Michigan Blue Magazine - Summer 2022

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Treasure Island

In, around, and about Mackinac, from the classics to what’s new Benzie County bests: Have you been to Frankfort lately? Fishing and hiking along the Au Sable | Three home tours Cottage “design stars” | Wyandotte lowdown Holland’s Wizard of Oz | Explore Manistique Sipping at a certified sustainable vineyard

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truly connected

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Summer in Traverse City...or TC. The one place to truly connect with your friends or special someone. On the water. Over drinks. Or anywhere your heart leads. TC in summer — a Pre y Great Place.

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“My favorite part of Mackinac is (when we) get to slow down and enjoy it.”

Features 54 Beauty & the Beach

Michigan retreat with a small footprint pushes the boundaries. By Jeanine Matlow

Lakefront home in coveted location gets a fresh start. By Jeanine Matlow

60 Sunrise, Sunset Empire newbuild makes the most of spectacular views and a location on two lakes. By Khristi Zimmeth

66 Lakeside Lunching One bowl fits all when your fridge is stocked with these three fresh, flexible, salad bases. By Honey Murray

72 A Michigan Treasure The waterfront charms of Mackinac Island lure visitors to this enchanting getaway. By Ron Garbinski

88 Three Days in the U.P. Discover the scenic gems Manistique has to offer. By Bill Semion

92 Stairway to Heaven The western gateway to the U.P. serves up amazing outdoor adventures. By Mark Spezia

ON THE COVER Round Island Light, as seen from Mackinac Island bluffs. Photo by Jennifer Wohletz 4


46 Connecting with the Outdoors



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If your idea of the perfect vacation is sugar-sand beaches, clear blue waters along 28 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, outdoor adventures, climbing to the top of historic lighthouses, or exploring a charming downtown, Ludington is your destination for Pure Michigan fun. Ludington's unspoiled natural resources offers a quintessential “Up North” experience all within easy reach located at the intersection of U.S. 31 and U.S. 10. Now is the time to get up and go. Start planning your Summer adventures now at:


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“Our colors in the kitchen are built around the stove’s color.” — ELIN WALTERS



12 Sky, Sand & Surf Visitors to Frankfort and its Benzie County neighbors quickly get hooked on the area’s amazing charms, and the Mason Tract provides wilderness solitude along the fabled Au Sable River’s banks. By Marla Miller and Bill Semion

16 Get Outdoors Dow Gardens’ canopy walk thrills visitors with views up to 40 feet above the ground, and American Dunes GC pays tribute to fallen soldiers. By Ellen Creager and Mark Spezia

22 Headwaters Kids of all ages will enjoy the fascinating Wizard of Oz 6

characters and Yellow Brick Road display in Holland. By Dianna Stampfler

DESIGN CURRENTS 28 Studio Visit The queen of geraniums (and much more) looks back on a vibrant art career full of unexpected twists and splashes of creativity. By Megan Swoyer

32 Design Stars Designer Kathy Waite fashioned spaces in a South Haven cottage perfectly suited for the younger set, while Elin Walters designed a Fenton kitchen and mudroom that’s Mid-century chic. By Giuseppa Nadrowski and Megan Swoyer

38 The Elements Around the Cottage: Accessories for the deck, getting organized with practical-and-pretty accents, and stars and stripes for the Fourth of July. By Jamie Fabbri

110 Book It The Vault Hotel in Houghton showcases historic themes in its 1887-era former bank building. By Dianna Stampfler

112 Discoveries Wyandotte, along the Detroit River, features a hip vibe, cool shops, and hot new eateries. By Patty LaNoue Stearns

ANCHORS AWAY 106 Tasting Room WaterFire winery stresses quality over quantity at its intimate Antrim County tasting room. By Dianna Stampfler


Reflections Color a Memory By Megan Swoyer

108 Dining Out A well-traveled team of chefs welcomes hungry visitors to Roscommon’s Beechwood Café. By Bill Semion

116 Postcard How one man’s passion for drone photography began at Turnip Rock, near Port Austin. By Tyler Liepprandt




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Color a Memory


husband’s favorite bars — the Jockey Club or The Pink Pony — or they’d meet up at the Ice House, tucked behind The Island House, or the Watercolor Cafe for a picnic lunch. Decades later, photos of me on the ferry show the same smile. It’s that grin that signals the joys of summer will soon welcome me with island breezes, drinks enjoyed waterside, and slow walks along the shore. I recently met Lori Weitzner, a renowned fabric/wallcovering designer and author of the book “Ode to Color.” As a presenter at the Michigan Design Center in Troy, she shared with me how color is also scents and music. As we compiled this issue, I thought about Weitzner’s color theory. Mackinac Island is the perfect example of how those three elements can meld together as well as caramel and salt churned into dark-chocolate fudge. Mackinac’s palette is aswirl with Cerulean blues, earthy greens, chocolate browns, brilliant pinks, geranium reds, shades of lilac, and creamy sands. There are also the colors of history — crisp clapboard white, snappy yellows, Colonial greens, toasty sepias. The palette also includes the faded tints that still hint at the girl on the ferry in her striped T-shirt and denim shorts. These colors evoke scents — lemonade, the Great Lakes, horses, chocolate. They’re the music of our summer. Notes of sunshine and splashing water; welcome repeats (yes, we have our favorite fudge shop!); a chorus of bending, bowing, bright flowers at every turn; and hushed pauses between these sounds when we slide into an Adirondack chair and watch a silent freighter slip across the Straits of Mackinac. Dazzling or discreet, tranquil or thunderous (that cannon!), it’s all music to my ears. As the worn photos in my album become more tattered over time, the colors are just a hint of what they were. But through those muted colors, I remember that girl on the ferry and the details of the day. I can’t wait to board the island-bound ferry once again this July.


Jason Hosko


EDITOR: Megan Swoyer CONTRIBUTING TRAVEL EDITOR: Ron Garbinski COPY EDITOR: Anne Berry Daugherty WRITERS: Ellen Creager, Jamie Fabbri, Jeanine Matlow,

Honey Murray, Marla Miller, Giuseppa Nadrowski, Bill Semion, Mark Spezia, Dianna Stampfler, Patty LaNoue Stearns, Khristi Zimmeth


ART DIRECTOR: Justin Stenson CONTRIBUTORS: Ashley Avila, Jeff

Garland, Tyler Liepprandt, Sally Matak, Beth Singer, Werner Straube, Jennifer Wohletz, Sara Wright


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

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Lim, Kevin Pell, Bart Woinski VIDEO PRODUCER: Ken Bowery VIDEO EDITOR: Taylor Lutz DIGITAL COORDINATOR: Travis Cleveland



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Michigan BLUE magazine is published quarterly by Gemini Media. Publishing offices: 401 Hall St. SW, Ste. 331, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-5098. Telephone 616-459-4545; fax 616459-4800. General email: info@geminipub.com. Copyright ©2022 by Gemini Media. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Michigan BLUE magazine, 1965 E. Avis Dr., Madison Heights, MI 48071. Subscription rates: one year $14.95, two years $24.95, three years $34.95, U.S. only. Single issue and newsstand $5.95 (by mail $8.95). To subscribe or to order back issues, please contact Circulation at 866-660-6247. Advertising rates and specifications at mibluemag.com or by request. Michigan Blue magazine is not responsible for unsolicited contributions.



have a faded picture of myself (stuck in an old photo album) on a Mackinac Island ferry. My little straw handbag, cut-offs, and pastel pink-blue-andwhite-striped top were likely carefully selected and laid out the night before. When I look at that smiling 15-year-old girl, I feel summer — splashy water, vacation fun, and carefree bike rides. I was about to embark on a journey to a very special Upper Peninsula place where a bounty of water encircles you, history is everywhere, magical gardens enchant, and horse-drawn rides are the mode of transportation (no cars allowed). There are also photos of my younger brothers and my mom enjoying views of Fort Mackinac, carriage rides, and climbs to the island’s renowned Arch Rock. Lots of pool shots, too, taken at a Mackinaw City motel. As I turn the album’s pages, I hear my mom pulling into the motel, asking, “Does it have a pool?” We never stayed overnight on the island, and I always wondered what it would be like. My husband and I made sure to keep that Mackinac tradition alive in the next generation. Summer vacations on the island with our boys were filled with joy. Scenes pop into my mind like vibrant Fourth of July fireworks. When they were really young, they’d ride around the island in bike trailers that my husband would haul and, as they grew, they’d climb cannons, march with toy rifles and three-corner hats pretending to be Mackinac soldiers, beg for another slice of fudge, and plead for more time in the hot tub at Mission Point. Of course, we’d have to stop at the trinket shops just as I did as a kid. As our sons grew older, they’d bring friends to the island. Their grins on the ferry were in anticipation of long bike rides, skipping stones, T-shirt shops, and watching sunsets from behind the Inn at Stonecliffe. We often had no idea what our sons and their friends were doing or where they were — nor did we worry at this safe oasis. As 20-somethings, they’d join us with or without friends, and toast with us at my

Volume 17 | Issue 3 mibluemag.com


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Scan to see our menus and plan YOUR NIGHT OUT! Must be 21 or older with valid photo ID. Certain restrictions and availability may apply. ©2022 Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Authority.

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14 Visitors of all ages love the water sports available around Frankfort.

12 Field Guide Designated trail towns, a book on maritime misfortunes, and more hiking/biking on Belle Isle.

12 Sky, Sand & Surf The Mason Tract lures Au Sable River anglers, and get to know Benzie County’s amazing charms.

16 Get Outdoors Dow Gardens’ canopy walk thrills visitors, and American Dunes GC pays tribute to fallen soldiers.

22 Headwaters Check out the fascinating Wizard of Oz characters and Yellow Brick Road display in Holland. MICHIGAN BLUE

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FIELD GUIDE Exploring Michigan: Tips, trends, and tidbits

NEW TRAIL TOWNS: Big Rapids, Cadillac, and Elk Rapids were recently named Pure Michigan Trail Towns by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Travel Michigan. Big Rapids has developed a wayfinding signage system for local trails. Cadillac is a year-round destination that continues to invest in its many trail activities. Elk Rapids has formed a trail alliance to assist in supporting trail networks in the area. That community soon will be connected with Traverse City and Charlevoix via the Nakwema Trail. Search for trails at michigan.gov/dnr. WATERY MISFORTUNES: A new book published by History Press, “Death & Lighthouses on the Great Lakes,” written by Gaylord author and frequent Michigan Blue magazine contributor Dianna Higgs Stampfler, blends maritime tales with true crime stories. Stampfler details how losing one’s life while tending the navigational beacons wasn’t such an uncommon experience. arcadiapublishing.com PATHWAY OPENS: Half of the six-mile Ralph Wilson Gateway and Trail around Belle Isle in Detroit opened this spring along the eastern end of the island. It’s the official southern trailhead for Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail, a 2,000-mile route (almost 70 percent complete) that connects the island to Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula via two separate trails for hikers and bikers. The Wilson Gateway has a park/trail kiosk, picnic area, a new glass-and-steel sculpture, and more. michigan.gov/ironbelle – Compiled by Ron Garbinski

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

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A Personal Remembrance The Mason Tract provides wilderness solitude and fantastic fly fishing along the fabled Au Sable’s riverbanks Story and Photos By Bill Semion


first came to the Mason Tract near Roscommon with a long-ago and now recently gone friend. Sleeping in a VW Beetle, my pal Dale in the front seats, me in the back, was something we did happily. We drove through the empty streets of Roscommon and arrived beside the river after midnight, and quickly walked through the Canoe Harbor State Forest campground. We could only see a little way through a mist. Owls called in the woods. The South Branch of the Au Sable River flowed out of the inky darkness. We approached it, not yet friends. It would become a lifelong friendship from that moment on. A few years later, I was in the midst of a frustrating search for a secluded fishing spot. I found it at High Banks, and it’s now as familiar as my hand. In a few more years, five friends — Dale included — bought land bordering the tract, a few false casts from the South Branch’s bank. It became our camping rendezvous.

All that and more is why the state preserved 4,400-plus acres encapsulating this stretch of one of America’s most famous trout streams. Auto magnate George Mason, one-time chairman of the defunct Nash-Kelvinator and American Motors Corp., was among several people who owned land along this 11-mile stretch in the early 20th century. Others, such as the Durants, one of the founding families of General Motors, built a riverside palace so opulent — the foundation is all that’s left after a fire — that the remains are still called Durant’s Castle. Eventually, Mason acquired 1,500 riverside acres. He died in 1954 and left it to the State of Michigan. The state added other nearby amenities, including Canoe Harbor at the tract’s north end. With a house nearby on the same fabled South Branch of the Au Sable River, just outside the tiny community of Roscommon, I now can enjoy it every season.And throughout the year, it’s a different impressionist painting.


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Both pages, left to right: The fabled Au Sable River’s Mason Tract section awaits with unparalleled kayaking, hiking, and fly-fishing opportunities.

Spring The South Branch usually runs high with snowmelt until mid-May, but on good days, it’s a beautiful canoe or kayak float. Check Roscommon liveries for information. The Mason Tract Pathway provides hiking, plus river glimpses. Fly fishing, catch-release, is the rule for half of it. The water is perfect, the bottom is gravel, and it’s reached by angler accesses and footpaths. Elsewhere, the valley blooms with spring wildflowers and wildlife. Summer Kayaking/canoeing down the 11-plus miles of river, especially on weekends and holidays, peaks now. Weekdays you’re more likely to see wildlife. Here a great blue heron, there a bald eagle on a white pine, or a cedar “sweeper” — so named because they sweep upward over the water, and sometimes sweep less-skilled paddlers into the river. Trips usually end at the M-72 bridge, but you can connect with the river’s main stream for a longer journey. Because of conservation efforts, Mason Tract trout can grow to outsized proportions, and they fatten up during the fabled giant Michigan mayfly hatch on June nights. The river can get crowded with anglers from across the world and roads in can be tricky

at this time of year, so it’s best to first go with someone familiar, or stick to known accesses. Fly fishing here is great throughout the season. One reach is open all year. The Mason Tract Pathway is also open for out-and-back hikes. No bikes are allowed, but the two-track road system nearby is open to riders and ORVs. A bonus for golfers are the two nationally rated courses at the Forest Dunes Golf Club, which borders the tract in spots. Fall The area is a favorite of grouse- and woodcock-hunters. Among those who walk the woods during hunting season is the Department of Natural Resources’ Thomas Barnes, Grayling Forest Management Unit manager, which includes the Mason Tract. It’s a special place to him, as well. “Being a bird hunter, I was drawn to the area because of really good grouse and woodcock habitat. I have bird dogs and enjoy watching them work,” Barnes says.“(I’m also drawn to it) because of the lore of George Mason, and his generosity to provide this to the state and to all who enjoy it.” Winter The Mason Tract Pathway is voluntarily groomed for cross-country skiing by Friends

of the Mason Tract. One classic track is set from M-72 to Chase Bridge Road, about 10 miles. After a storm, it can be breathtaking — like entering Narnia through the wardrobe. Snow hangs off the spruce and white pines that brush your face. Deer may scamper across your path. Trails lead to the river, or the path skirts its banks. If you want spectacular, this is the place. The DNR’s Barnes sums it up well: “It’s a unique area and we take a lot of pride in managing it,” he says. “There’s so much history that not a lot of people know about. It’s a unique group of people who know about it, and it’s a unique area. That’s why they find such solitude and joy when they go there.” My friend Dale would heartily agree.

PLAN IT! Friends of the Mason Tract volunteers work within the tract. Its Facebook page provides updates on snow grooming and meetings. Volunteers are welcome to join. Ski rentals are available at nearby Cross-Country Ski Headquarters. Hire a fishing guide in the Grayling area. Check fishing regulations before heading out, since they aren’t uniform in the tract.


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Both pages, clockwise from left: With several bodies of water, the Benzie County area is an angler’s paradise. Marvelous sunsets on Lake Michigan draw everyone from walkers to paddlers.

Outdoor Adventures Visitors to Frankfort and its Benzie County neighbors quickly get hooked on the area’s amazing crystal water appeal


ocals know the area around Frankfort as “beautiful Benzie” — a county of clear lakes, scenic rivers recognized for their salmon and bald eagle sightings, and Lake Michigan beaches flanked by soaring sand dunes, without the commotion of a national park. Around this northwest Lower Peninsula community, visitors can take their pick of action-packed outdoor adventures: a wildlife viewing experience on the Betsie River, a sunrise paddleboard excursion on Crystal Lake to explore the lake’s bottom, or a Lake Michigan charter fishing trip to hook a king salmon, to name just a few. MICHIGAN BLUE

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Frankfort — along with neighboring Elberta, Beulah, and Benzonia — bustles in the summer months with tourists passing through to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to the north and Traverse City to the east. The lakeside communities also are hot spots for openair enthusiasts who prefer watersports and fishing on the region’s many inland lakes and rivers. At more than 9,800 acres, Crystal Lake holds the honor of being the state’s ninth largest inland lake. Other beauties such as Platte Lake, Little Platte Lake, and Upper and Lower Herring lakes add to the area’s recreational appeal.

“The color of Crystal Lake is basically crystal blue,” says Elaine Newbold, owner of Crystal Lake Adventure Sports. “Our rivers are great to paddle, and paddleboarding is huge. Getting out and being active is just a beautiful way to experience northern Michigan.” Elaine and Randy Newbold, who’ve owned the business for 28 years, operate stores in Beulah and Frankfort. They offer kayak, stand-up paddleboard (SUP), bicycle, and other beach and water equipment rentals. The Newbolds typically launch their customers from the Crystal Lake beach in Beulah, or on Lake Michigan when it’s calm.


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The outfitting duo also rents pontoon boats, and delivers kayaks and SUPs for day and weekly rentals to cottages and lake houses in the area. They occasionally offer guided kayak and SUP tours, but it’s a more do-it-yourself type of experience, with visitors setting off on their own biking or paddling adventures. “We’re surrounded by beautiful lakes, of course, and the water is just gorgeous,” Elaine Newbold says. “The other thing we have is the Betsie Valley Trail. People will rent a bike in Frankfort and ride to Beulah (about 12 miles), and have lunch and come back.” The Betsie River, a state-designated scenic and wildlife nature river, features a steady, swift current with natural obstacles and overhanging trees. The 54-mile river empties into Betsie Lake in Frankfort and is popular for its trout, steelhead, and chinook salmon fishing, or adventurous paddles between several dams and bridges on the river. The 30-mile, spring-fed Platte River averages 2 to 3 feet deep, and winds through wetlands and several lakes from its origin in Long Lake to the mouth of Lake Michigan inside the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The river offers two distinct paddling experiences. The Upper Platte is fast and exciting, with a quick current that often flips canoes. The Lower Platte features a slower current and warm, shallow water that’s great for newbies and families seeking a relaxing, all-day float. Situated on the shores of the Platte River, both the Veterans Memorial State Forest and the Platte River State Forest Campground offer public launch sites and primitive camping. They are great options if you prefer a more rustic, wilderness experience or have your own kayaks. The area is also home to the Platte River State Fish Hatchery & Weir, which spawned the state’s sports fishing industry back in 1966. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources planted the first of 850,000 coho salmon in the Platte River, in an effort to control an explosive population of invasive alewives in Lake Michigan. “The Platte River is known for the coho salmon,” says charter captain Kent Lockwood,

who operates A Day Away Sportfishing Charters. “That’s where it all started.” The idea was controversial at the time, but it led to a unique fisheries management program and an important recreational and commercial fishing industry. Today, sport fishing is a $2.3 billion industry in Michigan. The Platte hatchery is the state’s main salmon hatchery, where Atlantic, chinook, and coho salmon are raised. Kayakers can portage around the weir in autumn and watch the salmon swarm around them. It’s one of the best times to paddle the Platte River, but stay alert as fishermen flock to the Platte and Betsie rivers in the fall for the annual salmon runs. “The area’s well-known. It’s a real good sportsman’s area,” Lockwood says. He’s operated out of Frankfort for more than 20 years because of its excellent fishing, along with the small-town friendliness. Vacationers like it, he adds, because they get to experience a Great Lake with both Sleeping Bear Dunes and South Manitou Island in view.

“There are fishermen who want to catch big fish, and there are the tourist types who want to experience what they call deepsea fishing,” Lockwood says. “We’re fishing a couple of miles off shore. It’s the scenery (that gets their attention) when they do get out there.” Captain Andy Odette and his wife, Krista, run Intimidator Sportfishing Charters out of Elberta. They’ve been doing it for 30 years, and their children now have their own charter boats. “The fishing is really, really good,” Krista Odette says.“People come here to Frankfort for all of it — the water, the tranquility, all of the outdoor activities. It’s just beautiful.” FOR THE ATHLETIC: Frankfort will host the IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon, where competitors bike, swim, and run, on Sept. 11.

