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Just Add Water

The recipe for a perfect season: Dive in! Exploring Marquette: Biking, hiking, fishing, paddling, and touring to your heart’s content Happiness in the kitchen | Three home tours: From inland lakes to bayside | Landscape “design stars” Divine Arcadia Dunes | A Belle Isle primer | Art Studio Visit: Lake Michigan on wood

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Happy places

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with wide open spaces

Find your happy place in Traverse City, where outdoor adventures are always in season. Where you can stroll among downtown blossoms or hike golden dunes for breathtaking Lake Michigan views. No maer how you choose to explore, you know you’re in a prey great place.

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“With any lake house, it’s all about the view to the water.” BRIAN NEEPER

Features Lighthouse-inspired design makes custom home on Lake Huron shine. By Jeanine Matlow

ON THE COVER Middle Bay Island on Lake Superior in Marquette. Photo by Liam Kaiser 2

50 Total Transformation

56 Lakeside Legacy

Major renovation takes Ludington-area vacation home to new heights. By Jeanine Matlow

New Shingle-style home in northern Michigan is a perfect gathering place for this family, now and into the future. By Khristi S. Zimmeth

64 Scenic Byway

74 Harbor Views

Beach towns preserve Old West Michigan Pike’s rich history of motor touring. By Sally Hallan Laukitis

Historic Marquette embraces the U.P. lifestyle of adventure. By Ron Garbinski

82 Entertaining at Home Cheers to creating spring in the kitchen: A Harbor Country cookbook author reveals her ingredients for a happy life. By Megan Swoyer


42 Bright Idea


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“The (Holland Harbor) lighthouse used to be yellow and purple. In 1956 it was painted bright red.”







10 Sky, Sand & Surf

26 Studio Visit

88 Tasting Room


14 Get Outdoors Exploring the amazing Arcadia Dunes, plus a Belle Isle State Park primer. By Marla Miller and Mark Spezia

20 Headwaters Two novelists and a musician share Great Lakes State inspirations. By Megan Swoyer

A Grand Rapids-area artist expresses Lake Michigan’s beauty. By Megan Swoyer

At 100 years old, St. Julian Winery plays a key role in the success of Michigan’s wine industry. By Dianna Stampfler

28 Design Stars Meet two talented landscape designers who make the most of waterfront views. By Jeanine Matlow

34 The Elements Around the Cottage: A guide to spring cleaning, floral accents, and the latest décor for outdoor living. By Jamie Fabbri

90 Dining Out Mackinac Island’s picnicstyle food options expand for the new season. By Patty LaNoue Stearns

92 Book It The owners of Muskegon’s Pidge Inn transform a vacant building into a boutique-style hotel. By Marla Miller

94 Discoveries Under the Blue Water Bridge. By Ellen Creager


Reflections Living Large (But Small) By Megan Swoyer

96 Postcard An optimistic tune fills the air on Deer Lake in Boyne City. By Lisa Mettler


Freshwater turtles and where to see them, and the fascinating history of Holland’s Big Red. By Ellen Creager and Sally Hallan Laukitis


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Living Large (But Small)


spent my youngest years in a beautiful small town in Connecticut. My siblings and I frequently walked (some of us toddled), without adults, to the corner grocery store. As I recall it now, there was just one main road. To get to the store you crossed the road, followed it up a slope, and there it was — the swinging door that led to a magic world brimming with Atomic Fireballs, Bazooka bubble gum, and Good Humor ice cream bars. At this treasured emporium, everyone knew us — and likely knew exactly what we were looking for. After my father was transferred to Ohio and then Michigan, my countrified life was gone. Now I live in a pretty big city in metro Detroit (when we married, my husband and I chose to live equidistant from both of our parents’ homes), but over the years I’ve wanted to make my life small again. My outdoorsman husband, who hadn’t seen snapping turtles or leaping fish in far too long, and I found our something small amid very big trees, big lakes, and big rivers, by accident. In July of 2001, we were Up North golfing and saw a for-sale sign at the end of a long driveway that led to a tidy cottage in a tiny town on an inland lake. Almost faster than a great blue heron took off from the cottage’s dock that day, we purchased exactly what our hearts needed. The first time we drove down its pinelined driveway as the cottage’s owners, we slowed the car to a turtle’s pace, put the windows down, and just breathed in northern Michigan. (We still do that every time we arrive.) I always say I wish I could bottle the scent of Up North — pine mingled with fresh air, bark, and earth. When our sons were younger, they’d complain as we approached the cottage and asked them to turn off their devices and let the crisp breezes and the sounds of nature in. Today, they cherish that tradition.


I know how Lindsay Navama felt when she started to sense a need for small-town connectivity and more nature. Navama, who wrote a cookbook called “Hungry for Harbor Country” (featured in this issue), was living a pretty hectic life in Chicago before she got serious about finding a cottage in southwest Michigan. “We wanted to pivot … to find a sense of community in a smaller place,” she told me. Oh, do I understand. Since day one of owning our cottage, we’ve sought out small, familyrun grocery stores, farms, and restaurants. When we find them, I sense yesteryear wrapping around me. One farmer we recently met invited us to jump in his truck and offered to take us through the acres of trees he’d grown; he was happy to spend an entire afternoon chatting with us. He also grows the sweetest U-pick raspberries. Then there’s the chef/owner who scurries over to greet us whenever we enter our favorite eatery. Because she discovered my husband follows a gluten-free diet, she now tells us before we sit down when there’s a gluten-free dessert with his name on it. And I can’t forget the bike shop owner who takes extra time to dig out a map and enthusiastically show us the trails where he hears eagles screech. Kim Mettler, this issue’s Postcard contributor, says: “I often refer to living (Up North) as a Norman Rockwell-type experience; you know at least a handful of people anywhere you go in town.” Back in 2001, we also discovered what my family and I call “the general” — as in “general store” — which is so similar to the one I adored as a kid. These days, a grown woman can be seen there regularly, eyeing the candy and purchasing Atomic Fireballs (in the intervening years, she’s given up the Bazooka bubbl gum).

mibluemag.com PUBLISHER: John Balardo ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Jason



EDITOR: Megan Swoyer COPY EDITOR: Anne Berry Daugherty CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Ellen Creager,

Jamie Fabbri, Ron Garbinski, Sally Hallan Laukitis, Jeanine Matlow, Kim Mettler, Marla Miller, Giuseppa Nadrowski, Lindsay Navama, Mark Spezia, Dianna Stampfler, Patty LaNoue Stearns, Khristi S. Zimmeth


ART DIRECTOR: Austin Phillips ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR: Alexander Shammami CONTRIBUTORS: George Dzahristos, Jeff Garland,

James Haefner, Bill Lindhout, Kim Mettler, Carl Sams, Gabrielle Sukich, Tracy Terpstra, Jennifer Wohletz


GENERAL INQUIRIES: advertisingsales@grmag.com ADVERTISING DIRECTOR: Jenn Maksimowski ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Todd Anderson, Jessica Laidlaw,

Renee Looman, Maddy Messerly TO ORDER REPRINTS: Receptionist, 616-459-4545



Moen, Amanda Zwiren



Luanne Lim, Bart Woinski



Jeremy Leland








Katie West


Stefan Wanczyk | PRESIDENT: John Balardo

Michigan BLUE magazine is published quarterly by Gemini Media. Publishing offices: 401 Hall St. SW, Suite 331, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-5098. Telephone 616-459-4545; fax 616459-4800. General email: info@geminipub.com. Copyright ©2021 by Gemini Media. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Michigan Blue magazine, 401 Hall St. SW, Suite 331, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-5098. Subscription rates: one year $14.95, two years $24.95, three years $34.95, U.S. only. Single issue and newsstand $5.95 (by mail $8.95). To subscribe or to order back issues, please contact Circulation at 866-660-6247. Advertising rates and specifications at mibluemag.com or by request. Michigan Blue magazine is not responsible for unsolicited contributions.


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time, an emerging food scene, or Vegas-style gaming. It’s having all of those things at your fingertips. You won’t believe it if you haven’t seen it. Get up and go at grandtraverseresort.com.

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The Detroit River near the MacArthur Bridge attracts paddlers aplenty.

10 Field Guide Water cleanup opportunities, lighthouse tours, an island-themed paperback, and more.

10 Sky, Sand & Surf Freshwater turtle friends and where to see them, and the fascinating history of Holland’s Big Red.

12 Get Outdoors Exploring the amazing Arcadia Dunes, and a Belle Isle State Park primer.

20 Headwaters Two novelists and a musician share Great Lakes State inspirations.


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FIELD GUIDE Exploring Michigan: Tips, trends, and tidbits

WATER CLEANUP: The MI Paddle Stewards program, offered by Michigan Sea Grant, is now available online. It trains paddlers to help identify and report invasive species, and teaches how to prevent the spread of these harmful plants. michiganseagrant.org/ educational-programs/ SUMMER FUN: Check out the online maps/guides for the Lake Michigan Lighthouse and Lake Michigan Circle Driving Tours. Some 100 lighthouses are highlighted, and the circle tour guide inspires stops along the way. Search lighthouse tour at wmta.org ONLINE GAME: A $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Digital Projects for the Public will help the Grand Rapids Public Museum develop a web-based mobile game, “River of Time.” It will feature interactive content on the history along the lower Grand River area. grpm.org ISLAND-HOPPING: A Maureen Dunphy paperback, “Great Lakes Island Escapes: Ferries and Bridges to Adventure,” takes a look at more than 30 islands accessible by bridge or ferry. She also mentions 50 other islands that are worth a visit. Search by book title at wsupress.wayne.edu/books GRAND HAPPENINGS: New this season at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island will be a revamped pool area with 15 new cabanas. An improved restaurant and health facility are also in the works. grandhotel.com – Compiled by Ron Garbinski

Have news that pertains to Michigan travel and exploration offerings? Send a note to MSwoyer@Hour-Media.com. 10

Freshwater Friends Springtime showcases the secret life of Great Lakes turtles

By Ellen Creager | Photography by Carl Sams


hey outlasted dinosaurs and surely will outlast us. And here’s a surprise: Turtles can talk. “In the last decade, it was discovered that turtles actually vocalize, just at a decibel that humans can’t hear,” says Chelsea-based herpetologist David Mifsud, an authority on Great Lakes turtles. In their small secret lives, Michigan’s turtles go about their business with little fuss. They bask in the sun to thermoregulate. When sleeping or distressed, they will use their shells for protection. After 10 to 15 years or so, some species start breeding. Some can be reproductive in three to five years. Some turtles have a longevity of up to and even exceeding 100 years. Other species, Mifsud says, may live 20 to 30 years. It may be that the turtle you saw in a certain cove last week is the exact same

turtle your grandfather saw 25 years ago at the very same spot! “Great Lakes turtles don’t migrate like sea turtles,” says Julie Champion, from the Lake St. Clair Metropark Nature Center. “They know that what they’ve got right here is what they need.” Through his company, Herpetological Resource and Management, Mifsud works to protect the state’s declining turtle populations. Julie Champion, Eastern District interpretive supervisor for Huron-Clinton Metroparks, educates visitors on turtle lore and care. Michigan has no tortoises or sea turtles, but it does have 11 species of freshwater turtles, and some can grow to a foot long. The rarest is the tiny Spotted Turtle. The most common are the Painted, Snapping, Northern Map, and Red-Eared turtles. All have a carapace (hard shell), and most are aquatic. To see some turtles, Mifsud and Cham-


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pion recommend checking out fallen logs in quiet coves, on muddy riverbanks, or around inland ponds on a sunny day, especially in spring. Even better is spotting them from a kayak or canoe, where you can drift closer. If you don’t have luck out in the open, head to a Michigan nature center. Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township, for example, has eight of Michigan’s turtle species in large aquariums. There, you can better appreciate the strange variety: the cheerful Painted Turtle; the rubbery, beige Eastern Spiny Softshell; the noble, rare Blanding’s; or the saucy, Red-Eared Slider. You may find turtle displays at other nature centers around the state, as well. More closely related to dinosaurs and crocodiles than lizards or snakes, turtles have survived 200 million years due to their shell protection and cautious ways. A turtle will look at you, size you up, and decide whether you’re safe or scary. Its mot-

to? Retreat to the shell, and all will be well. Michigan’s native Anishinaabe people believed Mackinac Island was formed by the shell of a great turtle. Even older native legends say that North America itself rests on a turtle’s back. For those who live by the water or love the water, that sturdy image is comforting. “Turtles have been on Earth for a long time,” Champion says, “and they’re still here.” Here are more turtle secrets: • Turtles live in every corner of Michigan, even on the remote Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. • Some species have great vision and can hear through vibrations. • Turtles have no teeth, but they use powerful jaws to eat small snails and crustaceans. • The Painted Turtle is Michigan’s official sate reptile. • Aquatic species of turtles survive

Michigan winters by digging into mud at the bottom of ponds and lakes. Incredibly, they absorb enough oxygen through their skin to stay alive underwater, even under the ice. • If you see a turtle on a road, it’s probably a female looking for a spot to lay eggs. Only pick up a turtle on the road if it is safe to do so. When moving one, carefully place it to the side of the road where it was facing. • Never take a turtle home. They have enough trouble surviving the loss of habitat, pollution, and the danger posed by raccoons and skunks without having to deal with you. You can help biologists keep tabs on Michigan’s turtles by reporting sightings to Herp Atlas at miherpatlas.org. Pandemic restrictions may affect operating hours at the various Huron-Clinton Metropark nature centers, so check ahead at metroparks.com.

This page: The Blanding’s Turtle is one of Michigan’s rarest. Opposite page: The Painted Turtle is the state reptile of Michigan.


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Big Red Legends The public’s love affair with Holland’s treasured lighthouse endures By Sally Hallan Laukitis


liance. Thus began Holland’s love affair with their famous Big Red icon. That love affair came close to ending in 1971, when the U.S. Coast Guard declared the lighthouse was surplus, and said it could no longer justify the expense of maintaining and repairing the old light. As one who spent his summers playing in the shadow of the lighthouse, Gronberg joined the Holland Harbor Historical Lighthouse Historical Commission’s board of directors, a group whose goal was to save the lighthouse, in the 1980s. That group of passionate citizens crafted the name Big Red as a way to generate awareness of the lighthouse’s possible de-

mise. And it worked. In 1978, the Coast Guard granted the lease of Big Red to the Holland Harbor Lighthouse Historical Commission, of which Gronberg’s mother, Hester, was a founding member. Thirty years later, in 2008, the commission was granted a quit claim deed for the lighthouse through the National Lighthouse Preservation Act. With ownership, the lighthouse commission jumped at the opportunity to share Big Red’s history. Holland was founded in 1847 by the Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte, a Dutch pastor, who knew Lake Michigan access was critical for the fledgling community to


he Holland Harbor Lighthouse, affectionately known as Big Red, reigns as the most photographed lighthouse in Michigan. But what many folks don’t know is that Big Red wasn’t always red. “The lighthouse used to be yellow and purple. In 1956, the U.S. Coast Guard sandblasted the tower and painted it bright red, satisfying a requirement that all navigational aids on the right side of a harbor entrance must be red,” says John Gronberg, president of the Holland Harbor Lighthouse Historical Commission and a member of the Michigan Lighthouse Al-



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Both pages: Holland’s lighthouse was painted red in 1956 and, since then, has been called Big Red. It’s a favorite landmark among boaters and sunset-lovers.

flourish. However, Black Lake (now called Lake Macatawa), which could offer that access, was silted in. Van Raalte petitioned both Michigan’s governor and the U.S. Congress for funds to build a much-needed channel. When those funds didn’t come, the settlers banded together and in the late 1850s, armed with pick axes and shovels, they hand-dug a channel to Lake Michigan that was deep enough to float barges. Between 1866 and 1872, federal money finally came through, and in 1870 the first lighthouse was built using those federal funds — 20 years before Holland Harbor was finished. The current lighthouse, which was electrified in 1932, has guarded the harbor for more than 100 years. There were only four lighthouse keepers

over the years and all of them lived ashore while tending to the Holland light each day. The last keeper retired in 1940, after the U.S. Lighthouse Bureau was abolished and all lighthouses came under the auspices of the Coast Guard. Big Red has captured the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Artists sketch it; boaters, kayakers, canoers, and sailors glide past it; and visitors to Holland State Park delight in it from across the channel. Walkers, and joggers often climb the 200-plus steps to the top of Mt. Pisgah, a towering sand dune rising 157 feet above the state park, for a bird’s-eye view of the famous icon. Locals and visitors snap pictures, and barge and tugboat deckhands wave to sunbathers as they pass by on their way to drop off or pick up loads of limestone, aggregate, or scrap iron at commercial enterprises located on Lake Macatawa. “The Holland Harbor Lighthouse Historical Commission maintains the structure and records of Big Red, and relies on contributions of local residents, visitors, and friends to do so,” Gronberg says. “The lighthouse is typically repainted every 10

years at the commission’s expense. About three years after it was last painted (in 2009), the paint job began to fade and Big Red started to turn pink.” Two local companies, Lamar Construction and Repcolite Paint, stepped in and donated their services to restore the lighthouse to its famous brilliance. “We also maintain an American Flag at Big Red year ’round. The flag is larger in the summer and smaller in the shoulder seasons. We light the flag so it can remain up 24 hours a day, and we try our best to raise and lower it per the instruction of the governor’s office,” Gronberg says. “Mariners use it as an indication of wind direction and velocity. If we go bare pole, we hear about it quickly. We use between eight and 10 flags each season.” Today, thanks to dedicated supporters such as Gronberg, the public’s love affair with Big Red continues.

