Michigan Blue - Summer 2020

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Reviving waterfront history

Grand views, great design and tales of decades past





The Douglas House: An iconic modern masterpiece restored Saving historic Fishtown | Bootlegger legends by kayak Beaver Island glamping | Patio designs | North shore gourmet dining

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s with wide open spaces

Find your happy place in Traverse City. It’s where endless miles of beach welcome you for a summer stroll. Where peaceful forests and cool blue lakes wait to be explored. No matter where you spend your Traverse City getaway, you know you’re in a pretty great place.


When it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy each other’s company again, let’s not forget those who played such huge roles in getting us to that point. Michigan BLUE thanks our medical community, grocery workers, nonprofits, retail and restaurant employees, truck drivers, mail carriers and teachers for carrying the heavy load. May a wonderful Michigan vacation be in your very near future.




““I’m in awe of the brilliant composition of the house.” --M A RCIA M Y ERS


32 Of cattails and bootleggers Once occupied by gangsters and Detroit’s power elite, the old mansions along canals off the Detroit River are perfect for history tours by kayak. By Amy Eckert

38 Making history on Lake Michigan Built in 1973 and designed by famed architect Richard Meier, this breathtaking home overlooking Lake Michigan has been painstakingly restored and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. By Jeanine Matlow

Leland’s historic Fishtown, once a fishing village and now a tourist destination, is being rescued from Lake Michigan’s waters by community supporters and the Fishtown Preservation Society. By Greg Tasker ON THE COVER The Douglas House in Harbor Springs Photography by Jim Haefner




44 S aving Fishtown



22 columns:


08 Letters and Contributors

12 Waterways

10 Wavelengths

20 Undercurrents Getting outdoors in an era of COVID-19. By Howard Meyerson

Vicarious travel in Michigan. By Howard Meyerson

22 Home Decor


Modern materials pave the way to designing stylish outdoor spaces around the home. By Jeanine Matlow

Glamping on Beaver Island, visiting the Edsel Ford mansion, a Michigan cookbook and the Pointe aux Barques historic lighthouse.

24 At The Helm Unique charter boating experiences are found around the state. By Chuck Warren

30 Vintage Views From early Tom Thumb courses to later Putt-Putt Golf, miniature golf was a source of entertainment for decades. By M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson

60 Michigan Top 5 Michigan has many bodies of water, but some offer more fun than others. By Kim Schneider

68 Reflections Rising Great Lakes waters are causing havoc once again. By Jerry Dennis



26 The Sporting Life Night fishing for trout is a special experience if you have the constitution. By Bob Gwizdz

The Grand Rapids woman [Mandy McGovern] describes her cookbook as “a love letter to family meals and life in Michigan.”

62 Tasting Room Odd Side Ales in Grand Haven began as small taproom serving small-batch brews; today it is a major destination. By Marla R. Miller

64 Dining Destination 28 State of Mine “Black Indian,” A Memoir. By Shonda Buchanan

51 Excursions The Grand River Expedition returns, Plymouth’s 40th Art in the Park, Charlevoix’s 20th Garden Walk and Standard Flower Show, the Sunrise Side Wine & Food Festival. Compiled by Marla R. Miller

In the village of Hessel, a quaint northern Lake Huron port, Les Cheneaux Culinary School readily lives up to its boutique restaurant status. By Dianna Stampfler

66 Historic Inns & Lodges Located on a lovely slice of paradise, The Hendryx Beach Retreat has a novel history. By Megan Swoyer


in every issue:



GET UP AND GO Summer feels good on the skin…like freshwater waves gracing the sand. The paradise of Northern Michigan is more than a pristine beach, a day at the spa, or wine tasting with friends. More than an early morning tee 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.

Owned and Operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

SUMMER 2020 ®


www.mibluemag.com PUBLISHER: John Balardo ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Jason



EDITOR: Tim Gortsema MANAGING EDITOR: Howard Meyerson GENERAL INQUIRIES: editorial@mibluemag.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Christine Byron, Ellen

Bill Bowen The co-founder, and now principal of Octane Design in Detroit, Bill studied at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, Wayne State University, and the Art Institute of Chicago. When not busy producing projects for the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau or The Henry Ford, among others, Bill plays drums in two bands and enjoys playing hockey. Find him at octanedesign.com

Creager, Jerry Dennis, Amy Eckert, Bob Gwizdz, Jeanine Matlow, Marla R. Miller, Linda Odette, Kim Schneider, Dianna Stampfler, Megan Swoyer, Greg Tasker, Chuck Warren, Julie Bonner Williams, Thomas R. Wilson



Bob Gwizdz, James Haefner, Gary Odmark, Johnny Quirin, Glenn Wolff


GENERAL INQUIRIES: advertisingsales@grmag.com ADVERTISING DIRECTOR: Jenn Maksimowski ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Chelsea Carter,

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Megan Swoyer A longtime metro Detroit-based editor and writer, Megan is the editor of Hour Media’s Detroit Design magazine. Her features have been published in the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News and Hour Detroit magazine. When she’s not writing or editing, Megan teaches watercolor painting. She and her husband and their two sons love to spend time at their cottage in Northern Michigan.

James Haefner An accomplished automotive advertising photographer, Jim’s love of modern design drew him into the architectural world 15 years ago. Today he balances both areas of interest equally, along with a lifetime interest in landscape photography. When not behind his camera, Jim enjoys a round of golf, travel and spending time with his daughter and son. Find him at jameshaefner.com

Greg Tasker A Traverse City-based freelance writer, Greg enjoys writing about Michigan’s growing wine, beer and spirits industries. A former arts and entertainment editor for the Detroit News, he is the author of two books. Greg’s stories have been published in newspapers around the country and magazines like Backpacker, Parade, Traverse Magazine and BBC Travel. Find him on Twitter @gtasker_dn

We welcome letters to the editor. Please send letters in care of: Editor, Michigan BLUE Magazine, 401 Hall St. SW, Suite 331, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, or email to howardm@geminipub.com. Letters may be edited for reasons of clarity and space.

Amy Eckert An award-winning travel writer based in Holland, Amy has traveled the globe widely searching out good stories and has contributed to numerous travel books. She is the author of two travel books about Detroit, the most recent is “Easy Detroit Outdoors.” Amy is the past-president of the Midwest Travel Journalists Association. Find her at amyeckert.com



Jeremy Leland







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Michigan BLUE Magazine is published bi-monthly by Gemini Media. Publishing offices: 401 Hall St. SW, Suite 331 Grand Rapids, MI 49503-144. Telephone (616) 459-4545; fax (616) 459-4800. General e-mail: info@ geminipub.com. Copyright ©2019 by Gemini Media. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Michigan Blue Magazine, 401 Hall St. SW, Suite 331 Grand Rapids, MI 49503-144. Subscription rates: one year $18, two years $28, three years $38, U.S. only. Single issue and newsstand $5.95 (by mail $8); back issue $7 (by mail $9.50), when available. Advertising rates and specifications at mibluemag.com or by request. Michigan Blue Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited contributions. Visit us mibluemag.com





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Vicarious travels in Michigan being offered “through an overlooked piece of Detroit real estate, its Detroit River canals. …the historical tours have become extremely popular,” she wrote. “Located east of downtown, these canals were once haunted by the notorious bootleggers, the Purple Gang, and by auto barons, including Charles Fisher, who built his extraordinary mansion here in 1922.” It sounded like fun. Amy was excited about the story. And, of course, she would need to go on the tour last year to capture it fi rst-hand, before winter closed in. Likewise, Bill Bowen, the Detroit photographer who shot the feature for us. “This assignment was a blast.,” Bowen said. “Paddling around Detroit is always an adventure. …Photographing while paddling can be a challenge, especially with the old kayak I have. Meeting the DRS (Detroit

River Sports) guests, who were all super friendly, couldn’t have been more fun. Being behind the scenes photographing the paddle to table event was great.” Their feature story is found in this summer issue along with an important and colorful look at the effort by locals in Leland to save historic Fishtown from Lake Michigan’s rising waters. Also, we present the story of The Douglas House, an architectural gem in Harbor Springs on Lake Michigan that has been restored and added to the National Register of Historic Places. Those are just a few of the opportunities that our readers have in this issue to vicariously get away from the travails of this year, or better yet, plan to actually experience them. We hope you all stay safe and healthy.

Howard Meyerson Managing Editor, Michigan BLUE Magazine


o say the least, it’s been a tragic and trying year, something most of us could never have imagined. Here at BLUE, our hearts go out to those of our readers and others who may have lost someone due to the COVID-19 virus, or who fell ill and continue to struggle. Know we wish you well and all hope for better times. Planning for this summer issue of BLUE got underway long before the virus arrived, and while its presence in Michigan surely will change many summer plans, we hope that you enjoy this issue, that it’s stories, columns and beautiful photos and illustrations provide a valuable distraction in hard times, bring smiles to faces and fuel future plans. Travel writer Amy Eckert, who lives in Holland, enthusiastically approached me in May last year with a fascinating idea to write about touring the Big D’s historic river canals by kayak, about paddling tours




See Yourself in a Better Light

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Right: The Ford mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It remains open for the public to visit.

Estate of elegance


t isn’t often that a place can be regarded as opulent and intimate at the same time, but that is exactly the feeling one gets when visiting the 30,000-square-foot Ford House (fordhouse.org) along the shores of Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe Shores. The former home of Edsel Ford (the only child born to Henry and Clara Ford), his wife, Eleanor (Clay) and their four children, was completed in 1928. Inspired by England’s Cotswold storybook cottages, it features sandstone exterior walls adorned with ivy, along with a limestone shingled roof. Inside, antique wood paneling, fireplaces, staircases and stained-glass windows sourced from historic manors and halls of England date back as early as the 14th century. The Fords also amassed a priceless collection of art and antiques — some pieces later donated to the Detroit Institute of Arts, a venue they actively supported. Over the years, the Fords entertained in grand fashion — welcoming social groups, civic leaders and friends into their home. Even after Edsel passed away in 1943, Eleanor held lavish gatherings for the community and her family alike, such as son William Clay’s 21st birthday party when a full-size replica pirate ship was set afloat in their lagoon. Upon her death in 1976, Eleanor left a $15 million trust to preserve and restore the




Above & Bottom left and right: The grounds and gardens at the Ford House were designed by Jens Jensen between 1926 and 1932. He was known as a master of the naturalistic landscaping style.

property, as well as provide for a handful of staff who remained. Her wish to open the estate to the public was granted and by 1979, the Ford House was listed with the National Register of Historic Places. “If in the Detroit area, the Ford House is a must,” said Martha Canipe of Kernersville, North Carolina, who also serves on the board of Preservation Forsyth — the country’s only organization dedicated to preserving historic resources. “Led by passionate and knowledgeable docents, you’ll leave feeling you have a much better understanding of both the home and family.” Plan 50 minutes for a guided tour or set your own pace during a self-guided tour. In addition to the gardens and manicured grounds, the estate boasts a Gate Lodge, Pool House, Power House and 2/3-scale Play House built for the Fords’ only daughter, Josephine. Two new buildings — an administration building and visitor center — each designed to LEED standards, will open this year. The Ford House also hosts a variety of events and educational programs throughout the year, including a Father’s Day car show and two annual concerts with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in July (capped off with fireworks over Lake St. Clair). — Dianna Stampfler





Grilled salmon with asparagus

Detroit deep dish pizza

Coney Dogs

A love letter to Michigan cooking


ant to whip up some Mackinac Island fudge? Detroit Coney dogs? Up North pasties? Mandy McGovern’s cookbook can help. She even divulges the secret to perfect cherry pies in “My Little Michigan Kitchen: Recipes and Stories from a Homemade Life Lived Well.” The Grand Rapids woman describes her cookbook as “a love letter to family meals and life in Michigan.” In it she dishes up more than 100 “straight-forward recipes almost anybody can make” connected to places around the state and staples from her family’s table, plus stories and photos of life in Michigan. McGovern started writing the Kitchen Joy



food blog (bit.ly/kitchenjoy) in 2013. It follows the adventures of her cooking through her cookbook collection. “We strive to live by the motto that ‘Homemade is better than storebought,’” she writes on her blog about her family, “and it rarely lets us down. I love learning more about food every day and sharing my excitement with anyone who will listen.” McGovern loves to use local products ranging from maple sugar to heirloom tomatoes in her recipes. “Our tomatoes are as good as Italy’s,” she said. And she should know: She lived in Italy for several months when her husband worked there. But she didn’t bring a cookbook with Michigan reci-

Above: Author Mandy McGovern brings a pan of freshly baked cookies out of the oven. Left and Middle: Four dishes shown from her cookbook.

pes and she missed food from home. Soon, the idea for a cookbook about her passion was born. Releasing the book in early 2019 turned her crazy-busy world up a notch. She already was taking care of her two young girls, testing recipes, shooting food pictures and writing her blog. The cookbook venture added traveling around the state to talk about the book. So, what’s the secret ingredient to tart cherry pie? McGovern swears by almond paste. Put it on the bottom of the pie crust before you put the cherries in to prevent it from getting soggy. —Linda Odette


Mushroom swiss sliders

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Open-air wall tents provide campers with privacy.


ake Michigan’s largest island is a haven for nature lovers and recreationalists seeking to paddle the shoreline, fish the inland lakes, pedal the gravel roads or simply enjoy an evening under the stars. But visitors to the “Emerald Isle” now can find one-of-a-kind, safari-style overnight accommodations at Beaver Island Retreat (beaverislandretreat. com), which opened last summer. According to owners Maria Dal Pra and Brian Vaeth, it is one of only two such “glamping” facilities located on an island in the continental United States. Situated just off King’s Highway (named for the island’s most notorious resident, self-proclaimed Mormon “King” James Strang), the resort



currently offers 10 safari-style tents spread out over 10 wooded acres. “The layout of the campground was designed to allow for the greatest outdoor experience with as much privacy as possible,” said Dal Pra. “Sites are more than twice the requirement by law, totaling over 2,500-square-feet with some sites up to 5,000-square-feet.” Sitting atop a custom-built platform, each 16x11.5-foot tent features a queen log bed with a memory foam mattress and bamboo sheets, bath towels, lanterns and flashlights, Bluetooth speaker, custombuilt chairs and clothing rack. A covered porch offers seating for two, as well as a kitchen cart with plates, cups and uten-

sils. Each site also includes its own grill, a fire ring, picnic table, hammock and just about anything else one needs to enjoy a rustic getaway. “It was a spur of the moment decision to take a trip to Beaver Island and it was the best decision we made all year,” said Kim Howe of Rochester Hills, who visited in 2019. “Our experience was exceptional from start to finish — both Brian and Maria are so dedicated to providing the best experience for their guests.” Common areas like the laundry facility, fully stocked kitchen, covered cedar log pavilion and private bath houses give a home-away-from-home feel. Visitors are provided unlimited ice, water, firewood


Enchanting island escape

“The layout of the campground was designed to allow for the greatest outdoor experience with as much privacy as possible.” MARIA DAL PRA


Above: After spending a delightful evening under the stars, lighting helps campers find their airy abode.

and charcoal, as well as all-natural soaps, a welcome bottle of wine and morning coffee. Add-on packages cover shuttle service, vehicle rental and grocery delivery. This year, four tents are expected to be outfitted with solar power to provide lighting, run laptops and charge cell phones. A small guest garden with herbs and select vegetables, retractable clothing lines and an enhanced bar area within the pavilion also are among the new amenities. Open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, Beaver Island Retreat is kid- and pet-friendly, as well as ADA compliant. Beaver Island is accessible via ferry or air service out of Charlevoix. — Dianna Stampfler

Above and Top Right: Visitors to Beaver Island Retreat enjoy a variety of comforts including a covered porch, Bluetooth speaker, bamboo sheets and a complimentary bottle of wine.





