must visit” place. The shops are quaint and wonderful. I, of course, am a little biased but you really shouldn’t miss a trip to Leland Gal. The vibrant colors are enough to brighten anyone’s day, so the friendly staff is just the icing on the cake. The owner, Maggie Revel Mielczarek, is a true talent (stay tuned because I’ll be sharing how Leland Gal came about next week).
Tug Stuff is also a super cute store, featuring Michigan apparel and children’s clothing. Again, the staff is incredibly welcoming. The Village Cheese Shanty is another great place to stop, especially if you are headed out for a picnic on the beach or just to the docks to watch the boats coming and going. And don’t forget to pick up something sweet at Dam Candy Store (it lasted all of 2 seconds when I brought some home for my kids). While you are in Fishtown, you might as well meander down to The Cove to get a bowl of seafood chowder and a Chubby Mary (I’m not certain, but I feel like ordering a Chubby Mary is a right of passage for tourists up here. You can definitely buy an M-22 sweatshirt if you order this drink.)
Up on the main drag, Blue Boat Coffee is a perfect place to stop in for a cup of coffee. One, it is good. Two, it made me feel at home with its MADCAP grounds. Three, it is super cute. Four, at 8am on a Friday morning, they kept it simple for me…. and it was much appreciated.
Just across the way, is Leelanau Books. Who doesn’t love a cozy book store? I wasn’t able to make it in this time because we needed to get back home before it opened, but I have heard wonderful things about it and will definitely be checking it out the next time.
Also up the road from Fishtown and Main Street is The Riverside Inn, which is both a restaurant and, as the name suggests, an Inn. It has beautiful water views of the Leland River and is classic yet updated both inside and out.
The food at The Riverside Inn is as delicious as it is gorgeous and, once again, the staff is professional and pleasant. Much of the food and wine is local.
We were fortunate enough to stay at Maggie’s family home, which was delightful and stunning (it even came complete with a very talkative 4-year old, making me feel right at home). However, I do have a family-friend who grew up in Leland, and her recommendations of places to stay included The Whaleback Inn and The Leland Lodge (which was recently remodeled).
If you are traveling back out of town on M-22, stopping in Sutton’s Bay, another adorable town in Northern Michigan, is always a good idea. We meandered around, grabbing coffee, window shopping, and standing in awe of this beautifully colored glass garden.
Leland and Sutton’s Bay are also great stops to consider on your way farther north. If you are headed to Mackinaw Island to experience the back-in-time splendor or watch the boats finishing their long treks in the Race to Mackinac, my friend, Lexi, has some wonderful information on the island accompanied of course by her lovely photos over on the blog, In the Hutch. Lexi’s Instagram account is amazing, too!
If you haven’t been to Northern Michigan, it is worth a trip, especially in the summer and fall. If you have been to Leland and Sutton’s Bay, what did I miss? What are your recommendations?
As always, here is a Pin:
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