PLAN IT! Frankfort & Benzie County visitbenzie.com MICHIGAN BLUE

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Both pages, left to right: A massive American flag sits between holes 9 and 10. Golfers enter the property through the Folds of Honor Memorial Wall. Each hole features two plaques honoring a fallen service member and a Jack Nicklaus championship.

Golf for Good American Dunes GC pays tribute to fallen soldiers with a unique, patriotic approach to golf, a special clubhouse ambience, and funding for family scholarships


fundraising event was held at Grand Haven Golf Club, then owned by Rooney’s parents, in the summer of 2006. Bucklin’s son, Jacob, became the first Folds of Honor scholarship recipient in 2007. Since then, the organization has awarded nearly 35,000 scholarships worth more than $160 million to the dependents of military members who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Just over a decade later, Rooney learned that Grand Haven Golf Club had fallen on hard times. His parents were contemplating selling the property to developers. Rooney, a PGA golf professional, couldn’t stomach the thought of that happening. Instead, he envisioned a place that would commemorate the birthplace of Folds of Honor, provide golf’s most patriotic experience, give back to military families, and inspire others to join the Folds of Honor Squadron.

Rooney pitched his bold idea to golf legend Jack Nicklaus, who won a record 18 major professional championships before launching a second career designing hundreds of golf courses. Nicklaus jumped at the idea and waived his usual $3 million design fee, and more than two years of extensive renovations commenced. Rooney renamed the course American Dunes Golf Club after the original Grand Haven course closed in 2018. His vision became reality on May 2, 2021, with the grand opening of American Dunes. By then, 11,000 tee times had already been sold and Golf Digest ranked it fourth on its annual list of the nation’s top new courses. This past January, Links magazine included the course among the top 10 Must-Visit Public Golf Destinations for 2022. Today, American Dunes has committed its profits to be donated to the Folds of Honor



an Rooney’s knack for turning inspiration into action has positively impacted thousands of lives. In 2006, the decorated F-16 fighter pilot, who served three combat tours of duty in Iraq and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, was aboard a flight from Chicago to Grand Rapids when it was announced that the plane was carrying the body of a fallen soldier named Cpl. Brock Bucklin, who left a young family behind. That resonated with Rooney, who still serves as an Air Force reservist, and the experience compelled him to do something. Rooney soon founded a charity, Folds of Honor, above the garage of his home in Broken Arrow, Okla., with the purpose of providing educational scholarships to the spouses and children of fallen and disabled military service members. The charity’s first

By Mark Spezia


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organization. Future plans include a 16-room lodge. “There aren’t many golf courses you play on which you’re going to shed a tear,” Rooney says in a video on the PGA of America’s website. “American Dunes is going to tug on your emotional heartstrings.” The tugging begins soon after visitors arrive. The only way to enter the property is through the Folds of Honor Memorial Wall, an open-air tunnel of 8-foot-tall walls featuring inspirational messages and plaques with stories of soldiers killed in action whose family members are Folds of Honor scholarship recipients. The boot prints of those honored on the wall are cast in bronze on the ground. Each hole features two plaques — one honoring each of Nicklaus’ 18 major championships, and the other telling the story of a fallen service member. The sand is the star of the course, which plays 7,213 yards from the back tees. The course covers 148 acres and has been returned to its original landscape from long ago, with dunes wandering throughout the property.The track features more than 30 true bunkers, along with many dune features and expansive fairways. The greens are generous and very fair to players. A massive American flag, which golfers need to play around, sits in the center of the fairway between holes 9 and 10.

Carts feature state-of-the-art speakers, Bluetooth connection, and a video screen with a GPS system that gives the yardage to the hole. Coming out of the speakers are messages from Rooney, Nicklaus, and those who have benefited from Folds of Honor scholarships. “We’ve received rave reviews on the course itself, from both the general public and golf journalists,” says American Dunes General Manager Doug Bell. “Average golfers say it’s extremely playable. They really enjoy navigating through all the sand, and while there’s a handful of challenges, it’s not as hard as other Jack Nicklaus courses. Journalists have said to us that the rugged dunes are a challenge, but the course doesn’t beat you up, and it’s a wickedly special course to play.” American Dunes’ proximity to Lake Michigan enhances the experience. “Golfers can’t see the big lake from the course, but they can hear it and smell it at one point during their rounds, when they’re only about 300 yards from shore,” Bell notes. Golf at American Dunes usually concludes with a few rounds at its CAVU Squadron Bar, which features two replica F-4 Phantom II jets hanging from the ceiling, depicting Pardo’s Push, one of the most famous aviation maneuvers in Air Force history. Beer taps are built into an actual hollowed Aim9 Sidewinder missile, the type of weapon

often fixed under an F-16’s wings. Even the restrooms are military-themed, with stalls shaped to resemble an F-16 cockpit, complete with speakers playing the most memorable lines from the films “Top Gun”and“Caddyshack.” Special Tributes: Activity all around the facility pauses twice a day to honor those who have served. Taps plays at 1 p.m. and a bell rings 13 times, signifying the 13 folds it takes for the American flag to reach its triangular shape at the funerals of fallen service members. The National Anthem is played at 5:30 p.m. “Over and over again, I’ve seen people come here for the golf course but leave with a moving experience they never expected to have because they’re playing for something greater than themselves,” Bell says. “We’ve had veterans — everyone from people who served in WW II to our assistant golf professional (Nate Fisher) — crying and saluting the flag. Last summer, veterans working in the area began to leave their offices during lunch breaks to come here for the playing of Taps.”

PLAN IT! American Dunes Golf Club americandunesgolfclub.com MICHIGAN BLUE

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Welcome to Michigan’s Little Bavaria


ituated along the majestic Cass River in central Michigan lies a small town that piles a heaping plate of simple joys that you can share with friends and family no matter the season. Frankenmuth was founded in 1845 by a group of 15 German immigrants. They knew a charming spot when they saw it, and the town those early settlers built continues to honor its heritage with Bavarian architecture, quaint streets graced by flowers, restaurants and boutiques that cater to visitors hankering for Old World flavors and some 18 major festivals and events throughout the year. It says something about the need for people to experience a connection with older traditions when a town of 5,000 residents can attract nearly 3 million visitors per year. From the architecture to the restaurant menus, many visitors don’t even realize that everything in Frankenmuth has a strong and authentic tie to Little Bavaria, Germany. In fact, on the second Sunday of every month, St. Lorenz Lutheran Church still offers a worship service spoken in German for locals engrained with their German heritage.

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A Frankenmuth tradition, more than 1.8 million allyou-can-eat family-style chicken dinners are served annually at either Bavarian Inn or Zehnder’s, two of the largest independently owned restaurants in America.

Known as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” the Frankenmuth community is alive with German heritage, from the German food and architecture to festivals that celebrate the community’s German roots.



The majestic Cass River runs through downtown Frankenmuth and makes for an amazing opportunity to relax and view the local wildlife. Take in the sights on the Bavarian Belle Riverboat, or the Frankenmuth Funships for a more intimate setting.

Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland has a showroom the length of two football fields filled with every type of ornament, light and Christmas décor imaginable. Bronner’s greets over 2 million guests annually and is truly a sight to see.

Built on Tradition, Made for Memories. While the traditions and culture of Michigan’s Little Bavaria give visitors a sense of being in Germany, it’s really chicken and Christmas that put Frankenmuth on the map as being one of Michigan’s most popular tourist destinations. Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland has called Frankenmuth, Michigan home since its inception in 1945. With a showroom the size of two football fields, it’s no wonder it’s the world’s largest Christmas store. Right in the heart of Downtown sits Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, two of the largest independently owned restaurants in America located right across the street from one another. Together, these two restaurants serve 1.8 million all-you-can-eat family-style chicken dinners. Frankenmuth truly is a destination offering something for everyone. From boat rides on the river by Bavarian Belle, a traditional paddlewheel style riverboat, or an intimate wine and chocolate tasting experience by Frankenmuth FunShips. See a different side of Frankenmuth with

Just dial 1 (800) FUN-TOWN. Yes, that's really Frankenmuth's phone number and they sure live up to it! With its fair share of annual festivals and events, Frankenmuth has something fun for everyone all year long.

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Frankenmuth Kayak Adventures, or a climb in the trees at Frankenmuth Aerial Park. With its close proximity to Detroit, only an hour away in fact, Frankenmuth is steadily becoming known as a place to go for close to home outdoor adventures. Let’s not forget the festivals. Family memories and traditions begin at the more than 18 major events that take place in Frankenmuth annually, such as the Olympic-style Dog Bowl featuring dog races, disc competitions and more, or the popular Auto Fest for those with a love of classic cars. There’s also a number of cultural festivals that pay homage to the roots of the community, such as Bavarian Festival or Frankenmuth Oktoberfest, both featuring polka bands, German dance groups and entertainment. Whether you’re young or young at heart, this four-season destination in Michigan is sure to become a family favorite for generations to come.

Frankenmuth offers a number of fun things to do year-round, from horsedrawn carriage rides and water parks to zoos and petting farms. Or just sit at a café, listen to the glockenspiel, and watch the world go by. A clean and safe town, Frankenmuth knows how to roll out the welcome mat. Start planning your trip today at frankenmuth.org!

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Forest Hugs The three arms of the Dow Gardens canopy walk thrill visitors with views up to 40 feet above the ground and through the woods

The canopy. “There’s a sense of smallness I feel being there. I’m completely embraced by the forest. It’s comforting,” says Carolynn Paten, assistant director of Dow Gardens’ guest operations in Midland, home to the nation’s longest ADA Accessible canopy walk. She echoes the experience of many who feel peace in the woods as their cares fall away: “There’s a calm there I really appreciate.” 20

The Whiting Forest canopy walk is set amid a white pine forest dotted with apple, paw paw, and cherry trees. It spreads out in three directions for 1,400 feet (about the height of the Empire State Building), more than a quarter of a mile. Open since late 2018, it has attracted visitors from across the U.S. — especially people who have been shut out of other canopy adventures because of physical challenges. “Young families with small children, holding the hand of grandma in the wheelchair, make it a family experience anyone can do together,”Paten says. Whiting Forest isn’t competing with loud

zip line parks or rope courses that cater to fit and agile guests. Instead, it welcomes everyone, young and old, accessibility issues or not. “We’re making the forest accessible,” Paten says. Starting at the “nut,” or central entrance, one arm of the canopy walk takes visitors to a lookout over Lake Margrador, a small pond. Another arm leads to a 40-foot-high glass overlook of orchards that’s particularly spectacular in the fall. The third arm leads to a “hammock”cargo net structure that can hold 30 people. On the canopy walk, deep calm reigns. Breathe. Relax. Repeat. The psychological



hen this old world starts getting you down, there’s a place that’s way up high and trouble-free.

By Ellen Creager


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benefits of walking in a forest — or, as the Japanese call it, Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing”— are many. Even 15 minutes spent wandering among trees leads to less anxiety and stress while creating a sense of peace and well-being, multiple studies have found. The walkways themselves show the great pains Whiting Forest has taken to preserve every tree possible, because “we knew without the canopy we didn’t have a canopy walk,”Paten says. Only six trees were removed during construction, and designers even modified the walkway around one strangely growing tree to preserve it. The additions included an education center, café, a large accessible playground, and two scenic bridges. Dow Gardens is also home to an award-winning Children’s Garden, Estate Garden, and coming this summer, a remodeled and reimagined conservatory. It’s an extension of the experience at Dow Gardens itself, with a total of 110 acres of luxuriant gardens, bridges, and flowers. Visitors enter through the main Dow Gardens entrance at 1809 Eastman Ave. The backstory of this nature-rich attraction starts with chemist Herbert Dow. In 1890, attracted by rivers in Midland that

are naturally rich in bromine (used in many medicines and photographic processes), he moved to the city and started a chemical company. Soon, he and his wife, Grace, built a home in Midland and accumulated more than 600 acres (about the area of Central Park in New York City), where they raised seven children. The founder of Dow Chemical was “a scientist by profession, but he was a horticulturist at heart,” Paten says, so part of his vast property was planted with orchards and gardens. After Herbert Dow died in 1930, his wife began a philanthropic family foundation. Today, Dow Gardens is its signature gift. The canopy walk is a friendly place. It’s ADA-compliant, so it’s good for strollers, slow walkers, and wheelchairs, as well as the young and old, the tired, and the naturestarved. When it opened, it became wildly popular, but lost momentum during the pandemic. Now, officials expect crowds to be out again. Many locals come multiple times a year, but Midland, which is about a two-hour drive from Detroit or Grand Rapids, also is an easy stop for travelers headed up north. Dow

Both pages, left to right: Lookout points along the more than quarter-mile canopy walk showcase the pond and forest.

Gardens is open year-round, “and we do our best to keep the paths clear,” Paten says. Admission is $10 for adults, and $2 for children ages 6-17 and college students, and gives visitors access to both Dow Gardens and Whiting Forest. An annual pass is available for $20. Those who are unable to make the walk to the forest, due to mobility issues, are encouraged to call to arrange parking. Once there, canopy visitors will experience what many others already know: stress evaporates when you’re up high in the trees.

PLAN IT! Dow Gardens dowgardens.org MICHIGAN BLUE

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“The Wonderul Wizard of Oz” enchants in Holland’s Centennial Park. Summer is the time for visitors to see the display’s floral book.

Fairytale Legacy Kids — and adults — will enjoy the fascinating Wizard of Oz characters and Yellow Brick Road display in Holland


one-time Macatawa summer resident and author L. (Lyman) Frank Baum, who penned the childhood classic in 1900. The free outdoor exhibit has been years in the making, according to Sally Laukitis, a longtime Holland resident and retired executive director of the Holland Area Visitors Bureau. She explains that the idea was born out of the 2012 International Wizard of Oz Club National Convention, which was held in Holland after a nearly 30-year hiatus. Founded in 1957, the group regularly met during its first three-and-ahalf decades in Holland’s exclusive Castle Park, which is commonly believed to be one of the many inspirations behind Baum’s 14-novel Oz series.

Brodin Studios in Minnesota was commissioned to create seven bronze pieces based on the original storybook illustrations by W.W. Denslow. Dedicated in September 2019, the life-size sculptures include the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and a courageous-looking Cowardly Lion, along with the Wicked Witch and a 12.5-foottall “Fighting Tree” complete with a Flying Monkey perched on one of its branches. A bearded Munchkin holds a book over his head, inscribed with dedications from The Women’s Literary Club of Holland and The Schwartz Family Castle (the famed towering brick building still standing in the privately-owned Castle Park), among others.



he characters from the beloved story of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” have jumped out of the book’s pages to proudly take up residence next to a “Yellow Brick Road” outside the Herrick District Library in downtown Holland. Kitty-corner across 12th Street, the 5.6acre Centennial Park boasts an extension of the iconic yellow path leading to a gigantic 10-by-12-foot open-book “living mosaic” crafted with more than 6,000 plants. Collectively known as The Holland Oz Project, the exhibit is a partnership of the Holland Area Visitors Bureau, Holland in Bloom, the Herrick District Library, and the City of Holland. It was created in honor of

By Dianna Stampfler


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Please touch: Bronze Wizard of Oz character sculptures stop kids in their tracks. Children are welcome to climb on them.

While the bronze sculptures are accessible year-round, the living floral book is a seasonal element that’s repopulated each summer with plants grown in the city’s greenhouse. Reminiscent of the grand floats of the annual Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif., this component was the brainchild of Allison Jesky — at the time a horticulturalist at Holland’s Hope College and a member of Holland in Bloom (a local chapter of the national America in Bloom program) — who had seen similar pieces at the Mosaïculture Gatineau Exhibition in Ottawa, Canada, in 2017. It was there that Jesky met the father/son duo of François and Mathieu Gravel, of the Quebec-based Kadriform International, a company that specializes in the manufacture of sculptures and metal structures. Together, they developed and designed a larger-thanlife open-paged book made completely of living plants, which complemented Holland’s overall vision for honoring its Baum and Oz legacy.

“We spent over a year developing the project with Allison, giving her all the documentation and information needed for her to discuss and involve other key people in the project so it could happen,” says Mathieu Gravel, Kadriform’s vice president. “We designed the sculpture with Allison’s concept, supervised the first installation, and did the necessary formation to local horticulture to make sure the project could live for many years.” In addition to the sculptures, book, and Yellow Brick Road, the Holland Oz Project includes five commemorative benches placed outside the library and in the park, giving visitors a place to sit and reflect on the exhibit, and maybe take a mental trip back in time (or to a different world, like Oz).

PLAN IT! The Holland Oz Project hollandozproject.com


The appearance of Dorothy and her faithful companion, Toto, might surprise many who are only familiar with the Judy Garland movie character. Denslow’s depiction is that of a young girl, about the age of 4, some say mirrored after a local girl named Dorothy Hall who summered with her grandparents just a stone’s throw away from Baum’s “The Sign of the Goose”cottage. Other accounts note the name came from Baum’s wife’s side of the family, after an infant girl named Dorothy died at age five months in 1899. Robert Baum, Frank’s great-grandson, says he heard both stories growing up as a child. “There’s some Dorothy in every woman,” Baum was quoted as saying in a 2019 documentary titled “The Origin of Oz,” which was produced by WZZM TV13 in Grand Rapids. “All of the sculptures were created to allow children to climb on and engage with them,” Laukitis says. “It can be the dead of winter and there are still people visiting the statues, climbing over them, and taking pictures. Kids are sitting on the Tin Man’s knee, they’re climbing on the back of the Cowardly Lion, or standing close to Dorothy, who’s only a few feet tall. They can reach the branches of the Fighting Tree — and we encourage people to walk around to see the back, because it’s just as fascinating as the front.”


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sugar hill

Welcome to Sugar Hill! Seven Modern Homes designed to take in the natural light and views of this special setting. Walk the trails to Oval Beach or Chain Ferry to Downtown Saugatuck for shopping and dining. Surrounded by hundreds of acres of Conservation Area, Sugar Hill is your place away to relax, unwind and enjoy life.

For more information please call 616.235.0711 or visit our website at www.mosaiccustomhomes.com



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Kolbe Windows & Doors leads the industry with innovative products that push the boundaries and defy the limits of function, performance and style. Contact Old Mission Windows, northern Michigan’s premier window and door supplier since 1985, to schedule a personal design consultation today. info@omw.tc

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28 Brys Estate in Traverse City blooms with lavender from midJune through July.

28 Designers’ Notebook Lavender farms and fests, GR’s new home store, a book for garden lovers, and show house details.

28 Studio Visit Watercolorist and geranium guru Mary Lou Peters travels down memory lane and shows us her cheerful art studio.