PLAN IT! Holland Harbor Lighthouse bigredlighthouse.com MICHIGAN BLUE

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Coastal Preserve Arcadia Dunes spotlights diverse Lake Michigan habitat and amazing trails


t 3,800 acres, the expansive Arcadia Dunes: The C.S. Mott Nature Preserve, which sprawls out on both sides of scenic M-22 between Manistee and Frankfort, offers a four-season oasis for outdoor recreation. One of the largest privately owned preserves on the Lake Michigan coast (west of Crystal Mountain Resort and south of Frankfort) is a wonderful, less-traveled escape, especially if you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, birding, or savoring Lake Michigan vistas. In the spring, the preserve pops with colorful wildflowers and elusive morel


By Marla R. Miller mushrooms. You can enjoy a quiet woodland walk, tackle an 11-mile mountain bike ride, or listen for the sounds and sights of migrating birds. AllTrails.com, the popular crowdsourced, worldwide collection of online hiking reviews, gives high marks to seven trails (both long and short) within the preserve’s 15-mile network. Trails near the lakeshore traverse sand dunes, while those on interior protected public land include hardwood forests and grassland landscapes. Even better, the preserve is free and draws fewer crowds than Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 30 miles up

the coast, and the views looking out over Lake Michigan are equally as stunning as those at Sleeping Bear. Why Visit?: “The property is amazing,” says Glen Chown, executive director of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, which oversees the preserve. “It has everything we love about Michigan — two miles of waterfront shoreline and coastal dunes that are world-class and rise straight out of Lake Michigan.” The process of acquiring the Arcadia Dunes property, the largest preserve in its system, is a real David and Goliath story. Chown explains that from 2003 to 2005, large and small donors, foundations, and


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other conservationists raised $35 million to protect the former Consumers Energy property from development. “It’s one of the great conservation success stories in the United States,” he says. “It was such a daunting challenge.” The land conservancy has invested millions of dollars in trails, signage, and the universally accessible Overlook Trail. That award-winning, half-mile trail is accessible from the Baldy Trail parking lot, just off M-22 north of the Inspiration Point overlook. Visitors with limited mobility or families pushing strollers can enjoy a short nature walk to see Lake Michigan, the Chippewa Basin, and the surrounding sand dunes. “You’re on a platform on top of a 360-foot dune overlooking Lake Michigan,” Chown says. “It happens to be overlooking the deepest point of Lake Michigan.” If you’re short on time, the Baldy Trail loop is an easy to moderate hike that continues on to the Old Baldy dune. Visitors can pack a picnic lunch and catch some rays on the dune bluff, then loop back through fields and beech-maple forests to the parking lot. Colors Galore: “The outer, easternmost trail to Baldy is a hot spot for wild-

flowers,” says volunteer preserve steward Paula Dreeszen, who grew up hiking the Baldy dune ridge before it was part of Arcadia Dunes. “You go through a higher-quality forest that’s good for spring wildflowers, and you’ll hear the wood thrush singing,” she adds. The Dry Hill Trails see plenty of use in the warmer months as mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners share the unique trail system. The conservancy worked with the International Mountain Bicycling Association, based in Boulder, Colo., to build the sustainable multiuse trail. The annual Arcadia Grit & Gravel Mountain Bike Race attracts racers from across the Midwest. “This is one of the premier mountain bike trails in all of Michigan,” Chown says. “It’s a huge attraction. It’s a very flowy trail with great sight lines, and people love it.” The shorter Chestnut Loop and Camp Trail cover relatively flat terrain, making them popular with beginners and intermediate bikers. About four miles inland, the Dry Hill Grasslands property and Pete’s Woods Trail offer a different experience. Dreeszen, who has volunteered for 15 years, has helped build trails, monitor invasive plants, and develop wildflower guides. She leads guided wildflower hikes

at Pete’s Woods throughout the spring, and hops on her bike during the peak trillium bloom. She recommends downloading the Spring Woodland Wild Flowers Guide and Dune Wildflowers Guide, along with trail maps, from the preserve’s website before venturing out. A Birder’s Delight: Arcadia Dunes also includes stops along the Sleeping Bear Birding Trail, including the Baldy Trail and Grassland property off Keillor Road. Grasslands have nearly disappeared in recent decades, and the once-fallow field features diverse habitats that attract more than 150 bird species year-round. The 123-mile birding trail, a renowned migratory flyway, runs from Manistee to Traverse City along M-22. “It’s unique having such a large preserved area where, if you like to hike trails, there are plenty of trails,” Dreeszen says. “For those who are mushroom or deer hunters, there’s plenty of (that) off trail. It’s a big place, similar to Sleeping Bear Dunes, but smaller than that.”

PLAN IT! Arcadia Dunes: The C.S. Mott Nature Preserve gtrlc.org

Both pages: Adventure-seekers explore the two miles of shoreline and world-class dunes that rise straight out of Lake Michigan.


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Your Belle Isle Primer Take a closer look at Detroit’s ever-changing state park


the Detroit River. Visitors can quickly feel like they’re no longer in an urban area.” This year brings even more opportunities to feel that way about the island, which became Michigan’s 102nd state park in 2014. The Detroit River is accessible from the Dossin Great Lakes Museum for the first time, offering another place to soak up sun, or launch a kayak. Roughly $2.4 million of the $4.9 million in planned museum improvements have been completed, according to Rebecca Salminen Witt of the Detroit Historical Society, which administers the facility. In addition to the new beach/kayak

launch, new pedestrian lighting, additional bike racks, a cycle service station, and a canine refresh station for pets have been added, and the first section of a new Riverwalk featuring a freighter-viewing telescope has been installed. A sprawling, 2.6-acre garden created by famed designer Piet Oudolf opens this summer. The High Line in New York City and the Lurie Garden at Chicago’s Millennium Park are among his other creations. The Oudolf Garden, situated next to the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon, will feature 26,000 hearty perennials and grasses plus 47,000 bulbs and a rain garden. Here are other great ways to immerse



ummarizing the charms of the 982-acre Belle Isle State Park, nestled between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, in the Detroit River, is easy for Michele Hodges, president and CEO of the Belle Isle Conservancy. “There’s really no better place in the metro region where you can walk, bike, or paddle through such a rich diversity of plant life, wildlife, architecture, and history in such close proximity,” she says. “There’s also the unique opportunity of viewing the skylines of two cities, and don’t forget about the more than 200 species of birds and the only public beach on

By Mark Spezia


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yourself in Belle Isle’s outdoor offerings:


More than five miles of trails traverse the island, including the 2.2-mile Blue Heron Lagoon Trail. It begins off Lakeshore Drive near the east end of the island. The path loops around the lagoon, taking hikers to some of the park’s most scenic sections, and features the vivid greenery of one of the few wet-mesic forests — a wet-to-moist forested wetland — remaining in Michigan. Overhead is a canopy that includes hickory, maple, ash, and stately oak trees, some more than 300 years old. After a half mile, hikers reach the William Livingstone Lighthouse, a 58-foot structure that’s North America's only Georgia marble-sculpted lighthouse. This is also a perfect spot to watch freighters moving between the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. Wildlife that can be seen include raccoons, great horned owls, beavers, fox, deer, waterfowl, and bald eagles. Jennifer Steelman, a member of the Michigan Hiking and Backpacking Facebook group, also recommends the Nashua Creek Trail, which begins off Vista Drive. “The trail along the stream is really pretty,” she says. “You can go along pretty far on either side, then cross over the footbridge and hike back to where you started from.”



especially in the late summer and fall,” says Wheelhouse owner Kelli Kavanaugh. “The two-way cycle track installed on Central Avenue makes it a particularly nice ride through the wooded eastern end of the island. Around the island, views of Detroit and Windsor, along with the trees and birds, make for an unparalleled ride.”


Belle Isle attracts paddlers of all skill levels. Beginners can float down the island’s serene canals or venture into one of its three inland lakes. Lake Okonoka contains several small islands of its own. More advanced kayakers revel in circling around Belle Isle, usually a threehour trip that includes paddling against the Detroit River current, or paddling out to the island from the mainland. “The interior waterways are good for beginners and there’s plenty to see, from the views of downtown Detroit and Canada to fish and wildlife,” says Tiffany VanDeHey of Riverside Kayak Connection in Wyandotte, which also offers rentals, tours, and lessons.

Detroit River Sports conducts a tour for more advanced paddlers that explores a portion of Belle Isle. The tour starts near Riverfront-Lakewood East Park. “It’s challenging, including three miles against the Detroit River’s current, but very rewarding,” says DRS manager Marie Mastrangelo, who also is one of the many guides on staff. “It’s a unique experience paddling between two countries, and the freighters are sometimes so close it’s surreal.”


Belle Isle features four fishing piers, but fishing is permitted everywhere in the park. Some popular spots are the Shelter 9 area, Blue Heron Lagoon, and the western side of the beach. “There’s almost no species you can’t catch from shore on Belle Isle — whether fishing off one of the piers or casting lines in inland lakes,” says Brad Smyth, owner of Detroit Outdoor Adventures, which offers charter fishing trips on the Detroit River. “The south pier, especially, provides an excellent platform to target walleye, perch, muskie, pike, smallmouth bass, cat-

This page: The Detroit River is now accessible from the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, which includes a new beach and kayak launch. Opposite page: Belle Isle welcomes kayakers of all levels.

Belle Isle contains miles of bike lanes, including those along the 6.5-mile road that loops around the island’s outer edge. Bicyclists can also venture into the park’s interior, and ride along portions of the canals and across bridges. A bike and pedestrian lane has been added to Central Avenue, which cuts through the center of the park. Bikes are also available to rent through Riverside Kayak Connection at Flynn Pavilion and Belle Isle Beach. Wheelhouse Detroit Bike Shop leads Belle Isle tours from its off-island location on nearby Atwater Street. “Belle Isle is wonderful for biking, MICHIGAN BLUE

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Bull says more bald eagles are being seen all over the island, and they build nests in the wooded areas. “That’s where you can see them flying, perching, and nesting, and they raised three young last year,” he adds. “That shows Belle Isle is a good environment for them.”


fish, and, sometimes, lake sturgeon. “The inland lakes are spectacular for largemouth bass, bluegill, and sunfish,” he adds, whether you’re casting jigs or crank baits into the Detroit River, or floating a bobber with a worm in the inland lakes.”

winter here — about a quarter of North America’s population. Other interesting birds are osprey, saw-whet owl, Baltimore oriole, and the rose-breasted grosbeak, which spends part of the year in South America.”

PLAN IT! Michigan Department of Natural Resources michigan.gov/dnr/; search for Belle Isle Park Vehicles entering the state park must have a Michigan Recreation Passport. Visitors may also walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation to the park.


Nearly 300 acres of old growth forest and wetlands on the eastern end of Belle Isle, along with the Detroit River shoreline and other bodies of water, make the island metro Detroit’s top bird-watching destination. The habitat creates an ideal stopover location for migrating birds. Species that can be seen include scarlet tanagers, great blue herons, ovenbirds, orioles, eastern meadowlarks, and owls and bald eagles. “Belle Isle is situated where the Mississippi and Atlantic flyways come together, and offers a place (to stop) for birds traveling both north and south,” says Jim Bull, of the Detroit Audubon Society. “More than 250,000 canvasback ducks 18

Photographers capture state park beauty and hope to see a bald eagle through their lens.


In addition to the new beach at Dossin Museum, the main, larger beach is along Riverbank Drive and features a half mile of sandy shoreline. The zero-depth entry, gradual depth increase, and usually tame waves make it ideal. No other Michigan beach features views of a major city’s skyline. “When you see people coming together on the only public Detroit River beach in Michigan, you sense that everything is right with the world,” Hodges says. “It’s the quintessential summer experience in Detroit.”


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Island Escapes Mackinac inspires a women’s fiction writer to pen books with northern Michigan vibes By Megan Swoyer


course, I had to tweak it,” Miles says. “The characters can walk across the street from their home to the beach, which isn’t the case based on the homes I was inspired by.” Although they’re part of a series, the books are stand-alone novels and don’t need to be read in order. Miles wanted to be a novelist from the time she was a young girl growing up in a small town in Connecticut. “I asked for books for Christmas, not toys,” she laughs. In 2011 (after she left a corporate career in the real estate arena), she decided to enter a Harlequin Romance Christmas story competition. “I had to (send in) one chapter, and I won!” she exclaims. Harlequin then asked for the full manuscript, which she quickly polished and submitted two weeks later. A few months after that, she got “The Call.” That first book was published in 2013. “I published two books with Harlequin before moving to Grand Central, which is an imprint of Hachette,” she says. She now publishes her books independently (Rosewood Press) and writes about five novels per year. “Summer’s End” is her 30th novel. The full-time writer even finds time to read a book a week. When she and her family visit the island again, who knows what she’ll write? Perhaps a third Mackinac-inspired book will come to life. “The plan has always

been to have at least three,” she says. If you’re craving reading about other Michigan locales, be sure to check out Miles’ companion series to Evening Island: the Blue Harbor series. “The completely fictional town of Blue Harbor is just a ferry ride across the water from the island,” Miles shares. “The setting for this Michigan-based series was inspired by a compilation of small towns I’ve visited in the Great Lakes area. The seventh book (in this series) will release in May.”

READ IT! Learn more: oliviamilesbooks.com. Her books are available in e-book or paperback formats from retailers such as amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and apple.com (Apple Books).



f you’re looking for a novel to take you away to an idyllic and familiar spot, consider Olivia Miles’ “Meet Me at Sunset” (2020 ) or her “Summer’s End,” coming out this July. Both books, part of her Evening Island series, are based on three sisters who spend time on historic Mackinac Island. “When we visited Mackinac Island the first time, I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was,” says Miles, right, who lives in Illinois, just north of Chicago. “I don’t think people realize how beautiful the Great Lakes are. We make it a point to return to the island every July.” She and her husband and 11-year-old daughter like to stay at the Grand Hotel for five days. “The island is such an escape. That’s why my readers like it; they feel like they’re being transported to an idyllic small community.” Miles doesn’t actually name the town in her books Mackinac (for creative liberty), but the location is heavily based on the island. She gets her inspiration from the things she and her family do on their summer visits. “I love to see how the locals live,” says Miles, known as an expert in women’s fiction and small-town contemporary romance. “We avoid the tourist areas pretty much,” she explains. The family enjoys horseback riding, dining at The Woods restaurant, morning bike rides, exploring the British Landing area, and looking at all the pretty homes. Readers of “Meet Me at Sunset” will, in fact, discover how one of the homes was passed on to three sisters after their grandmother died. The three sisters, each with their own life challenges, decide to visit the island and stay at the house. “Of MICHIGAN BLUE

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Paging Book Lovers A quirky neighborhood comes to life in a novel by former Boyne City resident By Megan Swoyer



atherine Heiny’s “Early Morning Riser” (Knopf, April 2021) has been described by Kirkus, a book review magazine, as “a heartwarming novel with a small-town vibe that sparkles like wine sipped with friends under backyard fairy lights.” Why do we care? Because Heiny, right, was inspired by her experiences in Boyne City. Kind and funny, the characters and scenes are reminiscent of your favorite quirky neighbor. Adds well-known and bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand: “Early Morning Riser’ is a charming, witty, and heartwarming novel about life and love in a small town that is destined to improve your mood and restore your faith in humankind. Katherine Heiny — who has long been a personal favorite writer of mine — is at the height of her storytelling powers. Every sentence is a treat!” A bit about the plot: Jane moves to Boyne City to teach second grade and soon falls head over heels for the local lothario, Duncan, who has seemingly been involved with every woman in town. Somehow, he’s remained friendly with all of them — doing housework, fixing furniture, or mowing lawns long after any fling has ended. Because of this, everyone in Boyne City seems to have an opinion about Jane’s relationship and isn’t shy about voicing it. Duncan comes with his own cast of characters: There’s his exwife, Aggie, and her eccentric husband, Gary; and his co-dependent co-worker, Jimmy, who seems to drop by at the most inopportune times. Jane’s mother, meanwhile, is the kind who always knows best. As Jane begins to wonder whether

this is the life she really wants, a terrible accident leaves her inextricably tied to Duncan, Jimmy, Aggie, and Gary. The plot thickens and we see Jane with an unconventional family — and maybe the best family she could ask for. Hei ny, who grew up in Midland and now lives in Maryland, owned a house with her husband in Boyne City for 15 years, and says she always hoped to set a book there. Last year, she and her husband sold the house; the movers were packing up around her as she wrote the last pages of “Early Morning Riser.” “It will forever be one of my favorite places,” Heiny says, “and I like to think Jane is still there.” In the book, Heiny references places around the Boyne area including the Boyne River Inn, Avalanche Mountain in the Avalanche Mountain Preserve, Boyne Mountain Resort, Kilwins, and Robert’s Restaurant. There are several beach scenes, too (Peninsula Beach is specifically referenced). Some of the author’s favorite memories of the area include ski picnics at Boyne Highlands. “My father used to lug a huge picnic basket filled with a fondue pot with Sterno, cheese, French bread, white wine, and wine glasses to the warming hut at the top so we could have lunch in style,” she says. “I loved that, even though I didn’t

like fondue and was too young to drink wine.” Other favorite traditions include going out for ice cream at Kilwins and hiking the trails at Avalanche Mountain Preserve. When she was finishing “Early Morning Riser,” she would write all day and then she and her family would head to a little beach on Lower Lake Drive. “It’s a small beach with one picnic table, and often we were the only people there. We’d sit at the picnic table and watch the sunset. It may be my favorite place in all the world.”