Pointe aux Barques lighthouse

IF YOU GO The Pointe aux Barques lighthouse is at 7320 Lighthouse Road, Port Hope. Admission is free. Hours: daily from 10 a.m. to dusk, from Memorial Day to Oct. 14. The gift shop is open Thursday-Sunday. In 2020, the tower is open July 4 and 5; Aug. 1 and 15; Sept. 5, 6, 26 and 27 ($4 charge to climb). The lighthouse hosts a Heritage Festival on Aug. 1 and participates in the Port Hope ABC Festival (Antiques, Bean Soup, Crafts & Collectibles) Aug. 15. The Lighthouse County Park campground adjoins the lighthouse grounds.




The Pointe aux Barques lighthouse on Lake Huron was built in 1857.


hen the freighter Daniel J. Morrell broke in half and sank in a storm in 1966, its lone survivor, Dennis Hale, was rescued just south of the Pointe aux Barques lighthouse on Lake Huron. Today, the lighthouse museum displays his battered life jacket, part of a life raft and a faded life ring, poignant reminders of the wreck that claimed 28 lives. The towering old lighthouse also witnessed the Great Storm of 1913 and has ties to Catherine Shook, Michigan’s first woman lighthouse keeper. “She’s been standing strong for over 163 years,” said Larry Baker, president of the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse Society (pointeauxbarqueslighthouse.org), the nonprofit group that restored it. Yes, there have been tragedies and storms, “but let’s not forget the good times, the celebrations, the families who lived there. There have been babies born there, and people who have passed away.” The 89-foot-tall brick lighthouse dates from 1857. One of the 10 oldest lighthouses in the state, it still actively protects boats from the precarious shoals of Saginaw Bay near Michigan’s Thumb. The lighthouse has been restored so visitors can climb the tower many days each year. It also has a museum, a keepers’ quarters and a gift shop. Its lifesaving station is being restored. Pointe aux Barques means “point of boats” in French. The first lighthouse built on the site, in 1848, was run by Catherine Shook and her eight children after her husband died, earning her a place in Michigan history. The staff and crew of the second lighthouse and its lifesaving station rescued more than 200 people through the years. Many know Pointe aux Barques because of its ties to the Morrell tragedy, but some visitors come just because it’s beautiful. “We get a lot of people from all over — Switzerland, India — and somehow they


A beautiful spiral staircase takes visitors to the top of the 89-foot tall lighthouse.

find this place at the tip of the Thumb,” Baker said. Most have no idea of how large the Great Lakes are, or even which lake is which (some ask if Lake Huron is where the famous freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank.) Once Baker talked to a man who could not believe how beautiful the Great Lakes were. He’d never seen them before. “I asked him where he was from, and he said Troy, Michigan.” Visit the museum, and you can see mementos of lighthouse keepers and families, measuring instruments and the lighthouse’s original Fresnel lens. Visit on a day when the tower is open. Climb the spiral stairs. Look out on the endless blue of Lake Huron, which hides its shipwrecks and dramatic history below the innocent waves. — Ellen Creager






Finding respite outdoors



great and helped me adjust to the rigors of COVID life. The following day, we hit a local park trail, just over a 3-mile walk, where it was clear that others had figured it out: getting outdoors is good for you. Couples with children, small groups and individuals all kept their distance. It was chilly, but most seemed relaxed, glad for a break. The sun was shining, and a cool breeze dusted the forested hills. Most everyone said ‘hello’ as they passed, careful not to get too close. In Michigan, we are fortunate to have an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, from city and county parks to state and national parks and forests. And though traveling long distances to visit pre-

mier locales might be prohibitive because of COVID concerns, government restrictions, and hotel and restaurant closures, getting out for a day-trip is something well worth considering if you are not sick and have not been exposed to the virus. As of this writing, state park campgrounds and bathrooms are closed, but the parks remain open. Most have plenty of space to spread out. If you live nearby, get out and visit one. Go and see the wildflowers. Plan a picnic or a hike but keep your distance, then stretch and breath. Soak up some of what makes Michigan so special.

Howard Meyerson is the managing editor for Michigan BLUE Magazine.



t is hard to get away from the terrible effects of the COVID-19 virus that weighs on us all, creating anxiety, constricting our lives, and causing many to fear leaving home. At the start of Michigan’s pandemic, like many, I sought the security of my house despite the low infection count. So much was unknown, the stakes and risks so high, much of which has sadly borne out. As the case numbers increased across the state and Kent County where I live in Grand Rapids, the walls seemed to close in. Everyone at the office was directed to work from home. Social distancing emerged as a national slogan and practice. Every news channel was supersaturated with COVID-19 coverage. And my supply of hand sanitizer steadily diminished with none being available on store shelves. So, I decided one afternoon to go for a walk outdoors. Normally filled with neighborhood people walking dogs and children playing in their yards, the streets were empty. A nearby school playground, typically bustling with kids, was deserted. Not a one. I was reminded of a scene from a postapocalyptic film; morose thoughts began to fill my head. But I walked on, listening to the birds, and the sunshine and fresh air proved a salve for my spirits. The exercise was invigorating. Nearly an hour of that cleared my head and loosened up the tightness I felt all over. The following weekend, after getting an invitation, I decided to play tennis at a local park (before the city closed the courts) with another who I knew practiced good COVID hygiene. I had not played in 100 years, so it is with, perhaps, literary license that I say I “played.” But running around chasing the ball was cause for genuine laughter. It felt

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Paving the way Patios reach new heights with the latest materials


ith outdoor rooms in high demand, patios set the stage for al fresco living. As emerging trends demonstrate, this designated section of a property, especially in a lakefront setting, provides a sophisticated transition from inside to out. Defined by pavers and stones, patios are meant to stand out from the rest of the yard as a place to unwind or host family and friends in a natural environment. Here are a few of the latest sought-after styles. One recent move has been toward large format materials instead of the traditional bricks and smaller intricate designs that were prevalent in previous years, said Daryl



Toby, owner of AguaFina Gardens International in Sylvan Lake (aguafina.com). “The larger plank allows for geometric forms. Just the scale of it allows the landscape to read better and not compete with the paving material because your eyes aren’t stuck on all the little details.” For the outside of a home Toby enhanced in Farmington Hills, the exterior walkway makes a statement, as does the patio with 42x42-inch pavers where the fire feature was made with the same material as the steps. The cohesiveness helps to blend various elements. “It’s best not to have so many different materials on the same property,” said Toby. Here, the indoor fireplace repeats

the polished black granite that tops the outdoor fire feature for more visual consistency. Another landscaping project, with an Asian-inspired garden and a patio beneath the overhang of a lakefront house in Bloomfield Hills, features antique pavers reclaimed from the ancient streets of China. “It’s an amazing material,” said Toby who found distinct carvings depicting fish on one of the centuries-old stones. In addition to the aesthetic preferences that can narrow down the vast selection of materials, a patio should be functional and flexible for the end user. For instance, the substantial layouts often associated with lakefront properties may be great for entertaining purposes, but they can feel empty for a party of two. “When designing a patio space, smaller areas help segment it a little bit, so it can transition to a large space when company comes and be more intimate for every day,” Toby said.


A geometric walkway accented by grass leads to this East Jordan waterfront.


Above: Stone steps and boulders lead to a deck and patio area made from a wood alternative. Below: Large pavers are used to create a patio with a fire feature.

Outside influence Currently, Bob Conklin, who handles product support and development for HIGH FORMAT (formerly Rosetta) in Charlevoix (highformat.com), a company known for high-end landscape materials, also has noticed a shift toward larger formats for patios and walkways. “There are more rectilinear shapes and long clean lines with less curves,” he said. “There are also more mid-century-inspired designs with a move toward more grays and beiges in the color palette.” In the past, Conklin noted there were a lot of red tones and blended colors with current styles leaning toward more solid shades. For contrast, large format slabs can be framed with reclaimed brick like a patio in Kalamazoo that features their Miros pavers and Kodah garden blocks for a freestanding wall. A geometric walkway leading to a waterfront patio in East Jordan, where both are accented by grass, shows the unique application of today’s denser materials that allow for greater durability and more detail. Some even feature a salt-proof surface. Other products that lend texture to these types of settings include their selection of fire pit and fireplace kits, column caps and garden blocks for retaining and freestanding walls. As staycations become a regular way of life, the popularity of these outdoor spaces shows no sign of slowing down. For the past decade, said Conklin, the trend to invest in the quality of living has people entertaining more often in their own backyards. That sounds like a perfect opportunity for a new patio.

Jeanine Matlow is a Detroit-based writer who loves writing about homes and home décor. MICHIGAN BLUE





Michigan’s unique boat-tour opportunities

Above & Below: The 65-foot schooner Serenity.



“I’m a working boat owner,” said Morris. “I want to give our guests a unique experience with every trip.” Serenity sails from May 1 to Oct. 31. To make reservations or learn more about Serenity, visit sailingsaugatuck.com. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has its own unique boat tours available. For those interested in Great Lakes shipping and its history or the locks that make shipping traffic possible, Soo Lock Boat Tours offers passengers the opportunity to “ride with the freighters.” Based on the waterfront in Sault St. Marie, the tour brings passengers up close and personal with the huge freighters as the tour boats mingle with the commercial vessels that cruise on the St. Mary’s River.

Above: A sunset tour through the Soo Locks provides a striking and unusual experience.

Soo Locks Boat Tours also provides guests with the opportunity to experience the process of “locking through” the system, rising and falling with the giants in the busy Soo Locks as the freighters transit between lakes Superior and Huron. The company also offers other cruises from mid-May through mid-October, in-



ith more than 3,200 miles of coastline, Michigan is a boater’s dream. But you don’t have to own a boat to enjoy the beaches, fishing, sunsets cruises and other water-related attractions the Wolverine State has to offer. Whether you are looking to explore the beautiful dunes on Michigan’s western shores, the rocky coast of Lake Huron, or the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula, you can always hitch a ride on someone else’s boat instead. There are plenty of boat tours and private charters available in Michigan’s coastal towns, such as sunset cruises and sailing trips. But, for those looking to do something a little different, there are unique floating tour options, as well. On the West Michigan coast, the sister towns of Saugatuck and Douglas welcomed a new attraction in 2019: the 65-foot schooner, Serenity, operated by Sailing Saugatuck. After operating a smaller vessel out of South Haven for nearly 10 years, company owner Tim Morris decided to expand the fleet and make the Red Dock in Douglas the Serenity’s home port. Serenity is an authentic, 65-foot steel-hulled, two-masted schooner cruising the Kalamazoo River. A trip aboard presents passengers with a different view of the Saugatuck riverfront, including wildlife like deer, bald eagles, muskrat and more making occasional appearances during many cruises. Serenity also is available for private charters for groups of 24 or less. It’s perfect for weddings, family reunions and other celebrations. Guests are even welcome to decorate Serenity to match their cruise’s theme.


Above: A tour boat floats over the W.P. Rend which sank in 1917. Left: The Monohansett propeller.

cluding sunset and dinner cruises, lighthouse tours, sightseeing adventures and private charters. For more information or to make reservations visit soolocks.com. On Michigan’s East Coast, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary lies near one of the most dangerous waterways in the Great Lakes. More than 200 ships have been claimed by the unpredictable weather and rocky shoals, earning Thunder Bay and the surrounding area the nickname, “Shipwreck Alley.” Today, more than 100 shipwrecks have been discovered, many of which are clearly visible on the bottom of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary to guests of Alpena Shipwreck Tours — without the need for a wetsuit and dive gear. Leaving from the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center Museum in Alpena, passengers can view the well-preserved wrecks of schooners, cranes and barges from the comfort of the 65-foot, glass-bottom tour boat, Lady Michigan. The boat’s lower deck is equipped with glass viewing wells that provide a clear view

More than 200 ships have been claimed by the unpredictable weather and rocky shoals, earning Thunder Bay and the surrounding area the nickname, “Shipwreck Alley.”

of the wrecks that lie in 20 feet of water or less. According to Heritage Center Museum Manager Andrew Augustyn, there is nowhere else in the Great Lakes like Thunder Bay to see shipwrecks without diving. “The clarity of the water is unrivaled,” said Augustyn, “except by the Caribbean.” The company offers a variety of other tours too, including evening shipwreck cruises to Thunder Bay Island, a Fourth of July fireworks cruise and private charters aboard the Lady Michigan. The Great Lakes Heritage Center Museum is open year-round. Alpena Shipwreck Tours operates its glass-bottom excursions from mid-May through the first week of October. For reservations see: alpenaship wrecktours.com.