32 Design Stars Elin Walters and Kathy Waite share insightful ideas on kitchens and kids’ rooms.

38 The Elements Accessories for the deck; getting organized; and stars-and-stripes for the Fourth of July. MICHIGAN BLUE

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

SUMMER’S SCENT: Lavender can diffuse, clean, flavor, and more! Not to mention the fact that its aroma evokes calmness. Lavender farms and festivals throughout the state celebrate the head-turning, pretty blooms every summer. https://www.travel-mi.com/MichiganLavender.html

Watercolor Wonders The queen of geraniums (and much more) looks back on a vibrant art career flowing with unexpected twists and splashes of creativity. The future’s bright, too! By Megan Swoyer Photography by Sara Wright

CONTEMPORARY APPEAL: Design Within Reach, a leading source for modern living, opened its first location in Breton Village in Grand Rapids. Look for furnishings that are emerging, established, and legendary, all crafted to last a lifetime. dwr.com GARDEN ART: “Color In and Out of the Garden: Watercolor Practices for Painters, Gardeners, and Nature Lovers” (Abrams, $23) is now available for those who love art and gardens. An inspirational book on observing color and gardening with joy, it was written by artist, garden expert, and columnist Lorene Edwards Forkner. Find it at Target stores, on amazon.com, and at bookshop.org. IT’S SHOW (HOUSE) TIME!: The Junior League of Detroit announced its 2022 Designers’ Show House will be the 1920 John E. King House in Grosse Pointe. It’s the league’s 24th Designers’ Show House. The grand redesigned reveal takes place this fall, when public tours will be available. Dates are on the website. jldetroit.org — Compiled by Megan Swoyer

Have news about waterfront living? Email MSwoyer@Hour-Media.com. 28


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hrough the windows she looks, finding inspiration for her beautiful watercolors in all seasons. Artist Mary Lou Peters spends part of the year peering through the large windows of her Cheboygan home until spring, and then it’s all about opening windows and doors, clearing pathways, and meandering out to her astonishing gardens. “I look out onto Lake Huron, and technically the Straits of Mackinac, which stretches from Cheboygan to around Sturgeon Point, where the lighthouse is. I used to think blue was blue until I moved here in 2000 and started watching the different moods of the lake. And the skies are amazing,” she says. Gardens rank high on the prolific watercolorist’s subject-matter list. “My gardens and the gardens of Mackinac Island inspire me, geraniums especially!” About those geraniums — you may already be familiar with her bouncy, fluffy, wavy red blooms. Her cheery floral vignettes grace notecards,T-shirts, prints, and original artwork, and have filled shop shelves across Mackinac Island for several years. You may even have seen the sunny Peters working on a painting in one of the island’s gift shops, intriguing shoppers with her special techniques. She also likes to gather with artist friends at a northern Michigan nursery for the day, splashing watery pools of fresh paint tones onto paper and moving paints with an adeptness that many find difficult to even attempt to imitate. Says artist pal Laura Miller, of Beverly Hills: “She does such a subtle blending; her colors flow so naturally. There’s softness yet clarity.” Peters’ masterful techniques show up in garden paintings, lighthouse scenes, landscapes, and, of course, images of her beloved geraniums. Why the love of geraniums? “My thirdgrade teacher had red geraniums in terra cotta pots lined up on a windowsill all year long,” recalls Peters, who grew up in East Tawas and has written two books featuring illustrations and meditations. “I just loved them, and I remember staring at them. Of course, I never would have thought I’d paint them some day. Then, when I started going

to the island, I fell in love with its lilacs — but they only last three weeks or so. The island geraniums stay beautiful from May through the end of October.” Mackinac Island is, indeed, known for its gorgeous lilacs — but also for its pots upon pots of geraniums. Many of the red and pink beauties trail out of window boxes, while others fill hundreds of containers on porches and in hanging baskets. “I remember a shop owner said, Send me geraniums, I can sell them,” Peters recalls. So she started painting geraniums galore — not only to sell, but because she adores them. Her love affair is so strong, in fact, that when she was recently selecting a paint color for the exterior of her home, she chose yellow. “The main color consideration was that it had to look good with red geraniums,”she says.

Peters first took an art class at age 30-something through an art center in Mount Pleasant, where she lived at the time. She taught elementary school there, as well. “A friend talked me into taking the class. I learned some things, but didn’t have time to pursue art because of my working life and because I had a family to raise.” It was after she retired, at age 52, that Peters found more time to pursue art. “I retired early. We had a cottage in Cheboygan, and over the years we built on and moved there permanently. My old kitchen became an art studio.” After taking more art classes, Peters recognized that expressing her take on the world’s beauty could be more than a hobby for her. “In the very beginning of my art career, I contacted a store about selling my art,” she remembers. A buyer from one shop liked

Both pages, left to right: Mary Lou Peters in her studio. A work in progress, this geranium painting will soon receive more colors from her palette. MICHIGAN BLUE

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Left to right: Gifted artist Mary Lou Peters works on a new geranium painting that will feature several pots. A solo geranium piece sings Mackinac Island with its jaunty blues and vibrant, fresh reds.

her pieces, “but then when I finally heard from her, she said they had a new manager and they didn’t think it was a good fit. My heart was broken.” Her husband, Tom Peters, ever the cheerleader, told his wife to find a different shop that would embrace her buoyant, colorful style. That’s how she found herself walking into Lilacs and Lace on Mackinac Island. “The owner looked at my notecards and saw geraniums and lilacs and said, If you can get me more, I’ll take them. “I have to admit, I struggled with my style, but then I found it when someone said to me that my work was whimsical — a whimsical twist on realism,”says Peters, who prefers to paint in gardens. Over time, her paintings were turned into prints, and that was the start of a bustling art career that even led her to teach. “It was Mary Jane Barnwell from Mackinac Island’s Island Bookstore who said, Have you thought of teaching watercolor?” (Barnwell also was involved with the Arts Council on the island.) 30

“I said, No, I’m done writing lesson plans!” But Peters did, indeed, take up teaching watercolor painting in Florida, Cheboygan, Boyne City, Mackinaw City, her own home gardens, and at the Mackinac Arts Council on Mackinac Island. “I taught for about 10 years,” she says. Today, looking out to Lake Huron and the Straits, Peters is happy to report that she’s retiring from the business of art, “because it’s time,”she says. Her sage advice to herself allows her to contemplate things like what’s new in her gardens.“I needed to take a closer look at how I’m spending time. I’ve spent a lot of time not painting for myself.” As content as a hummingbird snacking on a bee balm flower, Peters says there’s nothing better than “plopping my lawn chair down in the middle of the garden to see what’s blooming at the time.” And then, of course, she sketches it. “Small pictures and sketches aren’t what sells, but I love painting like that.” Her subject matter ranges from daisies and coneflowers to ranunculus, primrose, and,

naturally, geraniums. Basically, “whatever the bunnies aren’t eating,” she says with a laugh. To those thinking about learning how to paint watercolors, Peters shares some words of wisdom: “You must let go of control, because you can’t control water. And if you really want to do this, you have to practice, and you have to give yourself a chance.” Also, she says, don’t listen to others. “I sensed watercolor painting would be hard because that’s what people told me,” Peters recalls. “But the moral of that story is, don’t listen to anyone until you try it yourself.”

MORE INFORMATION View Peters’ works on two Facebook pages: Mary Lou Peters and Watercolor Paintings by Mary Lou Peters. She’s also on Instagram at maryloupeterspainter. Her note cards, prints, and more are available at Lilacs and Lace and The Lilac Gallery, both on Mackinac Island, and Main Street Art in Milford.


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Mark your calendars!

Space in the Case Sale August 23-27

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





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S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 | D E S I G N S TA R S

Catching a Mid-century Wave A designer and her clients showcase their love of imaginative design By Megan Swoyer


ndrea and Mark Brimmer both grew up in homes with a heavy Mid-century Modern style influence, and the couple still adores the look today. “It’s timeless and brilliant,” Andrea says. She and Mark, a football coach, recently built a home on Lake Ponemah in Fenton that defines the classic style and has become fun-central for their grown children, three dogs, and friends. The home boasts 200 feet of lake frontage and is brimming


Photography by Sally Matak with vivid colors, streamlined accents, and other appointments of the Mid-century era. To create their dream home, the couple called on Ann Arbor-based interior designer Elin Walters, of Exactly. “My husband and I have very strong design opinions. Elin worked to ensure it had our touch, but took it to the next level with her deep understanding of the aesthetic,”says Andrea, a busy marketing and public relations officer for Ally. Florida-based architect Karl Jasinski designed the home.

“He always wanted to design a Midcentury Modern house. After he completed the design, he handed over the plans and the builder ran with them,”Walters says. Come summertime, the hub of activity is most definitely the kitchen, along with the adjoining mudroom. “You can actually see the lake and beautiful landscaping (by Matt Shaker of Superior Landscaping) from the mudroom,” Walters says. Meanwhile, the entire back of the home is mostly windows, through which you see the beckoning lake.


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Walters found it easy to relate to the Brimmers, as she gravitates toward a Midcentury look herself. She says her own residence, in Ann Arbor, is about 100 percent true to the style, and she thinks the masters of Mid-century, like Eames or Saarinen, would feel right at home there. Most of Walters’ clients choose her as their designer because of her passion for Mid-century specifics. Whether she’s searching for vintage clocks or colorful utilitarian items, her favorite haunts always come through. In the Brimmers’home, a Smeg oven holds court in the kitchen. “It was always my dream to have one in bright yellow,” Andrea says. “The color is so incredible; you can’t help but be happy when you look at it.” The couple also loves the blue wall tile, and how Walters designed it to extend beyond the backsplash and onto the wall. “It’s such a statement wall!”Andrea says.

Both pages, left to right: The stunning Midcentury-style kitchen in the home on Lake Ponemah. The mudroom’s colors tie in well with the kitchen. Designer Elin Walters.

memories of simpler times that everyone instantly connects with when they walk in our home,” Andrea says. “It just takes you back to your childhood and makes you feel warm and happy.”

MORE INFORMATION: exactlydesigns.com


“Andrea and Mark are crazy about colors. Her favorite color is yellow, and she wanted yellows and greens around the house,” Walters says. “The colors in the kitchen are built around the stove’s color. I threw in a contrasting turquoise.” One challenge that Walters recalls was the stove’s hood. “We had a hood and a short extension that came with it, but it didn’t reach to the tall ceiling. We tried to get an extra extension from Italy, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would have taken months.” One of the contractors overheard them discussing it and said he had a friend with a body shop in Fenton, and they could probably make it if they could get a color that matched it. And luckily, they did! “It’s a testament to thinking outside the box,” Walters says. With quartz countertops, leather stools in a caramel color (“which warms up the space,” Walters says), and brass fixtures, the kitchen certainly pays homage to Mid-century appeal. The yellow tile in the nearby mudroom ties in with the stove. The utility space got an extra dose of cheer from colors like salmon and turquoise. The space’s cabinetry was designed by Walters.“Elin’s attention to detail is second to none,”Andrea says. As for the accent on Mid-century design, the Brimmers say it’s a nostalgic way of living. “The thing we love the most about it is the

“I’m known for my use of color,” says interior designer Elin Walters, “and I tend to be drawn to whimsy. If the design is up to me, I’ll throw offbeat in — like the colorful cubes in the Brimmers’ mudroom.” Another case in point: the felt groceries in the designer’s own home. “I bought a box of Life cereal and a package of Wonder Bread that were made out of felt at a grocery store-themed art installation. They’re squishy and three dimensional; I love them!” — MS

LA K E LI FE LOW DOW N The Brimmer home is the place to be come summer, and when homeowner Andrea Brimmer is busy with the company she works for and its annual golf tournament (Ally and the Ally Challenge, Aug. 22-28, at nearby Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc), things really pick up around the Brimmer home. Professional golfer Mark O’Meara loves staying at the home during the tournament, not only to enjoy the Brimmers’ hospitality, but also to take in the excellent walleye and perch fishing. “Fishing is a great way for him to relax between golf rounds,” Brimmer says. She and her friends and family make the most of the lake. “We love to boat, kayak, and jet ski on Lake Ponemah,” Brimmer says. “It’s a very pretty all-sports lake on a chain of four lakes, and when it’s summer we’re on the water constantly. There’s also a really fun place called Ponemah Lakeside Lodge that we love to boat over to for a drink and a Detroit-style pizza!” — MS


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S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 | D E S I G N S TA R S

Kid-Friendly Designer Kathy Waite fashioned spaces in a South Haven cottage that are perfectly suited for the younger set By Giuseppa Nadrowski Photography by Ashley Avila


nn and John Renucci say the third-floor playroom of their 1902 South Haven cottage was once filled with dollhouses and bean bag chairs belonging to their three daughters. But as the girls entered their teen years, it was obvious to the couple that a more age-appropriate space was necessary. The just-under-5,000-square-foot cottage is a getaway dream for the family, who live in Grand Rapids. Situated right on Lake Michigan with access to the city’s beloved 34

South Beach, the home boasts five bedrooms and five baths. “It’s a place that tends to collect a lot of people,” Ann Renucci says. “My kids always have friends there.” When it came time to renovate, Ann reached out to longtime friend and interior designer Kathy Waite, of Grand Rapidsbased Kathy Waite Design, to carve out a bunkroom ideal for sleepovers and a bathroom to accommodate its guests. “She has kids, and she realizes the wear and tear an active family has in a home,” Ann says. “You need to have someone who gets what

you’re trying to accomplish — and not just the aesthetics, but also the functionality.” With built-in shelving, a single bed on top, and a full mattress on the bottom, Waite’s custom bunks maximize the sleeping area. Rustic barn doors feature seeded glass, allowing light to shine in while still retaining privacy. Custom dressers provide storage, while nautical nickel sconces add lighting without the risk of tipping. When designing the bathroom, “we had to be very strategic,” Waite says of this previously unfinished portion of the home. To anchor the


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long and narrow space, Waite chose a 5-foot, three-faucet Kohler sink painted in Benjamin Moore’s Stem Green, whose vibrant hue was inspired by the room’s Dash & Albert indoor/ outdoor rug (chosen for its durability). “I didn’t want anything in there that could get damaged easily,”she says. A built-in medicine cabinet flanks a 5-foot ledge placed above the sink for

toiletries. A vanity was placed near the bathroom’s entrance (“it’s become quite handy when you have a whole bunch of young girls up there,” Ann says), and two built-in armoires feature adjustable shelving and space to hang clothing. The toilet, meanwhile, was tucked behind a pocket door. “We used every inch,” the designer says.

With their daughters now 19, 14, and 10, the space — which still includes a play area — has become the ultimate teen hangout. “(This update) was so necessary and has been so well used,”Ann says. “It’s one of my favorite rooms I’ve designed,” Waite says. “Lots of kids, including my own, have hung out in there. When you get to the cottage and there are a bunch of kids, that room is like a magnet.”

MORE INFORMATION: kathywaitedesign.com

DESIGN STA R’S SECR ET When it comes to working on cottages, function is key for Kathy Waite, of Grand Rapids-based Kathy Waite Design. “I like to make sure the home is functional in every way. And that’s not only with the furniture and the layout, but also in the fabrics that are used — they must withstand it being a vacation home,” she says. “I make sure the beautiful things that are put in the home will withstand a lot of entertaining and company, without the worry.” — GN


Both pages, clockwise from far left: A South Haven cottage on Lake Michigan gets familyfriendly with bunk beds, durable materials, and bright colors. To anchor a long and narrow bathroom, the interior designer chose a 5-foot, three-faucet sink painted in Benjamin Moore’s Stem Green. Designer Kathy Waite.

“The energy you feel when you’re here is just so nice,” cottage owner Ann Renucci says of her historic South Haven cottage. When Ann and her husband, John, purchased the home in 2004, they fell in love with its location — not only is it on South Beach, but it’s within walking distance of the town and so many of the city’s other amenities. From the Kal-Haven and Van Buren Trails to the lighthouse and even the marina, where they dock their boat, “everything is just really accessible,” Ann says. “After dinner we’ll go into town for ice cream, and everybody just walks.” — GN MICHIGAN BLUE

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3. The Sherborne Ticking fabric by LEE JOFA adds a classic touch to a pillow or sofa. To the trade, Kravet|Lee Jofa|Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy, kravet.com, michigandesign.com. 4. Dress up your drink with VIETRI’s Stripe Champagne Glass. $65, The Italian Dish,

Birmingham, theitaliandish. com, vietri.com. 5. These indoor/outdoor stripe floor mats by CHILEWICH are a lowmaintenance necessity. Contact store for pricing, The Seasoned Home, Holland, chilewich.com, theseasonedhome.com.

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3. Step up your bartending game with the locally-made TWISTED CRAFT COCKTAILS cocktail infusion kit. $18, The Happy Woman Store, Suttons Bay, thehappywomanstore.com, twistedcraftcocktails.com. 4. Keep your drink protected in style with the woven seagrasswrapped Shelly Tumbler Set by LULU AND GEORGIA. $64/four, luluandgeorgia.com.

5. Enjoy your outdoor space, even on cool nights, with the Sundry Patio Heater from FRONTGATE. $1,199, frontgate.com. 6. The Hamptons Outdoor Bar Cart from ARHAUS is a staple for a fun night outdoors. $1,949, multiple locations, arhaus.com.

7. Grill and serve in style with this Shinola Mackinac fourpiece BBQ Grilling Set from CRATE & BARREL’s latest collaboration with SHINOLA. $119.95, Novi, crateandbarrel. com. 8. The sleek, space-saving plunge pool by SOAKE POOLS offers the best of a pool and a hot tub. Price upon request, soakepools.com.


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3. AERIN’s Classic Croc Magazine Rack is a sophisticated addition to any space. $975, Neiman Marcus, Troy, aerin.com, neimanmarcus.com. 4. TEMPAPER’s new peeland-stick stationery makes to-dos easy to track using this Branded Weekly Calendar. $12.99, Stonesthrow, Grand

Rapids, stronesthrowliving.com, tempaper.com. 5. The Caroll Basket by KRAVET, with a chic naturaland-black geometric design, helps you maintain order and keep items where they belong. To the trade, Kravet|Lee Jofa|Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy, kravet.com, michigandesign.com.

6. The STEELE CANVAS Natural Laundry Cart makes even the heaviest laundry tasks a breeze. $109.99$179.99, containerstore.com, steelecanvas.com. 7. Create instant custom storage for kitchenware with the YOUCOPIA Expandable Cookware Rack. $39.99, containerstore.com.


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S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 | FA M I LY A F FA I R

Connecting w ith the Outdoors Michigan retreat with a small footprint pushes the boundaries By Jeanine Matlow gr



r n


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Both pages: The best spots in the house for gathering time are the patio, lakeside terrace, and family room. "It's definitely a family home," says architect Jeremy Ziegler.

FA M I LY A F FA I R | S U M M E R 2 0 2 2


or a new-construction waterfront vacation home on a narrow lot, the goal was to maximize the lakeside living aspect and maintain privacy from the nearby neighbors. “We had to get everything they needed into the home, which really pushed the boundaries. We got as much into the property as we physically could,” says Jeremy Zeigler, architect and owner of J.T. Zeigler Architectural Services, LLC in Ann Arbor. “Everyone rose to the occasion, starting with the owners, who allowed everyone to do their best work.” The team also dealt with time constraints, to ensure the clients and their guests would be able to enjoy the coming season. “The house is incredibly efficient and it’s definitely a family home,” Zeigler says. “The great room, open kitchen, and dining room are big enough to entertain. We made sure the spaces flow really well, and the lake is the first thing you see when you open the front door.” In addition to delivering spectacular views on this lake (part of a chain of lakes northwest of Ann Arbor), strategically placed windows provide privacy and light, while architectural elements like a retractable glass wall and awnings, patios, and balconies connect with the outdoors. Quiet spaces, including cozy work-from-home areas and private reading nooks, join gathering areas for family and friends. “They’re a really good couple who worked well together,” Zeigler says. “That helped us maximize the potential, and we definitely pushed the envelope.”


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S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 | FA M I LY A F FA I R

Interior designer Acadia Hahlbrock worked her magic throughout, including in this spacious kitchen, which conveys English charm thanks to warm wood elements. A navy island speaks to the site.

Melissa Kennedy, general manager for the builder, Ann Arborbased Meadowlark Design+Build, agrees: “For a relatively small footprint, the house accomplished a lot,” she says. “The owners can use the outdoors and indoors so well. They were really happy with how the spaces work just for them, or with family. “I was really proud of how our team executed all the details and the craftsmanship,” she adds. “The architect, interior designer, and builder collaborated with the homeowners for creative solutions.” Acadia Hahlbrock, interior designer and principal for Surroundings Inc. in Superior Township, was an integral part of the talented team. “The house performs so well despite the narrow footprint,”she says. “It was lovely to present the owners with such a great escape. The home can perform equally well as a gathering area for family or a quiet retreat (where they can) relax and recharge.” She describes the style as crisp and modern, but welcoming; textured finishes can handle real-life scenarios like sandy flip-flops. “Durable features will still be beautiful in 10 years, so they can live in the home and not be fearful,” Hahlbrock says. “You can sink into the sofa in your bathing suit and have no fear.” 48


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A spacious kitchen conveys English charm, with warm wood elements and classic portraits from a trip to the Cotswolds. Quartz countertops and a sizable island in a deep shade of navy speak to the site. Integrated outlets make whipping up morning smoothies a breeze in the scenic location, where guests are greeted at the front entry with inlaid wood floors inspired by nautical flags and a beaded chandelier made from sea glass. Additional character comes from a cast iron tub that plays a starring role in the master bathroom, along with a custom vanity with caning details. The shiplap used throughout the home suits the waterfront setting. A guest suite welcomes weekend visitors for family fun, and a textured cork wallcovering with a basketweave pattern

Clockwise from above: A shiplap-chic hallway; the master bath (unique caning stars in the cabinetry); and the master bedroom, which features vaulted ceilings with exposed beams.


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S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 | FA M I LY A F FA I R

Above and below: A guest bedroom features mixed patterns and cozy vibes, while the guest bath's hex-style tile is a stunning accent. The team chose Sherwin-Williams' softly hued Loggia for the wall paint.