READ IT! Learn more: katherineheiny.com. “Early Morning Riser” can be purchased through penguinrandomhouse.com and wherever books are sold, including indiebound.org, bookshop.org, and amazon.com. MICHIGAN BLUE

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Tuning In Native Michigander and renowned pianist George Winston recalls Lake Michigan beauty — and lots of sand


f you’re a Michigan musician or a composer, you may want to take a cue from renowned pianist George Winston, whose most celebrated music and arrangements were influenced by winter, spring, summer, fall, and the great outdoors. After all, there’s no place like Michigan to experience a variety of seasons. “I’m influenced by the seasons and topography,” Winston shared recently, before performing live online at the 44th Ann Arbor Folk Festival. It may very well be that some of the works played by the pianist feature arrangements and melodies that hearken to his childhood in Michigan, at least subconsciously. Winston, right, who was born in 1949 in Hart, Mich., says he lived mainly in Grand Rapids when he was very young. “I remember white sand to the west around there and infinite water,” he says. “Blue skies, blue water, and infinite white sand.” Whether he’s playing his own songs or those written by other composers, Winston gives them all a certain je ne sais quoi, or pleasing quality — whether it’s his distinct minimalist-acoustic rural folk feel with its soulful echoes in different keys, or his lively take on upbeat Vince Guaraldi pieces. When you hear George Winston, there’s no doubt it’s him. His sounds stand apart from the world of pianists the way Godiva rules in the chocolate kingdom. “I think in terms of seasons,” he explains, “and something emerges every so often, coming with a season or a place. I write down the chords and say, OK, let’s see what that is. And maybe it’s something.” Winston’s father, who played the piano and guitar by ear, was a geologist who worked for oil companies. His mother also played the piano, Winston says, and used sheet music.


By Megan Swoyer Besides being impressed with Michigan’s sandy shores, he also recalls the west coast’s swathes of floral abundance. “I remember seemingly infinitely long fields of tulips,” says Winston, who released his 15th solo piano album, Restless Wind, in 2019. As for where he lived, the musician says he thought his childhood home had big hills in the backyard that were like “10 feet high,” but today admits he was a bit off on that guesstimate. “I went back and they were like 2 feet tall,” he laughs. “Everything looks bigger when you’re young. Anything you remember when you’re young, you have to shrink it in half.” Once his father was transferred to Montana, Winston only returned to his home state for concert tours. “I’ve been to Marquette, Ann Arbor, Cheboygan, St. Joe-Benton Harbor, Detroit, Calumet, In-

terlochen, Kalamazoo — probably 15 or 20 cities in Michigan,” he shares. He says he may be back in his home state sometime in the future. And, who knows — maybe there will be an emergence of his quintessential, uncluttered melodies evoking Michigan’s beautiful west coast or fields upon fields of colorful tulips, both of which would undoubtedly inspire any musician. Regarding the creative process, Winston says, “I’m really part of it (composing); but it has to work out on its own and I can only do so much with discipline and mental focus. It will take its own sweet time.”

HEAR IT! Stay updated on George Winston’s concerts at https://tourlink.to/gwconcerts or georgewinston.com.


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Find out about R. Youngblood & Co.’s inviting patio design in this section.

26 Designers’ Notebook A great exterior paint color, furniture-industry market dates, a sweet baby firepit, and more.

26 Studio Visit A Grand Rapids-area artist expresses Lake Michigan’s beauty.

28 Design Stars Meet two talented landscape designers who make the most of waterfront views.

34 The Elements A guide to spring cleaning, floral cottage accents, and the latest décor for outdoor living. MICHIGAN BLUE

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DESIGNERS’ NOTEBOOK Home-related tips, trends, and tidbits

GET OUTDOORS: Riverbend Home, a home décor online marketplace, reveals in its Around the Bend spring trends that they’re seeing lots more outdoor working spaces, and also acknowledges that front yards are the new backyard (think drive-by celebrations). riverbendhome.com FENCE ME IN: Sherwin-Williams’ 2021 Color of the Year is proving to be a great shade for wood fences. Urbane Bronze is a rich, grounding brown with gray undertones. sherwin-williams.com TO MARKET: The High Point Spring Market returns to an in-person event June 5-9 in High Point, N.C. It’s the place to be for those who love design, as it’s where tomorrow’s homes are imagined, given form, and brought to life by home furnishings industry innovators. The fall market is scheduled for Oct. 16-20 highpointmarket.org COOL COVE: The Ford Cove Shoreline and Coastal Wetland Restoration Project is transforming Ford House’s Lake St. Clair shoreline back to its natural state. It was originally created by the Fords when they built their estate in Grosse Pointe Shores in the 1920s. fordhouse.org PETITE PITS: Measuring 10 inches tall, Baby Fire Pits are perfect for smallcottage patios. They’re designed to be used with a smokeless, nontoxic gel fuel for hassle-free enjoyment. babyfirepits.com — Compiled by Megan Swoyer

Have news about waterfront living? Email MSwoyer@Hour-Media.com.


Shore Thing

A Grand Rapids-area artist expresses Lake Michigan’s beauty with paint, water, and a few surprises By Megan Swoyer


ive years ago, Susan Anderson picked up a paint brush and started to create a beach scene on pallet board. “Everyone was in Florida and I couldn’t be, so I said, If I can’t be there, I can at least try to paint a beach,” she recalls. Dipping her toes into the world of painting turned out to be a very good thing. She used wood from a pallet as her canvas and painted water, sand, and sky so beautifully that when people saw the results of the Michigan beach scene, they wanted to purchase her paintings. “My brother wanted a painting immediately,” she recalls, “then others, and then I started to attend craft and art fairs.” The “beach painter” from Jenison, Mich., soon became a well-known fixture at a variety of venues. Anderson’s husband, Paul, has become involved in the art scene, as well. Today,

he purchases Anderson’s tongue-andgroove wood (no pallets anymore) and does the framing. “He’s been alongside me and I couldn’t do it without him,” Anderson says. A lover of art since she was young, Anderson, who grew up in Forest Hills, attended Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids and then Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. “I loved painting landscapes in watercolor,” she recalls, “but I wanted to be an art therapist.” She eventually received a degree in marketing, with an art history minor. Anderson, who has three grown children, says she soon started to “get out of my box more.” Floating in a more tactile direction, she added different mediums and textures to her acrylic base, such as gels and sand and crushed beach shells. Her dimensional creations with the added


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“I paint with a passion, to connect people with faith and optimism. I feel like I’m helping to spread more light in the world. Most people tell me they get a sense of calmness and healing from my paintings,” she says. That feeling of calm even is showcased in many of Anderson’s painting titles, such as “Unwavering,” “Healing Waters,” and “Breaking Through.” Paul frames the finished works in the same wood that’s used for the painting. “Some of the wood is rough and some is smoother,” his wife says. “The knots make the water appear as if it’s moving a bit.” The artist adds that she doesn’t make prints; “All of my work is original.” As for how the paintings add beauty and serenity to home interiors, Anderson shares that many of her clients hang the work in their master bedrooms, above beds, or in bathrooms. “A lot of the colors I use are peaceful — blues, teals, aquas. I also love sand colors and sunsets. I’m driven by vibrancy. And you can’t go wrong with water.”

MORE INFORMATION You can find Anderson’s art at susanandersonartist.com. Ten percent of all sales go toward community organizations such as I Understand, Love Inc., and Mel Trotter Ministries.


Both pages: Artist Susan Anderson says she gets most of the inspiration for her beach paintings from Lake Michigan, especially at different hours of the day.

touches were so appealing and striking, she won an honorable mention award in the painting category at her first fine art fair (in Grand Haven). “It was a huge honor to me. I just love to paint to bring joy into the world,” she says. The beaches of Grand Haven are, in fact, where it all started for the artist, who also owns a marketing firm called The Andersoon Group. “We’ve vacationed there for 23 years, renting the same cottage every year,” the artist says. “We cherish our family and traditional vacations.” Being right on the water, she found her perfect muse. Calling her work abstract (“It’s freeing; I don’t have to make it look like it’s supposed to look,” she explains), the painter says adding the sand and crushed beach shells produces texture and depth. Looking at her works, one can literally see the sand, and almost sense the feel of it beneath their feet. Since the water, shore, and sky are created with acrylic paints and, frequently, various mixed-media, and because Anderson’s creations are tactile and lightly multisensory, viewing her pieces is a dimensional experience — it’s as if you’re sitting at the water’s edge feeling the light splashes of white-crested, gently breaking waves and the tacky sand, and taking in the ever-changing blues of Great Lakes water and sky.


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Both pages: Sedum grows well among the stonework at this Goodrich home on Shinanguag Lake, says landscape designer Ryan Youngblood.

Water and Wonderment Ryan Youngblood finds ways to blend optimal water views with creative landscaping By Jeanine Matlow | Photography by Jeff Garland


rowing up near Rochester, Ryan Youngblood, president of R. Youngblood & Co. in Rochester, a landscape architecture and design/build firm, wasted no time going after his passion; in fact, he started his company when he was a junior in high school. “I always had a love for plants, (and) that grew into a love for well-designed outdoor spaces,” says Youngblood, who has a degree in landscape horticulture from Oakland Community College. Although he began on the garden care side of the business, he eventually followed his desire to pursue design — like the upscale residential projects he specializes in today. “We create a landscape at a much higher level that’s customized to the client, and we’re extremely passionate about what we do,” he says.


His firm, which has been in business for 24 years, handles everything from smaller lots and midsize properties to large estates. “It’s not about the size of the property, but how the client wants to interact with it by having a properly designed space to enhance their lifestyle,” Youngblood says. “We get to know the lifestyle of each individual and understand the site, (so we can get to) the perfect blend of personality, lifestyle, and architecture to incorporate a landscape that becomes a true inside/out piece,” he adds. With waterfront homes, Youngblood says the view is already there. “You need to understand every view from the inside out. In Michigan, we’re inside (a lot), so you need to find (outdoor perspectives from indoors) that offer magic, and then leverage that. We like to call them sweet spots,” he explains.


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Key plants in his designs include hydrangeas, perennials, and grasses in mass. “You can easily overdesign a lakefront property,” he says. “You have to know how to (determine) the best use of space in the right spots, so you enjoy every second of being out there, letting the lake be about what it already is, and enhancing those views.”

MORE INFORMATION ryoungblood.com

DESIGN STA R’S SECR ET “We try to work with blues, white, and purples with our lakefront homes,” R. Youngblood & Co. owner Ryan Youngblood says. “These color tones are calm enough to not distract the eye too much from the grand view — the lake itself.” — JM

LA K E LI FE LOW DOW N Ryan Youngblood’s favorite body of water is the Au Sable River, where he carries out his passion for fly fishing. “I’ve experienced my most favorite moments in the quietness and stillness of what a river brings,” Youngblood says. “It brings me mental pause.” He also loves the Manistee River, where his family has a cabin, but says, “My favorite lake is Lake Michigan, where my family and I find quiet little beaches and enjoy the ocean-like views and big-water swims. It’s such a large body of water. You just can’t find that beauty anywhere else. I love how Lake Michigan makes you feel so small; it humbles you.” — JM

This page: Waterfront landscaping by R. Youngblood & Co. of Rochester makes the most of great views at a home on a pond in Metamora (top two photos) and in Goodrich.



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Both pages, clockwise from right: Verbena and zinnias, and limelight hydrangeas, all do well on Mackinac, says the gardens’ designer, Jack Barnwell.

Garden Guru

Jack Barnwell, a multifaceted, homegrown talent, elevates outdoor spaces nationwide By Jeanine Matlow | Photography by Jennifer Wohletz


ward-winning landscape architect and author Jack Barnwell could be considered a triple threat — he’s president of Barnwell Landscape & Garden Inc. on Mackinac Island, and also owns C3 Gardens in Naples, Fla., and Jack Barnwell Design, based in Traverse City. He took a liking to the “green industry” while growing up in Harbor Springs, where he worked at a greenhouse. “In high school, I was always drawn to gardening and being outside,” Barnwell says. Later, as a college student, he studied horticulture and landscape design. He attended the University of Hawaii, where he worked on a variety of landscaping jobs before moving back to the lower 48 to finish college at the University of Montana (where he met his future wife). Eventually, the couple returned to Michigan. “It was just me and my bicycle and a bunch of hand-me-down rusty tools, but I knew how to make a beautiful garden,” he says. He started his business by taking care of his family’s and friends’ gardens, and word spread. Today, his commercial and residential work shines on Mackinac Island, rooted in the classic Victorian look he understands well, thanks to spending summers there growing up and becoming passionate about the history of that design style. In addition to his work with landscapes and lighting, Barnwell created the


patented AquaPots premium ceramic selfwatering planters. They’re absolutely a benefit for the island’s weekend residents, who can water their porch pot on Sunday before heading back to the mainland, and return to find a lush and healthy plant. Living so close to the water, Barnwell says you have to pay tremendous respect to Mother Nature and the elements. He also recommends blending in with the natural environment as much as possible. In a dune-like setting, that could mean planting native grasses, with roses and hydrangea closer to the home for more color and detail. (The hydrangea photo at right is from Barnwell’s book, “The Gardens of Mackinac Island,” available at Main Street Art in Milford and on the island at The Island Bookstore and Grand Hotel.) “In an outdoor living area, it’s important to make it transition into the surrounding woodlands or beachfront,” he says. “You don’t want a stark line between the two.” Outdoor living areas typically require more room than anticipated for patio furniture or a fire pit, adds Barnwell, who softens those spaces with planters. “Everybody wants an outdoor oasis for that staycation, so they can enjoy every minute of the beautiful summer weather right at home,” he says. MORE INFORMATION jackbarnwelldesign.com


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DESIGN STA R’S SECR ET Lilacs often appear in Barnwell’s northern Michigan landscapes. “They’re such an incredible celebration for the return of spring,” he says. “They’re hardy, no-fuss, and they can be pruned into beautifully arched, tree-like forms. When you frame a view in lilacs in a seating area, you can unwind with a cold beer or a glass of wine and have a wonderful celebration of the first great weekend of the year.” — JM

LA K E LI FE LOW DOW N Barnwell, who resides on Mackinac Island in the summer and heads to Naples, Fla., in the winter, says it’s hard to put into words the calming effect of looking out at a lake in the evening and listening to the sounds of birds, the breeze, and the lapping waves. “It’s different than looking out on the ocean or a river. I’ve always used it as a restart for myself at the end of a busy day planting and taking care of island gardens,” he says. “It’s a re-check to prepare for the next day.” His favorite way to spend time on the lake is with motor-free crafts like canoes, kayaks, or paddleboards. His garden features classic perennials: daisies, daylilies, coneflowers, poppies, hollyhocks, and irises. “They’re super tough and they were there long before we took stewardship of our 120-year-old log cabin,” Barnwell says of the low-maintenance varieties that he doesn’t have to fuss with when he gets home. “Living by the lakeshore, what I’ve come to enjoy is all the native wildflowers and plants that seem to surprise us in the most impossible places, like cracks and crevices, or a notch in a cedar tree. It’s the ones nature planted and I didn’t that I enjoy the most.” — JM MICHIGAN BLUE

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From stem and vine to petal and bloom, these flower-themed accents bring spring to life By Jamie Fabbri 1. The Peony Porcelain Flower by AERIN adds a pretty touch to your dresser or tabletop. $150, Neiman Marcus, Troy, neimanmarcus.com, aerin. com.

3. Give your door a cheery upgrade with WILLIAMSSONOMA’s Floral Garden Wreath. $94.95-$109.95, multiple locations, williamssonoma.com.

5. Get that spring feeling yearround with this Tulip Table Lamp by MACKENZIE-CHILDS. $278, Cutler’s, Petoskey, cutlersonline.com, mackenziechilds.com.

7. Watercolor dandelion clocks float on in this wallpaper print by YORK. $110/double roll, Windows, Walls & More, West Bloomfield, windowsandwalls. com, yorkwallcoverings.com.

2. Bring the outdoors in with the Vines Pendant by SONNEMAN — A WAY OF LIGHT. $1,540, Grand Rapids Lighting Center, Grand Rapids, grandrapidslighting.com, sonnemanawayoflight.com.

4. Freshen up your sofa with this KRAVET floral print pillow. To the Trade, Kravet/ Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy, michigandesign.com, kravet. com.

6. Blooming florals on ANTHROPOLOGIE’s HandTufted Rosamelle Rug make a fresh statement. $78-$1,298. Anthropologie, multiple locations, anthropologie.com.

8. TEMPAPER’s Peonies Removable Wallpaper in Gold Leaf is subtle yet dreamy. $98/roll, Stonesthrow, Grand Rapids, stonesthrowliving.com, tempaper.com.



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Right now we could all use a little vacation (home), with as little as 10% down.*

With as little as 10% down, low mortgage rates, and friendly service, financing your second home is as relaxing as owning it. Get started! Connect with an LMCU loan officer today, call (844) 394-2792 or visit LMCU.org/Mortgage. *For well qualified borrowers.

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LMCU NMLS ID #442967.

