Rebecca and I returned  from roughly a week in northern Michigan. We rented a cottage on Crooked Lake near Petoskey and had access to a fire pit, canoes and swimming if we wanted. An advantage to staying just a bit outside of Petoskey apart from having more reasonable rent was that it was very quiet and very relaxing. It was a perfect spot for our ‘babymoon’.

Simple Serenity

Simple Serenity - Our cottage view of Crooked Lake

We originally planned that the Petoskey area would be our base of operations for our various sightseeing adventures. It turned out that Petoskey was probably our favorite area apart from our time at Sleeping Bear Dunes Park. There is a lot more to see in the area that we didn’t have time to experience, but I think this is one area we’ll go back to with some regularity.

Below are some highlights.

The Good

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park – This park offers many beaches and scenic views.

The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive seemed well worth the 10 dollar admission to us.

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive - Glen Lake Overlook

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive - Glen Lake Overlook

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive - Lake Michigan Overlook

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive - Lake Michigan Overlook

Glen Haven Beach – This beach is in Sleeping Bear Dunes and at first glance gives you the impression that it isn’t a public beach at all. The beach is very secluded, but there is a bath house to change in. When we were there, the water was very, very cold yet exhilarating. It was colder than the pacific for sure but it felt great.

Glen Haven Canning Company

Glen Haven Canning Company

Glen Haven is a restored historical logging village located in the Leelanau Peninsula. This building used to be a Cherry cannery, but is now a boathouse museum.

Petoskey State Park - This park had an entrance fee of 8 dollars. A bit steep, but as far as beaches go, this was a really, really nice one. The beach was on Little Traverse Bay and so the water was a bit warmer. Also, when we were there, the waves were incredibly high and ocean like. I forgot how fun it is to play in the waves.

Downtown Petoskey - There are a lot of high quality establishments in a downtown area that could otherwise just take advantage of being located in a touristy area. Here were the ones we were impressed with.

  • Papa Lou’s Pizza – The pizza quality was great  and an outdoor view of Petoskey Bay is hard to beat.
  • Roast and Toast - When we peeked in to this place at first, I thought it was just another soup and sandwich shop that served coffee. However, after reading a bit more about them, I found that they did roast their own coffee, so I figured it warranted further investigation. I ordered a ristretto, which was very well done. While we didn’t sample the food they served, it did look very good and the place was always packed with people eating.
  • Crooked Tree Arts Council – This is an active facility for dance, theater, pottery, and other arts. The building is repurposed space from a Methodist church that moved out of the space in the late 70′s and the exterior still looks like a church. It also hosts private galleries  as well. I was very impressed by what they did with their space. It would be welcome in any community.
  • American Spoon – They specialize in jam’s and sauces made from Michigan produce. The flavor combinations are exceptional. The gelato from the cafe wasn’t bad either, though it wasn’t quite Jeni’s good.
  • City Park Grill – Phenomenal food at a phenomenal price. Almost too good of a price. Oh, and Hemingway hung out there.

House of Pies – Located in Oden, MI is this wonderful pie shop. Holy moly were they good.  Indeed , their website is awful, but the pies are great.  A place serving pies this good shouldn’t have been as empty as it was.  I have no idea why they mess around with gourmet hot dogs and antiques. I think they’d do far better to partner with a good local coffee roaster.

Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co. – Located in Glen Arbor, I noticed this establishment while driving through the little town and smelling the familar aroma of roasting coffee. Judging from the outside, I did not have good vibes about the quality of the product and was concerned that even if it were good quality, that it would be served by summer help.  I was mistaken. The espresso I was served was probably the best I have purchased in the last 5 years. Kudos.

The Bad

The Little Traverse History Museum – There was a 2 dollar admission fee for this museum in Petoskey, which seemed reasonable, but in retrospect should have clued me in that they couldn’t command a higher entrance fee. There just wasn’t much to look at and quite honestly, I was already tired of hearing about Hemingway hanging out in the area, so it didn’t do much to read about it yet again.

St. Ignace – This town just across the Mackinac Bridge seems to have pretty much everything going for it. Great views, great location, but it is just a run down town with run down stores. In a weird way, this is kind of a good thing since it isn’t congested, which makes their rundown boardwalk kind of fun to walk around. However, it seemed clear that the town is just content with being a stop to catch the ferry to Mackinac Island. Very strange.

The Odd

Stalled Wind Turbines - Driving across the Mackinac Bridge, we noticed two of those enormous wind turbines that produce electricity. It was a pretty windy day, which should have been good for producing energy, however, we noticed they were stalled. We found out, ironically, that it because it was too windy to run.  Hmmmm.

Roadside Table Litter Barrel - I don’t recall seeing signs like this in Ohio, but we saw several signs on 31, that said ‘Roadside Tabel Litter Barrel’, which seemed a bit odd until we realized it was quite literally a small stop consisting of a picnic table and a trash can alongside the road.