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Above and below: Even younger shipmates love sleeping in the kid-friendly bunkroom, while a second bedroom combines cheerful textiles with floral wallpaper.

accentuates the unique ceiling. The graphic shower door in the guest bath emulates English leaded glass windows. In the lovely bunkroom, Hahlbrock says even the smallest shipmate can make it up to the outlook, thanks to a built-in staircase. A second bedroom combines cheerful textiles with floral wallpaper that evokes memories of grandma’s house. “We really wanted to play with color,” the designer says. There’s truly something for everyone in this well-appointed home on the water. Beneath the stairs, a quaint play area boasts an adorable Dutch door, complete with a porch light, for the ultimate creative space. In the great room, with its striking fireplace, a retractable wall system opens onto the lake, where family members can be separate yet connected as they sit in the shade with a book or play lawn games. Closer to the water, Adirondack chairs surround a fire pit. “They’re designed to be movable to chase the sun or the shade, allowing flexibility,” Hahlbrock says. “It’s really gratifying to see the family using the space and living in the outdoors as much as possible.” Inside and out, the home is a juxtaposition of wide-open spaces and cozy retreats. “Whether they choose the big dining table or the built-in banquette to just sit with a cup of tea and not feel isolated, it was a big lifestyle goal to gather with family and friends and have time to reflect and unwind,” Hahlbrock says.


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S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 | FA M I LY A F FA I R

BUYER’S GUIDE BUILDER Meadowlark Design+Build, Ann Arbor, meadowlarkbuilders.com

BATHROOM, GUEST Cabinet – Rifted White Oak with Natural Finish, Expo Kitchen & Bath, Ann Arbor Countertop – Florim Calacatta Gold with Gloss Finish, Dwyer Marble & Stone Supply, Farmington Hills Flooring – 8” Hex in Graphite, WOW USA, Virginia Tile Company Lighting, Vanity – Graydon Double Sconce, Visual Comfort, Circa Lighting Mirror – Pottery Barn Tile, Shower – 3” x 6” Herringbone Tile Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Loggia


BATHROOM, MASTER Baskets, Storage – Serena & Lily Bathtub – 67” Brayden Bateau Cast Iron Skirted Tub, Navy Blue, Signature Hardware Cabinet – Expo Kitchen & Bath, Ann Arbor Countertop – FLORIM Calacatta Gold with Gloss Finish, Dwyer Marble & Stone Supply, Farmington Hills Flooring – Carrara Marble Tile, Virginia Tile Company Hardware – Atlas Bradbury Pull, Warm Brass, Gross Electric, Ann Arbor Lighting, Bathtub – Capiz Scalloped Chandelier, Serena & Lily Mirrors – Bristol, Restoration Hardware; Inset Medicine Cabinet, Brass Rug – Serena & Lily Sconces – Marais Medium Bath Sconce, Brushed Gold, Visual Comfort, Gross Electric, Ann Arbor Stool – Serena & Lily

BEDROOM, FLORAL Bed Frame – Avalon Bed with Footboard, Serena & Lily Ceiling Paint – Benjamin Moore, Pink Harmony in Flat Finish Lights, Ceiling – Pescadero Pendant, Serena & Lily Rug – Round Cotton and Jute Rug, Serena & Lily Trunk, Wicker – Balboa Storage Trunk, Serena & Lily Wallpaper – Watercolor Poppy, Inspired by Color BEDROOM, GUEST Rug – Mirabelle Rug, Serena & Lily Bed Frame – Carson Bed, Serena & Lily Chandelier – Pescadero Drum Shade, Serena & Lily Sconces, Bedside – Flynn Sconce with Woven Shade, Serena &Lily

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Woodlawn Blue Wallpaper – Cayman Cork Wallcovering, Serena & Lily BEDROOM, MASTER Armchair – Venice Rattan Chair, Serena & Lily Bed Frame – Tall Broderick Bed, Serena & Lily Bedding – Owens Quilt, Navy, Serena &Lily Chest, Bedside – Serena & Lily Drapery – Pottery Barn Dresser – Driftway Dresser, Serena & Lily Light, Ceiling – Robinson Pendants, Visual Comfort, Circa Lighting Rug – Seaview Rug, Serena & Lily Wall Treatment – Grasscloth Wallcovering, Ochre, Serena & Lily BUNKROOM Bedding – Serena and Lily Ceiling Color – Benjamin Moore, Hale Navy in Flat Finish


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FA M I LY A F FA I R | S U M M E R 2 0 2 2

Lights, Wall – Pelham Sconce, Circa Lighting, Gross Electric, Ann Arbor FAMILY ROOM Armchairs – Mattituck Armchair, Serena & Lily Chairs, Dining – Balboa Side Chair, Mist, Serena & Lily Chandelier, Sofa – 60” 20-Light Chandelier, Pearson Chandelier, Table – Serena & Lily Drapery – Custom Fireplace – Stone Cladding with Raked Joint Pillows, Accent – Granada and Beach Stripe Pillow Covers, Serena & Lily Both pages, left to right: Another look at the cast iron tub in the master bath; bunk room details; the cheerful playroom where kids can hang out on rainy days. Watching the sun set is the best way to cap the day, especially from the patio or family room.

Rug – Channing Hand-Knotted Rug, Serena & Lily Table, Coffee – Cape Coffee Table, Serena & Lily Tables, End (Blue) – Trestle Side Table, Serena & Lily HALLWAY Chandelier – Frankie Malibu, Ro Sham Beaux Lighting, Artwork – Cabinet Makers Art Light with Brass Finish, Circa Lighting, Gross Electric, Ann Arbor Mirror – Blake Mirror, Navy, Serena & Lily Railing – Matte Black Metal Railing with Horizontal Wire; Balustrade and Oak Handrail KITCHEN Bar Stools – Riviera Bar and Counter Stools, Navy/White, Serena & Lily Cabinetry – Expo Kitchen & Bath, Ann Arbor Countertop – FLORIM Calacatta Gold with Gloss Finish, Dwyer Marble & Stone Supply, Farmington Hills

Faucet – Chesterfield Two-Handle Kitchen Faucet, Newport Brass, Ferguson, Ann Arbor Hood – Zephyr 36” Monsoon DCBL Insert, Big George’s Home Appliance Mart, Ann Arbor Lighting, Bar – Eugene Large Pendant, Brushed Gold, Visual Comfort, Gross Electric, Ann Arbor Refrigerator – 48” Built-In Side-by-Side Refrigerator, Monogram, Big George’s Appliance Mart, Ann Arbor Runner – Woven Wool Rug, Malta Blue, Dash & Albert Sconces – French Laundry Single Arm, Circa Lighting, Gross Electric, Ann Arbor Stove – Monogram, Big George’s Home Appliance Mart, Ann Arbor PATIO Pillows, Accent – Serena & Lily Sofas – Serena & Lily Table, Coffee – Serena & Lily Table, End – Serena & Lily

PLAYROOM Door, Children’s – Dutch-Style Arch Topped Door, TruStile, Mans Lumber & Millwork, Birmingham Sconce – Small Stanway Sconce, Brass, Circa Lighting Wallpaper – Goldfish, Nathan Turner EXTERIOR Color, Accent – Benjamin Moore, Hale Navy Trim, Casing, and Fascia Color – Benjamin Moore, Decorator’s White ADDITIONAL PROJECT CONTRIBUTORS Architect – Jeremy Zeigler, J.T. Zeigler, LLC, Ann Arbor Interior Design – Acadia Hahlbrock, Surroundings Inc., Superior Township Landscaping –Turner’s Garden Center & Landscaping, Ann Arbor


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Beauty & the




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This new-construction home along the dunes in Grand Haven has given the homeowners modern amenities, low maintenance, and a fresh look.

Lakefront home in coveted location gets a fresh start By Jeanine Matlow Photography by Werner Straube


or a home in Grand Haven that had been consumed by the moving dunes of Lake Michigan, there was a decision to be made before John Allegretti, owner of John Allegretti Architects in St. Joseph, could embark on the complex project for the owners, who wanted a timeless haven that could handle the environment. “We either had to renovate their existing cottage, an older home that hadn’t fared well with the amount of sand erosion from blowing sand north of the pier, or build a new home,” Allegretti explains. The couple’s original house would require a major renovation, which would be difficult to do given the grade of the main floor. “The cost to elevate the existing structure would (have been) significant,” Allegretti says. In the end, all of the parties agreed on new construction because it would give the owners all they wished for and more — including low maintenance, a fresh look, and modern amenities. The result is a striking linear structure with a Mid-century aesthetic that respects the lake and the natural environment. At the entrance, a dramatic glass door contrasts with the warm cumeru wood, while the back of the house reveals expansive lakefacing windows. “The design is really beach-oriented, and all that glass creates panoramic views in linear form,” Allegretti says. “I wanted to create that sense of being on a ship, or to capture the sense of the journey of life through time. “The inspiration was the wide-open panoramic view and the natural environment we wanted to integrate into the new home, which would be resilient and integrated into the dunes,” he adds. The new home has an elevated concrete patio that resists the accumulation of wind-driven sand. Raising the elevation, adding screen walls on the exterior, and planting indigenous, droughttolerant xeriscaping helps reduce blowing-sand erosion and buildup. A screened porch beside the living room extends the home’s footprint.“It’s really livable,”Allegretti says.“By putting (the porch) on the end, there’s a sense of endless space. It’s a great place to come in from the beach, and it has a beach bath behind it.”


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Light &




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The architect says he likes multi-functionality like the beach bath, which features a half-bath and shower. “It’s about maximizing the square footage to create usable space wherever possible, in as minimal space as possible,” he explains. Flex spaces stretch the 2,700-square-foot structure with an open dining area, a living room, and a kitchen that welcome guests. There are four bedrooms (three upstairs and one on the main floor), with a master bedroom on each floor. That will allow the couple to age in place and may benefit their two grown sons in the future. One bedroom can double as an office or a sitting area, while a center bunk room can handle overflow. An upper-level deck occupies the roof above the living room, and a two-sided fireplace separates the living and dining areas with wood and iridescent tiles reminiscent of Mid-century craft. Durable furnishings and surfaces include a white Both pages: The leather sectional and porcelain tile floors. homeowners’ and Key features like the warm wood architect’s design details on the ceilings and beams, as well inspiration was the wideas the wall of windows, are simple and open panoramic views and sustainable. Wood stairs with stainless- the natural environment. steel handrails in the center of the home When you’re indoors, you play well against the water and sky. feel like you’re one with the


outdoors. It’s integrated with the dunes, architect John Allegretti says.



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“It all gels,”Allegretti says.“It’s really important to use materials that are indigenous to the site, to create a sense of place.” The architect got to experience the home firsthand during a housewarming party. “It was so nice to see it operating the way it’s designed,” he says. “There were groups of people on the screened porch, (and people were) chit-chatting in the kitchen and other areas. It really was enjoyable to see the completion of the home and all the people enjoying it. It was a great project, and the owners were delightful to work with.” The wife, who vacationed in Grand Haven as a child, says she and her husband appreciate the setting not only for the beach, but also for the nearby walking and hiking trails. She says their new home serves as a hub for holidays and special occasions, like her brother’s wedding.


Away Her husband laughs when he says he mostly just looks at the lake — which, after all, did determine their aesthetic. “Everything was intended to be simple, to try to have the lake be in the room,” his wife says. The natural, neutral palette lets the bones of the home shine, and the organic architecture and special elements like clerestory windows between the main Douglas Fir beams tie the lake and the landscape together. Allegretti feels tremendous gratitude for CL Construction in Holland. “They’re incredible collaborators,” he says. The homeowners credit the talented team for their dream home, which delivers inside and out. “With the roof deck over the living room and the screened porch, it’s beautiful during the day, and at night you can see the lit-up pier and the fireworks,” the wife says. “At night the roof deck is so beautiful, with the glass along the roofline. It looks like it’s floating.”



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BUYER’S GUIDE Architect John Allegretti, Allegretti Architects, St. Joseph, allegrettiarchitects.com HALLWAY Ceiling Treatment – Decking, Douglas Fir Doors – Douglas Fir Flooring – Wood (to match Douglas Fir Beams) Stairs and Railings – IPE railings, Douglas Fir stairs Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Gardenia KITCHEN Flooring – Porcelain Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Gardenia

SITTING ROOM Fireplace – Napoleon “See Thru” 42” Unit, Allegretti Architects, St. Joseph Flooring – Porcelain Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Gardenia STAIRCASE Railings – Custom, Ipe and Douglas Fir Treads – Glulam, Douglas Fir Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Gardenia UPPER LEVEL HALLWAY Door – Douglas Fir Flooring – Douglas Fir Lights, Ceiling – Paper Lights, George Nelson Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Gardenia

EXTERIOR Building Materials – Cumeru 5/4” Wide Ipe; Stainless Steel Railings; Glulam, Douglas Fir Beams with 26ga. Galvanized Steel Flashings Flooring – Concrete Plain Paint Color – Clean Finish Penofin Patio – Concrete Pergola – Screen Porch ADDITIONAL PROJECT CONTRIBUTOR Builder – Brian Lamar, CL Construction, Holland

Both pages: It was important to use materials that are native to the area, to create a sense of place. Architect John Allegretti got to experience the home firsthand during a housewarming party. “It was so nice to see it operating the way it’s designed,” he says.


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S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 | L A K E F R O N T L O V E LY

SUNRISE, SUNSET Empire new-build makes the most of spectacular views and a location on two lakes By Khristi Zimmeth Photography by Beth Singer


Both pages, clockwise from above: The cottage now has all the comfy amenities this family needs, plus lots of style — from the porch to the exterior, the entryway, and the dining room.


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icole Withers of Jones-Keena & Co. has worked on many lakefront homes in her 27 years as an interior designer, but even she admits there’s something special about the Empire project the Birmingham-based design firm finished in 2020. “I’ve never seen a property like this before,”she says. Perched high, “it has the most spectacular views,” she explains — and not just of one body of water, but two. The narrow site has 120 feet of frontage on Lake Michigan on one side and another 120 feet of frontage on South Bar Lake, which the homeowner describes as “really rustic,”and reminiscent of the movie “On Golden Pond,”on the other. The family who owns the land has a long connection to both the site and the area. The husband was born in Empire and lived on a small, self-sustaining hobby farm. When the couple initially went to look at the property, which the husband found in a local newspaper ad, he remembered having raked sand there as a teenager, when he worked in landscaping. They purchased the lot, which had been used as a rental property, in 2015 and put $30,000 into upgrading the 1950s cottage. They rented the cottage out for the next few years, but “the plan was always to knock it down and rebuild,” the homeowner explains. That process was started late in 2018, when the couple brought in Withers, architect Joseph Mosey, and Render Construction to help them achieve their goals. More family space was the top priority, according to the homeowners, who have three grown children. So, too, was a home that was“elegant but cozy, with a mature palette.” An artist, the wife wanted to steer clear of the typical beach-home color scheme, which includes a lot of blue. “I wanted the property itself to be the art,” she explains, adding that the 4,000-square-foot residence is filled with muted natural tones. The only exception, she says, are the brighter hues found in her canvases.“When people come into the house they say it’s so soft, like the colors of a dune. That’s exactly what I wanted to achieve.” Withers says the palette was a creative challenge. “The backdrop is her wonderful art collection, which features a lot of Michigan artists, including her own work and that of friends,” she shares.“We wanted to make the most of that.” The designer says her strategy included borrowing inspiration from the gorgeous sunsets of Lake Michigan, which influenced the soft orange tones found in the great room and kitchen. An experienced renovator, the wife had never built a new house, but “she was the eyes and ears on the project,”Withers says.“She would walk the house during construction and come back with ideas. We ended up creating some really cool ceiling details and other details.”At the homeowners’ request, they also reorganized the original floor plan to move the kitchen and the dining room to the Lake Michigan side of the house, to take advantage of the views.“I wanted nature to provide the wow,”the homeowner explains of her floor plan and color choices. Withers’ goal was to give the family the restful retreat and family gathering place they envisioned. “They wanted to be able MICHIGAN BLUE

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to entertain, feel casual and comfortable while there, and take advantage of the views,” she explains. One of the best places to do that is on the home’s third floor. Like the old rental that had been on the property, the new house is affectionately known as “The Perch.” Inspired by yearly visits to Nantucket, the owners had originally planned to incorporate a widow’s walk at the top of the house. Instead, they built a 15- by 20-foot room on the third floor that includes a bar with seating, a small kitchen, and an outdoor balcony — or, as they like to say, “a perch at the top of The Perch.” It’s a “great place to watch sunsets,” the couple agrees. Sunrises, meanwhile, are enjoyed with coffee in the kitchen, overlooking South Bar Lake. The wife’s favorite things about the house, she says, are the lot, the cozy and welcoming layout, and the interesting light fixtures. She also appreciates that when you walk into the foyer, you can see both lakes. Withers is partial to the views throughout, which can be enjoyed “in every single room, even bathrooms,” she says, adding that the “magical” reading room and the screened porch are her favorite spaces. There were a few unexpected surprises along the way, including

Both pages, clockwise from far left: The kitchen was moved to the Lake Michigan side of the home. Note the color of the leather stools (there are pops of orange throughout the home). An inviting guest room,“the perch,” and the dining room all offer great views.

a period when Lake Michigan was rising at an alarming rate and the homeowners almost lost their septic field. The family finally moved in in June of 2020, so they’ll mark two years in their new space this summer. Withers says the talented design team also included Amanda Rose and Tracey Brugioni of Jones-Keena, and landscaper Jeff Hennig of Environmental Artists, who worked with the challenging lot and whose design for the property became a model for residential dune restoration projects in Leelanau County. Withers calls him “a genius.” The homeowner admits she was intimidated by the building process at first, but she ultimately enjoyed it.“I had an absolute blast,” she says, adding that the results were well worth the wait. “Throughout the day, the lake just turns to diamonds,” she marvels. “We feel so fortunate to have this in our family.”


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BUYER’S GUIDE INTERIOR DESIGNER Nicole Withers, Jones-Keena & Co., Birmingham, jones-keena.com

BATHROOM, MASTER Cabinet, Storage – O’Brien Harris, Petoskey Cabinetry – O’Brien Harris, Petoske Chandelier – Treetop White Large Chandelier, Currey & Company, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy Countertop – Matarazzo, PMP Marble & Granite, Troy Drapery – Fabrication, Designs Designs, Wixom; Fabric, Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy Flooring – Polar Grey Basketweave, Ciot, Troy Mirror – Moore Square Mirror, Uttermost, Lighting Resource Studio, Michigan Design Center, Troy Sconces – Barton Grande Sconces, Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Ashwood 64

BEDROOM, GUEST Bed Frame – Synchronicity Bed, Universal Furniture, Jones-Keena & Co., Birmingham Bedding – Pine Cone Hill, Annie Selke Bench – Palma Bench, Bernhardt, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy Chandelier – Purebred Large Lantern, Currey & Company, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy Drapery – Rosemary Linen, Fabricut, Designer Furniture Services, Michigan Design Center, Troy Flooring – White Oak, Everlast Floors, Troy Lamp – John-Richard, Lighting Resource Studio, Michigan Design Center, Troy Rug – Oushak Rug, Boga Rugs Table, End – WILDWOOD, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Ashwood DINING ROOM Bench – Prague Bench, Charleston Forge, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy;

Pillow, Kinley Linen Pillow, Pine Cone Hill, Annie Selke Chairs, Dining – Loretta Side Chairs, Hickory Chair, Michigan Design Center, Troy Chandelier – Maximus Grande Chandelier, Currey & Company, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy Drapery – Massa Granite, Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy Flooring – White Oak, Everlast Floors, Troy Light, Foyer Ceiling – Lorford Smoke Bell Lantern, Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy Mirror – Lovell Mirror, Gabby Home, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy Rug – Dartmoor IV, Pewter, Surface Designs International Runner, Hallway – Oushak, Soylemezler Oriental Rugs Table, Dining – Madeleine Dining Table, Michel Ferrand Table, End – Gustavian Chest, Modern History, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Aegean Olive Wallpaper, Hallway – Cameron Walnut, Winfield Thybony, Kravet|Lee Jofa|Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy KITCHEN Backsplash – Adex, Virginia Tile Company, Troy Bar Stools – Woodbridge Furniture, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy; Upholstery, Orange Faux Leather, Kravet, Kravet|Lee Jofa|Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy Cabinetry – O’Brien Harris, Petoskey Chairs, Breakfast – Jonathan Charles, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy Countertops – Baccarat, PMP Marble & Granite, Troy Flooring – White Oak, Everlast Floors, Troy Hood – O’Brien Harris, Petoskey Lighting, Bar – Chatham Lanterns by Ralph Lauren, Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy


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Both pages, left to right: The porch, living room (with a natural stone fireplace of Michigan limestone), and master bath all exude cottage charm and sophistication. The branch-like light fixture in the bathroom fits the home’s nature theme.