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Take It Outside




These accessories may be just what you need for hanging out fireside, lakeside, or deckside By Jamie Fabbri 1. Relax anywhere with LA SIESTA’s Travel Hammock, which comes in an array of colors. $69.90, Cheekade Meekade, Petoskey, cheekademeekade.com. 2. Simple and chic — ANNIE SELKE’s Cape Stripe Indoor/ Outdoor Pillow adds comfort and class to any space. $88, annieselke.com. 36

3. Hang in style with the Crew Outdoor Hanging Chair from ARHAUS. $1,399, Troy and Ann Arbor, arhaus.com.

5. Show off your plants in sleek style with HERMAN MILLER’s Wire Planter. $85$110, store.hermanmiller.com.

4. The Indio Rocking Chair by POTTERY BARN has a relaxed, sun-drenched vibe. $129-$649, multiple locations, potterybarn.com.

6. ARHAUS’ Harbor Indoor/ Outdoor Pouf adds function and style to your patio. $249, Troy and Ann Arbor, arhaus. com.

7. Set the mood with RH’s Yountville Round Fire Table. $6,925, Troy, rh.com. 8. POTTERY BARN’s Abrego All-Wicker Side Table with Ice Bucket makes entertaining a breeze. $299, multiple locations, potterybarn.com.


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Rose-cut rustic diamond ring, custom-made in our Grand Rapids studio.

www.metalartstudioinc.com (616) 459-5075 978 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids MI (Park free in our lot)

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Bright & Shiny

These products are sure to help you get your spring-cleaning done well By Jamie Fabbri 1. Made with a mix of essential oils and other plant-based ingredients, Stay Away Moths by EARTHKIND keeps moths at bay. $25.80/4 pack, earthkind.com. 2. HUMBLE SUDS’ All Purpose Cleaner safely and effectively cleans your home — plus, they’re essential oilinfused! $14.95, humblesuds.com. 38

3. Make cleanup a breeze with the DYSON V11 Torque Drive Cord-Free Vacuum. $699.99, dyson.com.

5. Keep clothes and linens fresh with THE LAUNDRESS’ Signature Detergent. $22, thelaundress.com.

4. The MOLEKULE Air purifier destroys pollutants in larger rooms with a sleek and sophisticated design. $799, molekule.com.

6. Give your Roomba a cheerful new look with the ROBO RASCALS ROOMBA COVERS (shown in Betsy the Bumblebee). $34.99, roborascals.com.

7. The new WORX 40V Power Share 725 psi Hydroshot Power Cleaner is ultrapowerful and ultra-portable. $369.99, worx.com.


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The Nation’s Leader in Log Siding & Knotty Pine Paneling Comins, Michigan 1.800.818.9971 • woodworkersshoppe.com


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Complete Your Michigan Experience With Michigan History Magazine From Star Trek and Detroit’s Green Book to Governor Milliken and the first women who trained to be astronauts, discover the history that has formed the Michigan of today.

hsmichigan.org/blue • (800) 366-3703

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Bright Idea Lighthouse-inspired design makes custom home on Lake Huron shine By Jeanine Matlow Photography by George Dzahristos

Both pages: There are several inviting destinations both inside and outside at this distinctive home in Caseville Township, located on Saginaw Bay’s Sand Point.



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rom an early age, the Great Lakes played a pivotal role in the life of Lou DesRosiers. The president of DesRosiers Architects in Bloomfield Hills fondly recalls annual camping and fishing trips with his prominent architect father in various waterfront locales, so it seems fitting his niche would become notable homes on the water — including his own Leelanau Peninsula dream house, among other premium properties. For clients with an exceptional location in Caseville Township, the concept of a livable lighthouse was integral to the unique site. “They wanted a family home with a central focal point on the Thumb,” DesRosiers says. “Sand Point protrudes into

Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. The beauty of the point is the pure sand surrounded by water, with 270-degree views.” That beauty has been enhanced with four glorious stories that make up the shapely 7,900-square-foot dwelling with a lower-level walkout that leads to the

beach, and a main floor with a kitchen, dining area, and great room. A curved staircase with floating treads heads to the guest rooms, including a bunk room that boasts nautical windows above the beds. There are two curved staircases with floating Brazilian cherry treads and glass MICHIGAN BLUE

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rails. One leads to the finished lower level walk-out and one to the second-level bedrooms. On the second level is an American natural cherry circular spiral staircase with floating treads leading to the lighthouse bunk room, and from the bunk room another natural cherry circular spiral staircase leads to an outdoor 360-degree patio. There are, in fact, four staircases serving five levels (four with livable square feet). The main level and lower level patios have 180-degree views of Sand Point/Saginaw Bay/Lake Huron. From the main rooms to the helical



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The lighthouse-style design and bountiful windows create stunning beauty, especially at night. Considered a modern Cape Cod-style home, the getaway is a popular spot for family and friends, who regularly enjoy the built-in firepit area.

staircase to the lighthouse tower and outdoor deck, circular shapes and spaces make the modern Cape Cod-style home feel connected to the landscape with generous windows that wrap around the rooms. The kitchen and dining areas feature natural cherry details and a triangular birdseye maple table that seats 12. A stone fireplace acts as a natural focal point and serves as a cozy gathering spot in the spacious great room. Glass railings surround the 360-degree balcony, which allows views of the lake in all directions. “Everywhere you go, you have a view,” DesRosiers says. Soothing hues of blue seem to echo the

“Sand Point protrudes into Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. The beauty of the point is the pure sand surrounded by water, with 270-degree views.” — Lou DesRosiers


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water in accents like the light fixtures in the kitchen, the dramatic glass on the twostory entrance, and the marble floors. “There’s always a new discovery wherever you go in the home,” DesRosiers says of unique features like the dwelling’s master suite with turrets, which house the master bathtub and a sitting area. “It was really suited for the family to relax and enjoy the lake,” he adds. There are plenty of destinations inside and out. “The idea was to have multiple places to go and things to do,” DesRosiers


says. “It’s the perfect place to have a negative edge pool, where the water blends with the lake.” The pool’s distinctive design looks like a work of art. Surrounded by water on three sides, the family retreat is an easy hour and 45-minute drive from the couple’s home in Oakland Township. “I designed it on paper and Lou made the magic work,” says homeowner Mark Hammond, managing partner of Alidade Capital, which specializes in institutional commercial real estate investments. He served as general

contractor and collaborated with his wife, Kirstin, on the interior design. Lake Huron provides a spectacular backdrop. “It’s great being on the big water. It’s really low-key up there, and very laid-back,” says Hammond, who appreciates his unique lot on the peninsula known for its white sand beaches. “In the summer it looks very tropical and it’s relatively shallow. Unlike Lake Michigan, the water’s really warm.” Hammond and his wife, who have a dock for their boats and WaveRunners,


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enjoy picturesque sunrises and sunsets, and the sounds of their surroundings. “We’re real close to the water. We can hear the waves breaking,” he says. Privacy comes with the territory. “Every room looks over the lake, but we can’t see any of the neighbors,” Hammond says. Positioned at the end of the point, the striking structure that features Bay Port stone from a local quarry marks the channel. “We keep a 200-watt lightbulb in the lighthouse for the effect,” he adds. A bonus bedroom above the garage ac-

commodates additional guests. Although the couple only hosted family last year, they spent more time there during the pandemic than ever before. Hammond’s parents had a second home in Fife Lake, and he and Kirstin continue the family tradition. “We have a great time there. We enjoy it most with our kids and grandkids, and we like to entertain friends. Everybody seems to have a good time,” he says. “The people in the area are just great, and we really like all the neighbors and friends we’ve made up there.”

Both pages, from left to right: The light-filled foyer, living room, dining area, and kitchen are striking. The homeowners appreciate their unique lot on the peninsula known for its white-sand beaches and warm water (in the summer).


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This page: The goal? A family home with a central focal point in the Thumb area of Michigan. That was met, thanks to a merging of ideas between the homeowners and architect. Opposite page: A unique design welcomes visitors.

BUYER’S GUIDE ARCHITECT Lou DesRosiers, DesRosiers Architects, Bloomfield Hills, desarch.com

FOYER Flooring, Stone – Azul Macauba, Blue Quartzite Flooring, Wood – Natural American Cherry Paneling – Birdseye Maple Windows, Stained Glass – A World of Glass, Waterford KITCHEN/DINING AREA Cabinetry – Downsview


Countertops – Silestone Stellar Blue Flooring – Natural American Cherry Refrigerator – SubZero Stove – Wolf Table, Dining – Custom, Paul Sirofchuck Contemporary Woodworking

Table – Custom, Paul Sirofchuck Contemporary Woodworking Table, Coffee – Custom, Paul Sirofchuck Contemporary Woodworking Tables, End – Custom, Paul Sirofchuck Contemporary Woodworking

LIVING ROOM Chairs Around Table – Custom, Paul Sirofchuck Contemporary Woodworking

EXTERIOR HVAC – Center Line Heating & Cooling, Center Line


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Lighting – Pine Tree Furniture & Lighting, Lake Orion Paint – Cedar Shake, Sherwin-Williams, Bracing Blue Patio – Idaho Flagstone Pool – Blue Water Spas and Pools, Bad Axe Roofing – Beyer Roofing, Saginaw Windows – Custom, Pella Windows & Doors

ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS Builder – Butcher & Butcher Construction, Rochester Hills Electrician – Zimmerman & Sons Electric, LLC, Port Austin Landscaping – Esch Landscaping, Pigeon


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Total Transformation Major renovation takes Ludington-area vacation home to new heights By Jeanine Matlow Photography by Bill Lindhout


t seems the stars were aligned for a remote location near Ludington to accommodate a sophisticated structure that reaches out to the environment in all directions. That’s where architect Ben Franceschi, with Mathison|Mathison Architects in Grand Rapids, turned a modest cabin on Hamlin Lake into a modern cottage retreat. With any architectural design, Franceschi says the connection to the outdoors gets expanded even more fully when it’s located on a waterfront site. For this renovation, he says he values the fact that his team was able to apply solid design principles to the original footprint. “It wasn’t


just about imagining a new home, but transforming the existing one,” he says. In the process, his client got a more adaptable floor plan. “He wanted the flexibility to maximize this 1,200-squarefoot space so that it would work when he (goes to the cabin) alone and (when) the whole family comes.” An expansive lot serves as a scenic backdrop for the smaller footprint. “Based on the size and the rugged territory, the challenge was how to reuse what we had and take this self-built hunting cabin that kind of looks at the lake and completely transform it without changing the form or the environment,” Franceschi says. “It was a lot of fun to


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For the home’s redesign, architect Ben Franceschi was able to apply solid design principles to the original footprint. Located on serene Hamlin Lake near Ludington, it’s a lovely retreat.


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keep the foundation and demolish the house, and to make it whatever we wanted it to be.” Keeping the bones of the house led to creative solutions. “It’s definitely modern and playful, with some windows in areas that are unexpected. It breaks down your definition of what you think it will be,” Franceschi adds. Practical considerations include rot-resistant materials on the exterior, like the concrete panels, fiber cement chimney, and asphalt shingle roof. The new deck combines a tropical hardwood floor with a corrugated steel canopy. 52

Inside, a whitewashed pine ceiling lightens the spacious living area, which leads to an open loft. “It was really important to pull the light from the lake all the way up there,” he says. “The master bedroom on the main level has windows that look out in all directions, and a glass door to the outdoor shower makes the house feel bigger and gives it more depth.” Homeowners Greg and Carlin Bylsma love the getaway. Greg fondly recalls spending time at his grandparents’ cottage Up North, and he couldn’t be happier with his new habitat. About 10 years ago, he began

searching for a lakefront property with a spot for a dock on the west side of the state. He came upon a cabin for sale on Hamlin Lake that was perfectly suited for the previous owner. After initially buying the home and just half the land, he and Carlin eventually purchased the entire 25 acres. When he later began contemplating renovations and his plans to expand didn’t pan out, the question became how to make the house live larger on its current foundation. Maximizing the living areas and achieving minimal wasted space meant finding sensible solutions like a stackable washer/


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The family room and kitchen feature clean, simple lines and furnishings. A whitewashed pine ceiling lightens the spacious living area.

dryer, and adding refrigerator drawers to the kitchen island, where an attached dining table stretches the existing footprint — as does a new location for the fireplace. Adding an expansive deck with an outdoor fireplace also extends the living area. “When you’re on the lake, you can look up to the cottage that once had two sliders and no other windows. Just adding windows and the deck makes it look bigger. Now it looks just as good from the lake, too,” says Bylsma, who enjoys boating and fishing in the summer and hunting in the fall.

The couple often hosts family and friends, including their three grown children, at the remodeled cottage. Furniture from the likes of Herman Miller and Design Within Reach give the interiors an urban edge. “We can sleep eight people,” Greg says. “I didn’t expect the ideas we had to have as much impact as they did, like opening up the loft so you can look out the windows to the lake. The space we created was way more than we would have anticipated.” As he explains, they got the total package. “When people want a cottage, be-

ing on a lake is important, but they also want to have land,” Greg says. “The fact that the two exist on this piece of property means we were able to make it something special, and so rare. We got the best lakefront, property, and modern design. It’s an unexpected treasure popping out of nowhere.”


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BUYER’S GUIDE ARCHITECT Mathison|Mathison Architects, Grand Rapids, mathisonarchitects.com BEDROOM Bedframe – Nelson Bed, Herman Miller, Grand Rapids


Chair, Yellow – Herman Miller, Grand Rapids Flooring – Masland, Beaucoup Black Ice, Standale Home Studio, Grand Rapids Table, Bedside – Herman Miller, Grand Rapids Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Agreeable Gray FAMILY ROOM Chair, Blue – Herman Miller, Grand Rapids Chair, Cow – Eames Plywood Chairs, Herman Miller, Grand Rapids Chair, Leather – Herman Miller, Grand Rapids Chair, with Ottoman – Eames Lounge Chair &

Ottoman, Herman Miller, Grand Rapids Door, Sliding – Pinnacle, Windsor Windows & Doors Flooring – Teka Hardwood, Studio Collection, Sawn White Oak and Almond Stain Handrail – Feeney Cable Rail, Conceal Series Sofa – Tuck Sofa, DWR Stool, Walnut – Eames, Herman Miller, Grand Rapids Stove, Wood-Burning – Morso Wood Stove, Model 6140 Table, Coffee – Eames, Herman Miller

Table, Wire Frame – Nelson Table, Herman Miller Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Super White Wall Treatment, Wood Stove – Custom Blacked Stainless Steel, Great Lakes Stainless, Traverse City KITCHEN Cabinetry – Custom, Designcraft, Grand Rapids Chairs, Dining – Nerd Chair Dining Chairs, DWR by Muuto


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Countertops – Absolute Black Granite, Top of the World Granite, Walker Dishwasher – Fisher & Paykel, 24-inch Single DishDrawer Flooring – Teka Hardwood, Studio Collection, Sawn White Oak and Almond Stain Freezer – SubZero, 30-inch Drawer Hood – Wolf, 36-inch Wall Mount Chimney Wood, Stainless Steel Microwave – Wolf, 24-inch Transitional Microwave Drawer, Stainless Steel

Refrigerator – SubZero, 30-inch Drawer Shelves, Floating – Custom, Designcraft, Grand Rapids Stove – Wolf, 36-inch Transitional Induction Range, Stainless Steel Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Super White EXTERIOR Awning – Custom, Inspired Home Builders, Hart Chairs, Adirondack – Deck Loll, DWR Deck – Kayu Decking, Red Balau

Doors – Pinnacle, Windsor Windows & Doors; Inspired Home Builders, Hart Fireplace, Outdoor – Isokern Magnun Fireplace, Positive Chimney & Fireplace, Cadillac Siding – Cement Panels, Cembrit Patina Windows – Pinnacle, Windsor Windows & Doors; Inspired Home Builders, Hart ADDITIONAL PROJECT CONTRIBUTOR Builder – Inspired Home Builders, LLC, Hart

This page: Herman Miller furnishings in this bedroom echo the home’s contemporary design. Agreeable Gray wall paint complements the outdoor scenery. Opposite page: An aerial view provides a unique perspective. The deck offers fantastic views of Mother Nature’s splendor.


