Michigan Blue Magazine - Winter 2022

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Lakeside Living

Cottage design ideas for all seasons Snow-capped diversions, from Cadillac and Muskegon to Gaylord and Boyne Falls | Snowmobiling in the U.P. | Three home tours | Restoring a Coast Guard beauty | Dining in Sylvan Lake and sipping Elk Rapids’ spirits | Top dog accessories

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truly connected

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totally cool

Winter in Traverse City…or TC. The one place to Truly Connect with your friends or special someone. Sipping wine. On the slopes. Or anywhere your heart leads. TC in winter– a Pre y Great Place!

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“We’ve tripled our snowmaking capacity this season at Treetops.”

Features 36 Happy Together A major renovation makes family get-togethers more memorable at this Lake Michigan retreat. By Jeanine Matlow

42 Nature’s Way Every square inch was considered when designing this beautiful Little Portage Lake newbuild. By Tracy Donohue

48 Making Waves Thanks to a complete gut, a dated design lives up to its potential. By Khristi Zimmeth

56 Bean There, Let’s Do That! Ellie Krieger creates “One-Pot Wonders” with highly nutritious legumes. By Honey Murray

60 Nature Calls

68 Throttle Therapy

There’s room for everyone to start making some fresh tracks this winter in Gaylord’s snowcovered dreamland. By Ron Garbinski

The Upper Peninsula’s impressive snowmobile trail network showcases stunning scenery. By Marla R. Miller ON THE COVER

A dream home was created on Little Portage Lake in Pinckney. Photo by James Haefner 2




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Winter is the perfect time to sneak way for a rejuvenating getaway to Pure Ludington. Whether you are a winter enthusiast looking for outdoor activities that will enliven you like taking on snow-covered trails on a fat-tire bike, or just looking for a recharging getaway to reconnect and enjoy good food and craft beer, there is a place for you here. Don't hide from winter. Make plans to embrace all that a Pure Ludington winter has to offer!


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“This was a perfect day for die-hard fishermen, Labrador retrievers, and photographers.”







10 Sky, Sand & Surf

22 Studio Visit

72 Tasting Room


14 Get Outdoors Learn to luge, ice skate into the woods, or zipline over the snowscape in Muskegon, and hit two resort legends that feature diversions ranging from exhilarating to relaxing. By Marla Miller and Tracy Donohue

18 Headwaters Winter Reading: A flurry of creativity swirls amid Viola Shipman’s “The Secret of Snow.” By Patty LaNoue Stearns 4

Artist Betsy O’Neill immerses herself in Michigan’s natural bounty. By Megan Swoyer

Local foragers and farmers provide the vital ingredients used in an Elk Rapids distillery’s signature cocktails. By Dianna Stampfler

26 Design Stars Two professionals put the accent on form and function in gorgeous kitchens, baths, and outdoor spaces. By Jeanine Matlow

30 The Elements Around the Cottage: Light up the dark season with candlelight, chic bathroom adornments, and things to keep Fido happy. By Jamie Fabbri


Dining Out Sylvan Table earns high marks for its creativity and homey atmosphere. By Dianna Stampfler

76 Book It The rebranded Delamar hotel in Traverse City improves on its bay views and cozy amenities. By Marla Miller

78 Discoveries Cadillac is synonymous with winter. By Ellen Creager

Reflections Window Stopping By Megan Swoyer

80 Postcard This dog likes to watch his master fly-fish on the Pere Marquette River, even when the weather’s frightful. By Todd Reed


A primer on defending and securing waterfront real estate, and Hessel’s E.J. Mertaugh Boat Works restores a Coast Guard beauty. By Daniel P. Dalton and Chuck Warren