Lighting, Breakfast Table – Goodman Large Pendant, Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy Pillows, Accent – Eastern Accents, JonesKeena & Co., Birmingham Rug – Boga Rugs Stove – La Cornue, O’Brien Harris, Petoskey Table, Breakfast – Fitzwilliam, Bungalow 5 Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Hazy Skies LIVING ROOM Armchairs – Jules Swivel Chairs, Hickory Chair, Michigan Design Center, Troy Artwork – Jones-Keena & Co., Birmingham Chandelier – Mazarin Chandelier, Bliss Studio, Jones-Keena & Co., Birmingham Chest, Decorative – Bickerton Chest, Jonathan Charles, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy Table, Coffee – Gore Coffee Table, Tritter Feefer Flooring – Boga Rugs Lamp, Chest – Ferro Designs Lamps, Blue and White – Zigzag Table Lamps, Currey & Company, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy Pillows, Accent – Surya, CAI Designs, Michigan

Design Center, Troy Sofa – Lorraine Sofa, Hickory Chair, Michigan Design Center, Troy Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Hazy Skies Wall Treatment, Fireplace – Limestone, Beach Blend Ashlar, The Stone Mill, Lakeview PATIO AND PORCH Ceiling Treatment – Beadboard, Render Construction, Traverse City Cushions – Kingsley-Bate, Spring Stripe, JonesKeena & Co., Birmingham Fan – Maverick LED Collection, Monte Carlo, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy Masonry – Bluestone, Render Construction, Traverse City Table, Coffee – Seasonal Living, Jones-Keena & Co., Birmingham Tables, End – Urbia Imports Sofa and Chairs – Frances Collection, KingsleyBate, Jones-Keena & Co. SITTING ROOM Armchairs – Springhouse Lounge Chair, Charleston Forge, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Ceiling Treatment – Nickel Gap, Render Construction, Traverse City Flooring – Sajal Rug, Surya, CAI Designs, Michigan Design Center, Troy Ottoman – Custom, Jones-Keena & Co. Upholstery Studio, Birmingham; Fabric, Mattone Citrus, Kravet, Kravet|Lee Jofa|Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy Table, Occasional – Seasonal Living, JonesKeena & Co., Birmingham Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Hazy Skies THE PERCH (BALCONY) Chairs, Patio – Bailey Chair, Urbia Imports Flooring – White Oak, Everlast Floors, Troy Light, Wall – Venice Sconce, Visual Comfort, City Lights Detroit, Michigan Design Center, Troy Railing, Balcony – Render Construction, Traverse City Stools – Ikat French Blue Stools, Pine Cone Hill, Annie Selke Table, High-Top – Simone Bar Table, Four Hands, Jones-Keena & Co., Birmingham Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Hazy Skies

EXTERIOR Building Materials – Cedar Shingles Landscaping Installation – Twin Bay Landscaping, Traverse City Outdoor Flooring and Masonry – Twin Bay Landscaping, Traverse City Paint Color, Exterior Door – Benjamin Moore, Sweet Vibration ADDITIONAL PROJECT CONTRIBUTORS Architect – Joseph Mosey, Joseph Mosey Architecture, Northville Builder – Eric Render, Render Construction, Traverse City Contributing Designers – Tracey Brugioni and Amanda Rose, Jones-Keena & Co. Design, Kitchen – O’Brien Harris (formerly Signature Kitchens), Liz Firebaugh, Petoskey Design, Landscape – Jeffrey Hennig, Environmental Artists, Leland Drapery (Fabrication) – Designs Designs, Wixom Porch, Sunscape – Sunspace of West Michigan, Wyoming


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Lakeside Lunching One bowl fits all when your fridge is stocked with these three fresh, flexible salad bases By Honey Murray


A cold green bean salad is always popular. You can add different toppings, depending on what you and your guests like.



Serves about 10 Ingredients 4 12-ounce bags of washed and ready-to-use green beans in microwavable packaging 1 10-ounce bag of slivered almonds Optional add-ins: Several 2.6-ounce packets of wild, skinless, boneless pink salmon A package(s) of pre-cooked chicken breast strips or medallions Dried cranberries or cherries Jarred roasted red pepper strips Goat cheese or crumbled feta


t’s summer in Michigan, and family, guests, and friends who drop by your rental cottage or waterfront home will be spending golden getaway hours exploring, boating, swimming, biking, relaxing — and eating. Although everyone may come together for an evening meal, lunchtime can be a self-serve breeze with just a little planning and prep (and the convenience of some quality, single-serve culinary products). These creative offerings will keep perfectly for the best part of a week, and they’ll deliciously suit each person’s schedule and food preferences. The three recipes that follow are simple. Each begins with a cookedthen-cooled base: one is brown rice, one is fresh green beans, and one is elbow macaroni. The three dishes can offer limitless variety, and all are delicious with the same dressing. As a former restaurant owner and lover of good food, I find that for these salads, most of the preparation lies in shopping for the nonperishable ingredients that will allow each person to personalize their lunch to make an easy, fresh, nutritious, and really tasty onebowl meal. This trio is sure to help keep you out of the kitchen come family-and-friend time, and offers a change from everyday lunchtime sandwiches. The recipes don’t require exact ingredient measurements, especially for the optional add-in items. The add-in ingredient selections and their quantities will vary depending on the tastes of your guests and family, and will mostly be pre-packaged (easier for you!) so lunchers can choose and add them as desired.


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Tips for Success Cook the green beans for the least amount of time the directions suggest, and then immediately rinse them in very cold water. Prep Cook the beans according to your choice of microwave or stovetop directions. Drain and rinse. Add slivered almonds. Cool in refrigerator. Arrange the add-ins in containers that can easily be removed from the refrigerator, so people can choose the ingredients they would like to add. Provide microwavable dishes for those who prefer to enjoy their salad warm or hot. And Top it Off … With a drizzle of olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar, or your favorite bottled Italian dressing Let’s Eat! This dish is vibrant, fresh, and so nutritious! Even with nothing extra added, it’s a lunch that will make you feel deliciously satisfied.



Serves about 10 Ingredients 3 cups of brown rice Light olive oil for sautéing the celery 2 ribs of celery, diced 4 tablespoons fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons dried parsley Optional add-ins: Chopped walnuts or sliced almonds Pineapple tidbits Dried cranberries or cherries Pre-cooked chicken breast strips or medallions Chick peas Small can(s) or individual-serving container(s) of green peas Finely chopped onion

Rice is nice, especially when you add anything from celery and parsley to chick peas or other veggies.

Tip for Success Sauté the diced celery very quickly in a little light olive oil to bring out its flavor but maintain its crunch. Prep Cook the rice according to package directions, and then cool it in the refrigerator. When cooled, gently stir in the celery and parsley. Store and arrange the add-in ingredients for easy reach and use, providing microwavable bowls for those who prefer this dish warm or hot. Let’s Eat! There’s something very comforting about rice — hot or cold — and whether you’re craving sweet or savory, this dish and its simple additions can easily satisfy. MICHIGAN BLUE

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THE LIST TAKE THIS HANDY COLLECTION OF INGREDIENTS WITH YOU TO THE STORE FOR THREE GREAT SALADS Note: Quantities and amounts of the “optional add-in ingredients” are according to your household’s tastes and preferences.

Four 12-ounce microwavable packages of fresh green beans

❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑

Celery (three ribs needed)

Shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese

❑ ❑ ❑

Crumbled feta or goat cheese

❑ ❑ ❑ ❑

Light olive oil

❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑

Brown rice (three cups needed)

❑ ❑

Chick peas


Bunch of fresh parsley One red onion Carrots (one large needed) One red pepper Dried cranberries or cherries

Macaroni salad is perhaps the most versatile of all side dishes and is a great choice come summer. Onion, pimientos, peppers — you name it — can be added to the recipe.

Chopped walnuts Sliced and/or slivered almonds Pre-cooked chicken breast strips or medallions

Three bottles of prepared Italian vinaigrette dressing Balsamic vinegar 2.6-ounce packets of chunk light tuna 2.6-ounce packets of wild, skinless, boneless pink salmon One 16-ounce box of elbow macaroni Small jar of diced pimientos Jar of roasted red pepper strips Small can(s) or single-serving containers of green peas Pineapple tidbits

Serves about 8 Ingredients 1 16-ounce box of elbow macaroni 1 rib of celery, diced 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped small ¼ cup finely-chopped red onion ¼ cup rinsed, drained pimientos or small-diced red pepper (optional) Optional add-ins: Several 2.6-ounce packets of chunk light tuna Pre-cooked chicken breast, diced or cut small Shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese Chopped, hard-boiled eggs (precooked eggs available in most markets) Small can(s) or individual-serving container(s) of green peas Italian dressing of your choice

Tip for Success Cool the pasta completely before adding in any ingredients. Prep Cook the box of pasta according to package directions. Cool in refrigerator. When cool, gently stir in the carrot, celery, red onion, and pimiento or red peppers. Add Italian dressing to taste and mix gently. Refrigerate. Store and arrange the add-in ingredients for easy reach and use, and let the salad personalization begin! Let’s Eat! Let’s face it: Everyone loves pasta, and the fun of confetti. With the colorful bits of veggies and chosen add-ins, this lunch is flavorful and festive.


Pre-cooked, hard-boiled eggs



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Christine DiMaria Design

(616) 299-9229 | Christine@ChristineDiMariaDesign.com


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150 CENTER STREET DOUGLAS, MICHIGAN 49406 269.857.8880 www.kitchenwest.com


6/8/22 9:32 AM


Great Lake Story 2022

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A Michigan Treasure The waterfront charms and celebrated chronicles of Mackinac Island invite visitors to enjoy the classics and check out what’s new


t’s simply one of America’s most charming lakeside destinations. That’s why a million visitors every season enjoy a Straits of Mackinac ferry ride as their gateway to the delights of historic Mackinac Island. Ask any Michigander and it’s a good bet they’ve included this idyllic getaway on their summer travel list — whether it’s a family tradition, a repeat guest looking forward to trying something new, or a first-timer planning their inaugural visit. 72

This Great Lakes masterpiece is a special destination that really markets itself, according to Tim Hygh, the CEO of Mackinac Island Tourism for the past 12 years. During that tenure, he’s often said the tourist season on Mackinac Island seems like the movie “Groundhog Day.” Every day repeats the previous day — record business, mostly perfect weather, happy guests, lilacs blooming on time, horse-drawn service drays and carriage rides adding a nostalgic touch, the enchanting smell of fudge, hundreds of

bikes crisscrossing the island, and a sense of community that prides itself on bettering the customer experience. “Who can ask for more?” Hygh says. “People are captivated with this island.” He encourages visitors to adventure beyond the island’s main street and explore something new on the less-than-4-squaremile island, which features more than 70 miles of trails. Here are a few updates for the summer 2022 season:


By Ron Garbinski


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• After two years of construction required to fix storm and water damage, M-185 is now open the entire 8.2-mile paved route around the island, along the shores of Lake Huron. The detour signs are gone, and all the rough patches have been repaired and reinforced. • The Chippewa Hotel replaced its 25-person hot tub, located next to the deck dining area facing the marina, with a modern version complete with the famous Pink Pony restaurant/bar logo on the bottom. The Lilac Tree Suites, meanwhile, remodeled its lobby (read more about these hotels on the following pages). • Grand Hotel, celebrating its 136th birthday this season, introduced its Woodlands Activity Center adjacent to the Esther Williams Swimming Pool, which underwent a $10-million renovation last year. The activity center includes a greenhouse, an 18-hole miniature golf course through the forest, pickleball courts, and more. • Grand Hotel also takes it up several notches this year with its Grand Discovery Package, in partnership with Pentastar Aviation. This package is ultimate luxury from start to finish, with private roundtrip jet service from Pentastar’s major hubs, four nights at the Masco Cottage (immediately next to the hotel) with accommodations for up to eight guests, $100 daily resort credit, one dinner prepared by an in-home private chef, a fully stocked

refrigerator and bar Both pages, clockwise customized to the from far left: An inviting guests’ requests, look at Marquette Park and the island’s Haldimand and a private island Bay harbor at sunrise. carriage tour and The Grand Hotel and taxi airport service. downtown are spectacular Starting price: at night. $95,000 to/from Chicago. • Mission Point Resort, on the island’s sunrise side, continues to add to its inviting amenities with renovated hot tub suites and private patios. There are new hot tubs in each of the 14 suites and an updated look for the patios. Another welcoming plus: The hotel introduced full bar service in its main lobby, which is available from 3 to 10 p.m. daily. • Mission Point’s new executive chef, John Clements, and its director of food and beverage, Mike Wilson, have enhanced the resort’s farm-to-ferry culinary program and dining options. The Chianti restaurant reopened with a five-course prix fixe menu featuring paired wines, curated menu options, and a focus on fresh, local ingredients. The team also created seasonal menus for Round Island Kitchen, while a Mediterraneaninspired menu and craft cocktails are offered at Bistro on the Greens, next to the Greens of Mackinac Putting Course. All of the resort’s dining areas are open to the public.

So, what makes Mackinac Island so special? “It’s close enough to be accessible, but feels like a totally different world. I think people like the pace of Mackinac and feeling like they have nowhere else to be,” says Steph Castelein, content manager for Mackinac Island Tourism. “We get to be ambassadors of our beautiful destination. I think people visit Mackinac Island because they’ve heard of it from someone or discovered it online, and they’re intrigued. But they also keep coming back because it offers something special — something that’s hard to explain. “My favorite part of Mackinac is (when we) get to slow down and enjoy it. After doing all the things there are to do, it’s nice to take a break once in a while. So, grab an ice cream or slice of fudge and sit by the water.” With the summer season in full swing, the stories on the following pages may help you discover a few of those different ways to explore this wonderful island.

PLAN IT! Mackinac Island mackinacisland.org This season, the tourism bureau is adding more blog posts, informational and live videos, and social media posts to its website. Sign up to receive its emails.


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Both pages, clockwise from left: Re-enactors in outfits representing the period, daily cannon firing demonstrations, and a picturesque front promenade add to Fort Mackinac’s appeal.

Historic Sites and More From America’s best-preserved fort to engaging demonstrations and trails worth exploring, Mackinac Island State Park introduces new offerings this season


y favorite old-time memory from Fort Mackinac is my two young sons standing at attention while holding replica rifles with the 18th century soldier re-enactors, then racing off to the fort’s cannon-firing demonstration, which they just loved. While that was many years ago, I still enjoy visiting the Mackinac Island State Park’s collection of attractions, of which the fort shines as its key focal point. I’m not alone; about 200,000 visitors enjoy the park and fort every season. More than 240 years of history, archival photos, fun special events, engaging demonstrations, and more are all part of 74

an entertaining experience at the state park, which most visitors don’t realize encompasses about 82 percent of Mackinac Island’s total footprint. Sections of the famous island and fort were established as a national park in 1875 and, 20 years later, it became Michigan’s first state park. “Fort Mackinac is arguably America’s best-preserved fort. It really allows for a peek into 19th-century history and how people lived in such a remote outpost as this. U.S. history can really be told through the lens of Mackinac, and so much of the history is still preserved on the island,” explains Dominick Miller, chief of marketing for Mackinac State Historic Parks, which includes the island sites and also the fort, lighthouse park, and

Discovery Park in Mackinaw City. “Moving the fort from the mainland to the island caused the hub of the fur trade to move over here (around 1779), which set off the events to make Mackinac Island the tourist destination it is now,” he says. “We present the history of the area, from pre-European contact to today, provide demonstrations and tours, and even have an opportunity for guests to fire the opening cannon salute of the day.” Miller says the park is always changing and adding new elements, so there’s something different to see and do on each visit. Recent improvements at Fort Mackinac include updates to the Guardhouse, Office, North Blockhouse, West Blockhouse, and


By Ron Garbinski


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“I’m a broken record, but the history of the park is my favorite part of it,” Miller says. “So take in a cannon firing, visit Michigan’s oldest building, build a fort inside the Kids’ Quarters, learn about the Battle of Mackinac Island, see how Fort Mackinac was a Civil War prison, visit the original headquarters of Mackinac National Park, or take a tour to find out what happened with the fort after the army left.” From the sheer volume of history, artifacts, and preserved sites to a diverse collection of activities and special events, visitors will discover something for the whole family this season at Mackinac Island State Park. They won’t be disappointed. Kids’ Quarters, along with the introduction of new tours and programs. Park additions included Fort Holmes at the highest point on the island, the Peace Garden in Marquette Park, plus the Native American Cultural History and the Mackinac Island Botanical trails. The Biddle House, home to the Mackinac Island Native American Museum, opened fully in 2021. A new nature center at Arch Rock is currently in the design phase. Miller says visitors can spend anywhere from an hour to all day exploring the park’s offerings. Here are a few other highlights on tap this season: Medical Anniversary — Two hundred years ago, the fort’s surgeon, Dr. William Beaumont, performed his famous experiments on a gunshot victim’s stomach. That research helped unlock the secrets of human digestion. To mark those discoveries, the Dr. Beaumont Museum inside the American Fur Co. Store at the base of the fort has been remodeled to showcase a new exhibit detailing Beaumont’s work. Reading is Fun — The fort’s schoolhouse was completely remodeled and reimagined into an immersive Reading Room, to reflect how it might have looked in the 1880s.Visitors can see books, newspapers, and periodicals that were popular during that time, to gain a better idea of what it was like to be a soldier back then. The exhibit was funded in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Glance into the Past — New daily programs and tours highlight the changing face of Fort Mackinac, the role women played at the fort, and Mackinac’s time as a national park, and take a look at the army’s composition during the 1880s. Back this season after a two-year Covid hiatus are the popular drill program, and rifle and cannon firing demonstrations throughout the day. Mackinac Design — The McGulpin House, another island park site closed during the pandemic, is open this season through Aug. 21. It’s one of the island’s oldest residential structures and a rare example of early French Canadian domestic architecture. Supporting the Arts — The Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum in Marquette Park features a new juried art exhibition called “Mackinac Journeys.” It’s a collection of artists’ memorable experiences on the island and is open through Oct. 9. Exhibits in the second-floor gallery change every season. The museum also is hosting seven artists-in-residence, who will offer free workshops on the second Wednesday during their residencies. New artworks are added to the museum every year, so that’s another reason to drop in again. Participation Points — Check out the Vintage Base Ball game in July, guided history bike rides, night sky events at Fort Holmes, guided birding hikes, special July 4 activities at the fort, historic walking tours, archaeology programs, and more. Updates are available on the park’s website.

PLAN IT! Mackinac Island State Park mackinacparks.com


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A Few of My Favorite Things

The Adirondack chairs on Mission Point’s Great Lawn provide a relaxing way to enjoy the Straits of Mackinac and view lake life.

There’s always something new to discover when an island overnight stay becomes part of a Mackinac adventure


aytrippers and overnighters definitely enjoy a different type of experience on Mackinac Island before the first ferry arrives, during the day, and after the crowds depart. I always recommend spending a night or two on the island (arrive early and leave late), as it allows more time to explore. As a veteran of dozens of amazing Mackinac Island trips over the years, I’m often asked about my favorites, but that list includes so much more than I can detail in this roster of suggestions.


• How do you pick the right spot? Yes, everyone should splurge at least once on a dream vacation at the Grand Hotel, where the new owners are adding more of their own touches to the property. Lately I’ve been enjoying the spread-out and laid-back lakefront appeal of Mission Point Resort. I enjoy the sense of solitude there, removed from the bustle of downtown (you can actually walk up to the big lake) amidst an ever-improving look and feel at this historic sunrise site, which is under the direction of


an energized generation of new ownership. A plus: Its event venues and decks, with spectacular panoramic views of the lake, add an inviting ambience to weddings, reunions, parties, and meetings. • I’ve enjoyed many delightful stays at the “hot spot” hotels — such as the Chippewa (love the upgrades), Island House (great porch with rockers), Inn on Mackinac (gluten-free breakfast muffins!), Lake View (nice streetside screened porches on every floor), and Lilac Tree (suites with balconies and a spa) — and you’ll appreciate them, too.

Always opt for a balcony or a larger room, especially if you’re booking one of the island’s smaller properties. While they’re fun events, I usually shy away from the two big sailboat race weekends and the Lilac Festival because those headliners attract lots of guests. • Change it up: In July, I’m checking out, for the first time, the English and French country-style rooms (my wife’s pick) at Metivier Inn (built in 1887) on Market Street. For some peace and quiet, reserve a bedand-breakfast-style getaway at the Inn at Stonecliffe. It’s an old Tudor-style mansion on Mackinac’s west bluff with plenty of green space to relax, especially if you bring your own bikes. Without your own wheels, it’s a long trek or taxi ride to downtown and island landmarks. It’s currently closed for renovations and will reopen in 2023. Fun Fact: There are around 30,000 roundtrip ferry rides to the island every season.