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Lakeside Legacy New Shingle-style home in northern Michigan is a perfect gathering place for this family, now and into the future BY KHRISTI S. ZIMMETH | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES HAEFNER



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This page: Varied roof lines give the home a unique look from different perspectives. Opposite page: The home’s design makes the most of beachfront vistas.

ven the best-laid plans can change. The owners of this breathtaking new build on an inland lake in northern Michigan had just finalized plans to renovate their existing cottage when “an amazing and virtually untouched wooded and large property on the same lake came up for sale,” explains Birmingham-based architect Brian Neeper. Neeper, who worked with builder Jamie Cracchiolo of Joseph Philip Craig Custom Homes and the homeowner on both projects, quickly switched gears from a design tailored to the existing property to one that would do justice to the new site. The homeowners’ goals were not only to create a place that would serve as a cur-

rent gathering spot and getaway for their family, but one that also could function as a gift to future generations. Designing a long-lasting retreat and one that would make the most of lake vistas and the lot’s connection to the beach were top priorities. “With any lake house, it’s all about the water view and how the home captures the assets of the site,” Neeper says. The home’s large and heavily wooded hillside site may be enviable, but it wasn’t always easy to work with, the architect explains. The clients’ wish for a design with a strong beachfront connection required a driveway to be cut through an existing and previously impassible wooded bluff that dropped nearly 50 feet to an open

meadow — and, eventually, to the beach. “The major challenges usually turn out to be the driving forces of a dynamic and unique design,” Neeper says. “In this case, it was the raw nature and terrain.” Neeper’s imaginative solution included building two flanking four-car garage wings that act as retaining walls and create a motor court entry into the home’s main level. “The circulation spine (linear hallway) and service spaces are connected along the motor court as the plan spreads out along the lake, optimizing an open connection, visually and physically, toward the beach,” he explains. Northern Michigan vacations provided the inspiration for the 12,700-square-foot MICHIGAN BLUE

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residence’s architectural choice, a relaxed Shingle style that unifies the design inside and out. Exterior materials include both traditional siding and rustic stone from three Michigan quarries. “The architecture and materials are symbolic of the strength of tradition,” Neeper says. “The rough textures and earthen hues set a distinct contrast to the Victorian qualities of the Shingle-style forms.” The site design also depends heavily on natural ledge stone quarried from the Upper Peninsula to retain the earth along the drives, walks, and home perimeter, Neeper explains. “The stone is the primary element of strength that anchors the home to this site.” Inside, blue and gray tones punctuated with ivory and other neutrals provide a restful and relaxing palette and are another nod to the nearby lake, according to designer Tina Cracchiolo, of Craig & Co., and mother of builder Jamie Cracchiolo. The elegant yet easygoing East Coast-inspired style can be seen in the open living area and kitchen on the main floor, and in the home’s four bedrooms, seven baths, and two bunkrooms, which are built into the home’s sloping roof and are meant for the young and young at heart. Views can be had from all living and sleeping areas. Tradition and timelessness are recurring themes. “The owners wanted the

This page: Rough textures are a contrast to the home’s Victorian qualities. The view to the water is oustanding. Opposite page: Rustic stone from Michigan quarries adorns a stairwell. 58


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The architecture and materials are symbolic of the strength of tradition. — BRIAN NEEPER


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The major challenges usually turn out to be the driving forces of a dynamic and unique design. In this case, it was the raw nature and terrain. — BRIAN NEEPER



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house to look like it had been there a long time,” the designer explains. That goal also drove some material choices, including scraped vintage-looking wood flooring and classic molding that includes a circular coffered ceiling and paneling in the front staircase, and paneling and coffers in the lower-level bar, which also showcases a custom built-in shuffleboard table. “Cottage-style interiors are reinforced through the millwork, which was designed to provide a casual and comfortable feel with a familiarity of the past,” the architect adds. Builder Jamie Cracchiolo, who worked with his mother on the interiors and his brother on the landscaping, was often onsite during the construction process, he says. “I lived on the road for two and a half years,” he admits, adding: “The winters

were very challenging.” Neeper credits Cracchiolo with being “not only the builder, but also an invaluable partner throughout the entire process.” Cracchiolo, who grew up on Lake Angelus, says he can relate to the project’s family focus and to the homeowners’ unexpected yet serendipitous decision to change plans midstream, even if it meant starting from scratch. “In the end, the lake is everything,” he says. This page: “In the end, the lake is everything,” says builder Jamie Cracchiolo. And this is one of the prettiest. Opposite page: The site design features natural ledge stone to retain the earth along the drives, walks, and home perimeter. MICHIGAN BLUE

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This page: Designer Tina Cracchiolo created a feel of tradition and timelessness in the getaway’s interiors. Opposite page: The home looks extrabeautiful at night.



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BUYER’S GUIDE ARCHITECT Brian Neeper, Brian Neeper Architecture, Birmingham, brianneeper.com BUILDER Jamie Cracchiolo, Joseph Phillip Craig Custom Homes Inc., Troy, jpcraighomebuilders.com BEDROOM, MASTER Armchairs – Uttermost Bedframe – Taylor King Bench – Taylor King Chests, Bedside – Hooker Furniture Table, Decorative – Uttermost Flooring – Hand-Scraped Walnut, Everlast Floors, Troy Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Ozark Shadows

COMMON ROOM Armchairs – Rowe Bar Stools – Jessica Charles Centerpiece, Table – Hooker Furniture Chairs, Dining – Hooker Furniture Chandelier – Baldwin, Hudson Valley Lighting, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Troy Fireplace – Custom Lake Blend, Bay Harbor Stone, Capital Stoneworks, Bridgeport Flooring – Hand-Scraped Walnut, Everlast Floors, Troy Rugs – Imagine Palmas, Felt Gray Sofa, White – Rowe Furniture Table, Coffee – Union Home Furniture Table, Dining – Hooker Furniture Table, Display – Mercana Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Ozark Shadows STUDY Armchairs – Rowe Furniture Bookcases, Paint Color – Sherwin-Williams,

Lace Custom Blend Flooring – Hand-Scraped Walnut, Everlast Floors, Troy Rug – Imagine Palmas, Felt Gray Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Ozark Shadows EXTERIOR Driveway and Walkway – Exposed Aggregate, Kwall Blend Exterior Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Resilience; Shingle Siding, Peppercorn Fireplaces – Custom Lake Blend, Bay Harbor Stone, Capital Stoneworks, Bridgeport Garage Doors – Carriage House Doors, Birmingham Door Co., Troy Patio – Gauge Bluestone Plumbing Fixtures – Brizo Rock Work – Superior Blue Boulders, Upper Peninsula; Installation, Northern Impressions, Troy Roofing – Synthetic Slate with Copper Turrets, DaVinci Roofscapes Siding – Shingle Siding, James Hardie,

Stairs and Balcony – Northern Staircase Co., Pontiac Stone – Custom Lake Blend, Bay Harbor Stone, Capital Stoneworks, Bridgeport Trim – Azek Exteriors Trim Color – Weather Shield, White, Custom Color Match Windows – Weather Shield ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS Interior Design - Tina Cracchiolo, Craig & Co., Troy, interiorsbycraigandcompany.com Landscaping – David Cracchiolo, Northern Impressions, Troy


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Scenic Byway Beach towns preserve Old West Michigan Pike’s rich history of motor touring


f you think about it, Detroit automotive pioneer Henry Ford actually helped launch the Pure Michigan marketing campaign more than 100 years ago. After he built his first car in 1896, motor touring quickly became one of America’s favorite pastimes, and visitors flocked to the Great Lakes State in their new cars to discover its natural beauty and waterfront charms. Even locals began branching out to explore more of their home state. As car ownership skyrocketed, conversations soon turned to building a scenic trunkline along the Lake Michigan coastline to connect New Buffalo, near the Indiana state line, with Mackinaw City some 400 miles to the north. Excited supporters


talked about the boon a well-built road would be for the waterfront communities along the way. To help the cause, the slogan “Lake Shore All the Way Chicago to Mackinaw” was introduced to lure more vacationers from the Windy City to Michigan. In 1911, the hard work of building a touring route began. The first promotional West Michigan Pike tour in 1913 started in St. Joseph, with the hope of ending in Mackinaw City. However, according to the history book “Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike,” once the caravan of cars reached Petoskey, they split up, with one group driving north to Pellston and the other heading around Little Traverse Bay to Harbor Springs. The next day they re-

united in Petoskey — a happening town even back then, with a population of about 4,800 residents compared to roughly 5,800 by current counts. While the caravan never made it to Mackinaw City, the point had been rendered that this was, indeed, a viable project. The work continued and the West Michigan Pike was finally completed in 1922. It became part of the federal highway system in 1926 and was renamed U.S. 31; today, it connects northern Michigan with southern Alabama. Time Travelers: Fast-forward 90 years to 2016, when the Michigan Beachtowns Marketing Group, consisting of seven southwest Michigan visitor bureaus, succeeded in having a specific stretch of the


By Sally Hallan Laukitis


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Explorers on the West Michigan Pike will want to stop in Grand Haven to see the captivating South Pierhead Lights.

old West Michigan Pike from New Buffalo to Silver Lake/Hart (south of Ludington) designated as a Pure Michigan Byway. It was a long process, but well worth the group’s collective efforts as the southwest region gained another valuable marketing feature to showcase Pure Michigan’s sunset side. Communities involved in the Beachtowns group include St. Joseph/Benton Harbor, South Haven, Saugatuck/Douglas, Holland, Grand Haven/Spring Lake, Muskegon, and Silver Lake Sand Dunes/Hart. While each of these communities oozes with its own distinct personality, they all share three amazing traits: sugar-sand beaches, towering sand dunes, and majestic Lake Michigan.

Hop into your favorite vehicle and explore the beautiful little coastal communities you can visit along the celebrated West Michigan Pike. To help you plan your trip, here’s a collection of my Beachtown favorite attractions. Silver Lake Sand Dunes/Hart: With 2,000 acres of sand dunes, beaches, and the Little Sable Lighthouse, you’ll definitely want to stop at Silver Lake State Park. If you’re not up for climbing one of the magnificent dunes, check out the Mac Woods Dune Rides, a 90-year-old tourist attraction. A knowledgeable driver will take you on a fun-filled, seven-mile ride through the dunes. You’ll also want to swing by John Gurney Park in Hart, one of the first overnight car parks on the West

Michigan Pike. Muskegon: To truly get a flavor of the West Michigan Pike, a must-see is a Pike marker located in Muskegon. These markers guided early travelers along the Pike, but very few remain today. In stark contrast, you’ll also want to check out the City Built on Timber sculpture at Heritage Landing, site of the 2016 West Michigan Pike Pure Michigan Byway designation ceremony. This contemporary sculpture honors Muskegon’s history as a lumber town. Grand Haven/Spring Lake: Make sure you visit Grand Haven State Park, historically known as The Oval. Weather-permitting, take a walk on the pier adjacent to the state park — home to Grand Haven’s MICHIGAN BLUE

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brilliant red lighthouse and matching red foghorn building (built in 1875). If you’re in town at dusk, head to the musical fountain at the Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium, where you’ll be treated during the summer to a light and water show that’s synchronized to music (depending on COVID restrictions). Holland: For a change of pace, tour DeZwaan, the only authentic imported Dutch windmill in the United States. Brought over from the Netherlands in 1964, this 260-year-old grain-grinding working mill sits on 36 acres of beautifully

manicured grounds bursting with more than 100,000 tulips each spring, and stunning annuals and perennials in the summer. A guided tour includes the mill’s fifth floor, where you’ll see the huge grindstones and learn how the winds blowing off Lake Michigan are harnessed to grind locally sourced winter wheat into flour. Saugatuck/Douglas: The must-see “Pike stop” here is the award-winning Oval Beach. Accolades include Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 25 Beaches in the World,” National Geographic Traveler’s “Top Freshwater Beaches in the USA,” and

“A City Built on Timber” is located in Muskegon at the entrance to Heritage Landing. Sculpture by Erik and Israel Nordin.

MTV’s “Top 5 Beaches in the USA.” Climb the dunes, pack a picnic lunch, or grab a bite at the beach’s concession stand. Don’t forget to catch a jaw-dropping sunset over Lake Michigan before heading into town for the night. South Haven: Walk the length of the wharf to the South Pier Lighthouse. This iconic landmark boasts a vibrant red base and a 1,200-foot catwalk (one of only four in Michigan). Built in 1903 to replace the original 1872 lighthouse, the steel structure was electrified in 1923 with a 200-watt bulb that still operates. The lighthouse is the city’s most recognizable symbol, so plan to take some photos in front of it as the sun dips below the Lake Michigan horizon. St. Joseph/Benton Harbor: Be sure to check out Silver Beach in downtown St. Joseph. This county park has a beautiful Lake Michigan swimming beach, beach wheelchair rentals, barrier-free walkways, a concession stand, grills, picnic tables, a playground for the kids, and beach volleyball courts. Adjacent to the beach is the Silver Beach Carousel. You’ll definitely want to take a spin! The carousel recorded its one-millionth rider in 2017. While those are just a sampling of top picks from my many years as head of the Holland Visitors Bureau, I’m always discovering something new when I cruise old West Michigan Pike country. It’s rejuvenating to travel the back roads, and so much easier today than it was back in the early 1900s. With that in mind, I invite you to think about leaving your worries behind and grabbing someone special to “Take the Lakeshore All the Way.” Just like those motor touring adventurers of the past, make your own memories by experiencing the stunning beauty and diversity of these coastal West Michigan towns. You’ll be delighted by what you find beyond the mile markers.

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Welcome Spring with a Well-Earned Getaway

THE SOUNDS OF BIRDS CHIRPING in the early morning, patches of green peeking out in formerly snowcovered landscapes, the air warming as the sun wakes earlier and retires later — it all means spring is in full swing in Michigan, and it’s perhaps never been more meaningful than in 2021. A sense of hope fills our hearts and energizes us as we begin anew.

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For many of us, our first thoughts have to do with travel. After a year of uncertainty and personal sacrifice, what better way to emerge than to treat yourself to a proper getaway? Take some time to escape from your usual surroundings; it’s a moment to breathe, rejuvenate, and simply enjoy. Where to? Residents of the Great Lakes State don’t need to go far;

there are plenty of destinations right in our own backyard where adventure, relaxation, recreation, and indulgence await — from the lakeshore to Up North to bustling cities and quaint townships. This season, stay close to home and take in everything our beautiful communities have to offer!

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The Lilley Mansion

THERE WAS A TIME when the small community of Spring Lake was considered only an access point to Grand Haven; it was a place to drive through, but not stop and linger. That’s changed over the past few years, as more restaurants, cafés, and boutiques have moved into town. Today, the unveiling of Epicurean Village is on the horizon, but the most remarkable development is Lilley Mansion, a newly opened luxury B&B and upscale event space. Locals will remember the mansion’s move from its original location to where it rests today, just steps away from the Grand River waterfront. A historic mansion parading down Savidge Street is unforgettable in itself, but even that doesn’t compare to the complete transformation the home has undergone

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since. Proprietors Patrick Roggenbau and Robert Lopez are responsible for its grandeur, having decorated and furnished every room with their own exquisite tastes as inspiration. “At Lilley Mansion, we’re welcoming people into our lifestyle — how we eat, what we read, the elements of art, décor, and landscaping we like to surround ourselves with,” Roggenbau says. “That’s the difference between us and a hotel; it’s an experience in itself.” The mansion features four lavishly appointed suites with spacious bathrooms, each with a soaking tub and shower, aromatherapy infusers, and premium toiletries. Overnight guests are treated to a gourmet breakfast that can be served in-room or in the bright, airy breakfast parlor. A sip of the

signature coffee blend, Lilley Blue, is just the way to welcome the day. Also available as an event space and community hub for weddings, receptions, anniversaries, and business meetings, Lilley Mansion has a commercial kitchen and can accommodate groups small and large, up to 160 people. “This level of elegance and splendor doesn’t really exist in West Michigan,” Lopez says. “It’s unexpected. We keep an eye on the details and our guests get completely pampered here.”

THE LILLEY MANSION 113 S. Division St. Spring Lake, MI 49456 616-843-6558 lilleymansion.com

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The westward view of downtown Marquette, as seen from its Lake Superior harbor.

Harbor Views

Historic Marquette embraces the U.P. lifestyle of adventure


it this way: “Hidden by glacier-hewn bluffs with breathtaking views and diverse landscapes, Marquette County is located off the beaten path in the U.P. Defined by its untouched surroundings and abundance of outdoor activities, paired with a growing culinary and brewery scene, we’re the U.P’s largest community and one of the best small towns to explore.” Estler calls her coastal city a worldclass destination. “Marquette is incredibly special and unique because of how nature’s assets are truly on display, no matter the time of year. As the landscape changes with the seasons, there are new and exciting adventures for visitors and residents to indulge in,” she says. “We’re a year-round destination and have gained national acclaim for our diverse terrain for hiking, biking, and exploring,” Estler adds. Why Visit: “We embrace a lifestyle of adventure in the U.P.,” Estler says. “Marquette offers a wide range of locations for

visitors of all capabilities and interests, and it provides the perfect balance of a vibrant downtown and a natural playground.” Lake Superior has shaped the Marquette maritime identity, providing an ideal place for everything from kayaking to fishing. When it comes to beaches, explore the 83 miles of waterfront along Lake Superior. “A little-known secret,” Estler says, “is you can surf, with caution, anywhere on Lake Superior where there are great waves and strong winds.” Best Bets: The following stories highlight some favorites from my Up North travels. These suggestions will help explain why visitors so often say how surprised they were to find so much adventure and history all in one fabulous Pure Michigan destination.

PLAN IT! Travel Marquette travelmarquette.com



mall-town charms and a delightful outdoor playland surrounded by boundless water and wilderness. That’s what kept luring me back to Marquette starting many years ago, after visiting the city to participate in several Upper Peninsula business and tourism conferences. Lake Superior and a historic harborview downtown can do that to you. It surely was a trek — a good seven hours plus pit stops in the old Explorer — from southeast Michigan, but those initial memories are still calling me to visit again. Waterfalls everywhere. Kayaking the crystal-clear big lake and seeing lake trout 20 feet below. Biking and cross-country skiing along rugged trails with some pretty nice elevation changes. A college town with friendly folks and plenty of things to do in the sunshine and the snow. Susan Estler, the executive director of Travel Marquette, the county’s destination marketing organization, likes to describe

Stories by Ron Garbinski


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Spectacular Trails Varied terrain combined with Lake Superior access is tough to beat



ith hundreds of miles of thrilling hiking and biking trails traversing Marquette County, it’s easy to hop on a scenic path that’s sure to make your heart start pounding. Carol Fulsher, administrator of the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority in Marquette, says she’s lived “in Northern California and Colorado, and I find Marquette County a perfect combination of both. There’s the big water and the hills, with enough challenges for all abilities. The biggest takeaway from visitors is the sheer amount of trail options we have” — and that’s true whether you’re a biker, hiker, runner, walker, in-line skater, horseback rider, ORVer, cross-country skier, snowmobiler, or in a wheelchair. You get the idea; there are more than enough choices for every level of adventurer who enjoys the outdoors on foot or by being propelled.