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ut on the lights for the wayfarer,” my dad used to tell me in December, every day around dusk. For the holidays, my mom would place an electric candle in each window that could be seen from the road. She’d also tie a tiny faux sprig of holly to each window latch. We’d hang the holly sprays with black thread, and they’d shine amid the candles’ glow. I’d often think of that so-called wayfarer, imagining someone trekking through deep snow, hunched over while large flakes blew onto his face. He’d catch a glimpse of light in the wintry mix and maybe come up to our door! There weren’t any wayfarers, of course, but passersby couldn’t miss all the lights that would surely stir in them a peaceful, festive spirit. Fast-forward into January and February. Gone were the holidays’ electric candles, but as I’d walk past neighbors’ houses at dusk, I’d catch glimpses of light cast on residents moving about. Kids practicing piano, parents cooking, a grandparent standing in the doorway assessing the weather, a frisky dog, or a cat silhouette. I still like to walk in the evening for this very reason, especially in Michigan’s northern regions. I enjoy seeing the hubbub of activity indoors and feeling the chill outside. If I smell smoke or notice puffy air floating from a chimney, all the better! In chatting with this issue’s featured Studio Visit artist, Betsy O’Neill, we touched upon that golden window light and discovered that we share similar thoughts about what our neighbors’ illumination evokes come winter, no matter if you’re in the city or country. “Living in the city has its beauty, with streetlights and the snow coming down around them, and cozy houses with the lights on,” she told me. “Lights are more important to me in


the winter, during the longer, dark days,” she continued. “Lights expand your spirit, your vibe, your aura — and as I walk down snowy streets, I can jump in and out of lighted circles expanding out from homes. It’s cozy and comforting. It’s connection.” As for my own home, I could never pinpoint the exact feeling I get when taking in our window scenes until a friend prodded me to try to write about it. In the winter at my cottage, I like to go outside at night, beneath a trillion stars, or just before the sun rises over the icy lake. I meander through the crunchy snow, around and between huge evergreens, and turn to look through our lit windows. What is that feeling? Why the stirring of the heart? And then, suddenly, I’m excitedly running through the house once again, turning those holiday candles on. When I go outside, I see Mom through the window, and she’s cooking. My siblings and I are playing tag in the fresh snow. My fingers are tucked into warm mittens, and the smoke from a blazing fire gently wafts its way out of our chimney. I smell the aroma of burning wood mingling with the frosty air, and know a blazing fire and a hot dinner await. But back to the present. I look through my cottage’s windows and feel like I’m watching a play, catching glimpses of my cherished life through the golden light beyond the glass panes. In the quiet winter stillness, the spotlight shines on a stage where my beloved family, my warm kitchen, my lit candles (always), my furnishings, and my life glow. Silence is golden, they say. Yes, it most certainly is — and these soundless vignettes inspire contemplation and a grateful heart.




EDITOR: Megan Swoyer CONTRIBUTING TRAVEL EDITOR: Ron Garbinski COPY EDITOR: Anne Berry Daugherty WRITERS: Ellen Creager, Daniel P. Dalton, Tracy

Donohue, Jamie Fabbri, Jeanine Matlow, Marla Miller, Honey Murray, Giuseppa Nadrowski, Todd Reed, Dianna Stampfler, Patty LaNoue Stearns, Chuck Warren, Khristi Zimmeth


ART DIRECTOR: Austin Phillips CONTRIBUTORS: Jasmine Bykerk,

James Haefner, Glen Rauth, Todd Reed, Beth Singer, Werner Straube


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

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






Jim Bibart




Luanne Lim, Bart Woinski DIGITAL COORDINATOR: Travis Cleveland



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Michelle VanArman CIRCULATION MANAGER: Riley Meyers CIRCULATION COORDINATORS: Barbie Baldwin, Elise Coyle, Cathy Krajenke, Rachel Moulden CIRCULATION CUSTOMER SERVICE: 866-660-6247


Melissa Novak Kelsey Cocke Lambright






Stefan Wanczyk | PRESIDENT: John Balardo

Michigan BLUE magazine is published quarterly by Gemini Media. Publishing offices: 401 Hall St. SW, Suite 331, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-5098. Telephone 616-459-4545; fax 616459-4800. General email: info@geminipub.com. Copyright ©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.


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A thrilling downhill adventure sport puts the spotlight on Muskegon.