Chuck Warren is a licensed captain and boating writer based in Grandville. MICHIGAN BLUE





Trout at night




Top and lower right: When the giant mayflies hatch on summer nights, big trout go cruising for food. Lower Left: Angler Steve Fraley holds up a brown trout he caught while night fishing.

eerily over the nightscape. Ordinary events become extraordinary in the blackness of a trout stream on a warm summer night. A moonless night, with a starry sky that would cause Van Gogh to second guess whether he got it right, may be a treasured event, but it’s one I would gladly forgo for enough cloud cover to turn the surroundings coal black. Darkness is the night angler’s friend. That’s when the giant brown trout, seemingly as long as your leg, come out to feed. Admittedly, there is an element of dan-

ger associated with fishing after dark that heightens the experience. There are not many veteran night anglers who haven’t been baptized by a submerged limb grabbing them by the ankle as they wade in the shallows, though they’re more likely to suffer a heart attack from the beaver they didn’t realize was there tail-slapping the surface just feet away. Night fishermen can make use of their entire repertoire, though the bulk of them fish dry flies. There are fly hatches after dark that tip off the presence of fish and you can


ly fishing for trout is a dramatically visual sport. Watching a faux mayfly made of feathers and thread as it drifts downstream and disappears into a swirl on the surface is exactly what flips many an angler’s switch. And, it doesn’t have to be a dry fly. Anglers who fish streamers — sinking flies that imitate baitfish — often talk about the fish they “moved” or “turned” or “rolled,” trout they saw attack their fly, even if they didn’t connect with them. A fair percentage of the accomplished fly fishermen I know even prefer streamer fishing to other methods, simply for the visuals. “You get to watch an apex predator charge right through your fly,” trout guide Kyle Hartman commented to me one day when exactly that happened while we were streamer fishing on the Pere Marquette River. “It doesn’t get any better than that.” Even nymph (aquatic insect larva) fishing is visual. Although nymphing typically involves dead drifting a small fly along the bottom, well out of sight, the take is often visual as the line jumps when a trout takes the bug. I love it all. But if forced to choose a favorite, I’d bypass all those opportunities for the sensations that you experience when you can’t see a thing: trout fishing after dark. It’s a different world on a trout stream at night. You can become mesmerized by the sounds; the gurgling of the water, the buzz of cicadas, the songs of the frogs and the calls of owls or whip-poor-wills echoing

It’s a different world on a trout stream at night. You can become mesmerized by the sounds; the gurgling of the water, the buzz of cicadas, the songs of the frogs and the calls of owls or whippoor-wills echoing eerily over the nightscape. hear them feeding on hatching or dying bugs. The Hex hatch (Hexagenia limbata, the giant Michigan mayfly) is an almost religious experience for trout fishermen, who know it is probably the best chance they’ll have to interact with a giant brown. At night, anglers fish by sound; they listen for feeding fish, then try to slip into casting range to take a shot at them. Sometimes the fish sound like golf balls hitting the water, other times they sound like noisy kisses. Sometimes the biggest fish make the least noise. Some anglers choose to ignore the hatches and fish with large splashy flies, using patterns that sometimes resemble, but are generally called mice. Unlike dry fly fishing, there’s no need for dainty presentations. They try to cover the water and when they hear what sounds like a cinder block hitting the water, set the hook. Night fishing isn’t for everyone. If you’re timid or easily spooked, it may not be your game. But then again, maybe it is. You’ll never know if you don’t go.

Bob Gwizdz is a career outdoor writer. He lives in East Lansing with his wife, son, and a crazy English setter.

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Black Indian This excerpt from Black Indian — A Memoir by Shonda Buchanan is reprinted with the permission of Wayne State University Press. Copyright © Shonda Buchanan


stare up into the darkness, faintly able to make out the shapes above me. Hot, I reach up, give the ceiling fan chain a quick tug and instead mistakenly fl ick on the light. I yank twice, the fan whirs, and the room is Plato’s cave again. The stars and half-moons hum glow-worm yellow, reminding me that I am still a child in my mother’s house. Even though I have my own daughter, and at that moment her thick breath does a snag-mock whistle in my ear, I am still the baby girl, sixth child of seven, the fourth girl child, and therefore not special at all… Kalamazoo was not big enough for me, my Mama, and my Mama’s ghosts. After that everything I did was California’s fault. Getting pregnant at twenty when I was the “smart” one. That damn California. Not marrying the father. That’s what them Californians do. Going back to college. Oh, you think you smart cause you in California? When I locked my “good” Indian hair and now resembled a Rasta: Look what that damn California did to Shonda. To them, in my crazy California Sanskrit shirt, with my soft writer hands, I would always be the baby girl. No living uncles, no grandparents, and now only two aunts; an intra-racist greataunt; and a tight-lipped mother, who used to allow us kids to play hideand-go-seek and truth or dare during the hot summer nights, our screams pulling down the crushed red summer sun, the light snuffed out



by our urgent night-coming-down-soon whispers. Firefl ies gave up their wings for our pleasure on that ground, for our pounding feet ruining their moist flower beds. The waist-high grass that Mama let grow wild on the Southworth Terrace clearly defi ned our country sensibilities. There were times when childhood was magical to me, running through the grass like it was a jungle; fi recracker smoke and sulfur on the Fourth of July; fish fries and cleaning greens on the front porch while the neighbors looked down their apple pie noses at us. Our white house, shutters trimmed in black, sat in the middle of our property, which felt like the biggest house on the block when I was shorter. The edges of the yard were bordered with what the Michigan Chippewa called sugarbushes, towering maple oaks that dripped sticky sap, as well as massive pine, birch, and crabapple trees. One summer, Mama let the grass grow at least three feet high and someone reported us to the city. Not long from the swamp, I’m sure the younger and hipper of our neighbors, or the old Polish immigrants, snickered. We didn’t care. Kalamazoo, Decatur, Ypsilanti, Mattawan country. “You know you got some Indian in you?” my mother proudly crooned every six months or so when we were growing up. How did she know? Her Aunt Katheryn, our family historian, told her; her cousins and uncles told my mom and aunt stories about being from a tribe in Mattawan, but later her dad said Oklahoma, yet none of them did any research. My research uncovered our route: we were migration trail transplants from the Eastern Shores that lined the edges

of the fi rst counties that formed the Union. …Little did my mom or her sisters know that when their grandmother’s (Callie D’s) grandfather, Willis Roberts, Jr., left Indiana for Michigan in the early 1850s, he was one of the fi rst to stake his claim to “unspoiled” farmland in Mattawan. There were only a few “of color” Mixed race farmers in those parts then. And who wanted that swampland anyway? Farmers did. Willis came just on the cusp of the 1854 Census, which lists fi fty-four “free black” families moving to the state as FOP or Free People of Color (a term that originated in the 1800s to encompass Black, Indian, and white interracial families who were never enslaved), Willis and his wife had their hands full trying to build a farm. Free People of Color also encompassed full-blood American Indians who had either decided to leave or were forced off their tribal homelands before they were renamed reservations. …My Robertses and Staffords are listed on the Guion Miller African Eastern Cherokee Rolls, a collection of transcribed interviews and recorded letters from 1908-1910 from people who, wanting to receive reparations and land allotments promised (in exchange for already stolen lands), asserted their Eastern Cherokee Indian Blood. Ironically, having already left the reservations, they couldn’t prove it by U.S. government standards. Many tribes would not open their records to help prove Indian status of those who’d abandoned the reservations. If your family wasn’t listed on one of the federal rolls, like the Dawes Rolls, you were ass-out in the wind. No reparations for you. Because many were illiterate then, most of our history was orally passed down from generation to generation, however one of the patriarchs, Elijah Roberts, was educat-

ed and mindful enough to keep records. In fact, since 1765, most of the Roberts children were educated and had several years of schooling. When I fi nally saw pictures of the Robertses, eerily, many of them looked so light they could easily pass for white. Same for the Manuels, and one of those greatgreat-uncles did decide to pass and never spoke to his Mixed race brothers and sisters again. When I was teaching in Bath, England, in 2008, I found out that we, the multicolored darker-skinned spawn, were never invited to those Roberts family reunions in Indiana. They had their own church and everything. But they didn’t care about my mother’s convergence of Indian blood flowing through her veins. She was the right color, translucent as a blinking star in the swamp-black sky, but her kids, especially me, weren’t light enough: we were all the shades of the coming night. We didn’t care: no one could take the country, the indigenous, or the Black out of us. Mattawan or North Carolina, wetlands was in our blood.

Shonda Buchanan is the author of two books of poetry, including the award nominated Who’s Afraid of Black Indians? She has taught creative writing at Loyola Marymount University and William and Mary College, and is currently writing the screenplay of her first memoir, Black Indian, as well as working on a second memoir. MICHIGAN BLUE




Left: Crystal Park in Beulah where kiddie rides and miniature golf provided fun for the whole family. Right: Grand Haven State Park’s course opened in 1951 and became a hotspot for teens.


iniature golf has delighted Americans for almost a century, challenging the skills derived from “real” golf with entertainment features and novelty. The first miniature golf course was created in 1916 in Pinehurst, North Carolina, on a private estate. Other wealthy golfers followed, creating their own personal postage-stamp courses, calling the activity “garden golf,” but with none of the kooky obstacles that would later characterize the game. In the 1920s, this leisure class pastime was transformed into a cultural phenomenon that ordinary folks could enjoy. Mini-golf fever caught on across the country, including in Michigan. The movement exploded in 1927, when Freida and Garnet Carter of Tennessee acquired the rights to an artificial turf made of crushed and dyed cottonseed hulls and patented Tom Thumb Golf. They sold some 3,000 Tom Thumb courses for $4,500



each, including courses in the Michigan towns of Frankfort, Marquette, Escanaba, Detroit and others. By the late 1920s and early 1930s, miniature golf had become another crazy fad, like dance marathons, flagpole sitting and hotdog-eating contests, that indulged America’s appetite for novelty. At the same time, Prohibition uprooted many men from their customary barstools onto a miniature green. In 1927, federal agents raided a building on the east side of Detroit and found a bar and liquor storeroom — as well as a thumbnail indoor golf course. In downtown Jackson, another indoor miniature golf course, the Rustic Gardens, was raided by police in 1930 where a small quantity of beer, whiskey and gin were seized. But overall, the game appealed to folks looking for simple recreation, not liquor. The Detroit Sportsman’s Show of 1929 featured a diminutive 18-hole layout for its visitors’ enjoyment. Profes-

sional golfers at the show gave instructions in the midget game. By 1930, an estimated 40,000 mini-links appeared across the country in vacant lots, hotel grounds, rooftop gardens, highway gasoline stations and amusement parks. There were even indoor midget courses in department stores. In 1928, the Battle Creek Sanitarium opened an 18-hole miniature golf course for its patients and guests, where Dr. John H. Kellogg played the first round on the model course. Port Huron’s Hotel Harrington had a “snappy” indoor 9-hole course, where in 1929, “the ladies are particularly urged to come in and play.” The 1929 plans for a new suburban development in Bloomfield Hills of “old English Country Estates” highlighted miniature golf courses, tennis courts and bowling-on-the-green courts. Meanwhile in Ludington, an indoor 9-hole course, where “each hole is decidedly sporty,” showcased a scaled-down break-



The biggest little game in town

water, lighthouse and cottages, reflecting the maritime heritage of that city. Courses ranged from sublime to ridiculous. Oddball, crazy, or strange grounds featured windmills, castles, pagodas, waterfalls, or storybook characters. Roulette wheels, giant dice, jungle animals, or cultural icons like Paul Bunyan or the Taj Mahal were caricatured. Rube Goldberg-esque hazards designed to roll a ball through complicated tricks were popular. Lilliputian courses sprang up all over Michigan, from Watervliet in southwestern Michigan to Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula. By 1930, Lansing had six 18-hole miniature links, and Detroit had at least twice that number. There were peewee courses in Brighton, Paw Paw, Holland and many other towns. The zenith for half-pint golf courses came in 1930 when an estimated 4 million people

regularly played. The fad faded in the following years and the number of links dwindled. For many Michiganders, our images of miniature golf were formed by the links of the 1950s. The baby boom and growth of suburbia fostered an explosion of interest. New courses sprouted up in shopping strips or along popular highways. The Putt-Putt Golf chain offered franchises in 1953, and several were established in Michigan. Miniature golf was a clean, wholesome activity for families with young children or teenage baby boomers on a date. Crystal Park in Beulah offered fun for the whole family with kiddie rides and a miniature railroad, as well as mini-golf. Established in 1953, Jawor’s Fun Golf in Roseville featured a giant pair of red dice, a pink elephant and a purple alligator, among other novelties.

A hot spot for teenagers was Grand Haven State Park, which opened a miniature golf course concession in 1951. The attraction lasted through the 1962 season when the Michigan Conservation Department decided against such “carnival concessions.” Mini-golf saw another boom in the 1980s that continues today, albeit in smaller numbers. As John Margolies stated in his seminal book on the subject, “Miniature Golf”: “Europe may have its centuries-old traditions of landscape architecture, but America has miniature golf.”

BLUE Vintage Views columnists M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson reside in Grand Rapids. They are authors of the book “Historic Leelanau: Recognized Sites and Places of Historical Significance.”



TI M E .

Trade your iPad for the splash pad. Your laptop for the lap pool. And emails for exhales. Because memories aren’t made sitting behind a screen. They’re made in the waterpark, taking a trip down the alpine slide, relaxing by the campfire, and on a long hike. It’s all happening this summer, at Crystal Mountain.