By Ron Garbinski


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• Best bars? By far, the cozy Cupola Bar high on top of the Grand Hotel (Music with a View begins at 8 p.m. nightly; the bar opens at noon) and Mission Point’s Round Island Kitchen bar overlooking the Straits of Mackinac/Lake Huron. The Island Kitchen completely renovated its kitchen and features a seasonal farm-to-ferry menu with live music evenings in September and October. Another favorite: the high-tops in the resort’s main bar area along the tall windows, especially during non-peak times. • In town, overnighters eventually will discover (because of the noise, of course!) the hangouts I relish wandering into at various times after the day crowds ebb — Horn’s Gaslight Bar (for its music); the Mustang Lounge (for its burgers available year-round); the Pink Pony (for its reputation!); and Mary’s Bistro Draught House (50 on tap), where I just love sitting on the back deck sipping tall tonics and munching on their super housemade chips with bleu cheese dipping sauce while taking in the sights and sounds of the busy ferry docks. • My summer must-do: As a member of the famed Mug Club at the Jockey Club at the Grand Stand restaurant and bar, I’m honored every season to drink a rum and tonic from my personalize engraved mug while enjoying a lingering late lunch on the outdoor deck. It’s a fun spot to relax after

The view from the Fort Mackinac Tea Room rates among the island’s best.

the walk from downtown, and to watch the golfers (and the bikers and horse-drawn carriage traffic as they tackle the steep grade on Cadotte Avenue to the hotel). • At one time, the Ice House BBQ behind the Island House Hotel was a peaceful hidden gem and a favorite hangout. It’s now added an outdoor pizza oven and renovated its bar and outdoor seating areas to entice more visitors to enjoy its offerings. I’m revisiting it in July to see how the changes affect my little retreat. • Inventive breakfast or lunch fare: I discovered the charming Watercolor Cafe on the waterfront next to the Haldimand Bay harbor when it opened four years ago. Its signature wraps and sandwiches are healthy choices and delicious options to the standard island offerings. The lake laps right up to the sandwich shop’s window-framed indoor seating area. It’s a neat escape. A secret: One of this magazine’s team members, who’s also an artist, is teaching watercolor classes there in July. The eatery is also an art center. • Make it a night: Schedule time to be whisked away by carriage to the historic Woods Restaurant in Mackinac’s interior, near the Inn at Stonecliffe. This Grand Hotel restaurant, which is open for lunch and dinner (my preference), is a feasting treat complete with Bavarian charms and tastes. Inside, sip on a favorite drink from Bobby’s Bar while playing duckpin bowling on one of America’s last remaining alleys for this unusual sport. • Table with the best view? The Fort Mackinac Tea Room, high above downtown and overlooking the vast Straits of Mackinac, where lakes Huron and Michigan merge, with the

Fort Holmes, the highest point on the island, offers panoramic vistas of Mackinac’s waterfront, as well as great star-watching opportunities.

Mackinac Bridge in the distance. The yellow umbrellas make it one of the most scenic photo opps on the island. To nab a seat, you need to purchase admission to the fort. It’s another restaurant operated by the Grand Hotel and, thankfully, beer and wine are available. In my opinion, it’s pretty spectacular. • Ready to relax? Back on the sunrise side, Mission Point’s Boxwood Coffeeshop & Café features an outdoor patio ideal for morning drinks or afternoon snacks, and it’s never been overcrowded when I visit. The resort’s cool Picnic Society spotlights chefcurated to-go picnic baskets (three different options and prices) to enjoy on an island adventure, whether you’re biking to a remote corner or eating outdoors on Mission Point’s Great Lawn. I’ve been known to purchase a bottle or two of house wine from the café and spend happy hours in the resort’s welcoming Adirondack chairs on that huge patch of green, watching the Great Lakes freighters pass in front of the hotel. At times, it seems that you can almost touch the 1,000-footers gliding by; the seaway’s fog bell, heard in the distance, adds a nifty nautical touch. Fun Fact: The Grand Hotel celebrates its 136th season this summer and introduces Guernsey Farms Dairy as the new exclusive ice cream provider at its Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor. MICHIGAN BLUE

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Many visitors are surprised about the golf offerings on Mackinac Island — or they don’t even think about it, because they’re sold on the many other things to do and see. I’ve often suggested to friends a Mackinac golf weekend, where they can play three enjoyable courses totaling two 18s — at the Grand Hotel and the Wawashkamo Golf Club — and still have time to explore the island and enjoy its nightlife. A plus: Both courses rent clubs and are open to the public. • The Jewel, with the main clubhouse next to the Grand Hotel, features two different nine-hole tracks — the Grand Nine, located up front, and the Woods Nine, a carriage ride away into the island’s wooded interior. They’re two distinctive feels, are fun to play, and golfers can pick either nine or both. A plus: The Grand, which earned Golf Digest’s Editor’s Choice as Best Grand & Boutique Golf Hotels, offers several stayand-play packages. My favorite time to golf there is late in the season when the fall colors are changing, usually around the first week or two of October. • “There are very few golf experiences in the nation that have a history as long as Wawashkamo. Built in 1898, it incorporates a battlefield from the War of 1812. The links-


style course has had no major renovations in its history, giving it an Old World feel. We’re proud that our guests tee off near a true-to-life cannon — those fired each day at the nearby fort,”says a welcoming Chuck Olson, the club’s PGA golf professional. “Natural. Nostalgic. A golf purist’s dream,” he says. The course is located in the middle of the island near the airport, which usually means a carriage ride for most players. The welcoming “Wawa,” as the locals call it, is the longest continuously open golf course in Michigan. It’s a nine-hole track that plays as a short 18-hole layout, with the second nine tees located in different positions. It’s a noteworthy experience, with trees on the outside borders and deep fescue rough (where I’ve been many times, and lost a ball or two). Nice touch: Olson is always ready to share stories about the course. • Mackinac Island is 82 percent state park, and has more than 70 miles of hiking and biking trails. With hundreds of bikes on the streets every day, during the buy season, there’s a sea of people — meaning lots of potential for accidents. A visiting ER doctor at the island’s medical center once told me that I’d be surprised at all the injuries. So be careful, bring your own bike helmet, keep

kids in tow, watch out for others, and mind your possessions. Enough of the safety stuff. • When I rent a bike or need service on mine, I head to Mackinac Wheels, east of downtown. I like the staff, the bike shop, and the rental options. Mission Point offers a custom fleet of Detroit Bikes, and the Island House usually has a good selection. Another reason I like these options is because they’re located away from the commotion and busy section of town. • Where do I ride? Into the interior of the island during the day, a few times around the 8-mile island loop in the morning and late afternoon, and off the pavement onto the trails as often as possible, especially the ones that follow the top of the bluffs along the east side. I avoid downtown traffic. Each ride provides interesting views of scenery and birds. Leisurely counter-clockwise sunset outings that include several stops to savor the surroundings are the best. Fun Fact: The website mackinacisland.org contains a great printable color island map (in PDF format) detailed with street names, sites, and other listings that will help lead visitors off in new directions. Download it to your mobile device for on-island reference.


The entire 8.2-mile, paved M-185 route around the island has reopened after storm-damage repairs. It allows visitors a fun way to explore the island, on bike (rental facilities available along Main Street), horse, or foot.


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Ready for that island paradise rush? Add these sentinel sites to your favorites. • Pontiac’s Lookout and the little dirt Pontiac Trail off Grand Avenue along the west bluff, with flights of wooden stairs down to the water and Lake Shore Boulevard. It’s a comfortable walk back to town. • An Anne’s Tablet Trail loop of three sites east of the fort that includes the Somewhere in Time Gazebo, the Anne’s Tablet memorial, and a panoramic look at Mackinac’s best view from the east bluff’s tree line. I first photographed an island overview from this secluded spot decades ago and return often to just stare. • Sunsets at various points along the boardwalk west of Windermere Point, where the business district ends — and beyond the Mackinac school grounds. The vistas of brilliant oranges, pinks, and reds filtering through the trees, with the glistening lake and the Mighty Mac, are postcard-perfect. • Take a ground cover/blanket, snacks, a few pops from Doud’s Market (its amazing selections prove you don’t always need a restaurant to eat well on the island), and someone special to the west end of Lake Shore Boulevard to watch the sun set and listen to the waves pounding on the rocks. Perrot Point is about two miles from downtown. Find a spot beyond the M-185 roadway noise and guarded by some trees. It’s Pure Michigan! • Reading time in an Adirondack chair on the peaceful back deck of the impressive Mackinac Island Public Library. Kites flying to the left, waves breaking in front, and a lake breeze luring you to stay longer. • My favorite? It’s hard to pick between the overlook off the Sunset Rock Trail Overlook (I shouldn’t mention this one, to avoid it becoming more popular) near the Inn at Stonecliffe on the west side, and the top of the Fort Holmes hill on the sunrise side. Sun up or sun down? • I also like to pack a picnic and lounge around the renovated Fort Holmes grounds, the highest point on the island, with 180-degree views of the Mackinac water wonderland. Biking there involves a climb up the paved incline. Walking there includes the

Downtown’s Main Street, as seen from the elevated area around Anne’s Tablet Trail, continues to add new stores and sightseeing options.

option of hiking up the hill or taking the 170 or so wooden steps (near the cemetery) to the top. It’s an ideal place to watch the northern lights in the spring and fall, observe a billion stars at night over the great lakes, participate in a state park program, or just sit and unwind. Fun Fact: Michigan author Kathy-jo Wargin, painter Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen, and Sleeping Bear Press published a great children’s book called “The Legend of Mackinac Island.” Its colorful pages detail the folklore of the gentle turtle Makinauk, who lent his back for the creation of Mackinac Island. It’s a special gift and a permanent part of my library that I like reading to Mackinac-bound kids of all ages.


• Need another read or a shopping fix? It may be small and set back off Main Street, but The Island Bookstore offers full-service and online ordering, plus Mackinac regional finds and a variety of great titles, including “The Legend of Mackinac Island.” Next door, buy a kite at Great Turtle Toys to fly off Windermere (Biddle’s) Point. Or head to Little Luxuries, a top gift shop on the island with artist-made goods and more. • Showtime: See a movie in Mission Point’s huge theater that was built in the 1950s and is one of the property’s original structures. In partnership with the Mackinac Arts Council, movies are shown every Tuesday evening and Sunday afternoon. MICHIGAN BLUE

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The island’s classic, “Somewhere In Time,” is among the featured movies. • Plan a December visit to participate in the annual tree-lighting ceremony. Invite some friends, especially if there’s lots of snow. Or schedule a late-fall adventure when the island rounds up many of the horses and marches them down Main Street on their way to the ferry and their winter home in the Upper Peninsula and beyond. • Worth a look: The Surrey Hills Carriage Museum at Surrey Hill. I like to bike the back roads and stop there for a picnic. Or see the exhibits or take a class at The Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, Watercolor Cafe, Lilacs and Lace gallery, and, new this season: Pointe of View Gallery on Astor Street. • My island farewell? It’s always a purchase of my fave slices — Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt, Chocolate Cherry or Double Chocolate Dark, if the cherries aren’t in season, and Salted Toasted Coconut Double Chocolate — from the island’s Original Murdick’s Fudge shops for the car ride home (if it makes it that far). And I pack a gift box of Chocolate Peanut Butter for my younger son. It’s another family tradition. A never-say-goodbye plus: The island’s best fudge online store is open year-round!

Above: A ferry zips through the Straits of Mackinac as it nears the wondrous Mackinac Bridge. Below: Mission Point’s theater shows movies every Tuesday and Sunday during the summer season.

Fun Fact: Several webcams offer yearround views of Mackinac Island. The cameras on Horn’s Bar and the Chippewa Hotel show the action along Main Street. The one on Mission Point showcases its Great Lawn and the freighter channel between Mackinac and Round islands. Visit their websites for the views.

PLAN IT! Mackinac Island Tourism mackinacisland.org Visit Michigan Blue magazine’s Facebook page and add your favorites under the post for this story.





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Queen of the Lakes

Passengers aboard one of several distinct themed cruises on the Isle Royale Queen III take in Round Island sights.

Eight themed cruises offer an entertaining way to relax and savor the Straits of Mackinac By Dianna Stampfler | Photos By Jeff Garland


n 2021, nearly 4.4 million vehicles (and even more individual passengers) crossed the five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge, but only a select number of people had enjoyed the pleasure of motoring under this modern marvel during one of the popular Mackinac Island-based Sip n’ Sail Cruises. Eight distinct 90- to 120-minute themed trips are being offered this season (through early October) aboard the 81-foot Isle Royale Queen III, owned by Veronica Dobrowolski, co-owner and CEO of Arnold Freight Co., and Andrew and Nicole Doud, owners of Doud’s Market, The Mackinac House, and the Little Luxuries retail shop. Running from morning through sunset, these excursions around the Straits of Mackinac, which depart from Mackinac Island, are ideal for small groups, couples,

and families looking to get out on the water beyond just the quick round-trip ferry rides to and from the mainland. Two of the most popular outings are the It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere and the Sip n’ Sail Sunset cruises (the start time for the latter fluctuates, based on the actual time of the sunset). These voyages also showcase the musical talents of several regional entertainers, who add to the festival environment of the trip. Among those returning this year are veteran singers/songwriters Michelle Chenard and Pete Kehoe, who co-founded the Mackinac Island Songwriters Workshop; Paul BeDourt; the Myk Rise Band; Chris Calleja; and Mike Ridley, among others. A History Cruise was added to the lineup last year, featuring local author and historian Phil Porter, retired director of the Mackinac

Island State Parks. Passengers aboard these outings learn about the area’s rich history, from the early Native American settlements to military forts and previous foreign occupations, commercial fishing operations, and today’s thriving tourism industry. Only four of the History trips are scheduled this summer, with upcoming 4 p.m. departures on July 19, July 26, and Aug. 9. The Easy Like Sunday Mornin’ cruise heads out most weeks, traveling past noted landmarks such as Arch Rock, the British Landing, and the West Bluff, where the Grand Hotel has stood proudly since 1887. Other cruises, including the Bloody Mary & Mimosa Bridge Tour, Bourbon Under the Bridge, the Michigan Craft Beer Cruise, and the Great Turtle Voyage run on select dates. “We’ve enjoyed the Sip n’ Sail cruises occasionally since they started,” says Kem MICHIGAN BLUE

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Clockwise, from left: The Isle Royale Queen III awaits its next cruise. The Porthole Bar graphic indicates what’s to come for cocktail-time cruisers. Co-owners Andrew Doud and Veronica Dobrowolski flank Captain Preston Allers and prepare to greet mateys.

Green, of Des Moines, Iowa, who ventured out most recently in July 2021. “We noticed an expanded beverage menu. We learned new details about the bridge and just generally had a great time. Veronica and her crew have made several upgrades from when this started, and we’d highly recommend this experience for anyone.” Every cruise features a fully stocked cash bar, onboard restrooms, a state-of-the-art sound system, and plenty of opportunities for making memories and taking photographs. All excursions depart from the Arnold 82

Freight/Coal Dock on Mackinac Island. Passengers can settle in the heated indoor cabins or gather on one of the outdoor deck areas. Given that the temperature and wind can be significantly cooler on the water than on land, it’s recommended that guests bring along a light jacket, wrap, or lap blanket. In addition to the themed cruises, the Isle Royale Queen III can be chartered for private events such as birthdays or anniversaries, wedding parties, retirement celebrations, and company outings, including receptionstyle or sit-down catered events.

Prices for the public cruises start at $49 per person, plus tax (passengers under age 4 are free). Space is limited to about 70 guests per trip, to allow more room and comfort for all. Reservations are required; call 844-9069006 or visit the website below.

PLAN IT! Sip n’ Sail Cruises sipnsailcruises.com


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Chip, Chip, Hooray!

The iconic pink umbrellas offer shade for al fresco diners at the Pink Pony restaurant in The Chippewa Hotel. The “Pony” is a hot spot come spring, summer, and fall.

As the Chippewa Hotel evolves, it remains one of the island’s most popular gathering spots By Amy S. Eckert



’ll meet you at the Pony.” It’s a ubiquitous greeting among frequent visitors to Mackinac Island, who love relaxing with a sandwich and a cold drink at a pink umbrella table on the deck of the Pink Pony restaurant. There, on bright summer days, overlooking the Straits of Mackinac and the island’s harbor, watching the ferries slide into their docks and the sailboats bobbing in the nearby marina, all feels right with the world. On rainy days, surrounded by the vibrant pinkand-white décor and amused by a painting of four vaudevillesque pink pony entertainers inside the bar, everything still feels right with the world.

Mackinac Island’s regulars have gathered at the Pink Pony since its opening in 1948. Located within the historic Chippewa Hotel Waterfront and adjacent to the Mackinac Island State Harbor’s 70 slips, the Pink Pony’s patio is a favorite among boat owners who moor there. The bar becomes doubly popular in July, with the running of the annual back-to-back Bayview Mackinac Boat Race (Port Huron to Mackinac) and the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. The Chippewa Hotel, built to accommodate an influx of island visitors, became a Mackinac Island waterfront landmark when it opened in 1902. It underwent extensive renovations and modernization in 1995, adding televisions

and air conditioning, and converting its waterfront rooms into luxury suites. The hotel currently houses 31 guest rooms and 26 suites. Whether they’re hotel guests, boaters, or visitors from elsewhere on Mackinac Island, patrons of the Pink Pony enjoy the Chippewa’s waterfront locale and dining on locally sourced whitefish dip, Michigangrown green salads, and burgers. And while they sip the Pony’s signature cocktails — Lilac Lemonade, Mackinac Mules, and Pink Pony Punch — they soak up the water views. “The Pink Pony denotes happiness and summertime, ” hotel co-owner Leslie Luciani says,“and people often want to take a piece of that experience home with them.” MICHIGAN BLUE

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Luciani, along with Cheryl Jacquis, are two of seven hotel co-owners in a two-family business partnership. The two women also manage and operate the hotel’s Pink Pony Boutique, a lobby shop that sells Pink Ponythemed apparel ranging from T-shirts to cashmere sweaters, as well as jewelry, Pink Pony barware, and handbags. The shop also sells Helly Hansen outdoor gear and Lilly Pulitzer resort wear. This summer, the boutique is branching out, opening a Pink Pony Club shop in the courtyard of the Chippewa’s sister property, the Lilac Tree Suites just across Main Street. Whereas the Pink Pony Boutique features lots of bold pink tones, the new shop embraces a pastel color scheme and features an array of items that promote self-expression and self-empowerment, and can be easily customized to reflect a customer’s 84

personality. Guests at the Pink Pony Club can choose from a selection of 3-D chenille, fabric, and glitter patches — monograms, hearts, stars, local icons like the Mackinac Bridge, lighthouses, bicycles, and, of course, pink ponies — from a glass-topped design bar. The patches can then be used to customize the purses, totes, jackets, and notebooks sold within the store. The addition of a new Pink Pony shop comes in the wake of another Chippewa Hotel development: The renovation, expansion, and redesign of the hotel’s lobby and lobby bar in 2020. Mary Dakin, IIDA, president of Dakin Design of Birmingham, Harbor Springs, and Naples, Fla., and herself a longtime Mackinac Island visitor, was brought on to the project to provide her

design services. “I love bringing the outdoors in,” Dakin says of the historic building. She removed an interior wall to expose floor-to-ceiling views of the straits, then recast the entire lobby space in nautical blue-and-white hues. Islandthemed, locally made art further enhances the building’s sense of place. Dakin says she was careful to preserve elements such as lead glass and an eye-catching tin ceiling. “The architecture and the water view are the stars of this building,” she says. “All that was left to me was to emphasize them.”

PLAN IT! Chippewa Hotel & Pink Pony Restaurant chippewahotel.com


The vintage Chippewa Hotel gets spruced up regularly, preparing to greet its visitors season after season. A lovely lobby and bar update embraces a sailing motif.


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Year-Round Magic New coffee table book pays tribute to the island’s perennial and timeless pleasures By Khristi Zimmeth Photography by Jennifer Wohletz

“Four Seasons of Mackinac” is one of a series of books photographer Jennifer Wohletz, who’s lived part-time on the island for the past 16 years, has created. She and writer Glen Young adore the region’s many seasons.


hoosing a favorite season on Mackinac Island can be difficult, say Jennifer Wohletz and Glen Young, the photographer and writer behind the just-released coffee table book “Four Seasons of Mackinac.” The book pays tribute to the year-round pleasures of the timeless northern Michigan destination. “In spring, it’s the delicate yellow lady’s slippers and trillium that offer a sign of hope and renewal that we all desperately need in this crazy world,” Wohletz asserts. “In summer, it’s the rhythmic clip-clop of horses that puts a bounce in my step. In fall, and every season in between, I love to explore the woods and connect with nature — watching a barred owl swoop overhead, or seeing a red-breasted woodpecker chip away at a tree, searching for food.”