10 Field Guide Kirtland’s warblers are thriving, Trenton trail honors, and updated Metropoarks website.

10 Sky, Sand & Surf A classic Coast Guard lifeboat gets new life, and a riparian rights primer for property owners.

14 Get Outdoors Luge fun, and what’s new this winter (besides skiing) at Boyne and Crystal Mountain resorts.

18 Headwaters An insightful review of Viola Shipman’s new novel, “The Secret of Snow.”


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FIELD GUIDE Exploring Michigan: Tips, trends, and tidbits

SONGBIRD THRIVES: Michigan’s popular Kirtland’s warbler population continues to flourish since its removal in 2019 from the federal list of endangered species, according to surveys conducted last summer by government agencies. Its global population was estimated at 2,245 pairs, which is more than double the 1,000-pair recovery goal for the species — which has been exceeded each of the past 20 years. The small birds build nests on the ground in young, dense stands of jack pine in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario. Their nesting habitat is created by harvesting mature jack pines and planting seedlings in logged areas. kwconservation.org TRAIL HONORS: Trenton was recently recognized as a Pure Michigan Trail Town by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Travel Michigan. For years, the city has been enhancing its four-season trail system, hiking and biking networks, access to the Detroit River American Heritage River Trail, and its connection to the Downriver Linked Greenways, part of the statewide Iron Belle Trail. trentonmi.org A FRESH LOOK: The updated HuronClinton Metroparks website offers a better user experience complete with new maps, photos, calendars, park activities, accessibility plug-ins, and more content. The 13-park system, which spans southeast Michigan, includes more than 25,000 acres of woods, water, and recreational facilities mainly along the Huron and Clinton rivers. metroparks.com – Compiled by Ron Garbinski Have news that pertains to Michigan travel and exploration? Send a note to MSwoyer@Hour-Media.com. 10

Saving a Lifeboat Hessel’s E.J. Mertaugh Boat Works restores a Coast Guard beauty


By Chuck Warren

n the movie based on real events, The Finest Hours, 32 men rescued from the stricken tanker S.S. Pendleton sit crowded on a small boat while the sea continues to rage around them. Although the rescue boat’s compass was washed overboard on the harrowing trip out to sea, Coast Guard Boatswain’s Mate First Class Bernie Webber states calmly, “She’s a good boat. She’ll get us home.” The boat, a U.S. Coast Guard Type T motor lifeboat, played an integral part in the success of what is considered the most daring and heroic small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history — and countless others — during its nearly 50 years in service. In the early 1930s, U.S. Coast Guard lifesaving stations in the Great Lakes were equipped with the first five of these newly designed Type T motor lifeboats. Measuring 36 feet in length with a 10.5-foot beam, Type T lifeboats were powered by a six-cylinder gas engine capable of pushing the boats up to 9 mph over a 280-mile range. The Type T, which evolved into the Type TR and TRS, replaced the aging and failing oar-powered vessels that had been used for decades. Weighing more than 19,000 pounds, Type T model lifeboats waited on cradles in a station’s lifeboat house until rescue operations were necessary. At that time, the boats were launched by rolling the cradle and boat down rails into the water. In 2016, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum acquired a Type TR lifeboat for display in the Whitefish Point facility, originally a Coast Guard station on Lake Superior near Sault Ste. Marie. Identified by its serial number, CG36381, this motor lifeboat is only 10 numbers away from one of the original

vessels stationed at Whitefish Point. It was discovered on the New Jersey shore, where it sat outside for nearly a decade, slowly deteriorating until it was scheduled to be burned to easily recover any metal hardware. Now housed at E.J. Mertaugh Boat Works in Hessel, the lifeboat’s own rescue is underway. Home of the annual Classic and Antique Wooden Boat Show and Festival of the Arts, Mertaugh has been working with wooden boats since 1925, so the staff was excited to undertake the extensive restoration work needed on CG36381. “It’s pretty cool; it’s definitely different,” says Shipwreck Museum Executive Director Bruce Lynn. “It’s almost like an ugly duck sitting between all of those streamlined classics.” The boat was a hardy, reliable workhorse. Designed to be self-righting and self-bailing, it could roll itself right-sideup, and any water that washed onto the deck in rough seas would drain completely away in about 20 seconds. The first phase of the restoration project was to clean out all the junk that had accumulated over the many years the vessel sat outside. Leaves, branches, trash, and old parts had to be cleared away before any restoration work could begin. Although the hull needed little more than sanding and painting, the Mertaugh crew replaced the decking and rooftops on each of the housing structures before turning their attention to other jobs, such as rebuilding the rub rails that allow the vessel to bump against things without damage. The restoration crew decided to sandblast the Type TR’s hardware, which revealed an unexpected treasure: Beneath years of paint were bronze components