Kayakers explore historic canals and learn about Detroit’s wild side BY AMY S. ECKERT | PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL BOWEN




the Fox Creek canal, their long tendrils brushing gracefully across the water’s surface. Curious mallards watch our group of a dozen kayaks from the shelter of rustling cattails and nearby, canal residents offer friendly greetings from their waterside backyards. It’s hard to believe these quiet, vegetation-thick canals lie within Detroit’s city limits. Set within the city’s Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood, just east of downtown, and adjoining the Detroit River, the century-old canals feel worlds away from the glass and steel office towers of Michigan’s largest city. Detroit River Sports (DRS) has been showcasing the natural side of Detroit since the watersports outfitter was founded. Owner Alex Howbert, who launched his paddling business on Belle Isle in 2013, relocated and expanded the business to the city’s canals in 2016, setting up shop in the abandoned shell of what used to be Tommy’s Marina. “I preferred spending time outside as I was growing up,” said Howbert, who, as a child, lived close to the Detroit River and was part of a local sailing team that raced on the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. “I was always baffled as to why there wasn’t more outdoor recreation going on in the city, especially on the river,” he said of the years preceding DRS. “I felt like people would get a totally different perspective of the city if they saw it from the water.” That altered perspective impresses DRS’s customers from the moment they arrive at the outfitter. The marina sits tucked between two city parks, Riverfront Lakewood and Windmill Pointe, its brightly-colored kayaks lying dockside beneath towering trees and along a lily pad-strewn waterway. On this sunny day in August, Erin Stanley, an assistant manager and frequent tour guide at DRS, will lead us paddlers on a

Kayakers venture out on Fox Creek Canal for a day tour in search of adventure and Detroit history.






2½-mile, 3-hour kayaking trip through the network of Fox Creek canals and along the Detroit River. The tours showcase the area’s natural beauty. But they also shed light on key elements of Detroit’s history. “Metro Detroit spans 139 square miles and more than 300 years,” Stanley tells us as we gather our kayaks near hers. “But you can trace much of the city’s most important history to the 2½-mile stretch of water that we will paddle today.” After 10 minutes of paddling, the canal’s calm waters have become noticeably choppier. The current has become markedly stronger and the wind has picked up. We have reached the entrance to the Detroit River. Our lesson begins, naturally enough, with the Pottawatomi, Ottawa and Iroquois who used the Detroit River as a transportation hub as early as 750 A.D. The river’s transfer to French control in 1701 wasn’t a smooth one. The Fox Wars, which brutally pitted French soldiers against Fox warriors for ownership of a key North American trade route, took place where our vivid kayaks float. The Fox Creek takes its name from the defeated tribe. “The Detroit River became key to American history again in the Civil War era,” said Stanley, “when Detroit became Destination No. 1 on the Underground Railroad. African Americans hid within the cellars and basements of some of the oldest houses we see on the river, waiting for their chance to row to Windsor.” Here in Detroit, the Detroit River formed the narrowest crossing between the U.S. and Canada east of the Mississippi. I imagined what it might feel like, paddling across this powerful waterway in the dark of night. If Detroit’s Underground Railroad history quiets us kayakers, Stanley’s Prohibition-era tales soon have us shaking our heads and chuckling. Detroit’s own Purple Gang stars in her accounts of frenzied bootleggers, who raced the Feds up and down the Detroit Riv-

er with alcohol-laden, supercharged boats. Rumrunners smuggled torpedo-shaped booze containers via underwater cables in other tales and, once the river had frozen over, via automobile for just as long as the season’s ice held out. “People speculate that there are more Model Ts lying just beneath us, on the Detroit River bottom, than there are currently sitting on dry land.” As Stanley paddled into the Grayhaven Canal, she led us past the Dawson home, allegedly a Prohibition-era speakeasy, and the cream-colored Fisher Mansion, built by Cadillac President Lawrence Fisher for 2.5 million pre-Depression era dollars. We paddled alongside what remains of the Gar Wood estate, once famous for its 3-story organ and wild rock ‘n’ roll music parties, a house leveled by a suspicious fi re in 1976. Other historic mansions sit anonymously on the quiet canal, most having seen better days, some hidden behind rusting gates and unkempt vines. Who could tell whether these estates might once have sheltered anxious slaves in their cellars? Which might merely have sheltered rum? Our tour ended with a quick paddle back up the Detroit River, where we would kayak for a short distance alongside a freighter before returning to the marina. “During the Industrial era, around 1907, the Detroit River was crowded with commercial ships,” Stanley called out over the sound of the ship and the wind, “transporting more than double the goods on either the Hudson or the Thames rivers at that time.” River traffic boomed thanks to Detroit’s growing industrial might and a burgeoning shipbuilding industry. “Before Detroit was the Motor City, we were the Boat City.” Detroit’s industrialization brought heavy pollution to the Detroit River, a blemish only slowly fading. A decades-long clean-

Paddlers put on lifejackets and learn about kayak paddles and technique before getting on the water.







Opposite Page: The tours appeal to novice and experienced paddlers. Bottom right: Paddlers enjoy a section of the Detroit River.

up partnership with the Canadian government in 2001 resulted in the creation of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, a 6,000-acre protective zone that straddles the nations’ borders and is the only one of its kind in North America. As if to highlight her tale of a newly-revitalized Detroit River, the peak of a beaver lodge juts up above the tall river grasses, evidence of an environmental indicator species that, as recently as five years ago, had been absent from the Detroit River for a century. “I would call this a must-do tour of the city,” said Dennis Fortson of Ann Arbor. “I loved the stories about the Purple Gang and the Prohibition era, the history of the great old houses along the canals,” he said. “This is the most fun we’ve had in a long time,” added his friend Thomas McSweeney of Canton. “We had no idea of the incredible history here in Detroit,” said Christopher Rogers, who, along with his wife and son Mika and Jafar Carter, were visiting from Atlanta. “We thought we’d try paddling because we enjoy being active. But then besides the natural areas, they introduce you to all of this Detroit history. It’s just fantastic!” “We get a lot of tourists on our river trips,” said Stanley, “but we also have a lot of locals. I really love showing them the river. They think they know Detroit, but these trips offer them a completely different connection with the city. They learn there’s a lot they didn’t know.” “I feel good that I can be a part of giving people a new perspective on Detroit,” said Howbert. “Oftentimes people are surprised at the natural side of the city, and that means a lot to me. They’ll ask, ‘Are we really still in Detroit?!?’” He laughs. “And I say yes. This is Detroit.”

Amy Eckert is an award-winning travel writer and author based in Holland.

PADDLEwith TODetroit TABLE River Sports You’ve heard of farm to table. Maybe even farm to cocktail. But paddle to table? Detroit River Sports (detroitriversports.com) partners with Coriander Kitchen & Farms for an evening that combines outdoor recreation with a multi-course, locally sourced meal. Paddlers arrive in the late afternoon for a guided excursion on kayaks or SUPs through the city’s historic canals and along the Detroit River. After enjoying the natural beauty of the river — maybe even a spectacular sunset — and immersing themselves in the history of Detroit, visitors paddle back to DRS’s marina for dinner overlooking the water. Coriander Kitchen & Farms is the brainchild of chef-farmer team Allison Heeres and Gwen Meyer, who raise their organically grown produce on a half-acre farm just east of Detroit’s Eastern Market. Meals revolve around Coriander’s produce, garnished with their own dried flowers and herbs; fish, meat and cheeses come from local producers. Paddle to Table events take place in DRS’s marina, which was newly renovated in early 2020. The facility houses a new bar and restaurant — Coriander Kitchen & Farms’ permanent home since early this year — that opens onto a waterfront patio overlooking the Fox Creek canal and Riverfront Lakewood Park. Above the restaurant, DRS features a new special events space, both covered and uncovered. Downstairs is the outfitter’s retail sales shop, with paddling gear, rentals and tours. Plan to spend 4.5-5 hours at DRS for the Paddle to Table events, including a 1.5-2-hour paddle excursion. Prices are $120/person, $105 if you bring your own kayak, and are appropriate for all skill levels, even first-timers. MICHIGAN BLUE






The Douglas House was built on a steep forested sand dune overlooking Lake Michigan.




ot all online searches for lakefront living lead to such a high-caliber home, but that is precisely what happened with this architectural gem in Harbor Springs. Designed by famed architect Richard Meier and completed in 1973, the stunning Douglas House (named after the original owners) defies all odds with its stark white exterior perfectly perched on a steep bluff with sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding landscape. In addition to its prominent past, the awardwinning home now has a splendid present and a bright future due to a true labor of love by the current caretakers, retired executives Michael McCarthy and Marcia Myers, who acquired it in 2007. Despite the deteriorated condition upon their arrival, the couple fell hard for the compelling architecture and striking aesthetic as well as the spectacular lakefront setting. Since then, they have taken on a number of major restorations to update key features like the expansive windows, the entry bridge and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning. While the roughly 3,000-square-foot structure currently serves as their primary residence, it will become an operating foundation at some point in the future. “There is a responsibility to be good stewards of history and share the Douglas House with architectural visitors,” said McCarthy, who described their unique find as “pristine, architecturally perfectly integrated, art forms within an art form.” From the soaring three-story living room to a series of outdoor decks, there are plenty of places to sit and savor the surroundings while soaking up the breathtaking views. Outside, steps and a tram lead to the spacious private beach below. Though McCarthy and Myers clearly appreciate that the Douglas House is considered one of the 100 most iconic private homes in the world, they didn’t realize how significant it was until after their purchase. “It’s an architectural icon and we’re the new stewards of this world-famous place,” McCarthy said. “We needed to do it right by bringing in the right creatives and skilled trades.” To say the restoration logistics were complicated would be an understatement, but the couple forged ahead as planned with safety as a top priority for workers who had to access the home with a 40-degree slope. Creative



Architect and artist Richard Meier was famous for his use of geometric design and the color white in his constructions.




Isolated and beautiful, the white modern home stands in relief against the shoreline forest.

dential commissions. “That speaks to the genre of the architecture; Meier built it to be timeless,” said Myers.


engineering took them through what McCarthy calls the triage phase that allowed them to address the necessities like roofing and siding. That led them to the point where they can now choose the sequence in which they do the remaining work. The original project architect Tod Williams has been known to refer to the present condition of the house as being better than new.

A WOR K OF A R T While they enjoy a relatively quiet life that includes baking bread, cooking meals and going for walks, as stewards of the Douglas House the couple feels a responsibility to share their historic environment with architects and students from around the world. During these visits, Myers, an art history major, serves as the onsite historian. “I’m in awe of the brilliant composition of the house,” she said. “For Richard Meier to do that at such a young age is really a rarity. Though he built off (Le) Corbusier (a Swiss-French architect considered a pioneer for modern architecture in the 20th century), it’s still impressive how quickly he adapted that.” Their entertaining tours often conclude in the ultimate outdoor setting. “We take people up on the rooftop deck for a 180-degree view,” said Myers. “The sunset is spectacular.” Whether recalling a particularly memorable celebration following a day of helicopter shots for the “Michigan Modern” book that features the Douglas House or hosting their neighbors who offer to bring everything just



to sit on the roof, their occasional gatherings hold special meaning. From the rooftop deck, eagles soar above the lake by day, while incredible stargazing opportunities arrive with nightfall. Back inside, the private spaces include the master bedroom on the main level, a guest bedroom on the lower level and three bedrooms on the top floor. The master bedroom feels like a cocoon, said Myers, making it a great place to watch a storm with the roaring waves that can be heard through the open windows. Precise ship-like features like the railings and the stairs on the exterior suit the lakefront site, while the reverse design gets everyone’s attention with the main entrance marked by a blue door at the top of the residence and the kitchen on the lower level where a dumbwaiter delivers groceries. The treehouse effect includes an outdoor staircase and a ladder along the side of the house. This one-of-a-kind home reveals itself in layers. “At one level, it’s a piece of sculpture. When you see how it is architecturally integrated, you look at each piece as another piece of art,” said Myers, who has a passion for decorating that had her anticipating the potential of a blank-canvas white house. “I thought I would be able to decorate until I realized how it is so perfectly done like a piece of art. If you put something else there, it doesn’t belong.” Classic furnishings selected by Richard Meier include pieces that were designed by the architect, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and others. That precision conveys the brilliant design behind one of the architect’s first resi-

Recently retired state historic preservation officer Brian D. Conway has seen many significant structures during his career. Still, this one made a lasting impression. “It knocked my socks off with all the glass, the volume of the interiors and the flow of space from one floor to the other,” he said. “It’s quite an incredible experience how it makes you feel; good architecture has a strong emotional impact on you.” He also understands the restoration challenges the current owners were facing. “The house is particularly difficult given its site, making it tough to get to the lake side of the house when renovating,” said Conway, who featured a chapter about the Douglas House in his book: “Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy.” “When you walk in, you can immediately look down and see multiple floors. With the reverse entry, the expansive glass and the magnificent view, you feel like you’re floating over the lake.” The historian and author expressed tremendous respect and admiration for McCarthy and Meyers. “It’s a remarkable restoration and their intent is to make it available to the public,” said Conway, who considers the pizza party on the rooftop deck following the photo shoot for his book to be one of the highlights of his career. Recently added to the National Register of Historic Places, as Conway explained, a house can be of local, state or national significance. This one is the latter due to the extraordinary talent and vision of Richard Meier. “The Douglas House is recognized as one of his most outstanding early residential buildings,” he said. “Though it was modeled after a similar residence in Connecticut, the challenge of the dramatic site really made it stand out.” Conway still recalls the very first time he visited the historic dwelling, which was early on when there had been other alterations before the current couple came aboard. “They realized its pedigree after they bought it and they really did step up to serve as excellent stewards,” he said. “As owners in passing, they want it to remain visible.”

Jeanine Matlow is a Detroit-based writer and regular contributor who loves writing about homes and cottages.

Left: The Richard Meier design has airy living spaces with lots of glass for natural lighting. Above and below: Clean lines and simple dĂŠcor express the modern aesthetic Meier was famous for.