Lori Hauswirth, executive director of the Upper Peninsula’s Noquemanon Trail Network Above: Mountain bikers (NTN), says: “Having enjoying the Dobbs Trail’s traveled extensively for yellow loop, part of the mountain biking, I can Noquemanon Trail Network. say Marquette is a worldBelow: An interpretive class trails destination. boardwalk along the Iron Very few destinations Ore Heritage Trail. offer the variety of trails mixed with scenery and potential moose sightings) that traverses convenience to wonderful lodging, restauthrough Marquette County for some 120 rants, breweries, and more.” miles,” Fulsher says. “There are always Expert Advice: Pack your gear new things happening with trails and for whatever your preferred modes of hiking/biking trends around here. We're movement, and head to town any time of a population of outdoor enthusiasts and year. Fulsher and Hauswirth boast that have everything for bikers, from rail/trail the biking trails, especially, are among the big trails to singletrack mountain bike state’s best. trails to beach-cruising flat trails to fat-tire “We're a county that has 1,873 square snow biking and gravel-grinding routes.” miles and is larger than Rhode Island. One favorite is the 47-mile, multiuse Trails range from less than one-mile loops Iron Ore Heritage Trail, with both pavein town to the North Country Trail (with ment and crushed granite, that rolls along mostly abandoned railroad corridors once used to bring lumber to furnaces and forges, and iron ore to Marquette Harbor. Interpretive elements along the route showcase the region’s iron-mining history. What’s New: “We’ve added a historical feature at the Carp River Kiln, which was an actual kiln used for ironmaking (in the 1800s),” Fulsher says. “We resurrected a collapsed kiln and added benches, interpretive signage, a rain garden, and bike racks to make a new historical stopping point. This year we’re adding accessible fishing piers along the trail at the Carp River in Negaunee, as well as a birdwatching platform, a weather shelter, and steps down to a pond for additional access to fishing spots.” With so much public land overlooking Lake Superior, Fulsher recommends MICHIGAN BLUE

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visitors experience the bike path that hugs the lake, from Presque Isle Park south to Harvey. “It's flat, paved, and just plain beautiful, with lakeshore all along,” she says. “You can literally stop almost anyplace and have access to the water. I think the beauty, the sense of accomplishment of making it up some hills, the peace and quiet, the scope of the big lake, the viewing from Sugarloaf and Marquette mountains, and Presque Isle are stunning.” She likes the county’s varied terrain. It’s rocky in the north and west, and sandy in the south, with hills everywhere. That’s also inviting for the several notable bike races that happen around town every season. Fulsher’s Pick: “The Iron Ore Heritage Trail, of course. I love going downhill from Ishpeming to Negaunee to Mar-

quette, about 16 miles one way with an 800-foot elevation change. There are old mining properties and gleaming hematite rock walls, mine shafts, and historic downtowns with brewpubs. Then you get into more natural areas crossing the Carp River and marshlands for great birdwatching and wildlife-viewing, and move into a section that parallels a railroad route over a pond with a big greenstone bluff. Then you head into the more urban Marquette and along the Lake Superior shoreline into Harvey, with its bayous. It’s a great ride with great stops.” More Choices: Hauswirth suggests taking time to explore the eight trail systems from Munising to Big Bay maintained by the 20-year-old Noquemanon Trail Network.

Runners enjoy the forested trails around Marquette that are available to outdoor enthusiasts.


“Between NTN, RAMBA, and the Harlow Lake Trail systems alone, there are well over 150 miles of adventuring to be enjoyed. The newest trails in the NTN system include five miles of new, purposebuilt single track at the Powell Township Recreation Area near Big Bay, and for mountain bikers looking for more challenging rides, there’s the 225 Resurrection Trail off the Benson Grade at South Trails in Marquette,” she says. She’s also excited that the new owner of the Marquette Mountain ski area may be offering lift-serviced mountain biking this year. Route Tips: “For newbies, check out the North Trails, where trails meander along the scenic Dead River. Favorites include starting on the EZPZ Trail from the 550 Trailhead adjacent to Tourist Park and traveling upriver, connecting trails as far as your legs will take you. “For advanced riders, head to South Trails, where you can do laps up the Benson Grade and descend a variety of fun, flowy, and gnarly trails. Favorites include Eh-line, Down Dogger, and Flow,” Hauswirth suggests. Hikers might want to try the Carp Eh Diem Trail to the Unnamed Morgan Falls at South, or head to Harlow Lake to meander to the top of any number of granite summits via the North Country Trails. Hogback or Top of the World are popular hike destinations. A number of local shops rent bikes, Hauswirth says, although availability may be affected by a global bike shortage and COVID restrictions. The best advice is to call ahead. There’s one thing that won’t be scarce around Marquette, however, despite any pandemic: Countless hours of outdoor excitement along the county’s scenic hiking and biking trails are guaranteed!

PLAN IT! Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority ironoreheritage.com Noquemanon Trail Network noquetrails.org


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Yellow Dog Falls rates among Eric Angerer’s top Marquette-area waterfalls to explore.

Stairways to Heaven

Escape into the woods and discover Marquette’s 77 waterfalls



isiting Marquette and not exploring some of the many area waterfalls is like touring the Grand Canyon and not experiencing the views from the top of the rim, says photographer Eric Angerer, of ezmoments.com. “Marquette County has the most waterfalls in the state, with 12 amazing ones nearby (there are 77 of varying size),” he says. “Visitors can look forward to relaxing trails that eventually wind up at waterfalls. Every season is a ‘best time’ to visit because of the constantly changing landscapes, but if I had to pick one season, I’d encourage visiting in the fall, which brings out the colors. In winter, there are splendid ice formations before the waterfalls completely freeze. Summer brings a great respite from the heat.” Angerer believes waterfall adventures are a “must do” in Marquette. “What

makes them so special is their accessibility. Most outdoor adventures and waterfalls are within a 15- to 20-minute drive, door-to-door, from your lodging. There’s almost never the ‘Oh, it’s too far’ or ‘It’ll take too long to get there’ conversation. It’s more like, What brewery (five in the county) can we hit on the way back?” His Favorite: Dead River Falls. “It’s the only waterfall with multiple cliffjumping spots,” Angerer says. It also involves a hike along the Dead River, which features more than five sets of waterfalls. Best Choice for Bikers: “Morgan Falls is by far the best choice for visitors to take a bike ride to. Bikers can either ride the utility road directly to the waterfall, or take a scenic and more challenging trail that runs adjacent to the utility road. Both are scenic and fulfilling,” he says. The Toughest to Visit: “I’d say Little Garlic Falls. If you hike the whole thing,

it’s about eight miles round-trip. If you don’t want the long trek, you can drive to a small parking area off of a utility road that makes the hike more like a two-mile round trip. Dead River Falls isn’t a hard one; it just has a section where hikers need to scale up steep exposed root faces.” Angerer’s tips for photographing Marquette’s beautiful waterfalls: • Don’t be afraid to get wet. • Wear shoes that you don’t mind ruining or getting wet, so you can position yourself and capture a new perspective. • Bring a tripod (to steady your camera) so you can get long exposures.

PLAN IT! More details on the waterfalls and a map are available under the the Outdoor Adventure section at travelmarquette.com. MICHIGAN BLUE

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During his honeymoon, this happy angler caught and released a 32-inch Northern Pike while on a half-day shore-fishing trip with Marquette Adventures.

Action Galore

sk Mike Koziara and John Bergsma what the fishing’s like around Marquette and watch their faces light up. Koziara runs Marquette Adventures Guide Service, which offers customized, four-season guided fishing trips and nature outings. Bergsma hosts the nationally broadcast “Great Lakes Fisherman’s Digest Television Show.” Both rave about the exceptional freshwater in the region. “With eight rivers in the county and a host of streams that flow into Lake Superior, along with more than 30 easily accessible public lakes, Marquette County provides a treasure trove of fishing opportunities for the novice or experienced angler,” says Koziara, whose guide service offers trips year-round, including amazing ice fishing outings on Lake Superior. “The best inland fishing can be found off the beaten path. The county has more than 150 miles of single track and 32 known hiking trails, so there are plenty of options for exploring the terrain,” he adds. “We have some of the most diverse ter78

rain in Michigan. It’s also the state’s largest county, at 1,873 square miles. There are 24 miles of Lake Superior coastline just in the city area. The cold Lake Superior water is home to a wonderful variety of salmon, trout, and whitefish species. The inland lakes offer nearly every freshwater sport fishery available.” Bergsma suggests sampling the many types of opportunities that can offer hours of excitement on the water for everyone from solo anglers to group charters to family outings — even bachelor parties or work retreats. “A river-fishing charter, for example, can save you valuable time and take you right to the ideal location to experience the best fishing Marquette offers,” he says. Why It’s Special: “You only have to travel a few miles to experience the solitude and unpopulated areas of the terrain. Easy access to remote fishing and a quiet day are only a few minutes away,” Bergsma reports. “Staying at one of the many campgrounds or renting a cabin in neighboring Gwinn are enjoyable ways to get away from the largest city in the Upper Peninsu-

la while still having the amenities nearby.” Hot Spots: Koziara says Harlow Lake, Teal Lake, Deer Lake, and the Chocolay River have the best inland access. The Chocolay DNR dock and the Harlow dock are great places to catch fish. With two harbors in Marquette, visitors who want to fish have access to different launch points on the largest freshwater lake in the world. Their Advice: “Book a fishing or waterfall/hiking tour with Marquette Adventures Guide Service. Spend time in downtown Marquette perusing the shops filled with local memorabilia and eateries, then book a charter fishing tour with Hooked Up Charters to get offshore on Lake Superior — a truly action-packed way to discover one of the best lake trout fisheries in the world,” Koziara says.

PLAN IT! Marquette Adventures Guide Service marquetteadventures.com Fisherman's Digest TV fishermansdigest.com



Anglers net the jackpot in a fishing wonderland


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A Paddler’s Paradise


On-the-water excitement awaits in this U.P. playground

utdoor adventures in Marquette revolve around Lake Superior and all the nearby inland lakes. For Bill Thompson, co-owner of Down Wind Sports in Marquette, exploring the wonders of “the Big Lake” is one of the main reasons people visit the Upper Peninsula. “There’s no better way to make the connection between the U.P., Marquette, and Lake Superior than by being on this beautiful inland sea,” he says. “With the pandemic getting more and more people out and enjoying the outdoors, we’re expanding our offerings in our paddle sports department — including standup paddling, sea kayaking, recreational, and kayak fishing watercraft — to meet their needs.” Everywhere around Marquette, there’s usually water within your view. “It’s the ease of access that makes watersports so

special here,” Thompson says. “Almost all of the water in Marquette has public access, so within five minutes from where you’re sleeping, you can be on the water experiencing one of our spectacular sunrises or sunsets. For me, I think the best paddling in the area is around the Presque Isle Park” on the north side of Marquette Harbor. Watersports opportunities for all experience levels are available around town, but, Thompson cautions, “Lake Superior, with its cold water and quick-rising storms, can be very dangerous. Prior experience and watching the weather/marine forecast is very important,” especially if you venture beyond the harbor. For inland kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboard options, he recommends the Dead River and Harlow Lake. “They’re beautiful inland alternatives when Lake Superior isn’t an option.” Other Picks: “Jumping off Blackrocks

is very popular now,” Thompson says. Those looking for a thrill can jump about 15 feet into the crystal-clear, frigid Lake Superior from the top of the sheer cliff rocks in Presque Isle Park. If you visit in the summer, you might have to wait in line to make the plunge because it’s somewhat of a tradition for adventure-seekers, especially students from in-town Northern Michigan University. The Retail Beat: “Marquette has lots of unique small businesses that people can explore when they aren’t adventuring out on the lake,” Thompson says. That includes stopping in to see the new offerings at his stores in Marquette, Munising, and Houghton, which are tailored to outdoor enthusiasts.

PLAN IT! Down Wind Sports downwindsports.com


Paddleboarding around the Lake Superior shoreline near Marquette offers spectacular crystalclear views.


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Iron City History

Museums illuminate the lore behind Marquette’s superior evolution


arquette began to play an important role in America’s budding logging, mining, and shipping history after the discovery of iron ore nearby in 1844. The city flourished and today it shines as the largest community in the Upper Peninsula. Visitors can discover the tales behind the city’s celebrated history at the Marquette Maritime Museum and Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, which opens for the season in mid-May, and the Marquette Regional History Center, which will introduce new exhibits in mid-April. “Marquette was founded as a shipping port, and the fascinating history of the area can be found inside our facility,” says Hilary Billman, director of the maritime museum. “Lighthouse tours take you 80

through the park, where you’ll see the old Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard properties, and out onto the lighthouse’s catwalk, where you’ll find spectacular views of Lake Superior and the harbors. The vantage point you have from the catwalk, only available through lighthouse tours, gives you the best view of the lake in Marquette.” The museum features “one of the best collections of Fresnel lenses on the Great Lakes, as well as a display of rare Lyle guns and exhibits on local shipwrecks and the Edmund Fitzgerald,” she adds. New exhibits include a beach cart replica and a boat display space in the Stannard Rock boathouse. Planning Tips: Billman suggests reserving a space on a lighthouse tour in advance, because they tend to sell out during peak tourist season. Allow extra time to walk out onto the lower harbor break-

Above: The Marquette Maritime Museum and Lighthouse Park provide views of Marquette Harbor. Below: The Domes of History at the Marquette Regional History Center.


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water for scenic photo opportunities of Marquette and the lighthouse. The museum conducts scavenger hunts and at least three free children’s art/history workshops every summer. Regional History Center Executive Director Cris Osier says his museum “is set to entertain visitors in as little as an hour, or they could linger for the afternoon or morning enjoying exhibits that are on par with a big-city museum.” A special exhibit opening April 26, The Story Behind Their Clothes, will feature many types of clothing and describe the people who wore them. Examples include handmade deerskin gloves and a young girl’s silk outfit made from her father’s World War II flight jacket lining. Due to the pandemic, the museum’s popular historical bus tours have been replaced for now with walking tours around downtown and the lakefront. “Stories about the community and the sites visited will be shared, and there may be an historical character or two, as well,” Osier says. Gallery Highlights: Nine handson stations explore what’s at the bottom of Lake Superior, the inside of a beaver hut, an authentic wigwam, and a fur trading post. “Don’t miss the First Footprints section,” Osier advises. “This region wasn’t considered to be archaeologically important until fairly recently. The Gorto Site Dig on Deer Lake in 1987 showed the first conclusive evidence of people living in Michigan’s U.P. at the end of the Ice Age. In five days of working, 89 whole pieces or fragments of late Paleo and early Archaic projectile points were found at this site. These items were determined to be 10,800 to 9,800 years old.” That’s just a sampling of why both museums are well worth a visit.

PLAN IT! Marquette Maritime Museum mqtmaritimemuseum.com Marquette Regional History Center marquettehistory.org

Destination Highlights Extras to round out your visit


usan Estler, of Travel Marquette, says there’s no wrong way to spend your time in Marquette. Here are a few of her “extras” to help you plot your adventures. By the Cup: Marquette County has more locally owned coffee shops per capita than Seattle, according to Estler. Check out the Velodrome Coffee Co., Contrast Coffee Co., and Dead River Coffee. “There’s also a beer culture of its own, and it stays true to its small-town feel and big-city taste mantra,” she says. Highlights include Drifa Brewing Co., the first cooperatively owned craft brewery in Michigan; Ore Dock Brewing Co.; Blackrocks Brewery; and Barrel & Beam. Postcard-Perfect: The Lower Harbor Ore Dock (below) in downtown, stretching 1,000 feet into Lake Superior and soaring 85 feet high, is one of the most iconic images of America’s iron industry. It’s not used today, but its 150 pockets once loaded ore from nearby mines onto freighters. Locals call another, larger 1911 dock that’s active in the Upper Harbor the Presque Island Dock. It handles approxi-

mately 10 million tons of ore annually. Side Trip: The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in nearby Ishpeming honors more than 350 international athletes and visionaries who shaped the sports of skiing and snowboarding. Fun for All: The Thomas Rock Scenic Outlook north of town offers panoramic views of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Lake Superior, Lake Independence, Big Bay, and more. Photographers also love the scenic lookouts at Marquette Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain, closer to town. History Buffs: The 14-room Thunder Bay Inn, once owned by Henry Ford, is located about 30 minutes north in Big Bay. The inn was purchased by GM employee-turned-innkeeper Mark Bevins, who plans to update it and expand its offerings to include guided tours, sailboat charters, and more. Movie fans might remember that the 1959 film “Anatomy of a Murder,” based on the John Voelker best-seller about a local crime and starring James Stewart, was filmed there. For more information about things to do and see, visit travelmarquette.com.