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Coast Guardsmen stand watch over the old lifeboat prior to its restoration.

used in the boat’s original construction. Many other pieces had been stripped from the boat over the years, but the Mertaugh crew was able to borrow the missing hardware from other boats to have patterns made and parts recreated by an East Coast foundry. Most, if not all, of the Mertaugh employees have had some involvement in the restoration of the Type TR motor lifeboat, making the project that much more special. “Not a lot of people in the world can go to a museum and say, ‘I put the roof on that,’ ” says Geoff Hamilton,

Mertaugh’s general manager. Work on the Type TR has progressed fairly well over the past few years, but the team had hoped the boat would be on display sooner. “COVID-19 really backed us up,” Lynn says. “(If COVID hadn’t happened), we would have had it on display already in our lifeboat house.” The restoration has also taken time for financial reasons. “It’s all being done through donations, so we break it up into chunks,” Hamilton explains. Type TR motor lifeboat CG36381 will

be displayed in the Shipwreck Museum’s 1923 Lifeboat House, which is also undergoing restoration work, along with the reconstructed cradle and rails. Both the Lifeboat House and motor lifeboat CG36381 are expected to be ready for visitors this spring.

PLAN IT! Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum shipwreckmuseum.com


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Navigating Choppy Waters Here’s a primer on defending and securing waterfront real estate


By Daniel P. Dalton

s the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak sent a wave of Michiganders to their second homes for remote work with picturesque waterfront views, many digital nomads discovered the expected tranquility had been displaced with discord over trespassing and access to waterways. While this may not have been unique, the surge of people occupying vacation homes at the same time was propelling riparian rights into the public eye. Riparian rights govern property owners’ access to and reasonable use of Michigan water bodies. However, the laws surrounding this particular land use are complex enough to cause confusion for those who are at odds with their neighbors or municipalities over real or perceived infringement. Michigan laws provide waterfront property owners with a comprehensive legal platform to defend and secure their waterfront real estate while sanctioning allowances for non-waterfront owners to legally access the water. Riparian property includes or touches a body of water; the converse is true of nonriparian land and, generally, non-riparian owners can’t have a private pier. Yet the law takes into account certain distinctions such as reasonable use of water, owning the land under water, navigability tests, easements, historical use, and zoning that ultimately determines who is authorized and who is restricted from its use. Non-riparian land owners, for example, can gain access to water by a public road end, as long as the water body is considered navigable. On the other hand, the law recognizes the need 12

to protect the riparian rights of property owners who live next to those areas. These individuals may file a civil action against a violator for interfering with the reasonable use of waters. Activities such as lounging, picnicking, sunbathing, and building boat hoists or docks are often prohibited. Easements are another way nonriparian owners can access the water, and are the best option for ensuring that the benefit of riparian rights is transferred upon new ownership of the waterfront property. There are three types of easements: An Express Grant, which uses specific language like a contract; a Reservation, which involves one owner with two properties reserving the right to continue water access from the backlot parcel when the waterfront property is sold; and a Prescription, which is claiming easement over land used in a certain way for a fixed time. In Michigan, the minimum fixed time is 15 continuous years. Due Diligence: Although waterfront property ownership has its challenges, knowing the basics will help prevent disputes, avoid buyer’s remorse, and achieve the waterfront experience so many people greatly desire. Whether you’re an owner or someone in the market to buy waterfront property, here are some key riparian elements: • Be aware that Michigan has two classes of natural waters: Great Lakes and inland waters. Ownership rights of inland waters (rivers, lakes, or ponds) are subject to the same rules of law. The Great Lakes’ surface water itself is not classified as property of the state, but as a public good. Under the Public Trust Doctrine, the State of Michigan acts as a trustee of public

Waterfront property ownership has its challenges. Make sure you understand your riparian rights.