B y G r e g Ta s k e r





Fishtown was an active and thriving commercial fishing village until the 1970s when things began to change.


F E W P E O P L E A R E A S I N T I M AT E W I T H F I S H T O W N A S B I L L C A R L S O N . Long before the cluster of wooden shanties began to rise along the banks of the Leland River in the early decades of the last century, Carlson’s great-grandfather and grandfather were fishing the bountiful waters of Lake Michigan, netting lake trout and whitefish along the coast and around the Manitou and Fox islands. His father and uncles would eventually pursue commercial fishing as their livelihood. And Carlson, beginning as a boy at age 11, followed in their wake, initially working along the shore, helping to reel in nets, before joining the crew on the Good Will, a wooden tug. In his late teens, he toiled long hours in the summer, often working from dawn to well beyond dusk, helping dress the day’s catch on the way back to the shanties of Fishtown. “It was a special time of my life,” recalled Carlson, now 77. “Not many people have that kind of opportunity. We worked hard and we were tired. But we were young and strong. How can you not like being on the water?” By the early 1970s, Carlson noticed changes tak-

ing place in Fishtown, a once thriving commercial fishing village, pushing him down a long path to preserve the weathered buildings and a way of life that was rapidly disappearing from the Great Lakes. Changing times, however, would be the first of several challenges in the coming years. The most recent comes from Mother Nature: rising waters of Lake Michigan, now at record-high levels. “I saw possibilities. They were powered by my being there,” Carlson recalls. “Fishtown was my childhood. It was almost everything to me. It represented the fishermen before me, my father, my grandfather. It represented so much of my heritage and roots. I had a goal: to preserve it.” While some families transformed their shanties into shops or other businesses to lure new customers, others sold their structures. As they became available, Carlson bought them and began rebuilding and preserving the past, from his own personal memories. In its heyday, Fishtown contributed to the livelihood of more than a dozen local families and provided fresh fish for customers in Detroit, Chicago and New York City. MICHIGAN BLUE


Today, the village of 11 weathered shanties, ancillary buildings and docks remains intact at the mouth of the Leland River, drawing about 300,000 tourists each year from Michigan and all over the Midwest. Commercial fishing endures, on a limited basis, but much of the appeal is the uniqueness of the worn village of pint-size shanties. Once used to store fishing equipment, pack fish and repair nets, the shanties now are home to shops and eateries. Tourists come to dine at The Cove restaurant, famous for its Chubby Mary (a Bloody Mary served with a smoked chub) or stand in long lines to grab a freshly made, thick sandwich from the Village Cheese Shanty. They fish along the docks and river and can still buy smoked fish — lake trout, salmon and whitefish — from Carlson’s Fishery, now owned by Bill’s nephew. A ferry hauls hikers and backpackers from the docks to the Manitou islands. Fishtown, which also includes privately owned buildings such as Falling Waters



Lodge, has become as iconic as the Grand Traverse Lighthouse at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “It’s a great place,” said Phil Anderson, owner of Diversions, housed in one of the shanties and a purveyor of hats, Fishtown T-shirts and gifts. “It’s a great place to run a business because of the traffic. It’s really intense in the summer. The season is much longer than it used to be. It used to get quiet after Labor Day but we’re seeing a bigger following in the fall.” Anderson, whose business traces its roots in Fishtown to the 1970s, believes its appeal lies in its uniqueness — similar fishing villages along the Great Lakes have vanished — and because it evokes another era, long gone. John Norris, who has been visiting Fishtown since he was a boy and worked summers at The Bluebird restaurant and the Harbor House, a gift shop on Leland’s main road above Fishtown, agrees. “I think it’s a connection to a different,



Opposite page top: Commercial fishermen Terry and Roy Buckler bring a load of chubs out of the smoker. Opposite bottom and above: Commercial fish tugs regularly lined Fishtown docks. Below: Bill and Pete Carlson examine a day’s catch in 1973.


–J O H N N O R R I S



As commercial fishing on Lake Michigan declined, Fishtown became a popular destination for recreational boaters.

simpler time,” said Norris, who is the owner of Leland Books. “It’s still an active fishing village. You can smell the wood burning to smoke the fish and you can smell the water. You see people fishing and you hear the rush of the water over the dam. “It just touches all these senses as you walk through there,” he said. Norris, like other business owners in Fishtown and Leland, has become an ardent supporter of its preservation. “One of the things I check to see if I want to support a charity is the amount of volunteer support,” Norris said. “I want to see people not only writing checks but also giving their time, the number of volunteers getting involved. You can’t fi nd more broadbased grassroots support than you do for Fishtown.”

As a commercial fishing hub, Fishtown’s heyday occurred in the 1930s and 1940s. The industry remained largely viable through the 1990s, surviving despite industry pressures, invasive species, changing state regulations and priorities. The preservation of Fishtown has been an evolving endeavor, beginning with Carlson’s efforts in the 1970s. “The more we did, the more people would come,” Carlson recalled. “There was nothing else in northern Michigan attracting them. There were no casinos at the time. There was no great shopping. It drove us to continue.” Concerned about development and the future of Fishtown, Carlson created a nonprofit organization in the first decade of this century to preserve the site. He bowed out shortly afterward as Fishtown Preservation Society began fund-raising efforts to purchase the shanty complex from his family for $2.7 million. The mortgage was paid off a year and a half ago. Besides retail and dining options, Fishtown also serves as an education center about commercial fishing. The society owns two iconic fish tugs, the Janice Sue and the







Joy, which are leased to a local fisherman to catch whitefish and chub.

These days, Fishtown faces a threat more formidable than development or changing times: the rising waters of Lake Michigan. Last summer, as the lake reached record water levels, shanties like the Village Cheese Shanty flooded, forcing the business to close well before the tourist season ended. The ever-churning, flooding waters intensified concerns about the overall infrastructure, including the docks, retaining walls and pilings. The flooding hastened Fishtown Preservation Society’s long-planned efforts to make infrastructure improvements. The organization has been in the midst of a $2.5 million fund-raising campaign to have the work done. With emergency grants, the Fishtown Preservation Society was able to begin some of those improvements this past winter, focusing on the Village Cheese Shanty and the Morris Shanty, the oldest structure in the village, dating to 1903. The Cheese Shanty was removed by crane from its foundation and temporarily planted in the marina parking lot. Workers replaced the cement foundation and shored up the retaining wall. The shanty has been returned to its location and it’s expected the popular sandwich shop will open this season, as usual. While rising water is not a new threat, news coverage of the flooding and Fishtown’s plight helped garner more attention for its fund-raising efforts. “It’s created a lot more visibility for Fishtown,” said Amanda Holmes, executive director of Fishtown Preservation Society. “We’ve gotten more donations. It’s exciting that so many people want to be a part of it.” There’s plenty more money needed, and fund-raising efforts will continue, she said. If the group’s lofty goals are met, the remainder of the infrastructure work could begin in the fall and be complete in 2021. “There will always be projects because of the types of buildings these are and the use of the buildings and being on Lake Michi-



Above: With its quaint shops today, Fishtown has become a popular tourist destination. Top: The Village Cheese Shanty was lifted so its foundation could be rebuilt and raised to accommodate Lake Michigan’s rising waters.

gan,” Holmes said. “Fishtown will always need our care.” Carlson, who splits his time between Florida and Leland, is proud of his role in preserving a unique Michigan and Great Lakes locale as a historic spot and tourist destination. He has long removed himself from any involvement in its operations. Lake Michigan is a concern but can be overcome. “In the short term, you can only do what my dad used to tell me: Let it blow,” Carlson recalled, explaining that there might not be

much that can be done in the short term so focus on the long term and be patient. It’s fixable. “I’ve spent every day of my life being in Fishtown or thinking about Fishtown. It has consumed me,” he added. “It was a fairytale for me to go down to Fishtown and watch the fishermen do their jobs. I always knew it was going to be a special place.”

Greg Tasker is a Traverse City-based freelance writer whose works have been published across the country.





Make a date with the state


Enjoy the season and the fun, from outdoor celebrations to dramatic and stirring performances indoors.

FA M I LY F U N PA G E 5 3 H O M E & G A R D E N PA G E 5 5 A R T & M U S I C PA G E 5 6 B Y L A N D , A I R & S E A PA G E G R E AT TA S T E S PA G E 5 8

Super Summer! Get the bicycle out and go for a ride. Enjoy 57

a sunset or sunrise stroll along a beach. There are antique wood boat shows scheduled, and high-performance power boat extravaganzas. Check out the flower shows. Visit the Soo Locks. Try an overnight backpack trip. Enjoy an evening under the stars. Check out the National Asparagus Festival. MICHIGAN BLUE





July 5-18 Adventurers are getting ready for the 2020 Grand River Expedition, a 13-day public journey of discovery on Michigan’s longest river. The 262-mile paddle tour goes from northern Hillsdale County to Lake Michigan at Grand Haven. The event is held once every decade. There are opportunities for day and overnight paddling for those who can’t commit to the full 13 days. Visit mgrow.org/grand-river-expedition for information.

July 10-12

July 15

July 18

July 22-24

Take in summer’s bountiful blooms, landscaping ideas and enjoy a day walking through local gardens during Charlevoix Garden Club’s 20th annual Garden Walk and Standard Flower Show. The Garden Walk fundraiser supports eight civic gardens and other community projects. Stop in Charlevoix Public Library 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for the flower show and to view judged flower designs and horticulture cut from members’ gardens. charlevoixareagardenclub.org

Michigan-made wines and beer are the main event at Harrisville’s Sunrise Side Wine & Food Festival. Enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting, plus cider and meads, local food and homegrown music overlooking beautiful Harrisville Harbor. Unique items and gifts at the Hops & Vine Retail Corner. The $15 entry includes a souvenir glass and tasting tickets. alconacountychamberofcommerce.com or facebook.com/sunrisesidewineandfoodfestival

Saturn and Jupiter are on their way to their rare and mighty Great Conjunction later in the year, and Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry’s Giants in the Sky Cruise gives sky-gazers a chance to catch them at their opposition with the sun. Shepler’s 2020 schedule kicks off June 26 with a Crescent Moon Cruise and ends in August with two midnight Perseid Meteor Shower excursions and a Wine Moon Cruise. Visit sheplersferry.com for ticketing info and dates.

D O YO U H AV E A N E V E N T F O R O U R C A L E N D A R ? Calendar items may be submitted to excursions@geminipub.com two months prior to publication of the intended issue. Michigan BLUE is a bi-monthly magazine.




A signature Michigan event now in its 40th year, Art in the Park draws over 400 artists from around the U.S. to Plymouth’s Kellogg Park. Find paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, glass, woodwork, photography, folk art and more at Michigan’s second largest art fair. Live music, living mural art, chalk and children’s murals, comedy juggling show and more. Round out a weekend of art, food and fun. artinthepark.com

Andrea Crossman Group


EDITOR’S NOTE Due to changing COVID-19 public health advisories at press time, some events may have been rescheduled. Please check the websites to verify the event status and date.


F A M I LY F U N June 2-7 — 6th annual Aldo Leopold Festival, Les Cheneaux Islands This festival highlights the local connection to one of America’s most influential naturalists with guided sunset paddles, daily birding trips, a hike at the Aldo Leopold Preserve and family-friendly programs. aldoleopoldfestival.com June 5-14 — Mackinac Island Lilac Festival The first and largest event on the island, this 10-day festival celebrates 72 years and lilacs in bloom. Join in the coronation of the queen and court, a10K Run/Walk, lilac walking tours, horsedrawn carriage tours, a grand parade, concerts and other events. mackinacisland.org June 6 — Port of Ludington Maritime Museum Anniversary Celebration Come celebrate the museum’s fouryear anniversary and enjoy fun maritime activities while touring the museum. ludingtonmaritimemuseum.org June 11-14 — Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival Sing and dance to Bavarian music and enjoy a street party and fireworks, plus family bike ride, Kindertag Parade, kids area and big festival parade Sunday on Main Street. bavarianfestival.org June 12-14 — National Asparagus Festival, Hart The Asparagus Capital of the Nation celebrates asparagus in and out of season. Festivities include kids activities, farm tours, parade, Taste of Asparagus competition, Spear-It 5K run and more. nationalasparagusfestival.org June 12-14 — MerFest International, South Haven Mermaid-themed festival with live bands, two mermaid tanks, waterpark fun, exciting night time aerial and water performances at Lake Arvesta Farms. merfestinternational.com June 13-14 — Love Ludington Weekend This celebratory weekend features the Lakestride

Half-marathon/5K/10K, Ludington Bed & Breakfast tours, an S.S. Badger shoreline cruise, West Shore Pride Fest and more. pureludington.com/love June 13-14 — Free Fishing and ORV Weekend, statewide Grab your pole and head to your favorite fishing hole during this free fishing weekend where fishing licenses aren’t necessary. ORV riders also can access nearly 3,800 miles of off-road trails and five scramble areas without an ORV license or trail permit. Recreation passport entry fee also waived. michigan.gov/dnr Jun 13-14 — Pictured Rocks Days & Yoopers Cruise Free Days, Munising Explore the national park and enjoy free music, food vendors, entertainment at Bayshore Park and more. Pictured Rocks Cruises offers “Yoopers Ride Free Days” for U.P. residents and with regular paid admission. picturedrocksdays.com June 13-14 — Civil War Weekend, Lexington Watch soldiers of the Union and the Confederacy camp and re-enact battle in the streets of Lexington. bluewater.org June 13-14 — Feast of the Strawberry Moon, Grand Haven Experience living history and local 18th century life for Native Americans, French and European settlers, and the American unification of West Michigan. Feel the thrill of battle through live re-enactments, demonstrations, music, games, period vendors and food. feastofthestrawberrymoon.com June 18-21 — Bridgefest 2020, Houghton/ Hancock Waterfronts This community festival celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. Helicopter rides, concerts, fireworks, parade and more. bridgefestfun.com June 19-22 — Detroit River Days River Days is a celebration of Detroit’s International RiverWalk with activities on land and water, and even in the sky, including personal watercraft demos, riverboat tours and zip line rides to live music, delicious eats and quirky acts from random street performers. riverdays.com June 25 and July 23 — Living History Day, Ludington Learn how to play the game of cricket, take in old-fashioned demonstrations and visit historic buildings and docents at Historic White Pine Village. On July 23, an Abraham