The Lower Harbor Ore Dock, representing America’s iron industry, stretches 1,000 feet into Lake Superior.


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Cheers to Creating Spring in the Kitchen A Harbor Country cookbook author discovers Michigan, and reveals her ingredients for a happy life By Megan Swoyer Photos by Gabrielle Sukich


lipping through the pages of Lindsay Navama’s cookbook, you can’t help but change your dinner plans in a split second. From Unexpectedly Delicious Kale Salad to BeetRed Sunset Salmon with Miso to Third Coast Seafood Pasta Baked in Parchment, soul-satisfying recipes abound — and they’re accompanied by beautiful photos by Gabrielle Sukich. Navama, a wife and mother who splits her time between a home in Chicago and a cottage in beautiful southwest Michigan’s Union Pier, was inspired to create “Hun82

gry for Harbor Country” (Agate Midway) after learning to live a “deeper, slower life, with more connected living,” she says. While sipping on a hot green tea (“it’s a nutty variety with flavors of brown, popped rice,” the food expert explains), Navama, who grew up in a small town in California, shares that she wanted to flee that little town as soon as she was old enough. And that she did, moving to Los Angeles and then Chicago. But as the years went on, the pensive Navama realized that she missed the feeling of community. “When my husband (David) and I discovered Harbor Country (just an hour-

and-a-half drive from the city), I felt very nostalgic for what a small community can offer,” she says. After she and David bought their first cottage in 2017, in New Buffalo, they fell so in love with the area that they decided to move to a larger cottage in Union Pier. The couple ended up spending about 75 percent of their time there, if not more — especially during the pandemic. Navama even talked her parents into moving to New Buffalo from their home in California. “Here, I can give our daughter (18month-old Stella) constant access to nature. That’s a priceless gift,” the author says.


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This page: “Hungry for Harbor Country” is packed with regional recipes, personal stories, and beautiful photography. Opposite page: The book features a recipe for the Cherry Beach Fruitbelt beverage (mocktail and cocktail) — a perfect drink for spring.

Happily ensconced in friendly Harbor Country, it wasn’t long before Navama, who was born into a food-loving family (“at breakfast, we’d talk about what we’d have for lunch,” she admits with a laugh) and had a lot of experience with cooking and baking, started to explore new career opportunities. Ideas quickly began to simmer. Years ago, in Los Angeles, after receiving a broadcast journalism degree, she launched a gourmet cookie company. “I was great at recipe development and baking, but I wasn’t great as a businessperson,” she admits. She then landed a job at a high-end bakery (Boule) in California, where she learned the business. Since then, she’s developed recipes for food brands and has worked as a private chef. Once she decided to write a cookbook, she spent about a year working out the details. She says she worried that once it was complete, no one would buy it. “I had no blog, no Instagram feed; no one knew me.” What she knew, though, was that Harbor Country residents had fed her family’s soul “and our bellies,” she says, adding that she wanted to spread the word

about this region of the country through food. “I just wanted to publish this for the community, to give back,” she says. Peppered among the pages are personal stories that accompany each recipe, as well as recipes from chefs, deli owners, and other food professionals from throughout the region. “Harbor Country helped me reconnect with my passion for cooking, as I fed tons of friends and family who visited us at the lake.” Navama donates a portion of book sales to local nonprofits, such as the Harris Family Farm Foundation, which grows fresh produce to give to those in need. Her first edition was self-published in 2018, and then Agate Midwest published it in 2020. Navama says the book enjoyed great sales. “The first year, Agate was amazed at my sales channels. I had to reorder books even when I was self-publishing, but I couldn’t expand beyond this region, and that’s when I met with Agate (a boutique publisher in Illinois).” (Incidentally, the recipes in both books are the same, although the cover and interior design are different and the new edition has a list of Navama’s Harbor Country favorites, from places to eat to U-pick farms to beaches and shops.) “I wanted to discover what I’m hungry for, to take a pause and think about what I’m doing in my life. That’s what finding Michigan did for us,” she asserts. “David and I were in constant chaos in the city. We had revelations and wanted to find a sense of community in a smaller, friendlier place.” A couple of her favorite recipes are her salmon entrée and the vegan chili from a New Buffalo delicatessen. “The Beet-Red Sunset Salmon with Miso is so good. I marinate the salmon in pickled beet juice, and it gets this fuchsia color, then I put a glaze on it, and with the roasted fennel,

it’s just beautiful.” David’s Vegan Chili (from David’s Delicatessen & Coffee) features sweet potatoes, onion, carrots, peppers, celery, and more. “We go to this deli all the time for their chili,” she says. As for sweets, her favorite has to be her own Tiffy’s Summertime Key Lime Butter Cookies. “They’re so simple, yet so addicting; there’s the tartness of key lime mixed with the softness of the vanilla flavors.” For spring, Navama’s crazy about using Michigan asparagus to create her Roasted Jalapeño Pecan Asparagus with Lemon Zest. Drizzling the asparagus with a nut oil before baking is the key to creating this beautiful springtime dish. “We came back to life by living slower,” Navama says. “I believe this book inspires people to seize their own version of spring.”

MORE INFORMATION Michigan Blue readers can order the cookbook from thirdcoastkitchen.com and receive a 25 percent discount using code MIBLUE. The cookbook is also available online and most everywhere books are sold. Recipes included in this article are reprinted with permission from “Hungry for Harbor Country” by Lindsay Navama, Agate Publishing, May 2020. You can also follow Lindsay Navama on Instagram at thirdcoastkitchen. With more people cooking from home than ever before, Navama has launched a YouTube show called Third Coast Kitchen, designed to feed your belly and fuel your soul. From sharing nutritious, delicious “secretly gluten-free” recipes and tips on raising adventurous eaters to morning meditations and waste-less living challenges, she hopes to inspire others to discover what they’re truly hungry for — in the kitchen and in other areas of life. MICHIGAN BLUE

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Life Recipe How delicious are your days? Finding your soul in the kitchen and beyond.


ometimes we need to slow down to develop and perfect our personal recipe for living a delicious life. Everyone’s recipe is different, to be sure, although certain ingredients are essential — like a full heart, a calm soul, and an inspired mind. As someone who grew up in a small lakeside town, my childhood summers were filled with pier-jumping, crawdad fishing, and endless beach days with bonfire nights — an excellent recipe for a delectable life. In adulthood, I became a city dweller. After many years spent far removed from lake life, I awoke one morning with the desire to recreate that delicious recipe from my youth — only to realize none of the essential ingredients were stocked in my current pantry. In their place was one fragile heart, one confused soul, and one jaded mind. Something had to change. A few months later I found myself spending summer in the tiny lakeside town of New Buffalo, Mich., thanks to my “city boy” husband being small-town-curious. Somewhere between the cozy morning coffees, blissful beach days, afternoon hammock naps, and nature walks to nowhere, I began to rediscover the ingredients needed to make every day more delicious. As an adult, adopting a slower way of living, even for a few short months, catapulted me back to childhood, when being present to relish sweet, simple moments was innate. It’s these everyday moments that weave true joy and magic into our minutes, hours, days, and, ultimately, our lives. In this rural world, my whole soul unfurled. Spending hours on a Sunday baking 100-percent-from-scratch pumpkin pie felt like a scrumptious form of selfcare, and pickling everything from salad turnips to okra spears became a beautiful 84

By Lindsay Navama and moving meditation. When summer gave way to the golden glow of autumn, we didn’t race back to city life. Instead, we hung on to our newfound peace for as long as we could, like leaves not quite ready to fall. I continued developing my recipe for a delicious life, and realized that cooking was an essential ingredient. “Hungry for Harbor Country” explores the idea that you don’t need to live lakeside to embrace the essence of lake life. Make the conscious choice to declutter your days, clean out the attic of your mind, and begin developing your own recipe for discovering your most delicious life, in the kitchen or beyond.

TIFFY’S SUMMERTIME KEY LIME BUTTER COOKIES 24–30 Cookies 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1 egg yolk 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 teaspoons real Key lime juice (I love Nellie & Joe’s, often available at Barney’s Market.) 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 1 3/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour with xanthan gum, or regular all-purpose flour (I use Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour.) Key Lime Icing 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar 2 tablespoons real Key lime juice 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/8 teaspoon sea salt Green food coloring (optional) Tips for Success Don’t overmix the dough or it will become tough. Package these up for a delicious host gift! Prep Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or

aluminum foil. Brush lightly with oil and set aside. Make the Dough In a medium bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Pause the mixer and add the egg yolk, vanilla, Key lime juice, and salt, and then mix on medium speed until just combined. Pause the mixer to add the flour and, moving from low to medium speed, mix until just combined. Bake and Cool Using a small ice cream scoop (about 1-inch diameter) or a tablespoon, drop the dough in balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Briefly roll each scoop between your palms to form more perfect balls. Special Note: If you prefer a slightly thicker, chewier cookie, refrigerate the dough balls for 10 minutes before baking. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden and lift up easily with a spatula. Once done, leave on the baking sheets to cool completely, 30 to 45 minutes. Cool them more quickly by putting them in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes. Make the Vanilla Key Lime Icing While the cookies cool, make the icing. In the bowl of a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer in a medium bowl), add the confectioners’ sugar and mix for about 1 minute to remove any lumps. Add the Key lime juice, vanilla, and salt. Mix on medium to medium-high speed until smooth. Add 1 to 2 drops of the green food coloring (if using), then mix for an even color. Add warm water as needed until you can easily drizzle the icing with a fork. Ice the Cookies Once the cookies are completely cooled,


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dip a fork into the icing and then drizzle it quickly and evenly back and forth over the cookies to make stripes. (Whisk the icing as needed if a layer of crust has formed.) Let the icing harden on the cookies for about 30 minutes before serving, or for 1 hour before storing. Let’s Eat! These cookies will last in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month ... but honestly, they tend to get eaten in about 24 hours because they’re bite-size, buttery, and oh so craveable!

BEET-RED SUNSET SALMON WITH MISO, MAPLE, AND ROASTED FENNEL 4 Servings 1 (2-pound) salmon fillet, center cut (Use a thicker salmon like king or Atlantic from a sustainable farm.) 8 tablespoons red or white miso paste, divided (I love Great Eastern Sun brand.) 1/3 cup maple syrup 3 cups pickled beet juice (Get this from 3 [15-ounce] cans or 1 large jar. If you can’t find pickled beet juice, use plain and add 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or rice vinegar to the juice.) 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional for heat-seekers) 1 shallot, or 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for coating baking pans 2 bulbs fresh fennel, stalks removed and sliced into 1/3-inch-thick pieces (Reserve and roughly chop the fennel fronds for garnish.) Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Tips for Success When cooked properly, salmon should flake apart with a fork and be moist and slightly translucent in the very center. Fish will continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so once removed from the oven, so to avoid overcooking, remove from the oven when the fish feels firm but still springs back to the touch. Marinate 6 to 8 hours. If the salmon

LAKE LIFE LOWDOWN HARBOR COUNTRY IS A COLLECTION of eight Lake Michigan towns in southwest Michigan along what’s known as the Sunset Coast, just north of the Indiana state line. It’s notable for its beaches, bed and breakfasts, wineries, and U-pick farms. “The beach is magical here, the water gets so warm,” says Union Pier resident and cookbook author Lindsay Navama. “When we discovered

this area, we said, We’ve lived in Chicago for three years and no one told us about this?” In the summer, she and her family like to bike ride through the countryside. “We could be in the south of France, that’s how beautiful the fields and farms are here,” she says, adding that visiting the many U-pick farms is also a favorite pastime. More information: harborcountry.org

Cookbook author and Harbor Country resident Lindsay Navama discovered that cooking — and the Great Lakes — were essential ingredients to her life.


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fillet is in one piece, place it skin side up on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut it into 4 to 6 similar-size pieces to ensure even baking. Place the salmon skin side down in a glass baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons of the miso paste and the maple syrup. Brush the fish liberally with the misomaple paste to coat the top and sides of the salmon. In a medium bowl, whisk together the beet juice, the remaining 4 tablespoons of miso paste, the cayenne (if using), and the shallot. Pour the beet marinade around the salmon in the baking dish, leaving the thicker paste on top of the fish untouched. Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours maximum. Prep the Salmon to Bake Remove the salmon from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with foil, then brush it with oil. Use a basting brush to sweep the excess miso paste from the top of the salmon and place the fish, skin side down, in the center of the sheet, with the slices evenly spaced. Set aside. Prep the Fennel In a medium bowl, toss the sliced fennel with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the dressed fennel slices around the salmon along the edges of the baking sheet and scatter a few pieces of fennel over the top. Bake the Salmon Bake on the middle rack of the oven


for 10 to 12 minutes, until the internal temperature of the salmon is 120°F to 125°F. Do not overcook or the salmon will be dry and chewy. Let’s Eat! Once done, plate with the roasted fennel, and garnish with the fennel fronds.


4–6 Servings 1 medium jalapeño 2 bundles asparagus spears (about 35 spears, ½ inch wide and 10 inches long) 3 tablespoons almond, walnut, hazelnut, or pistachio nut oil, divided (I love La Tourangelle nut oils.) 2 teaspoons coconut sugar or sugar of choice 1/2 cup chopped unsalted pecans or nuts of choice (If using salted nuts, reduce salt by half.) Zest of 2 lemons 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste Tip for Success Make sure the asparagus is very dry before roasting to avoid steaming. Prep Preheat the oven to 400°F (on the roast setting, if you have one). Line one to two baking sheets (depending on size) with aluminum foil or parchment paper and

brush with oil. Set aside. (If you arrange the asparagus in two rows going across the short end of the baking sheet, they should fit on one sheet.) Cut off the jalapeño stem and discard. Slice the jalapeño in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Slice crosswise into thin pieces and set aside. Pat the asparagus dry with paper towels. Chop off the tougher white ends. Place the asparagus in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet(s). (If using two baking sheets, divide all the ingredients between them evenly.) Drizzle the asparagus with 2 tablespoons of the nut oil and sprinkle with the sugar. Toss to coat the asparagus, then rearrange it in a single layer. Scatter the jalapeño slices, pecan pieces, and lemon zest evenly over the asparagus. Roast for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus spears, until fork tender. (Resist overcooking.) Let’s Eat Transfer the asparagus to a serving platter or plates. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of nut oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss to coat. This crazy-versatile dish can be served room temperature as part of a picnic spread or hot as a side dish to an entrée such as the Beet-Red Sunset Salmon with Miso, From left to right: Want a springy meal? Try out the roasted asparagus, beet-red salmon, and Key lime butter cookie recipes.


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Read about the Blue Water Bridge and area diversions in this section.

88 Tasting Room A look back and forward at the St. Julian Winery, which turns 100 this year.

90 Dining Out The best picnic fare on Mackinac Island, and where to enjoy it.

92 Book It A look inside Muskegon’s new Pidge Inn — a boutique hotel where nautical style abounds!

94 Discoveries Under and around the marvelous Blue Water Bridge and the pretty St. Clair River. MICHIGAN BLUE

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Centennial Celebration St. Julian Winery plays key role in the success of Michigan’s wine industry


talian-born Mariano Meconi was destined to be a vintner, planting a legacy that has been rooted in west Michigan for four generations. This year, the business he founded — which later became St. Julian Winery — celebrates its 100th anniversary. Meconi immigrated to Windsor, Canada, as a teenager. In 1921, at age 26, he launched Border City Wine Cellars (renamed The Meconi Wine Co.). He later turned his ambitions to Detroit (1934) and ultimately to Paw Paw (1936) in southwest Michigan.


By Dianna Stampfler This fruit belt region was already ripe with a handful of grape-growers and wineries, most now long gone. Within a couple of years, the Michigan Wine Institute was founded to represent the industry’s collective and growing interests by hosting what has evolved into the annual Wine & Harvest Festival in Paw Paw. This year’s event is slated for Sept. 10-12, depending on COVID-19 restrictions. Mariano and his wife, Avelia, raised their children and grew the family business into The Italian Wine Co., which in 1941 became St. Julian Winery (named

after the patron saint of Faleria, Italy, Meconi’s birth village). Over time, the Meconi children — Robert, Julia (along with her husband, Apollo “Paul” Braganini), and Eugene — each contributed to the winery in their own respective ways. Inspired by his grandfather and his mother (Julia), a young David Braganini stepped into the family business after graduating from college in 1973. Controlling interest of the winery transitioned to the Braganini family 10 years later, and David was named president. Under his management, St. Julian became the


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foundation on which Michigan’s current wine industry took shape. The Lake Michigan Shore, an American Viticultural Area (AVA), was established in 1983, although local vineyards have been part of the rural landscape in the region since the 1860s. To tap into a growing interest in winery tourism, Braganini and his fellow winemakers founded the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail in 2001. It now features nearly 20 wineries and tasting rooms within a five-county area. In 2002, St. Julian made history by hiring the first female winemaker in Michigan. Nancie (Corum) Oxley began as a lab manager and enologist, and became vice president of winemaking in 2017. She has significantly expanded St. Julian’s portfolio, both in terms of quantity and style, racking up more than 200 Best of Class and Double Gold awards from some of the nation’s most esteemed competitions. St. Julian is regarded as Michigan’s most award-winning winery, with an array of wines, sparkling juices, ciders, and distilled spirits. It’s also the state’s oldest craft distillery (operating since the late 1990s). Following David’s death in 2016, his brother, John, was named company president. John’s wife, Sarah, works in administration and their sons, Apollo and Dario, serve as vice president of sales and outstate distribution, respectively. John has since acquired controlling ownership and restructured the company for growth and expansion. St. Julian is a third of the way through a 10-year renovation of its Paw Paw production facility, which will provide the capacity to compete in every aspect of the industry and support growth goals of up to 10 percent annually. “As we complete this process, we’ll continue to advance our direct-to-consumer activities, including our nearly 15,000-member Wine Club; grow our wholesale business; and develop ancillary services such as bulk wine, juice, and private label; and co-pack services for smaller wineries wanting to expand their offerings,” John Braganini says.