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rights for fishing, hunting, and boating for commerce or pleasure. • Purchase a riparian survey. Don’t assume riparian bottomland borders extend straight out from property lines; borders extend from property lines to the center of the water body, so angles will be unusual. • An owner of an inland lake house

in Michigan holds title to the submerged land. Michigan courts have held that the right to use the surface water, once legal non-riparian access is established, does not carry with it the right to anchor a float — or any other thing, for that matter — in the submerged lands of another. • Review the plat. If you’re buying a lot in a platted subdivision, the plat usually

describes the rights to any common areas, including road ends or “community” lots, and may also describe any access easements that aren’t apparent from the deed. • Make sure there are no unrecorded easements. Anything not recorded in the register of deeds will not come back in a title search. Ensure that nobody else has any rights to use your property for waterfront access. • Check the location of neighboring docks. Even if you can show a neighbor’s dock is on your riparian bottomlands, the neighbor might still have the right to keep it there through a prescriptive easement. • Know when a dock permit is required. Generally, docks or boat hoists that are seasonally removed don’t need a permit, as long as the structures are for private, noncommercial, and recreational use, and don’t unreasonably interfere with the use of the water by others or with water flow. Public or commercial structures require a permit. • Read your title insurance policy carefully. If your property comes with a dock permitted by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), be sure to check the dock configuration against the permit. One Final Piece of Advice: Visit the property you’re considering purchasing during peak times. A property that looks beautifully serene on a Tuesday morning may have an entirely different vibe on weekends and holidays. That’s important knowledge to have when managing your neighborly expectations. Daniel P. Dalton is a land use and zoning attorney with Detroit-based Dalton & Tomich. Dalton works with clients on securing their riparian rights, and has co-authored a guide on easements and lake access. For more information, visit daltontomich.com/ easements-lake-access-and-riparianrights/. MICHIGAN BLUE

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Thrill-Seeking in Muskegon Learn to luge, ice skate into the woods, or zip-line over the snowscape By Marla R. Miller


y exhilarating introduction to luging came 15 years ago at the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park. Its 650-foot-long natural ice track was a rare winter gem designed so first-timers could experience the thrill of luging. Should I dare try? I hesitated. But then I thought that if a 10-year-old Boy Scout could luge, why couldn’t I? Speeding downhill on that slick, twisting track on a tiny sled sounded a little scary at first, but my initial lightning-fast run was a blast. It was so much fun, in fact, that I returned for more. One season, I even competed in the local Tuesday night luge league. It’s so exciting, I urge you to give it a go! The sports park, housed in Muskegon State Park, has evolved since my early luging days into a year-round destination, and offers a variety of silent-sport activities. In the winter, visitors can lace up their skates for a game of pickup hockey or venture into the woods on the quarter-mile ice skating trail. Lighted, groomed crosscountry ski and snowshoe trails track into the forest or out to Lake Michigan. Originally built in 1984, the winter complex relies on the snow and cold weather to keep the attractions open, since nothing is refrigerated. The luge track was redesigned in 1990 by three-time luge Olympian Frank Masley, and is one of only four luge tracks in the United States. “A lot of people call it (luging) a bucketlist item,” says Jim Rudicil, longtime executive director of the nonprofit Muskegon Luge, which leases the land


from the state park. “It’s rewarding not only as a coach, but as an outdoor recreation enthusiast, to see people confront their fears and learn a new sport, and have a blast doing it.” Learn How: Nestled in a back dune near Lake Michigan, Muskegon Luge becomes a winter wonderland when the lake-effect snow machine turns on. The public Luge Experience — held weekends, weather-permitting — typically sells out months in advance; tickets must be purchased online. Each luge session is capped at 30 sliders and lasts two and a half hours. Sessions include instructions, equipment, and slide time. Lugers get a few practice runs before a fun and friendly competition and medal ceremony. Muskegon Luge also hosts a Youth Luge program, Locals Luge, school groups, Scout groups, and private groups by reservation. “Most of the (public) sessions are filled by couples or small groups,” Rudicil says. “They come together, they meet new people, and they race against each other. It’s super fun to see the interaction and how they bond throughout the session.” Mother Nature has to cooperate by delivering sustained below-freezing temperatures for the luge and ice rinks, and fresh snow for the cross-country ski trails. As the seasons shorten, Rudicil has launched a campaign to add year-round features, including an accessible summer luge, a rock-climbing/ice-climbing wall, an archery range, and more. All fees go back into the operation of the facility and support new attractions. The park’s 1,400-foot universally

accessible dual zip line opened last summer. Visitors can try winter zip-lining for the first time this season, flying high over the park’s snow-covered landscape and luge tracks. “I think winter zip-lining will be awesome, for sure,” says Dan Bonner, outdoor adventure specialist. “The summer season was amazing. We were booked every single weekend.” Park staff created a fire garden area, more seating, and an outdoor tent for putting on skates and skis last year, due to


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The Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park offers fast action down its slick 650-foot-long, twisting run.