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Lincoln impersonator will mingle with visitors and give presentations throughout the day. historicwhitepinevillage.org

fireworks and a fire on water military tribute highlight this festival celebrating freedom and independence. cadillacfreedomfestival.com

June 26 — 2020 Soo Locks Engineers Day, Sault Ste. Marie This is your once-per-year chance to sneak a peek behind the scenes at the Soo Locks. Walk across the mighty Soo Locks’ walls, stroll Soo Locks Park and enjoy an arts, crafts and family fun fair. saultstemarie.com

July 4 — W.T. Rabe Stone Skipping Tournament and Fireworks, Mackinac Island Love to skip rocks? Register for the amateur competition at 10 a.m. Pro division competition starts at noon. Visit the island for a day of fun and grab a spot for the fireworks at dusk near the boardwalk and Windermere Point. mackinacisland.org

June 27 — Log Cabin Day, Alpena Take a step back in time and experience living history at Besser Museum. Watch live woodcarving, spinning, weaving, butter making, musical performances and planetarium shows. bessermuseum.org June 27 — Long Lake Lights Festival, Alpena Celebrate independence in northern Michigan with live music, activities and a fireworks show at Long Lake County Park. longlakelightsfestival.com July 1-Aug. 9 — Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, Traverse City See nationally and internationally rated equestrian competitors at Flintfields Horse Park outside of Traverse City. The festival includes Grand Prix show jumping competitions each Sunday. traversecityhorseshows.com July 2-5 — Manistee National Forest Festival A Manistee tradition for over 80 years, this festival rings in Independence Day with an arts & crafts fair, Fourth of July Parade, fireworks over Lake Michigan, marketplace, carnival, waterfront concerts and more. manisteeforestfestival.com July 2-5 — Frankfort Carnival and Fourth of July celebration Carnival games, rides and food at FrankfortElberta Chamber of Commerce. On July 4, celebrate with a 10 a.m. parade, Art in the Park, decorated bicycle contest, sand castle sculpture contest and fireworks at dusk. frankfort-elberta.com July 3-4 — Fireworks & Main Street Parade, Bay Harbor Get your seat on the lawn early, as it’s always a spectacular show over Bay Harbor Lake starting at dusk July 3. The Fourth of July parade begins at 11 a.m. with a festive display of GEM cars, automobiles and bicycles, and candy and favors for the kids. bayharbor.com July 3-5 — Freedom Festival, Cadillac Carnival, free kids activities, Freedom 5K, community movie, music and church service, Irish dancers, motorcycle show, parade, and



July 4 — Thunder Bay Maritime Festival, Alpena Cheer for the paddlers at the Cardboard Boat Regatta, take in an outdoor concert, taste local favorites like Rogers City Kiwanis’ famous whitefish sandwiches, and join in lots of fun-filled family activities at Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. On July 3, Battle of the Paddles kicks off the festival with 3K paddle board and solo kayak races. thunderbayfriends.org; thunderbay.noaa.gov July 4 — Independence Day in Alpena Celebrate Fourth of July with fun for the whole family. Sign up for the Sand Castle Contest at Starlite Beach, or bring the kiddos downtown for the parade at 11 a.m. Watch fireworks light up the sky at dusk at the Alpena waterfront and Mich-E-Ke-Wis Park. thealpenanews.com; alpenachamber.com July 4-5 — Ludington Jaycees Freedom Festival Celebrate Independence Day by joining in the Freedom Festival 1-mile dash before the start of the Grand Parade at 2 p.m. in downtown. Hit the beach, West Shore Art Fair in Rotary Park, and stay for fireworks over Lake Michigan that start at dusk. ludingtonareajaycees.org July 4-11 — National Cherry Festival, Traverse City One of the most popular events of the year, this weeklong festival features a midway, fireworks, parades, concert series and family-friendly events — plus cherries galore. cherryfestival.org July 8-11 — Blue Water Fest 2020, Port Huron This grand event offers free general admission and celebrates the community with live concerts, food and fun along the Black and St. Clair rivers. thebluewaterfest.com July 9-12 — Harbor Beach Maritime Festival This is one of the world’s largest personal watercraft events in the world’s greatest manmade harbor. Entertainment, pet parade, kids’ inflatables, fireworks over the harbor and jet ski races. themaritimefestival.com

July 11-12 — SummerFest, Tawas area This community tradition brings out classic cars for a cruise and car show with awards, a street dance with live music, Run by the Bay, BBQ, brews and family fun. tawassummerfest.com July 15-19 — Rebel Road, Muskegon Rebel Road allows thousands of motorcycles, vendors and spectators to take over downtown. Concerts, burnout and stunt demos, family friendly activities and more help raise money for the Child Abuse Council. rebelroad.org July 17-18 — Shay Days 2020, Harbor Springs A celebration of inventor Ephraim Shay, enjoy tours of the Hexagon House, live model steam trains, kids crafts and games and more marking the 179th anniversary of the inventor’s birthday. harborhistory.org July 18 — Old-Time Base Ball Tournament, Ludington “Batter Up!” Historic White Pine Village presents an Old Time Base Ball tournament, replete with uniformed players in America’s favorite pastime. historicwhitepinevillage.org July 18-25 — 90th annual Venetian Festival, Charlevoix Visitors don’t pay for a concert ticket or need a special pass during this eight-day festival that showcases big-name concerts, fireworks, a carnival, street and boat parades, beachfront activities, street vendors and more. venetianfestival.com July 18-19 — Cass River Colonial Encampment, Frankenmuth Visit and tour military camps ranging from the French & Indian War through the Revolutionary War, flag raising ceremonies, fashion shows, battle skirmishes and more at this free familyfriendly event at Frankenmuth River Place Shops. frankenmuthriverplace.com July 24-25 — Saugatuck Venetian Festival Get ready for Viva Las Vegas in Saugatuck and celebrate summer with concerts, family events, dinghy poker run, lighted boat parade, fireworks and more. saugatuckvenetianfest.org July 24-Aug. 2 — Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival This 10-day celebration of the U.S. Coast Guard includes ship tours, waterfront entertainment, street parties, cardboard boat races, parades, fireworks and fun for all ages. coastguardfest.org July 31 — Blueberry Festival, Marquette This one-day event offers fresh blueberries,

unique blueberry fare from local restaurants, artists and demonstrations, vendors, pony rides and more. downtownmarquette.org/ blueberry-festival

HOME & GARDEN June 6-7 — Iris Show, Grand Rapids Learn from local plant experts and enjoy creative displays of a wide variety of blooming irises, plus floral designs featuring iris flowers at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. meijergardens.org June 13 — Ann Arbor Garden Walk Tour unique gardens and flower displays on this walk, where you may even make new gardening friends and gather some growing tips and inspiration for your backyard oasis. annarborfarmandgarden.org June 13 — AFFEW’s Native Plant Sale, Mason County Visit this native plant sale 9 a.m.-noon at Rotary Park. AFFEW raises environmental awareness and action through volunteer efforts in Mason County. A Beach Sweep is planned June 17 at Stearns Park and invasive plant removal on June 30 at Ludington Central Park Bark Park. affew.org

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June 20-21 — Rose Show, Grand Rapids Stop and smell the roses at this juried show featuring unique rose blossoms all locally grown and displayed for judging at Frederik Meijer Gardens. Get growing questions answered, pick up supplies or take home a colorful bouquet. meijergardens.org June 20 — Annual Heartland Alliance Home & Garden Tour Make a day out of visiting some of Harbor Country’s most exquisite homes and gardens. See the recent work of acclaimed designers, architects, decorators and landscapers. homeandgardentour.com June 27 — 26th Annual SHOUT Cottage Walk, South Haven Spend an afternoon visiting five or more of the most interesting and attractive homes in the South Haven area. shoutforsouthhaven.org June 28 — Old Victoria’s Log Cabin Day Celebration, Rockland Four log cabins give visitors a true feeling of the life faced by copper miners and their families. Celebrate with fresh baked-in-the-woodstove cinnamon rolls, old-fashioned kids’ games and special tours. facebook.com/OldVictoria





July 11 — Butterfly Count, Midland Come be part of the 32nd Annual Butterfly Count! New and experienced butterfly enthusiasts are invited to spend a few hours or the entire day searching Chippewa Nature Center property for as many butterflies as can be found. chippewanaturecenter.org July 11 — Garden Walk by the South Haven Garden Club, South Haven Tour some of the most elaborate gardens of area homeowners. This ticketed event starts at Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, where you can buy tickets, enjoy refreshments and shop the popular Boutique Sale. southhavengardenclub.org July 18-19 — Daylily and Hosta Show, Grand Rapids Learn the intricacies of these carefree but hardy perennials that add beauty to any garden. The graceful summer-flowering daylily blooms in a variety of colors, plus unique displays of hostas at Frederik Meijer Gardens. meijergardens.org

ART & MUSIC June 12-14 — Detroit Music Weekend Detroit Music Weekend commissions, produces, presents a full spectrum of performances including music, dance and theater at Music Hall Center. detroitmusicweekend.org June 12-14 — Art on the River, Port Huron Bringing art and music together, shop artists and vendors along the St. Clair River, or enjoy a jazz or rock concert. artontheriverph.com June 18 — Gallery Walk, Petoskey Visit the downtown galleries in an open house setting, with some locations hosting local artists, and stay for the afterglow party for the chance to win art and prizes. petoskeydowntown.com June 18-20 — Frankfort 48 Film Contest Aspiring filmmakers are invited to create a short film celebrating northern Michigan and given 48 hours to conceive ideas, scout locations, film, edit and present their masterpiece. frankfortgardentheater.com/frankfort48

crafts, food and a closing dance at Dickson Township Park. spiritofthewoods.org June 20-21 — 42nd White Lake Arts & Crafts Festival Goodrich Park draws thousands of people for this fine arts and crafts show featuring jewelry, wood furniture, ceramics, garden art and more, plus live music, inflatables and food trucks. whitelake.org June 22-27 — Marquette Art Week This weeklong celebration of Marquette’s culture includes art exhibits, concerts, studio tours, street performers, evening art stroll and special events throughout the city. downtownmarquette.org June 26 & July 31— Alpena Art Walks Celebrate art in downtown Alpena with extended hours at art galleries, local street musicians and summer fun. facebook.com/alpenaartwalks/ June 27-28 — Charlevoix Summer Art Show Participating artists are carefully selected to ensure a well-rounded show with many fun and unique items on display near the waterfront. visitcharlevoix.com June 27 — Always Patsy Cline, Bay Harbor This musical tribute is complete with down home country humor, true emotion and some audience participation at Great Lakes Center for the Arts. greatlakescfa.org June 30 — Night of Arts, Harbor Springs Venture into Harbor Springs for a special evening dedicated to artists and fine art lovers! Enjoy an array of mediums when you visit various galleries on this self-paced gallery walk. harborspringschamber.com July 3-4 — Lakeshore Art Festival, Muskegon Taking over of the streets of downtown, this walkable outdoor art fair offers a unique blend of fine art, handcrafted goods, artisan food market, street performers, music and more. lakeshoreartfestival.org July 4-5 — South Haven Art Fair This 62nd annual event is a highlight of summer, featuring the unique artwork of over 100 artists at Stanley Johnston Park. southhavenarts.org

June 19-21 and July 24-26 — Keepsake Collection Arts and Craft Shows, Frankenmuth Shop handmade items, unique crafts and more at Zehnder Park. July show is held during the Michigan Fire Engine Muster, a parade featuring 100 entries of antique emergency vehicles that passes by the show. keepsakecollectionshows.com

July 4-5 — West Shore Art Fair, Ludington Ludington’s famed WSAF is known as one of the top fine art fairs in the state and annually attracts over 12,000 visitors and 113 artist booths for this juried show at Rotary Park. ludingtonartscenter.org

June 20 — Spirit of the Woods Folk Festival, Brethren Head for the woods for a day of music, arts and

July 4-5 — Petoskey Antiques Show This popular show brings in 150+ dealers from around the country showcasing antique



merchandise from the smallest collectibles to antique furniture, pottery, textiles, prints and more. antiquesatthefairgrounds.com July 8 — Annual Women’s Club Art Fair, Harbor Springs The Women’s Club Art Fair draws 109 artists from Michigan and other states. Spend the afternoon and enjoy lunch at the Slightly Gourmet Cafe. nmiwomensclub.org July 11-12 — Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff, St. Joseph Experience the talent of 200 artists from across the United States in Lake Bluff Park. Enjoy beer and wine, food trucks and entertainment, including a Smooth Jazz at Sunset concert. krasl.org July 11-12 — Charlevoix Arts and Craft Show Combine one of the most picturesque settings in the state with a gathering of 160 artists and craftsmen from around the country in East Park. visitcharlevoix.com July 18 — 35th annual Art in the Park, Petoskey Artists from all over the U.S. descend on Petoskey to show off their wares at this popular event in Pennsylvania Park. petoskeychamber.com/ art-in-the-park July 18-19 — Art on the Bay Fine Arts and Craft Show, Alpena This open-air art fair brings artists and crafters together for a juried fine art showcase at Bay View Park. thunderbayarts.org July 19 — Detroit Festival of Books More than 100 vendors on hand with used and rare books, vinyl records, comic books, art, maps and more at Eastern Market’s Shed 3. detroitbookfest.com July 24-25 — 21st annual Bay Harbor Arts Festival This show features beautiful fine arts to one-of-akind, high-quality items, local music and a Green Market at the waterfront Village at Bay Harbor. bayharbor.com July 25-26 — Art on the Rocks, Marquette Shop over 140 fine and juried art vendors on the shores of Lake Superior during this popular festival at Mattson Lower Harbor Park. marquetteartontherocks.com July 28 — Great Lakes Music Festival, Bay Harbor This annual event brings musicians with ties to the Great Lakes region for an evening of funk and groove, electric blues and soul, and

rock ‘n’ roll at Great Lakes Center for the Arts. greatlakescfa.org July 28-Aug. 2 — Traverse City Film Festival The festival draws film buffs anxious to see over 100 rare indie films and documentaries in and around downtown Traverse City. traversecityfilmfest.org Thru Aug. 16 — George Segal: Body Language, Grand Rapids Experience the complexity of the human experience through the eyes of acclaimed American sculptor George Segal and his hauntingly lifelike figures in plaster at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. meijergardens.org