In addition to its St. Julian, Braganini Reserve, and Coastline brands, the company is expanding distribution of its Forbidden Fruits Ciders and distilled spirits. John and Sarah Braganini also own and operate the winery’s Mountain Road estate vineyard in Coloma, where seven vinifera varietals are grown for small, premium-batch offerings. St. Julian produced more than 800,000 gallons of its own products in 2020. They’re available at independent, convenience, and chain stores, plus larger accounts throughout Michigan and five other states. The company operates tasting rooms in Paw Paw, Dundee, Frankenmuth, Troy, Rockford, and Union Pier. In honor of its centennial, St. Julian is releasing six limited editions of its 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, each displaying matching commemorative black labels. Just 20 cases of each will be available this fall at its tasting rooms ($100 per bottle). One-hundred wooden boxed sets of all six wines ($499) can be purchased at a special ticketed Centennial Release Experience in

This page, clockwise from top: The Braganini family; founder Mariano Meconi; and a beautiful St. Julian vineyard. Opposite page: The fruits of their labors.

the Apollo Room in Paw Paw. The event will feature presentations by the winemakers about the use of barrels in the aging process and how different cooperages impart the distinct flavor profiles evident in this wine series. Guests can meet the Braganini family and help them celebrate the past 100 years, while getting a firsthand look at their impressive future plans. Special pairing dinners, tastings at the Mountain Road vineyard, and events in the new barrel cellar are in the works for later this year.

PLAN IT! St. Julian Winery stjulian.com MICHIGAN BLUE

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Mackinac Al Fresco

Island’s picnic-style food options expand for the new season


f you have a chance this summer, spend a while on this magic isle, surrounded by turquoise water and ripe with plenety of good things to eat al fresco. My parents honeymooned on Mackinac Island in the early 1940s. Years later, they packed me and my six siblings into our station wagon and drove over the fivemile-long Mackinac Bridge the first summer after it opened. The view from above the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet, was so spectacular, everybody screamed at once. We ate our lunch on the island that day in 1958 from a cooler my mom packed with ham and Swiss sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, and it was picnic nirvana. Today, the 4.4-square-mile island is one of the top tourist destinations in the


By Patty LaNoue Stearns U.S. During the coronavirus pandemic, the island’s leaders and businesspeople have been highly committed to keeping visitors healthy and well-fed. Last year, the eateries and other businesses on the island established a winning protocol for “diligent and vigilant” precautions, says Tim Hygh, executive director of the island’s Tourism Bureau. He says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s rules are in force for the 2021 season, as well. They include mandatory mask-wearing, plexiglass in markets, plastic sheeting dividers to separate horse-and-carriage riders, 11 handsanitizing stations, lots of A-frame signage explaining safety rules, and adhering to maximum capacities. Twenty-four island restaurants offer outdoor seating. Hygh’s favorite place for a picnic lunch can be found on the island’s southern bluff: Fort Holmes, which boasts Michigan’s old-

est building (the Officer’s Stone Quarters, circa 1780). “It’s the highest point on the island; you can hike it or bike it. There are picnic tables where you can eat and see the straits, the bridge, Boblo (Bois Blanc) Island, and all the freighter traffic. It’s wonderful,” he says. At the harbor, you’ll find Marquette Park below the fort. Nearby is one of the top delis on the island, Doud’s Market on Main Street. Pick up a box lunch filled with cherry chicken salad, crackers, sliced cheese, and red grapes, and ask fourthgeneration proprietor Andrew Doud about his favorite spots for enjoying your takeout — maybe Sunset Rock or Annie’s Table. Doud’s is America’s oldest familyoperated grocery store, dating back more than 130 years. At Windermere Point Park and the


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1887 yellow-hued hotel of the same name, you can enjoy a snappy brat with sauerkraut at the octagonal-shaped Doghouse near Biddle Point as you sit under a yellow umbrella and watch the rippling waves. Artist Kate Dupre’s Watercolor Cafe Art Space and Beanery, overlooking the harbor, features a breakfast and lunch menu that caters to everyone from carnivores to vegans: you’ll find avocado toast, peanut butter deluxe sandwiches, glutenfree baked goods, smoothies, and specialty lattes, all served fresh, fast, and to-go. “This year I’m adding a vegan breakfast burrito and one with chorizo for meat eaters,” says Dupre, who also sells art supplies and holds fun, creative classes in her studio after the kitchen closes. Mission Point Resort, with 18 acres of waterfront views on the sunrise side of the island, offers its Picnic Society on its Great Lawn, with baskets, blankets, wine glasses, specialty foods, and wine and cocktails to go from its retail shops and eateries. The resort’s three full-service restaurants and three grab-and-go outlets feature fresh “farm-to-ferry” cuisine from local Michigan growers. A new fleet of custom-made, multispeed Detroit brand bikes was added in 2020, along with more outdoor seating and more takeout options available this season.

At the gracious Mackinac Grand Hotel, Norman Dillard, the food and beverage vice president, says they’ve built more outdoor patio space, and added more patio heating and lighting. “At The Jockey Club, we’ve added a lot more usable space, partnered up with a local farmer to institute an Amish chicken

This page, above: Mission Point Resort awaits with waterfront views and lots of picnic food options. Below: Vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free folks — and all the rest — are sure to love Watercolor Cafe’s fare. Opposite page: Friends toast to the Grand Hotel’s delicious offerings.

program, and lightened up the menu,” Dillard says. At the Grand’s Woods Restaurant, they’ve added 60 more seats and are offering a lighter menu, but diners will still find its fabled goulash. Breakfast also has been added at the Gate House eatery. What about all that fudge Mackinac Island is famous for? Well, there’s plenty of that, with 13 fudge shops to choose from! You can pig out on it, walk around eating it, watch it being made, or take a class to learn how to make your own. Bon appetit!

PLAN IT! Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau mackinacisland.org MICHIGAN BLUE

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3/18/21 1:38 PM

S P R I N G 2 0 21 | B O O K I T

Makeover in Muskegon

Pidge Inn owners transform vacant building into a boutique-style hotel


estled in Muskegon’s Harbour Towne neighborhood, between Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake, The Pidge Inn combines beachy hues and marina views with special touches that celebrate the city’s history. Owner Donelle Johnson grew up in Muskegon and rescued the vacant and deteriorating 1990s-era Harbour Towne Yacht Club building, transforming it into a boutique hotel with nine guest rooms that opened in late 2019. The lodging options include king studios, lofts, and suites, with stocked kitchenettes and private patios or balconies overlooking Harbour Towne Marina. Furnishings feature king pillow-top mat92

tresses, 50-inch TVs, Keurig coffeemakers, and lake life décor. Large suites with full kitchens and living rooms can accommodate families or extended stays. The renovations honored the original footprint of the building, which was intended to be a restaurant and bar that never happened. The lobby’s tower ceiling, with windows, shines natural light over what used to be a dance floor and reception room. “The feel is meant to reflect the water, with nautical and industrial accents to represent Muskegon’s heritage,” Johnson says. “The blue walls blend in with the sky and water, the floors are grayish and look weathered to resemble old boat docks, and the lighting is a mixture of old nautical and

industrial-looking fixtures.” Glass tiles on the fireplaces, backsplashes, and shower niches feature an iridescent sheen. They were made by American Glass Mosaics from recycled automotive glass. “That tile is my favorite part. I think it looks cool, and the fact that it’s local is neat,” Johnson says. “We were able to hand-pick the colors we wanted to match our design.” Johnson also named each room — and furnished them accordingly — after a Muskegon landmark or famous figure. Buster’s Boathouse honors the famed silent film star Buster Keaton, whose family summered in nearby Bluffton in the early 1900s. The Pigeon Hill Loft and Passenger


By Marla R. Miller


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Pigeon Studio pay homage to the former Pigeon Hill sand dune and the passenger pigeons that used to nest there before their extinction. “I realized I didn’t know much about the history of the area where I grew up,” Johnson says. “We had fun researching the history, and decided to dedicate the building to Muskegon’s diverse heritage.” Loft rooms offer sleeping areas with a ship’s ladder and extra-long twin beds made to look like old wooden boats. After staying at the hotel, Illinois artist Gregg Barhke designed and painted the gold lettering on the back of the boats last spring. The Pidge Inn blends the amenities of a small luxury hotel with the convenience of

a vacation rental condo. “We want everyone to feel welcome, like they’re staying at a friend’s beach house,” Johnson says. Guests can walk to Great Lakes beaches a few blocks away, launch their boat at the marina on Muskegon Lake, watch the boat traffic along the channel that flows into the big lake, or dine at popular waterfront restaurants such as Dockers Fish House and The Deck. The inn is also convenient to other restaurants and museums, as well as the Lakeshore Bike Trail, which connects to downtown Muskegon. After a day of exploring, guests can enjoy the inn’s private and public spaces to relax, swim in the dockside pool or soak in the hot tub, or monitor the marina ac-

tion. Early risers can catch the sunrise over Muskegon Lake, while those who prefer to sleep in can head to the beach for a Lake Michigan sunset. Guests have access to barbeque grills, picnic tables on a large outdoor patio, boat launch and trailer parking, and beach bikes for quick trips around the peninsula. The Pidge Inn is the closest city hotel to Lake Michigan and a welcome addition to Muskegon’s lodging options. In 2020, it was voted Best Hotel in the Grand Haven Tribune’s People’s Choice Awards.

PLAN IT! The Pidge Inn thepidgeinn.com

Both pages: The boutique-style hotel (at center in the marina) features nautical accents and an industrial vibe as a nod to its location and the city’s heritage.


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S P R I N G 2 0 21 | D I S C O V E R I E S

Under the Blue Water Bridge International span provides popular backdrop for Port Huron’s riverfront


an and nature merge under the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, with steel beams overhead, water all around, and, yikes, a Great Lakes freighter looming! “What’s cool is when a freighter is heading northbound, and just before the bridge there’s a turn, and just for a minute, the freighter looks like it’s headed right toward you,” says Katie Stepp, of the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says the illusion can actually make people jump out of the way. Water is Port Huron’s reason for being, and the Blue Water Bridge to Canada is its claim to fame. Perched at the point where mighty Lake Huron funnels into the St. Clair River, Port Huron is one of the best places in the state to watch Great Lakes freighters and other big ships make hundreds of passes under the bridge every season. The city has a split vibe: part low-key and rus94

By Ellen Creager tic, like Michigan’s Thumb; and part busy city, which also happens to be a vital international gateway to Sarnia, Ontario. In a normal year, more than 4.5 million vehicles cross the majestic sweep of the twin-span cantilevered bridge, whose sections were opened in 1938 and 1997. But stop awhile in Port Huron, and that bridge becomes a backdrop for sightseeing. The best part? Standing directly underneath the bridge itself. There, the river rushes past, while the traffic noise above rumbles. Canada is so close, it seems you could swim there. Next to the bridge is the city’s former train depot, which today is a museum devoted to Port Huron’s most famous citizen, inventor Thomas Edison. Walk under the bridge to the north side. There, the Blue Water Maiden statue faces out toward Lake Huron, and legend has it she protects passing sailors. The walkway near the bridge has a charming mystery. Only locals know about it, Stepp says, but early each morning in

spring and summer, someone leaves small bouquets of flowers on every park bench, free for the taking. “To this day, nobody knows who this person is, but it’s adorable,” she says. Tourists, walkers, boat-lovers, families, runners, and cyclists regularly use the popular paved walkway along the riverfront, which starts at the bridge and links Thomas Edison Park with miles of walkways to the south. Stand under the Blue Water Bridge and “you definitely feel connected,” says Veronica Campbell, executive director of the Port Huron Museums. “There’s the water, and another country nearby. The whole symbolism behind bridges is they connect you.” Here’s how to view the Blue Water Bridge up close: • Walk. The Thomas Edison Park paved walkway goes right under the bridge. • Tour. In season, the Huron Lady


Both pages: Perched where mighty Lake Huron funnels into the St. Clair River, Port Huron is one of the state’s best spots to watch freighters.


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Both pages: Walkers, boat lovers, cyclists, and others enjoy the Blue Water Bridge and the area where Lake Huron funnels into the St. Clair River both night and day.

takes visitors on a 90-minute cruise that passes under the bridge’s twin spans. On land, trolleys operated by the Port Huron Museum and Blue Water Transit stop near the bridge. Climb. Just north of the bridge, the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse (established in 1825, and the oldest operating lighthouse in the state) has been beautifully restored. Tours let you go up into the tower for a panoramic view of the bridge and Lake Huron. Wave. On July 24, find a spot under the Blue Water Bridge to watch sailboats headed to the Lake Huron starting line for the annual Bayview Port Huron to Mackinac race. Stay. Premium balcony rooms at the DoubleTree Hotel, which is right next to the bridge, have fantastic north-facing views of the bridge, river, and lake. Many regular rooms also face the water. Dine. Freighters Eatery and Taproom at the DoubleTree also offer exceptional views of the bridge and river.

PLAN IT! Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, bluewater.org MICHIGAN BLUE

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S P R I N G 2 0 21 | P O S T C A R D

Harbingers of Happiness Crickets, frogs, swans, and the always-springy red-winged blackbird collaborate on an optimistic tune Text and Photo by Kim Mettler


eer Lake sits unassumingly on the outskirts of northwest Michigan’s Boyne City. It also is conveniently located near the bottom of my driveway. My first glimpse of this serene reservoir took place a little more than five years ago, when I was on my way to tour my soon-to-be new home. Confronted with some personal challenges and moving to this neck of the woods from metro Detroit, a quiet cabin near a small town brimming over with kind-hearted strangers was just what I needed. This lake — especially come spring — and the forest around my home have since become my refuge and a source of constant joy. Last spring, when the pandemic stayat-home order was in effect and I was desperate for a change of scenery and fresh


air, I picked up my camera and began making daily treks to an abandoned dock at the edge of the lake. Each day, a new scene emerged. At first, it was just me in the frozen expanse, with an occasional duck landing in the tiny patch of open water near the center of the lake. Then, as the snow and ice began to melt, a curious trumpeter swan would float closer and closer to my ramshackle perch. As the days passed, I began to hear the croak of a bullfrog, soon followed by the familiar spring song of the red-winged blackbird. It wasn’t long before the washed-out brown grasses around the perimeter of the lake gave way to vibrant color, and the surrounding woodlands once again sprung to life. As spring approaches, positivity is all around us — in the returning birdsong

and the chirp of crickets, clear skies, puffy clouds, and verdant green grasses. It’s in the longer days and warmer nights. Mother Earth’s spring always speaks of hope on the horizon. P.S. Deer Lake is a moderate-size kettle lake (formed by retreating glaciers) that sits at the headwaters of Deer Creek, which is a tributary of the Jordan River. Fall Park is located on the west shore of the lake and is a popular destination for fishing. South of the lake is a large expanse of state forest that’s part of the Gaylord Management Unit. Kim Mettler owns Michigan Barefoot Memories Photography, mibarefootmemories.com

PLAN IT! Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau petoskeyarea.com


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(616) 935-1150

REAL ESTATE. REAL RESULTS. call: 616.935.1150

explore: sandigentry.com

visit: RE/MAX Lakeshore 133 Washington, Grand Haven

213 Barber Street

17971 N Fruitport Road

15488 Howard Street

Prime Spring Lake water frontage is the setting of this stunning contemporary walk out home with 4 bedrooms, 4 ½ baths, and over 6000 sf that is perfect for entertaining year round.

Exquisite lakefront estate! Carefully Curated and Designed, this is Situated on Almost 9 Acres with 300 ft of Private Spring Lake Waterfrontage, and boasts over 9200 Sq Ft.

Custom designed and built multi level waterfront home with over 70’ of private frontage on Petty’s Bayou with scenic views in every direction.

17885 West Spring Lake Road

16180 Highland Dr.

7355 River Trace Drive

Impressive 6 bedroom, 4 ½ bath immaculate home with finished walk out lower level. Newly built with stunning finishes and floor plan.

Exquisitely designed & custom built two story estate epitomizes luxury and is situated on 118’ of private Spring Lake waterfrontage.

Quality construction and intricate details are yours in this unique estate with almost 12,000 sf to enjoy fronting Wuskowhan Players Golf Club.

6198 Murray Road #201

18185 North Shore Estates Road

18941 North Fruitport Road

Panoramic views are yours in this beautifully remodeled lake front condo! 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, and over 1,800 sq ft to enjoy year around!

Million-dollar views from this exquisitely renovated Lake Michigan estate. 4 bedrooms, 4½ baths with 3,500 finished square feet to enjoy.

Spring lake waterfront dream home! You’ll enjoy breathtaking water views & incredible sunsets from almost every room of this beautiful custom residence on Spring Lake.

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3/23/21 9:23 AM

Profile for Michigan Blue

Michigan Blue - Spring 2021  


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