Her favorite time of year, however, is winter, “when a hush settles over the island and daily walks to the shoreline reveal ever-changing ice patterns that are fun to photograph.” Young, who wrote the 184-page book’s text, says every season on the island has its advantages and challenges, but he’s partial to fall, when midweek days are quiet, the days are long, and the weather is still comfortable. Both have personal ties to the island. Wohletz has a cottage in Sunset Forest that her family built in 2006; Young calls Mackinac Island home for seven months of the year and lives in an 1880s house that’s been in his wife’s family for more than a century. The book is part of a series the photographer has produced that focuses on the iconic island. “People worldwide share my love of Mackinac, but most don’t have MICHIGAN BLUE

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Clockwise, from left: Whether you’re on the island in the spring, when tulips take your breath away; summer, when sailing is de rigueur; fall, when changing woodland colors enthrall; or winter, when ice sheets take on sculptural appeal, magical Mackinac is always a feast for the eyes.

an opportunity to visit in the off-season,” she explains of the reason behind the book. “That’s when you get to truly know the place. ‘Four Seasons of Mackinac’ allows me to share the island’s magic with them — opening a door to the island year-round, to discover the beauty of the changing weather and learn how the different seasons bring 86

both benefits and challenges to the people who live there.” The book also will help support the community. For each copy sold, the Mackinac Memories Books publisher will donate to the Mackinac Island Community Foundation to help fund arts and environmental initiatives.

Next page: The many facets of the state’s crown jewel come to life in “Four Seasons of Mackinac.” Sample pages from the book feature everything from luscious lilacs abloom to historic fort perspectives.


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Perusing the pages will soon have you planning a trip north. “Photographs in the book will remind you, though, that there are still places that can take your breath away,” Young writes in the book’s introduction. And on Michigan’s island that time forgot, that’s true whatever the season.

“Four Seasons of Mackinac” (sample pages from the book are shown here) is available at Main Street Art in Milford and on Mackinac Island at The Island Bookstore, and other island hotels and retailers. Order it online at mainstreetartmilford.com.

cnossenconstruction.com | (616) 340-8397 | Jeff Cnossen MICHIGAN BLUE

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S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 | T R AV E L I T I N E R A R Y

Three Days in the U.P.

Walking the pier at the Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse is part of the adventure when exploring the community’s beachfront, riverfront, and Lakeview Park.

Uncover the scenic lakeside gems of Manistique beyond the usual U.S. 2 fuel stops


ntil a few years ago, the Upper Peninsula town of Manistique, perched along Lake Michigan, was perhaps a fuel and food stop as I traveled the scenic U.S. 2 route on the way to other destinations. But on a three-day stay there last year, I discovered why this town of about 3,000 residents, and the surrounding region, offers more than just a way station. Here’s what you can see on an action-packed getaway: Three state parks, a stunning beach walk, plus inland and Great Lakes fishing. On top of that, you can explore a haunted lighthouse, spring aboard a raft, and view 88

tens of thousands of sport fish being raised. There’s also the state’s first rail trail, three great campgrounds, and lots more. Ready?

Day One

I wasn’t traveling in my RV this time, but if I was, I’d be staying at the city campground on the beach, near where the Manistique River empties into Lake Michigan. The newish Manistique Lakeshore Campground borders the big lake, with sites offering rustic camping or full hookup pull-through sites. It’s open through the fall color season. For this trip, I checked into Gray Wolf Lodge, east of downtown and across U.S. 2 from the lake. The lodge maintains access to

the lake for evening bonfires, and star- and lake-gazing. It’s also one of several good locations on the city’s “motel row.” The Gray Wolf Lodge is only one mile from the Manistique Boardwalk, which is a great way to appreciate the local beach. The boardwalk runs nearly two miles from the east city limit to underneath the U.S. 2 bridge across the Manistique River, and into the business district. It also leads to the harbor fishing pier, the signature red harbor lighthouse, and picnic areas. After that beachfront stroll, which you’ll likely repeat, perhaps it’s time to turn in after a long road trip because you’ll be more than busy for the next two days.


By Bill Semion


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Day Two

Ever seen a ghost? Or, in Yooperese, ghoooast? You just may at the Seul Choix (pronounced Sis-chwa for non-French speakers) Pointe Lighthouse, in Gulliver, about 14 miles from your motel. On the way, you’ll pass several inland lakes near Gulliver, including a cute locally owned cabin resort on McDonald Lake — Jim & Jude’s Cabins — that you may want to check out for a taste of rustic comfort. But the goal for this day is the light, and the tales of ghosts. As your guide to the main house will tell you, reports of spectral sightings of a former lightkeeper are legendary. Visitors recount hearing voices and footsteps, or smelling the slight odor of tobacco. Employees and volunteers return in the morning to find cabinets opened and contents scattered. It may cause you to wonder if you really want to take the winding staircase up 96 steps to the stilloperating light. It’s a bit of a tight squeeze to enter, but the view of the surrounding area is great, and you can easily imagine what it would have been like to be a keeper, trudging up to clean the lens. Back downstairs, ask about the curious writing scrawled on a nearby lake rock wall. The light is open Memorial Day through the mid-October fall color season. After the tour, head for the more than 700-acre Fayette Historic State Park, a restored and reclaimed 19th-century town that prospered here by smelting iron ore until the hardwood once used to feed the furnaces played out, and new and larger ore boats brought ore south through the Soo Locks. The park also has camping and bluff hiking trails with spectacular views. There’s a 61-site campground, bike trails, and a great hike available along the limestone bluff looking over Fayette. If that’s full, check out Portage Bay State Forest Campground. Your camping choices continue near Manistique at Indian Lake State Park, with more than 200 sites at two locations on Indian Lake. Bring your boat to cruise the lake from the park’s launch. Fish the shallow middle grounds for smallmouth bass, and troll for walleye or muskie.

Top to bottom: Cliffs along the Lake Michigan shoreline, the restored Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse, and the Fayette Historic State Park.

Hungry? Enjoy a picnic at Indian Lake, Fayette, or Palms Book State Park. You’ll find everything you need at Jack’s Fresh Market, the main grocery in town. There are plenty of spots at any one of the parks to cook up something, including fish fresh from the lake. If you prefer, you can return to Manistique for a bite at an eastern U.P.

drive-in mainstay, Clyde’s. Other locations are in the Soo and St. Ignace. Another option is the seasonally open Three Seasons Café on U.S. 2 near the motel, where pasties are a specialty. No trip to the Upper Peninsula is complete without one. After dinner, it’s time for another beach bonfire or stroll to finish the day. MICHIGAN BLUE

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S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 | T R AV E L I T I N E R A R Y

Be sure to save some

Head b a c k time to visit the crystaltoward Indian clear Kitch-iti-kipi spring Lake, only this time, at Palms Book State spring into fun at Park. Kitch-iti-kipi. This large spring in Palms Book State Park provides a totally different experience than the lake does. Step onto the waiting large raft and view what the people of the First Nations called the “Mirror of Heaven”or, simply, Big Spring (there have been other names, as well, over the years). Ten-thousand gallons of water a minute boil up from the green-blue bottom, maintaining a constant 45 degrees. Huge rainbow, brown, brook, and lake trout casually swim in the protected water. Outside the park, stop for lunch or dinner at Big Spring Tavern, with vittles like local cheese curd appetizers, burgers, perch, fish tacos, and more. Next, take U.S. 2 to nearby Thompson for an educational look at how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources stocks the state’s lakes with salmon, steelhead trout, and walleye at the Thompson State Fish Hatchery. It’s one of six operated around the state by the DNR. You’ll start at the egg-rearing station, then move to the large, covered ponds that protect the young fish from birds. Automatic feeders keep them fed. The fish are transferred to different raceways as they grow. The hatchery is fed from another natural spring. Watch the fish scurry from one end of the rearing tanks to another as you pass. The hatchery annually releases millions of fish that are transported by tanker trucks across northern Michigan. Gravel travel fans may want to rent an ATV, side-by-side, or bring a bike or horse along for a jaunt on Michigan’s first rails-to-trails route. The Haywire Grade, with its southern trailhead just outside Manistique, opened in 1970 and today is a mix of gravel, sand, and coarse limestone. The 33-mile, often-remote trail winds through parts of the Hiawatha National Forest on its way to the northern trailhead near Shingleton.


There are trails galore for hiking, biking, and more throughout the Manistique region.

The trail is beautiful year-round, especially when the U.P. blooms with fall color from late September to early October. About halfway down the trail you can stop for lunch at the Jack Pine Lodge, or return to town to enjoy the new riverside district’s eateries and shops on the river near the U.S. 2 bridge, such as the Upper Crust Café. Another option is to walk the city’s compact downtown to pick out another spot before heading back to your motel or home.

Next time you’re tempted to keep driving on U.S. 2 beyond Manistique, stop for a while and enjoy the sights. You’ll learn a lot about the beauty — and the fun — this patch of Pure Michigan offers year-round.

PLAN IT! Manistique visitmanistique.com


Day Three


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Stairway to Heaven Michigan’s western U.P. gateway serves up an amazing collection of outdoor adventures and natural wonders

Copper Peak is North America’s only — and the world’s largest — ski-jumping hill. Visitors can take the long trek to the top to view parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

By Mark Spezia


Ironwood Chamber of Commerce director Michael Meyer. “This is a great region to savor nature, enjoy slow-down time for relaxation, and discover numerous entertainment and local culture opportunities.” Locals say there’s plenty to do around town and at neighboring locales, including historical attractions highlighting the area’s mining heritage, cozy parks, a thriving art scene, and inviting shopping and dining. Ironwood rates as a fun base camp from which to experience the waterfalls on two rivers as they descend to Lake Superior, pay a visit to North America’s only ski-jumping hill, or enjoy kayaking, Great Lakes beaches, picturesque inland lakes, and hiking and mountain biking on miles of trails with incredible scenic overlooks. Read on for a sampling of western U.P.

experiences most Michiganians don’t yet know about. These suggestions will help make planning your adventurous trek well worth the effort to get there.


The Black River features five of the Upper Peninsula’s most jaw-dropping waterfalls, as it descends steadily through a canyon-like setting in the final four miles of its journey to Lake Superior. All five can be reached from four parking lots along the Black River Scenic Byway, which runs for about 11 miles from Bessemer north to Lake Superior. • Great Conglomerate Falls, about a 3/4mile hike from the parking lot, divides the river into two sections around a huge chunk of conglomerate rock before dropping 40 feet. Old-growth hemlock and hardwoods



ight exploring Ironwood, the state’s westernmost city, near the northern border with Wisconsin, be on your discover Pure Michigan bucket list? It’s a surprisingly long haul from the lower mitten to the distant end of the Upper Peninsula, clocking in at more than nine hours from Detroit — or about 40 minutes less than driving the roughly 640-plus miles to New York City. The destination of about 5,000 residents is a mere 8.5 hours and 546 miles from Grand Rapids. As the Upper Peninsula’s western gateway, it’s far from almost everywhere else in Michigan. But it’s “the perfect jumping-off point from which to sample all the natural wonders that make the U.P. such an amazing place,” says MICHIGAN BLUE

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Islands in Lake Superior, are usually visible. It’s stunning. “Copper Peak is so unique,” says its marketing and communications director, Kassi Huotari. “Taking the Adventure Ride (ticket required) to the top is such an amazing experience, and the views are top-notch. You definitely appreciate the sport of skijumping/flying more when you get to the top of this massive structure.” The Peak recently received $20 million in state funding to redevelop the facilities and coordinate ski-jumping and training activities year-round.

Experienced kayakers can enjoy a close-up encounter with Superior Falls.



along the riverbanks make this spot especially scenic. • Potawatomi and Gorge Falls can be accessed from the same parking lot. Potawatomi, which tumbles 30 feet, is reached by a 600-foot paved trail. It also rushes over rock, which splits the flow — but not evenly, as most of the water is pushed toward the eastern bank. The other side is a steeper plunge. • A short distance downstream is Gorge Falls, a 25-foot drop through a narrow rock passage into a swirling pool. • Sandstone Falls spills through varied rock formations. At 15 feet, it’s the smallest of the five, but visitors can get close enough to feel its spray by venturing onto the rock after descending a series of steps. • Rainbow Falls, a 35-foot drop, is aptly named for the rainbows created by its mist. A viewing platform almost directly atop the falls can be reached via a half-mile walk to a wooden stairway. “The Black River’s falls are just incredible because of how they’re set deep into a canyon, which you don’t usually see in the state,” says Ironwood Community Development Assistant Tim Erickson. “All the greenery surrounding the falls, provided by hemlock and pines, sometimes makes you wonder if you’re in Michigan or somewhere out West.”

Also on the Black River, but farther from Lake Superior, is Gabbro Falls, a secluded, three-tiered cascade totaling 40 feet. The route there travels over a wooden bridge and past Blackjack Ski Resort, to where the trail begins. Superior Falls, a series of drops totaling more than 100 feet, is on the Montreal River, which separates Ironwood from Wisconsin. The falls can be viewed from the top or by taking a steep path to the base. The path also takes visitors to Lake Superior, where you’ll find impressive views of cliffs rising above the water.


The journey to reach the top of Copper Peak, North America’s only — and the world’s largest — ski-jumping hill, founded in 1970, is an adventure in itself. It requires an 800-foot chairlift ride to the crest of the hill — a 360-foot, copper-bearing volcanic outcrop — plus an 18-story elevator ride to the observation deck and, finally, an eightstory walk up metal-grate stairs. On clear days, those brave enough to make the climb are rewarded with a 360-degree view covering more than 2,500 square miles. Parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, including the Porcupine Mountains and the distant Isle Royale National Park and Apostle

The terrain around Ironwood is ideal for both activities. If you like these, there are plenty of other fun possibilities throughout the region. • A breathtaking 4.5-mile stretch of the North Country Trail begins off Copper Peak Road just south of the Black River Scenic Byway, and passes six waterfalls before reaching a gorgeous Lake Superior beach. From there, the trail continues south and then east for 5.8 miles to the edge of Porcupine Mountains State Park. • Ironwood is the northern terminus of the Iron Belle Trail, which will eventually connect with Detroit. The area’s section currently runs from Depot Park in Ironwood for about 10 miles to Bessemer and overlooks rivers and bluffs, multiple railroad bridges, and historic sites, and cuts through deep forests. “Our section of the Iron Belle, through the woods, is a tremendous outdoor adventure that really allows the quiet beauty of the U.P. to enter one’s spirit,” Meyer adds. • Miners Memorial Heritage Park offers roughly six miles of hiking and biking trails (an additional 10 miles are being installed by the end of summer) on the site of former iron ore mining locations. Interpretive signs and works of art inform visitors about buildings and mine shafts. • For those ready for a challenge, the 5.5 miles of mountain bike trails at Copper Peak are a thrilling ride featuring 600 feet of elevation gain from the Black River to the base of the ski-flying structure. MICHIGAN BLUE

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Above: Kayaking or canoeing the Black River provides an exhilarating way to explore the area’s outdoor offerings. Below: Downtown Ironwood, located about 18 miles south of Lake Superior, is the hub of this 5,000-resident community.

Another paddling option is McDonald Lake, southeast of Ironwood. There are six free rustic campsites, including three on an island in the lake. All are available on a firstcome-first-serve basis. Little Girls Point and the Black River Harbor Area are two of the U.P.’s premier spots for Lake Superior swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddling, rock-picking, agatehunting, and stunning sunsets. Little Girls Point, 17 miles north of town, has a half-mile-long beach and views of the Apostle Islands and Porcupine Mountains from a bluff overlooking Lake Superior. The beach at Black River Harbor is at the northern end of the Black River Scenic Byway. The fun part is crossing a suspension bridge and following a trail to reach it.



• Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort, one of Michigan’s top skiing destinations, offers summer fun via its mountain bike trails, which climb the ski hill. The trails flow into the 15-mile Wolverine Nordic Trail system, which features technical single tracks and wide, grassy paths. • The Split Rock hike/bike trails in Wakefield, to the east, are on the site of an iron ore mine. Visitors will find sweeping overlooks, rock formations, and mining remnants. 94

• Bessemer’s Bluff Valley Park features a pond surrounded by a walking path that connects to a steep, wooded trail leading to a high bluff with views of the town below and Copper Peak Ski Jump.


More daring paddlers can experience whitewater kayaking on the Black and Montreal rivers. Whitecap Kayak (whitecapkayak.com) offers day and overnight guided tours.

After the outdoor adventures, plan on relaxing downtown. “The town has really experienced a revival and has an eclectic mix of things to see and do with history, art, and family activities,” Erickson says. “The newer parks, like City Square, are great places to hang out on a summer night, take in the downtown atmosphere, and enjoy a live performance.” Erickson suggests rounding out your day with a stop at Joe’s Pasty Shop, which has been serving the U.P.’s signature treat since 1946, or by browsing the Downtown Art Place’s more than 20 individual artist studios to find a U.P.-inspired treasure.

PLAN IT! City of Ironwood travelironwood.com Copper Peak copperpeak.net


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Welcome Summer with a Well-Earned Getaway


BIRDS CAN BE HEARD CHIRPING IN THE EARLY morning, the sun peeks through the leaves on the trees, the air continues to warm as the sun wakes earlier and retires later — it all means summer is in full swing in Michigan. It’s perhaps never been more meaningful than in 2022, as a sense of hope fills our hearts, energizing us as we begin anew. For many of us, our first thoughts have to do with travel. What better way to emerge from two years of uncertainty and personal sacrifice than to treat oneself

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to a proper getaway? Take some time to escape your usual surroundings; it’s a moment to breathe, rejuvenate, and simply enjoy. But where to? Residents of the Great Lakes State don’t need to go far. There are plenty of destinations right here in our own backyard where adventure, relaxation, and indulgence await — from the lakeshores to the wilderness of Up North, from bustling cities to quaint townships. This season, stay close to home and take advantage of everything our beautiful communities have to offer!

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112 This waterfront lures visitors to Wyandotte. More info. in the Discoveries section.

106 Tasting Room WaterFire winery stresses quality over quantity at its intimate Antrim County tasting room.

108 Dining Out A well-traveled team of chefs welcomes hungry visitors to Roscommon’s Beechwood Café.

110 Book It The Vault Hotel in Houghton showcases historic themes in an 1887era former bank building.

112 Discoveries Wyandotte, along the Detroit River, features a hip vibe, cool shops, and hot new eateries. MICHIGAN BLUE

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S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 | TA S T I N G R O O M

A Play On Words As a pioneering sustainable vineyard, WaterFire winery stresses quality over quantity at its intimate Antrim County tasting room By Dianna Stampfler

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The winery is located on a 26-acre former cherry orchard a mile off U.S. 31 in Kewadin, just a stone’s throw from the 45th parallel. It’s perched 850 feet along a scenic pastoral ridge.



hantal Lefebvre blended her passion for superior wine and the environment into a fresh start on life when she moved to northern Michigan in 2007 to be closer to family. With a master’s degree in environmental science and oceanography, the former coastal science and policy specialist at the University of Massachusetts’ Urban Harbors Institute gravitated to the Great Lakes State’s thriving viticulture and wine industry. She worked in tasting rooms before quickly venturing over to the production side of things, learning from award-winning mentors such as Bryan Ulbrich of Left Foot Charley Winery in Traverse City. Inspired, motivated, and ready to do things on her own terms, Lefebvre took a leap of faith when she and her husband, Mike Newman, purchased a 26-acre defunct cherry orchard a mile off U.S. 31 in Kewadin, just a stone’s throw south of the 45th parallel. Lefebvre says the off-the-beaten path location, distanced from larger well-known wine regions in Traverse City and the Petoskey area, was discovered over a card game, of all things. “Our Realtor was playing bridge with a local woman whose husband had a satellite parcel used as a commercial cherry farm that he wanted to sell, but it was important to him that it be kept for farming,” she explains. Perched 850 feet along a scenic pastoral ridge, the Antrim County tract would become the first Sustainability in Practice (SIP) certified vineyard outside of California, and it would be called WaterFire Vineyards. A play on words, the elemental name is a nod to Michigan’s second largest inland lake, Torch Lake, which is located just a halfmile to the east. Water is to lake, Lefebvre says, as fire is to torch. MICHIGAN BLUE

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Clockwise, from left: Kewadin’s climate, elevation, and more help to create WaterFire’s wonderful wines. Winery owners Chantal Lefebvre and Mike Newman. The intimate WaterFire tasting room can seat 12. Visitors will find a personal approach to wine sampling; Lefebvre emphasizes quality over quantity.