LAND, AIR & SEA June 6 — Up North Bike Fest, Benzie County Bikers choose from a 15-, 30-, or 45-mile route in this event promoting healthy lifestyles and raising money for the Benzie community with a post-ride celebration at Crystal Mountain. bikebenzie.org




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June 6-7 — Selfridge Air Show Open house and air show performers have high, low and flat routines to adapt to varying weather conditions plus display aircraft, concessions and exhibits with free general admission seating. facebook.com/events/selfridge-air-nationalguard-base June 13 — Festival of Cars, South Haven Come to downtown South Haven for this annual display of hundreds of vehicles to view or join in the Kruisin’ for Kylie fundraiser cruises through Van Buren County. shfestivalofcars.com June 13-14 — Fireside 500 at Fireside Inn, Presque Isle The Presque Isle Yacht Club in association with Top O’Michigan Outboard Racing Club brings stock outboard racing to Grand Lake. piyc.com June 19-21 — Muskegon Powerboat Weekend Watch powerboats rip across Muskegon Lake, or join in the festivities at a powerboat street party downtown, poker run, parade of power, boat raft-off and other fun on the water. westmichiganoffshore.com June 19-21 — Bay Harbor In-Water Boat Show The 18th annual show features the finest in watercraft from pleasure boats to megayachts and everything in between, plus family fun activities and land displays at the marina. bayharbor.com

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June 19-20 — Presque Isle Wooden Boat Show Vote on your favorite wooden boat, take a stroll through the arts and crafts vendors, and enjoy good food at Presque Isle Harbor on Lake Huron. presqueisleharborwoodenboatshow.com

June 27 — International Bridge Walk, Sault Ste. Marie Lace-up your sneakers and bring your camera for a scenic 2.8-mile walk from Sault, Michigan to Sault, Ontario across the International Bridge. saultstemarie.com

June 20 — 39th annual Antique & Classic Boat Show, South Haven This event celebrates all kinds of antique and classic small craft from power boats to paddle boats owned by woodworkers and collectors at Michigan Maritime Museum. michiganmaritimemuseum.org

June 28 — Blue Water Ramble Bicycle Tour This annual tour of the beautiful Blue Water Region offers views of the St. Clair River and 27-, 46-, 63- and 100-mile route options available. bluewater.org

June 20-21 — Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival, Houghton/Hancock Head to the Keweenaw for an epic weekend of mountain biking, with 15- and 28-mile XC races at the Maasto Hiihto trails and beginner, sport and expert enduros at Michigan Tech trails. keweenawchaindrive.org June 20-21 — Motor Muster at Greenfield Village Roll back the calendar and immerse yourself in authentic vignettes spanning from the ’30s-’70s. From luxury vehicles to gritty muscle cars, every automobile guides visitors through a unique story of American mobility and drive. thehenryford.org June 26-28 — Marquette Trails Fest, Marquette Mountain Mountain bike races, trail running races, and socials, plus Dual Slalom Race, Enduro Race, and Long XC Race, with Marquette Mountain serving as the hub of festivities. marquettetrailsfestival.com June 26-28 — Algonac Antique and Classic Boat Show Both ChrisCraft and Garwood Industries started in Algonac and many boats that were built in the city will be on display. michacbs.com June 27 — Coast to Coast Gravel Grinder Bike Race, Au Gres to Ludington Race the setting sun as you cross the mighty Mitten, traversing 210 miles of fast gravel roads and signature two-tracks spanning Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. micoasttocoast.com June 27 — Bay Harbor Vintage Car & Boat Festival Locals and visitors from across the Midwest bring their families to this elegant gathering of vintage cars and wooden boats. Parade of cars, awards ceremony and other festivities on Main Street. bayfharborfoundation.org



June 28 — Pictured Rocks Road Race, Munising The race features half-marathon and 10K routes that travel along a combination of paved roads and two-track trails on the southern shores of Lake Superior. picturedrocksroadrace.com July 3 — Slashin’ Ashmun, Sault Ste. Marie This event is a throwback to the 1970s when the young adults would cruise the circuit through downtown Sault Ste. Marie to see who’s out. Join over 200 vehicles as they drive up and down Ashmun Street. saultstemarie.com July 4-5 — National Cherry Festival Air Show, Traverse City Take flight as you watch the U.S. Navy Blue Angels take to the skies and perform over West Grand Traverse Bay during the opening weekend of the National Cherry Festival! cherryfestival.org July 10-11 — Boyne Thunder, Boyne City and Charlevoix Hear the rumble of boats as they rip across Lake Charlevoix. This unique boating event showcases high-performance boats, and features a street party, boat parade, poker run and more. boynethunder.com July 11 — National Cherry Festival Meijer Festival of Races These four amazing races have become a Cherry Festival tradition for racers and race fans alike. There will be a 5K, a 10K, a 15K and the Chateau Grand Traverse half-marathon. cherryfestival.org July 11-14 — Bayview Mackinac Race, Port Huron to Mackinac Island Since the first Mackinac Race in 1925, Bayview Yacht Club has hosted this storied fresh water event which attracts intrepid sailors from around the globe in a race from Port Huron to Mackinac Island. mackinacisland.org July 17-26 — 46th annual Michigan Brown Trout Festival, Alpena This is one of Michigan’s best freshwater fishing

tournaments, plus other festivities including live bands, beer tent, family fun day, or watching the fish weigh-in. browntroutfestival.com July 18-21 — Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac Sailors from Maine to California make this race — the world’s longest freshwater sailing event — an invariable part of their summer. mackinacisland.org July 23-26 — Northern MI Antique Flywheelers, Tractor & Craft Show, Boyne Falls Working blacksmith and tractor scales, basket shop, veneer mill, old machinery in operation, steam engines and antique autos, plus a flea market, arts, crafts and music. walloonlakeflywheelers.com July 24-26 — Annual Little Traverse Bay Regatta, Harbor Springs The Ugotta Regatta begins with one-design racing on Friday followed by a tour-of-the-bay course on Saturday and windward-leeward racing on Sunday. Watch a bevy of boats competing, viewable from around the bay. ltyc.org July 24-26 — St. Clair Riverfest and Offshore Powerboat Race Watch the explosive action as thundering powerboats charge down the St. Clair River, all vying to be the fastest machine on the water as part of the Great Lakes Silver Cup Series and the Offshore Super Series. facebook.com/StClairRiverfest

G R E AT TA S T E S June 5-25 — Detroit Princess Riverboat Lunch Cruises All aboard for a buffet lunch accompanied by beautiful views and Motown sounds on the Detroit Princess Riverboat. Enjoy a memorable experience on the Detroit River. Select dates in June and July. detroitprincess.com June 6 — St. Clair Beer and Wine Fest, Algonac Visit the city of St. Clair for an evening full of craft drinks, local food vendors, live entertainment and much more at Waterfront Park. stclairbeerandwinefest.com June 7 — Little Traverse Bay Craft Cocktail Competition, Bay Harbor This second annual event hosts 10 area bartenders and mixologists in a craft cocktail competition featuring High Five Spirits. Enjoy unique craft cocktail tastings, appetizers and live music at Inn at Bay Harbor. innatbayharbor.com

June 13 — Iron Mountain Brew Fest, Iron Mountain Help support Iron Mountain’s DDA, taste a new or favorite Michigan or Wisconsin beer, try out hard cider and mead, plus food trucks, music and Yooper fun. downtownironmountain.com June 13 — Charlevoix Craft Beer Festival Enjoy a varied selection of high-quality Michigan craft beer, local food and entertainment set in a beautiful waterside venue in Bridge Park. facebook.com/charlevoixcraftbeerfest June 13 — 35th annual Leland Wine and Food Festival A northern Michigan tradition, this popular festival celebrates local wine and food, nonstop music, artists’ booths and come-and-go entry to visit historic Fishtown, shops and attractions. lelandmi.com June 19-20 — Taste of Muskegon This outdoor festival in Hackley Park highlights local restaurants and food trucks with awards

for the best dishes, craft brews, boats and more. tasteofmuskegon.org June 20 — Tapped Craft Beer Festival, Midland Start out sampling Michigan beer, wine and cider and enjoy live music in the outdoor tasting tent, then hop from bar to bar as Michigan’s best breweries take over the taps at every watering hole in downtown. tappedbeerfest.com July 11 — Fish Boil Fundraiser, South Haven Don’t miss out a delicious Great Lakes Fish Boil dinner with a great view of the harbor at the Michigan Maritime Museum. Proceeds help raise money for the museum. michiganmaritimemuseum.org July 18 — Lansing Beer Fest, Lansing This outdoor festival closes Washington Avenue in REO Town so you can sip, sample and walk around, enjoying 100 craft beers plus ciders, spirits, food trucks, live music, vendors and more. lansingbeerfest.com


July 24-25 — 23rd annual Summer Beer Festival, Ypsilanti If you like trying new beer, this outdoor beer fest offers over 1,000 different craft beers, food and live bands at Riverside Park. mibeer.com/summer-festival

EXCURSIONS LEGEND Explore these collective Michigan area websites for more regional events and details. Blue Water Area bluewater.org Detroit Metro CVB visitdetroit.com Great Lakes Bay Region gogreat.com Harbor Country harborcountry.org Pure Michigan michigan.org Southwest Michigan Tourist Council swmichigan.org Upper Peninsula Tourism & Recreation Association uptravel.com West Michigan Tourist Association wmta.org

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Cool ways to cool off

Play Michigan Ninja in a lake, Coldwater Who hasn’t caught an episode of “American Ninja” and wondered how they’d fare against those nimble experts climbing ropes and swinging Tarzan-style across bodies of water? Now you can practice up with other would-be contestants (well, families on vacation) at Coldwater Country’s new inflatable aquatic playground. Families can work their way across the combination obstacle course, jungle gym and playground and then hang at a beach area with yard games, rental boats and more. coldwatercountry.com.



Pedal, paddleboat-style, while you sip, St. Joseph Picture a water version of the popular pedal pub and you have the Harbor Hopper. The moving pontoon-style party powered by pedal power (and a little help from a motor) launches from the Inn at Harbor Shores and makes stops including a tiki bar and waterside tavern. Or go all in with the “lake and land” tour that pairs two hours on the water with three hours on a brew bus. sjcycleboat.com.

incentive many-fold when your sighting target is a ship that sunk more than a century ago. Tour the shipwreck museum at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and once immersed in story, glide over some of the 116 wrecks that lie beneath. Some, like the Monohansett (sunk in a storm and fire in 1907) are easily visible in less than 20 feet. Thunder Bay Scuba offers snorkel charters or trips. tbscuba.com.

Learn to waterski, Elk Rapids The old-fashioned, all-inclusive vacation exists still at White Birch Lodge in Elk Rapids as it has for 60 years and counting. Here, water fun is always a focus, and trained staff will do both the teaching and pulling behind MasterCraft boats as interested members of the group ski, tube, wakeboard and sail, or join land-based fun like morning yoga and tennis. whitebirchlodge.org.

Tube down a pristine river, Hale Tubing gets a bad reputation in spots where floating parties cause literal traffic jams mid-summer on some rivers. That’s not the case on the scenic AuSable River, fabled for its blue-ribbon fly fishing and spotting deer and fox on its banks and eagles in the trees. The clear waters flow at a consistent speed that’s great for floating, and outfitters like Rollway Resort offers easy trips of two hours or so. rollwayresort.com.

Snorkel through time, Alpena Glimpsing whatever lies beneath is the fun of a snorkeling adventure, but multiply the

Kim Schneider is an award-winning travel writer who shares her travel-savvy in every issue of BLUE.



othing says summer like an image of an eager child (or grownup) running to the end of the dock and splashing in with a perfect cannonball. That’s because come the best of our hottest months, little feels better than a cool dip in one of Michigan’s crystal-clear waters. Sure, you can go to the nearest body of water — after all, we’re never further than six miles from a river or lake in this state. But you also could get creative with one of these ways to cool off the cool way.