COVID-19. The changes will stay for now, says Rudicil, who noted Muskegon Luge saw an increase in visitors last year since all the attractions are outside. The complex has more than 15 kilometers of ski trails through the woods and back dunes that are good for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers. Staff groom the trails for skate and classical skiing daily, weather-permitting, and keep the lights on until close for night skiing. If you prefer quiet winter walks, the park has miles of marked and groomed

snowshoe trails, traversing the low levels of white pine forest and out to the lakeshore. Other loops follow the dune ridge for views of an iced-over Lake Michigan coast and snowy tree canopy. “Snowshoeing is becoming one of my favorite things for the mainstream, for the folks who say, ‘I hate winter, I don’t do winter sports,’ ” Rudicil adds. “It’s accessible, very safe, and a great way to get out and experience winter along the Lake Michigan shoreline.” The sports park rents ice skates, cross-

country skis, snowshoes, and headlamps for night excursions. The campground across Scenic Drive is open year-round. Outdoor enthusiasts can make it a true winter adventure by booking one of the state park’s cabins or yurts.

PLAN IT! Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park msports.org


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This page: Boyne Mountain guests can enjoy high-energy downhill tubing adventures. Opposite page: Crystal Mountain’s horse-drawn rides provide relaxing experiences.

Frosty Fun

Outdoor delights at two resort legends range from exhilarating to relaxing


here’s nothing like driving past snow-covered countryside, quaint towns, and waterways, looking forward to new experiences and a mindand-body reset in northern Michigan. With all the great options available, an Up North winter escape shouldn’t be limited to skiing and snowboarding when plenty of enjoyable outdoor adventures abound beyond the slopes. Specializing in winter recreation, both Boyne Mountain Resort and Crystal Mountain Resort have legendary histories, are named for nearby bodies of water, and know what they’re doing when it comes to frosty fun this winter. Boyne Mountain Resort was built in


the village of Boyne Falls along the scenic Boyne River, a tributary of Lake Charlevoix. The resort opened in 1948 as Boyne Ski Club, with one run and the first chairlift in the Midwest. Less than a decade later, in Thompsonville, Crystal Mountain was launched as Buck Hills Ski Area — the result of a clever high school project to find the best location among the area’s forests and farms to start a community ski area. A warming hut was built with donated lumber and the first tow rope was powered by an old pickup truck engine. Four years later, it became Crystal Mountain Resort, named after nearby Crystal Lake, which is known for its stunningly clear blue water.

Both resorts have come a long way since their humble ski beginnings. The destinations now offer a variety of outdoor wintertime experiences that range from exhilarating to relaxing, and rely on a sense of adventure and fun — not to mention appropriate layers of clothing and footwear. “It’s a special, high-energy feel in the winter when we have families and enthusiasts returning to have fun, refresh, and make memories,” says Erin Ernst, director of communications at Boyne Resorts. Boyne Mountain recently announced its Renaissance 2.0 vision, which includes much-anticipated resort enhancements such as SkyBridge Michigan, the world’s longest timber-towered suspension


By Tracy Donohue


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basically a bike with skis. Adam Rase, the Boyne Mountain Adventure Center’s manager, describes SNO-GO biking as an alternative way for many people to enjoy the slopes, even those who are no longer able to ski due to knee or other issues. “Rip-roaring down the hill on a SNO-GO bike is fun for everyone and a great way to be part of the action, since you’re on the same ski lift and hill,” he says. Adventurers can also take a Zipline Adventure Tour that lasts about two hours, reaching speeds of 20-25 mph and heights of up to 50 feet. “Flying through the air in the snow, across treetops and the slopes, is an incredible experience. The views are beautiful,” Rase says. Of course, high-octane activities aren’t everyone’s idea of a vacation. For those seeking more relaxing, yet special, outdoor experiences, there are some wonderful winter options. Unique to Crystal Mountain and open year-round, Michigan Legacy Art Park is a wooded 30-acre preserve with more than 50 Michigan-inspired sculptures and 30 poetry stones. Meandering at your own