After clearing the old cherry trees, Lefebvre — who runs an all-female operation, from the vineyard to the tasting room — installed irrigation, deliberately prepared the soil, and began planting Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Grüner Veltliner (her personal favorite) vines in 2009. “The climate, elevation, and temperaturemoderating effects of the lake are similar to Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas, where grape-growing land is at a premium. But the soil in our region of Antrim County is a bit different — not as sandy, and more varied with veins and lenses of clay and silt that are sprinkled with glacial rocks,”Lefebvre says. “Along with our growing practices, these different soils contribute to a signature richness in the mid-palate of our wines,” she adds. “But the truth is, it will take more time and plenty of wine before the terroir of these Antrim hills reveals itself and the potential it holds for great winemaking.” Taking a step beyond organic, Lefebvre utilizes broader and less prescriptive sustainable practices in all aspects of her notill farm. Ground cover between and under the rows of vines also does double-duty by protecting the environment. Low-impact spray products are often organic-based, but Lefebvre also takes advantage of products such as phosphorous acid for fungal control and less expensive sources of micronutrients critical to building secondary metabolites — options not

available to organic growers. The SIP program Lefebvre follows supports her personal views on how to live as a steward of the earth. WaterFire opened its intimate 12-seat tasting room in 2017. With limited space and only four wines (and one Spanish-style cider) currently offered, visitors will find a personal approach to wine sampling where Lefebvre emphasizes quality over quantity. A guided $12 tasting gives staff the opportunity to go into detail about the winery’s production practices, as well as each individual product. Wines by the glass or bottle, as well as charcuterie plates, are available for purchase for on-site consumption. If all the inside seats are taken and the weather is suitable, the grassy yard makes a comfortable spot for enjoying a picnic overlooking the sprawling vineyards. “Everything about WaterFire made it worth the stop: friendly and welcoming staff pouring their own estate-grown wine; a stunning,

small venue that invites you to linger; and a knowledgeable and approachable owner who shared the backstory of their farming journey and why it matters,” says Wendy Wieland, a local visitor and MSU Extension Program instructor in northern lower Michigan. Those looking for an extended experience should check out Torch Lake Vineyard Retreat, an AirBnB unit attached to the tasting room, which is available from April to December. More Flavors: The regional craft beverage trail known as The Torch Lake Tour (torchlaketour.com) features nearly a dozen wineries, breweries, meaderies, and distilleries.

PLAN IT! WaterFire Vineyards waterfirewine.com MICHIGAN BLUE

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Uncommon Fare Well-traveled chef duo credits serendipity with their small-town Roscommon restaurant venture By Bill Semion


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The Beechwood Café opened about a year ago, and with its cheery interior and quality fare, it’s become a popular spot in the Roscommon area.

restaurant; we knew we wouldn’t be able to find employment around here that would fit our experience. “We started looking for places, and drove through Roscommon. We saw the ‘for sale’ sign a million times, and didn’t realize it had been a restaurant. Then I met someone who said, What about the old Kelly’s Place?” The couple had stumbled upon a spot that had seen several attempts at opening a successful business — and a like number of failures. They called the owner, who wanted to sell, not lease. “We did a walk-through and everything was in there,” Ballard says. “All the equipment, everything. We decided to (give it a) go.” They opened last August, in spite of the pandemic. Not a wise move, some might say.

But the word was out that something unique was happening. The first day Beechwood Café was open, a line that never disappeared wound out the door of the 62-seat eatery. “We were pretty overwhelmed; the staff, too. We’ve been pretty lucky with our staff, right off the bat. They had no experience, and our sous chef also had none,” Ballard says. “We had no idea how busy it was going to be. We ran out of food the first couple of days. It was great!” Over time, she says the lines have calmed down to the point they’re not swamped — just busy — especially on the weekends. The café’s menu changes seasonally. “Matt is amazing coming up with things, and we bounce ideas off each other. His braising technique is amazing,” Ballard says.


hy would two chefs who have worked for some of the country’s best restaurants open an eatery in a northern Michigan village with a population of just over 1,000 on a good day? The husband-and-wife duo, chefs Matt Cassell and Lisa Ballard, owners of Roscommon’s Beechwood Café, say it all boils down to serendipity. And area residents, who’ve been enjoying this small restaurant in this small community near Higgins Lake since 2021, are all the better for it. You may not find a more inventive place to head for breakfast, lunch, Sunday brunch, and specialty dinners than this spot in northern Michigan just four miles east of I-75. Is that an exaggeration? Nope. I’ve got to be kidding, right? Nope. Here’s why: Since opening, the restaurant has completely changed the face of dining in the region, where traditional eggs over easy, hash browns, and toast had been the rule. The Beechwood Café is far from that. Cassell has worked in the kitchens of Gordon Ramsay and Mario Batali, and at other notable spots across the country such as NYC’s Spice Market Restaurant. Ballard, who contributes the Beechwood’s sweet side as pastry chef, trained at New York’s French Culinary Institute, and created sweet things and worked as assistant executive pastry chef at San Diego’s Omni La Costa Resort & Spa. What caused them to land in Roscommon? Following stints in San Diego and Las Vegas, Ballard says, they needed to come to Michigan. “My parents retired here 22 years ago,” she recounts. “I’d visited most recently during the start of Covid. We were both laid off, and I realized my parents shouldn’t be living alone anymore. We decided we’d eventually try to open our own MICHIGAN BLUE

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Clockwise, from left: The buttermilk pancakes come with orange-and-honeyinfused butter. The popular sweets have been tweaked to perfection. Matt Cassell and Lisa Ballard prepare to welcome customers.




Then there’s the buttermilk pancakes with house-made orange-and-honeyinfused butter and real maple syrup, with a side of locally made sausage from Ebel’s meats of Falmouth. The coffee is Ferris from Grand Rapids. And, yes, Ballard promises, the bananas Foster-style side will reappear, maybe in the fall.

Lunch, anyone? The Beechwood chicken sandwich, or the Beechwood BLT with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cheese, are among the seven or so choices. Sunday brunch includes breakfast pizza, and chicken and waffles. In season, the pair visits Roscommon’s farmers market for fresh fare. Then there are Ballard’s specialties, like the salted chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins, scones, and the very popular cinnamon rolls. “I’ve tweaked the technique, so now I’m really happy with them,” she says. The couple works some days from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. (the café is closed Monday and Wednesday), but they’re working for themselves. Their son attends the local high school, and they say the community has welcomed them. “We just love the feel around Higgins Lake and Roscommon. It’s a great little town and

we’ve gotten so much support from other business owners,”Ballard says.“It’s been such a good fit. Both of us are big on serendipity. Things just happen that are meant to happen. That’s why we have a Serendipity smoothie on the menu. I don’t know how else to describe it.” New Offering: The chefs earlier this year introduced monthly specialty dinners by reservation. A recent dinner featured pistachio-seared ahi with crab and potato, honey rosemary tomatoes, avocado, and plantain.

PLAN IT! Beechwood Café beechwoodcafe.org


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Boutique, Houghton-Style The Vault Hotel showcases historic themes in an 1887-era former bank building By Dianna Stampfler


Julien, owners of the Houghton-based firm Braveworks. They opened the hotel in 2019. Each of the hotel’s three levels is uniquely themed to impart a mood of modern sophistication, while embracing the building’s original historic elements. “The most prominent features of the Richardsonian Romanesque-style building are the textured exterior and the large, flat-paned windows,” according to the Biographical Dictionary of Copper Country Architects website, developed by Professor Kim Hoagland, an architectural historian at Houghton’s Michigan Technological University. “The rough-faced Jacobsville sandstone first floor has large, round-arched windows and doorways. Above, the walls are brick with sandstone beltcourses. The third floor windows are round-arched. The walls meet the flat roof through a decorative cornice, capped with an elaborate parapet.”

Upon arrival, guests find themselves in a bright and open lobby, with the original teller windows and numbered safety deposit boxes displayed alongside sleek modern furniture and vivid pops of color. There’s no front desk, but staff are quick to welcome visitors and check them in. A locally sourced complimentary breakfast is served each morning, and a selection of snacks and beverages (also complimentary) are available 24/7. The rooms on this floor reflect “Old Money,” featuring jewel tones of ruby and emerald. This level boasts the most coveted room of the hotel — the Vault Chamber room, built around the bank’s onceoperational vault and encased by 1800s-era steel railroad beams, 18 inches of fortified concrete, and a two-ton impenetrable door with its original hardware. The second floor highlights the theme “New Money,” with sleek lines and geometric



hen prospectors struck it rich during the mining boom (roughly 1840-1900) in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, they deposited their profits into institutions such as the First National Bank of Houghton. Built in 1887 to offer premium banking services, the bank was the first masonry structure in the western Upper Peninsula. It later became known as the National Bank of Houghton and Houghton National Bank before becoming a Wells Fargo branch, which later relocated. This towering brick building at the corner of Shelden Avenue and Isle Royale Street in downtown Houghton still delivers firstclass service as a modern 17-room hotel called The Vault. The transformation was developed and designed by Jen and Jon

Left to right: The First National Bank of Houghton, built in 1887, is now a beautiful hotel. Its public space welcomes with historic touches and modern appeal.


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Clockwise, from above left: The hotel’s dining area features a bright and airy ambience. A guest room showcases boutiquechic appointments. The lower-level classic cocktail bar is known as The Counting Room.

patterns alongside period photographs. A two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite also is on this level. The third level evokes “Found Money,” and has a bold metallic palette and impactful images. Every room on the top floor offers a view of downtown Houghton and the Portage Canal, where float planes are often seen taking off or landing during warmer months. A limited number of rooms offer soaker tubs, built-in fireplaces, and private balconies with café-style seating (accessible seasonally). Two suites that are suitable for families provide additional living space and pull-out sofas. Throughout the hotel, Art Deco-style fixtures are found next to contemporary elements such as the modern touch-screen lighted, fogless mirrors in the bathrooms and bedside charging stations.

“The Vault Hotel is a true gem in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I’ve never stayed in such a unique hotel,” says Sherry Kepsel, of Rochester Hills, who checked in for a few nights last year while visiting her son at Michigan Tech. “The room was classy and comfortable, with amazing attention to detail. I absolutely loved the window seats in every window. The hotel has the look and feel of a fancy hotel in a big city, with the coziness and friendliness of small-town northern Michigan.” The newest feature at The Vault is the lower-level classic cocktail bar known as The Counting Room. With capacity for 25 people, this exclusive and somewhat hidden speakeasy is only open to hotel guests and members (who are provided a gold-plated key card for entry).

Much like a step back in time, this space is a juxtaposition of exposed century-old sandstone walls and ductwork, antique furniture sourced from Vertin Gallery in nearby Calumet, an upright Steinway piano, and a six-seat bar with three layers of shiny pennies inlaid in the top. The bartender will ask you how many pennies there are, if you care to make a guess. Drinks served here are historic in name only. Skilled mixologists use house-made syrups, hand-cut ice, and an array of spirits — including some distilled in Michigan, such as Iron Fish Distillery’s Woodland Gin — to craft their own style of signature cocktails. Impressive wine and beer lists are also available. It’s easy to settle into this space and lose track of time, but when hunger strikes, the iconic The Library restaurant, with its inviting food and beverage menu, is just steps away. After experiencing such a warm welcome in Houghton, the Juliens and Braveworks are now setting their sights on a new project in Marquette, some 100 miles to the southeast, overlooking Lake Superior. ON DECK: Braveworks recently purchased the historic 1892 Marquette Savings Bank building on the corner of Washington and Front streets, with plans to bring The Vault Hotel concept to Marquette.

PLAN IT! The Vault Hotel thevaulthotel.com MICHIGAN BLUE

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Revival on the River Wyandotte celebrates its hip vibe, cool shops, and hot new eateries — and there’s lots to explore By Patty LaNoue Stearns


yandotte, a friendly little burg of about 25,000 residents along the Detroit River in southeast Michigan, has a long history, a Bohemian vibe, a fun riverwalk, and a thriving art scene. With all kinds of possibilities for boating, dining, shopping, and entertainment, it’s a surprising and definitely different destination to consider for a day trip. According to Wyandotte Museum records, the city was initially settled along the banks of the Detroit River in 1732 by a branch of the Huron Tribe called the Wyandots — originally from Ontario, Canada — when their French allies founded Detroit. More than a century later, in 1867, the home-rule city of Wyandotte was incorporated. Two years before that, Wyandotte’s Eureka Iron Works launched the industrial 112

revolution in the U.S., as it was the first steel mill to employ the Bessemer process for quality steelmaking. Other important early industries included the Wyandotte Shipyards and Wyandotte Chemicals, which were incorporated into the conglomerate BASF, which stands today. The melting pot of immigrants who came to work in these industries also shaped the city’s culture. Gena Conti has lived in the city’s downtown for 40 years, and the elaborately festooned handmade hats from her Gena Conti Millinery Salon on the main drag, Biddle Avenue, are prized by men, women, and Kentucky Derby-goers. She loves that she can walk to her friends’ houses, to the downtown stores and restaurants, and to her recently married daughter’s house, just a few blocks away. “Plus, we have the river,” Conti says. “I’ve always felt like I live in Europe.”

Her daughter, Jenny Senior, loves the town, too — so much so that, after working on and off at the Upndown store from junior high through earning her art history degree at U-M Dearborn, she bought the business last summer. It’s a custom-framing, gifts, and greeting card shop with an upstairs gallery that showcases prints and original art, and has a space for artist openings. Both Conti and Senior see exciting signs of the city’s revitalization all over downtown: new apartments and condos going up, lots of young people rehabbing homes, many hip new restaurants and shops, lots of downtown events, and few empty storefronts. “The restaurant scene here has mushroomed,” Conti says, naming great places such as TheVault on First, located in an old bank building, for fine cuisine; Whiskeys on the Water bar and grill; Magdaleno’s Italian Ristorante for authentic European fare;


A painted turtle sculpture greets shoppers in an art-filled alley. The area is part of the city’s thriving art scene.


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613 Broad Street • St. Joseph, Michigan • 269-983-7774 • www.harbortowninteriors.com

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6/3/22 2:18 PM


Fair, which runs in this year from July 1316. The annual event fills downtown with more than 200,000 visitors, 200 fine artists, and more. The art fair was what made Joe Gruber fall in love with Wyandotte when he first visited 10 years ago.“I knew it was a special place,” he says. Now he’s executive director of the city’s Downtown Development Authority, part of a team that’s working to make the community even more special. Every third Friday, for example, there’s an art walk, where retailers, restaurants, bars, and other businesses offer specials; complimentary trolley rides to businesses north, south, and west of downtown; free horse-and-buggy rides; and family entertainment in warmer months. Visitors can also take guided tours of the elegant 1896 Ford-MacNichol home, a lateVictorian manse built by American plateglass pioneer Edward Ford for his daughter, Laura, and her husband, George MacNichol. After you’ve seen the town, grab six of your besties and take a private two-hour, captained Wyandotte Tiki boat tour of the “Downriviera.” Bring your own food and drink; Bluetooth speakers are provided to help you get your groove on. If you’d rather watch the freighters pass by while savoring a delectable repast, try the Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge or the big-windowed Portofino on the River, which also offers Sunday brunch river cruises and other festive events. Or maybe you’ve been on the water all day and are craving a burger and shake. Head to Joe’s Hamburgers, where sliders, hot dogs, fries, pierogis, and the Canadian dish known as poutine are served up in a sports-memorabilia atmosphere.


Clockwise, from left: There are plenty of areas where you can perch and grab lunch while strolling the city. History fans will love the 1896 Ford-MacNichol home, which is open for tours.

the eclectic Iron Gate; and H2O for fresh seafood. “There’s definitely a younger vibe, too,” Senior adds, mentioning restaurants like vegan-friendly Bobcat Bonnie’s and Taco Bros Mexican Street Food, and cool shops like Glow Fish Studios and the newly relocated Cheryl Zemke Boutique, which offers fashion designs, alterations, and fine art. “It’s all happening kind of organically,” says Senior, who belongs to a loosely united 114

group of downtown entrepreneurs called the Gallery and Gift Squad. “We always have events and try to do something once a month.” Senior points to Bark on Biddle and Clue Day, with a scavenger hunt, as a couple of the fun events. The city is home to the James R. DeSana Center for Arts and Culture and the Downriver Council for the Arts, and it also hosts one of Michigan’s largest summer arts festivals, the Wyandotte Street Art

A Plus: Wyandotte offers a downtown social district every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. where bar and restaurant patrons can purchase and consume beer, wine, and spirits outdoors within specific boundaries.

PLAN IT! The City of Wyandotte wyandotte.net


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bottles & Taps

Unwind with a tall craft beer or hopping to and from Jackson's local wineries. Experience great hops and grapes on the Pioneer Wine Trail.


seize the

DAYS savor the SUNSETS

Picture your days here — lounging on a sandy beach, scouring the shoreline for Petoskey stones, playing lawn games along Little Traverse Bay, or taking in the perfect sunset. With wine tasting, shopping, bicycling, and golf just minutes away and The Spa ready to pamper, your options are endless. Whether a family get-together or a romantic getaway, Inn at Bay Harbor offers plenty to explore — and savor together. BAY HARBO R , M ICH IGA N

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Start Planning Now

6/8/22 9:43 AM


Written in Stone

This photographer’s passion for photography began at Turnip Rock


et’s rewind to 2015. I had just bought a drone because they were pretty new to the industry, and I thought it would be a fun toy to have. Of course, to justify the purchase, I told my wife that I could make the money back by doing some photography/videography work with it. Now, at that point, I was working a fulltime job in education and didn’t even have a camera. Photography wasn’t at all on my radar. Within the first two months of owning the drone, though, I got my FAA Remote Pilots License, started my Michigan Sky Media, LLC business, learned all I could about photography and drones by watching YouTube videos, and did enough jobs to pay for the drone plus some. It was a fun little side job doing some real estate media work, and that’s all I thought it would ever be. In the spring of 2016, my best friend had just gotten two personal watercrafts and we had the genius idea of taking them to Turnip Rock, along with my drone, to get some photos. Mind you, it was April in Michigan.


Text and Photo by Tyler Liepprandt The water was freezing and it was just 40 degrees outside, but I was determined to get some drone photos of this Michigan gem. The water was rough that day, but we had a one-track mind on getting to the rock. After the three-mile ride, we arrived at Turnip Rock. The waves were white-capping on the shore nearby. While my buddy was freaking out about his new skis and the fact that we were getting tossed around like dolls, I was focused on getting my drone shots. After a few minutes — I’d only taken three photos — my buddy had had enough and was ready to head back to the mainland, as he was worried about his skis. It was that very moment that I realized I may be able to do something more than aerial photography for real estate. The excitement, the thrill, and the beauty of Turnip Rock and Lake Huron that day pushed me in an entirely different direction. As a lifelong resident of the Great Lakes State, I’ve seen and traveled Michigan, but I’d never seen our majestic state from the viewpoint of a drone.

Fast-forward to 2022. I quit my job in education almost two years ago, and have grown Michigan Sky Media into my fulltime gig. My family and I live in Traverse City, and continue to explore and enjoy our beautiful state at every opportunity. Whenever I see this photo of Turnip Rock that I took a few years back, it takes me to the moment I fell in love with Michigan landscape photography, exploring, and living on the wild side. P.S. Turnip Rock is in Michigan’s Thumb area near Pointe Aux Barques and the Port Austin region. Experienced paddlers head here regularly to check out the funnel-shaped Turnip Rock, which juts dramatically above Lake Huron’s surface. The attraction has been undercut by wave action over the years, so its top sections are larger than its base (like a turnip), thus its name. For more information on the Port Austin area, visit portaustinarea.com. Tyler Liepprandt runs Michigan Sky Media. Visit michiganskymedia.com for more information.


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Enjoy Lake Michigan breezes, breathtaking views, and incredible sunsets in this newly rebuilt home located on the Historic 5 Mile Hill just across from the Grand Haven State Park. No detail was missed in this amazing home with views of the lake from nearly every room.

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Historic Estate leaving the original design and beauty, this charming residence is in a perfect location in the Village of Spring Lake and offers offices on the main floor with a customized residence on the upper level.

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This 1928 Landmark Mansion has over 5,600 finished sq ft and has been beautifully modernized. Situated on 1.8 acres with breathtaking views, tennis/pickle ball court and 140 feet of private frontage on Muskegon Lake.

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Beautifully designed Veits Landing Condo with incredible views on Spring Lake. One of the most private units offers an open, airy floor plan with a desirable amount of natural light beaming through the windows.

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Within steps of Lake Michigan, enjoy sounds and breezes of the lake, hiking trails, and tennis courts at this adorable cottage in sought after Highland Park. With 2 bedrooms and 1 large full bath, this well maintained cottage is the perfect getaway.

6/7/22 2:09 PM