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Left: Favorites include Citra Pale Ale and Dankerino. Right: The taproom has plenty of seating. BY MARLA R. MILLER


hris Michner passed on a stable career in accounting to brew beer, something he started as a hobby in college, hoping just to break even. A decade later, his Odd Side Ales has garnered national medals for the beer, grown to include canning operations and distribution throughout the Midwest, and an expanded a taproom just a block from the waterfront in downtown Grand Haven. Housed in the historic Story & Clark Piano Company factory, Odd Side Ales started as a cozy brewery — the first in Coast Guard City — in a small space on the first floor. Now, the taproom has an immediate wow factor, taking up 7,000 square feet with Washington Avenue frontage, garage doors, outdoor seating and a Side Bar that serves coffee drinks. “Back in 2010 there was no plans; it was just



kind of break even,” Michner said. “There was no plan for a production facility or canning or any of that stuff.” Michner said it took a while for the right factors to come together. The owner of two clothing stores decided to retire, and the owner of the former Coffee Grounds agreed to sell. Odd Side stayed open during the remodel and completed the pub’s expansion in May 2019. New and old customers continue to walk in a little shocked when they see the large, open-concept taproom with seating for 500 people. The pub builds community yearround, harbors locals during the off-season, and draws tourists during Grand Haven’s peak summer months. Odd Side’s taproom has more than 50 taps, offering over 40 beers plus house-made cock-

tails, hard ciders, wine, root beer, cold-brew coffee and iced tea. The Side Bar serves coffee and other beverages, attracting remote workers during the day and blending in with the pub at night. “It’s been super cool,” said Front of House Operations Manager John Motz. “Part of what we’re all about is the engagement of the community, too. We’ve got this enormous space with these gigantic tables, and it’s all about a community feel. We can open at 6:30 in the morning and people can come for the coffee, and people come to work, and they come to hang out.” As for the beer, Michner started out homebrewing during his years at Michigan State University, where he earned a master’s degree in accounting. He grew up in Holland


Grand Haven’s first brewery marks 10 years with big expansion

and tested early recipes with childhood friend and college roommate Kyle Miller, who oversees the lab and quality control, and plenty of college friends. The entire staff continues to come up with ideas for new beers — and memorable names. Odd Side Ales is known for its unique flavors that incorporate all sorts of ingredients: fruits, chocolate, coffee, bacon, maple syrup, peanut butter and more. “The whole company is almost like a big think tank when it comes to that,” Motz said. “That’s the biggest thing we’re known for is kind of pushing the boundaries and trying to be creative and still, you know, do it in a quality way.” Odd Side has a few flagship beers, but developing new ones is part of the fun. Odd Side brews everything from bourbon barrel-

aged stouts to New England IPAs, traditional Belgium and French styles, fruity kettle sours and now hard seltzers. Trends come and go, Michner said, and that includes more people wanting to buy a six-pack to drink at home or parties rather than sit at a brewery, prompting Odd Side Ales to expand its production facility and canning capacity. The brewery took home two medals at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival, claiming gold for Sweet Potato Souffle Rye Ale and silver for Rye Hipster Brunch Stout in the specialty beer category. Rye Hipster Brunch Stout, probably the brewery’s best-known stout, won the gold medal in 2019. It is an imperial rye stout with coffee, maple, and bacon, aged in rye whiskey barrels. The taproom constantly rotates its taps, and serves small-batch brews people won’t find in

a can, which keeps it interesting and worth the trip to the pub. Visitors can take a peek at the original brewing equipment in the back corner, lounge on the couch and read, or play darts and board and arcade games. Odd Side Ales doesn’t have its own kitchen but partners with area restaurants on delivery, and customers are welcome to bring in their own food.

ODD SIDE ALES 41 Washington Ave. Grand Haven Summer taproom hours: 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, until midnight Friday and Saturday, and 10 p.m. Sundays. (616) 935-7326; oddsideales.com


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he Les Cheneaux Islands area of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is known for many things — most notably the 36 islands that dot the waters of Lake Huron. Yet, since 2014, Chef Zach Schroeder has been on a mission to put the small town of Hessel (population 865) on the map for another reason — as a premier dining destination. Just three years after graduating from Northern Michigan University in Marquette with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management (and after attending the Great Lake Culinary Institute in Traverse City), Schroeder was hired to run the boutique Les Cheneaux Culinary School (lcculinary.org) — using skills he honed at restaurants such Hanna’s Bistro and Red Ginger in Traverse City, Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and Bayside Fine Dining on Drummond Island. A native of the eastern U.P., Schroeder recognizes the role that the woods, waters and farmlands of Michigan play in developing the custom menus and he set out to establish relationships with local growers and producers from the very beginning. It’s a practice that benefits both his students

and his guests. Fresh ingredients from places like Circle K Ranch in Rudyard, Dutcher Farms in Goetzville, King’s Fish Market in Moran and Suetopia Farm in Cedarville are staples for the ever-changing and innovative farm-to-table menu. “We focus on producing a locally sourced dining experience for our summer patrons, all while educating our students to become the future chefs of our community, state and beyond,” Schroeder said. The one-year vocation program operates within a state-of-the-art facility, alongside an in-house summer internship restaurant. Hands-on classes are held from September through May, with an average of just eight students putting in long hours to master their craft. From the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, these passionate chefs-in-training and their faculty run a 55-seat restaurant during the dinner hours, Wednesday through Sunday (as well as Sunday brunch). “Hessel is not a place you would expect to find a dining experience like you will have at the Les Cheneaux Culinary School,” said Wayne Dickinson of Marquette, who visited

the restaurant during the summer of 2019. “The school’s restaurant is truly a hidden gem and well worth seeking out. The menu is limited, but innovative, featuring seasonally available ingredients, prepared perfectly and presented beautifully.” Decorated with a blend of area art and historic images, the intimate restaurant boasts a southern wall of windows offering breathtaking views of the bay, marina and million-dollar sunsets. Al fresco seating and an open-air bar make this a popular gathering place for visitors and locals alike, when weather permits. A horseshoe-shaped Chef’s Table provides a VIP experience, giving up to eight guests a front row seat as student chefs prepare decadent dishes like pheasant breast with turnip purée, bison tenderloin, whitefish chowder, duck terrine, cedar planked salmon and apple tartlet with caramel sauce and crème fraiche. In peak season and on weekends, there often is a wait for a table — especially the second weekend of August when as many as 10,000 people are in the area for the annual Antique Wooden Boat Show (lciboatshow.com).

Diners are treated to creative and beautifully plated dishes, including dessert (Middle) at Les Cheneaux Culinary School Restaurant (Right).




Now serving: a fine dining culinary education


“We always suggest to our guests to make reservations ahead of time as it is a destination for many who travel here,” said Becky Kogelschatz, who has owned and operated Hessel Bay Sunset Cabins with her husband, Perry, since 2001. “Our guests like to enjoy the fine dining experience and amazing views. Its location is convenient, just a couple blocks away from us.” Despite being small in size, Schroeder and his team leave a big impression and people are taking note. A recent partnership with Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie should beef up enrollment and that’s good news for all involved as the restaurant grows in popularity. “With LSSU’s recruiting power now behind us, I’m thinking our numbers will grow and hold steady around 20 within the next few years,” said Schroeder of their new certificate program. “We are now fully accredited and can even accept federal financial aid.” Students are coming to Hessel from all walks of life, from throughout Michigan and beyond. Most are recent high school graduates, but some adults are seeking second careers — following their passions for food, agriculture and the culinary arts right into the kitchen. Such is the case with Marcy Misner, a journalist and foodie who wrote about the school for the Sault Evening News before becoming a student herself. Today, she is executive chef of Kewadin Casino in St. Ignace. Matthew Nelson, a native of Newberry, aspires to run his own restaurant. Meanwhile, he is executive chef at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island. And, after graduating from the program, Carie Birkmeier moved to Montana where she now serves as lead designer and food writer for Big Sky Living Magazine.

Dianna Stampfler is a freelance writer and author living in Walloon Lake. Her first book, “Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses” was published in 2019 by The History Press. MICHIGAN BLUE






A novel retreat


ittle did the very young Cheryl Hutchinson know that one day, she’d purchase and renovate an old, rambling Victorian-style house that she regularly rode her bike past almost daily. Today, she’s the proud owner of the 1890 fully restored lodge, located on a lovely slice of paradise situated on the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay in Suttons Bay. “I grew up on the road where the lodge is,” she said. “I think it was one of the original houses in the area and for decades it was the only building around. As an adult, I continued to walk by it and then I saw it was for sale.” The home was being sold by one of the grandchildren of the last owner, renowned American author of western fiction James Hendryx, and Hutchinson jumped at the chance to buy it. She purchased it in 2012. “I’ve always loved the privacy of the house, tucked in the woods, yet on a beautiful span of beach. Also, the historic Victorian architecture has so much character.” Fascinated with the history of the home, which was originally about 4,500 square feet, Hutchinson discovered that the first owners were part of a church group whose goal was to build a resort. “They didn’t finish it; it sat empty,” Hutchinson said. “Then a Detroit banker owned it for a while and then Hendryx bought it in 1920. He spent his summers at the lodge when he first bought it.” But eventually, he came only in the winter, as the area became too populated during the summer for his taste, Hutchinson discovered. “As a writer, he probably functioned better in remote locations,” Hutchinson said, adding that he eventually would spend his



Above: The 120-year-old lodge on Suttons Bay has a wrap-around deck with a view of the water, and a cozy soaking tub with a view of the bay.

summers in northern Canada. The author wrote at least 40 novels and several short stories from about 1915 to 1963. A picture of Hendryx riding one of his horses in the bay hangs in the dining room. When she first purchased the property, Hutchinson focused on general maintenance, living at the home part-time. “We did some work on the stone foundation, decking, landscaping, and then it was how

Above left & right: Sun, sand and water are part of the appeal of this historic lodge which caters to small groups.

do I restore it without changing anything?” she said. With the goal of renting it to small groups of vacationers or those on, say, a yoga retreat or business off-site, she and a team of builders and renovators got to work on what she today calls “Hendryx Beach Retreat.” They did structural work on the walls and floors, replaced windows and created a hallway upstairs, “so that you don’t walk through rooms to get to rooms upstairs,” Hutchinson said. They also cleaned up the trim and the original flooring, stairway and banister. “I was able to save a lot,” Hutchinson said, “including the beautiful wood doors and all the trim in the kitchen. I don’t throw anything away that can be repurposed. All the countertops are from trees that fell during storms. I knew a wood guy that cured and fired them, and another who could build them.” Of note is a cozy den replete with a large fireplace surrounded by imbedded, local stones, including some Native American arrowheads, ax heads and Petoskey stones.

Also notable is a huge Wolf range in a large, country-style kitchen. The range hood features wood that Hutchinson had stored at another historic property she owns in Suttons Bay. The flooring on the third floor includes wood from that old 1890s schoolhouse. The third floor also has a room where she believes Hendryx played poker. “He had massive poker games here,” she said, pointing out cigar burns in the floor. “I love this room, and you know, this place is 130 years old, so everything can’t be perfect.” Outside, Hutchinson and the crew created a new wrap-around deck made of local black locust because the old one couldn’t be restored. The best attributes of this 10-bedroom lodge, where renovations were completed nearly two years ago, are Mother Nature’s offerings. “It’s a barefoot lifestyle here,” Hutchinson said. “You run out, kayak, pick tomatoes, peppers, herbs, or something from our organic garden. The sunrises are amazing.” Her favorite part about the property is its serene feel. There are neighbors but it feels secluded. “We’re right on the beach, look-

ing east. We have lots of wildlife. It’s like we’re in the middle of a forest; you can truly decompress here.” And that’s likely why the woods-loving Hendryx was so attracted to the locale when he first set eyes on it exactly 100 years ago. Chris Martindale, owner of East Lansingbased Anchored MI, has rented the lodge in the past for a yoga/paddleboard 12-person retreat. He plans to visit again this year when he hosts another yoga gathering. “You just can’t beat Hendryx Lodge,” Martindale said. “It’s an escape. The rooms are well-appointed, and the wrap-around deck is great. Every guest was blown away.”

Megan Swoyer is a long-time metro-Detroit freelance writer and editor.

HENDRYX BEACH RETREAT For information about Hendryx Beach Retreat, which is four miles from Suttons Bay and 11 miles from Traverse City, visit dothe22.com or call (619) 248-4600.







Summer work and high water

ately everyone is talking about the record high water in the Great Lakes. It’s a subject of particular urgency to waterfront dwellers, some of whom have witnessed their homes tumbling into the lakes. Is it a consequence of climate change? Or a natural cycle? Both, it seems. There’s no doubt that the warming planet is having an impact on the Great Lakes. Temperatures are warming decade by decade, and annual precipitation is increasing — up 10 percent since 1901, according to a recent study. Perhaps more significantly, the frequency of major storm events is increasing. As a result, water levels rise and fall dramatically. They’ve always risen and fallen, of course. In the early 1970s, lakes Michigan and Huron were nearly as high as they are now. Beaches disappeared, banks collapsed, houses slid into the waves. In Chicago, a storm surge shoved yachts across Lake Shore Drive. Property owners were desperate to protect their homes. At the end of my junior year of high school I answered an ad for what sounded like the perfect summer job. I met with a guy named Stan who had an idea for slowing beach erosion and needed manual laborers. He hired me, but with misgivings. “You’re kinda skinny,” he said. His plan was to build breakwalls that would jut into Lake Michigan and interrupt the longshore current that sweeps up the coast. His theory was that when the current hit a breakwall it would drop its load of suspended sand in front of the structure. The theory was sound, but it had a flaw. It turned out the sand collected at each breakwall was stolen from the beach beyond it.



We built the structures from rough-sawn poplar planks sixteen feet long and two inches thick that we nailed to cedar pilings. Stan didn’t consider that a problem. In fact, it was bonus. Every time we finished a breakwall, the neighbor needed one too. We built the structures from roughsawn poplar planks sixteen feet long and two inches thick that we nailed to cedar pilings. Nailed together they looked like

unpainted billboards tipped over in the sand, and they were so heavy that it took four of us to drag one into the water. We would heft it upright on its piling-legs and try to hold it steady long enough for Stan to fire up his gas-powered waterjet, stick the nozzle underwater, and blow the sand and gravel away. Gradually the pilings would settle into the bottom. When the work went well, we could install a couple breakwalls a day. But the work rarely went well. Waves broke over the tops of our chest waders and sometimes wrenched the walls from us and knocked them over. We frequently encountered rocks too large for the jet to dislodge and would have to shatter them with steel bars and sledgehammers. It was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. By the end of the summer, 20 or 30 breakwalls extended from the shore and the sand they collected gave the beach a scalloped appearance that seemed like good defense against high water. Most of the property owners were pleased, and Stan had made a hefty profit. He asked if I wanted to work for him the following summer. I said I didn’t think so. All that winter, every time the wind came up, I imagined waves and icebergs slamming against the wooden breakwalls. In April I drove to the shore to see how they’d held up. Gone. Not a trace. As always, the lake had the final say.

Reflections columnist Jerry Dennis keeps an eye on the Great Lakes from his home near Traverse City.

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