pace by foot, cross-country skis, or snowshoes through this tranquil cultural trail experience is a treat for body and soul. And sometimes, it’s best to sit back and enjoy the ride. Both resorts offer opportunities to bundle up and savor the simplicity of a wagon ride. “Crystal Mountain is a beautiful place regardless of the season, but sparkling lights strung through trees with falling snow really makes this place feel magical — especially when you’re riding along in a horse-drawn surrey,” says Jen Roberts, recreation manager at Crystal Mountain. After a fun-filled day of activities, there’s no reason to retreat inside when outdoor dining, cocktails, and stargazing options exist. Reset accomplished!

PLAN IT! Boyne Mountain Resort boynemountain.com Crystal Mountain Resort crystalmountain.com


bridge, slated to open in summer 2022. Outdoor devotee Karen Carroll, from Bloomfield Hills, enjoys time at both resorts with her husband and young sons. “We’re an active family with two energetic boys, so when it comes to family vacations, we’re looking for fun outdoor activities we can do together,” Carroll says. “Besides skiing, we like hiking, ice-skating, and tubing. Our boys love eating outside, hanging out at fire pits, and the heated indoor/outdoor pool at Boyne (Mountain). We love going Up North in the winter and trying new things.” When it comes to adrenalin-inducing outdoor winter activities, winter biking is a growing trend. Both resorts offer opportunities to explore groomed, snowcovered trails atop a fat-tire bike. Wide, large-volume fat-tires give the sensation of floating on top of the snow while you’re pedaling through wintry woodlands. For competitors, Crystal Mountain hosts its annual Iron Fish Distillery Fat Chance Fat-Tire Bike Race in late January. Another fun biking activity to try at Boyne Mountain is a SNO-GO bike —


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W I N T E R 2 0 2 2 | H E A D WAT E R S

Winter Reading A flurry of creativity and warmth swirls amid Viola Shipman’s Traverse City-based ‘The Secret of Snow’ By Patty LaNoue Stearns


highest-paid employee at the station, Lisa lays out a game plan: Sonny will broadcast from all of the region’s outdoor events and do perilous stunts like racing downhill in a cardboard sled, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. The new show will be called “Sonny in the Winter.” What’s more, one of her coworkers — who had been up for Sonny’s job — is bent on revenge. But it’s not all horror. Sonny gets her groove back, a shy young cameraman at the station blossoms, and when Sonny’s secret of snow is revealed, it ties all the family questions together so poignantly that I wept. As a person who lived in Traverse City for 15 years, I can say this book weaves in all the highlights of the region — the cherries, the festivals, and the little shops, eateries, wineries, and unique places that make the town so special. Also, as a person who has lost beloved siblings, this book really hit home. The writing is warm and wonderful, and if you love Michigan, you’ll love this book. Best-selling author,

humorist, and writing teacher Wade Rouse uses the pen name Viola Shipman for his novels to honor his grandmother, who inspires his fi tio e spe s u h o his ti e a pens many of his works at his home near Saugatu k or atio violashipman.com and waderouse.com.



t took me a while to get into Viola Shipman’s latest novel, “The Secret of Snow” (Graydon House Books). For the first 70 or so pages, it moves between the newsroom of a Palm Springs TV station and a meteorologist named Sonny Dunes and Sonny’s days growing up with her family and kid sister in northern Michigan. So many novels keep you guessing about the title far too long, and this one’s no different. But stay with it. Author Shipman (Wade Rouse), above, provides a beautiful payoff. Sonny Dunes is 50 years old, a celebrity in her desert town, and a cherished figure at her TV station. She loves her job and her co-anchors, but her station manager — a trust-fund-heir slacker — thinks he has a hipper, cooler way to do the weather. When the manager replaces her with a digital weather girl, Sonny flips out — on air. She’s not only toast at that station, but her reputation is ruined. The only place she can find a job is with an old college frenemy who runs the station where she grew up, in Traverse City, Mich. It’s a chilly landing from the nonstop blue-sky town she left. That’s where the story really begins, in winter, in the north country. After her new boss, Lisa, tells Sonny that her co-anchors are furious about her being hired as the MICHIGAN BLUE

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Betsy O’Neill painted “Michigan Birch” after visiting the Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route.

22 Designers’ Notebook Green trends, tile style, a restaurant in good taste, and a new and inspiring home/garden book.

22 Studio Visit An artist for all seasons: Meet talented painter and busy mom Betsy O’Neill.

26 Design Stars Lou DesRosiers and Jennifer Asmar share insightful ideas on making the most of water views.

30 The Elements Bathroom accents, musthave candles, and canine essentials.


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

DELICIOUS DESIGN: Christine Bridger, of Company + Cottage, designed the beautiful interiors at Coast 236, a Saugatuck restaurant. “Our vision was to create a soothing familiarity with a fresh wave of touches,” Bridger says. “It has a relaxed and clean, coastal feel, and features enlarged vintage beach postcards that have been transformed into murals, as well as vintage lanterns rewired as lighting.” coast236.com, companyandcottage.com. HOME ICON: Rachel “Bunny” Lambert Mellon was an art collector, horticulturalist, gardener, and style icon. A new title from Gibbs Smith Books, “Bunny Mellon Style,” reveals how her style developed and how she became a self-confident, hands-on designer of homes and gardens. Find it wherever books are sold, or visit gibbssmith.com/bunny-mellon-style. GO GREEN!: PPG Paints has announced its 2022 color: Olive Sprig. The hue is a relaxed, enticing green that brings to mind the soothing feeling of aloe vera or a fragrant plant that brightens any space with its organic liveliness. ppgpaints.com. TILE STYLE: Island Stone has introduced Stone Essentials Textured Wall Tiles. The easy-to-install tiles are suitable for indoor/outdoor applications and can enhance walls, kitchen backsplashes, fireplace walls, shower walls, and exterior walls. The timeless, crisp tiles come in five colors. islandstone.com. — Compiled by Megan Swoyer

Have news about waterfront living? Email MSwoyer@Hour-Media.com. 22

Capturing the Seasons Artist Betsy O’Neill immerses herself in Michigan’s natural bounty By Megan Swoyer | Photos of artist by Jasmine Bykerk


etsy O’Neill feels periwinkle. Yes, she feels it. The blue-violet color taps her imagination regularly, and it often hovers quietly in her mind until she eventually dabs her paint brush into it and swirls it onto her canvas. You’ll see it in this artist’s water, grasses, trees, and sky. And especially in snow. “I’m painting my feeling in the snow scenes,” she says. “There’s no way to explain it. It’s a dimension my subconscious is feeling.” Periwinkle (called light blue violet) is one of the artist’s trademark colors, and when it’s blended with her sense of form and composition, you get some beautiful painterly artwork made with a unique mix of acrylic paints. With two daughters ages 12 and 10,

and one son, 16, O’Neill and her husband, Craig, are always busy (they home-school their daughters). But that doesn’t stop the Grand Rapids artist from turning out lots of artwork, from originals to prints to notecards and more. “I get little bits of time to paint. When my kids are doing extracurricular things, I paint — even in my van! Or I’m folding notecards in some random place, like in a parking lot, making good use of time,” O’Neill says with a laugh. She also admits that being an artist-mom has its challenges. “My family always comes first, so (sometimes I struggle with) finding the time to create, to work on my website, to email people, to sign prints. I’m often torn in a million directions.” O’Neill wasn’t always a city girl. “I grew up in Caledonia on a 10-acre hobby farm. We had pigs, cows, sheep, goats, and a horse. I was home-schooled and had the best childhood — being in the barn, in the fields. I just loved the look and smell and feelings; I’d immerse myself in the seasons. I find my soul in places.” That soul-finding is especially expressed in her paintings. “If I drive past a place, I can see what it’s saying, and I want to stop and paint. Art makes me stop and see. So many people miss that in life. They’re not stopping and seeing.” Her snow paintings often include hints of purples, periwinkle (in the shadows and highlights), and navy blues. “People are amazed that those colors are in snow. I hope my art inspires


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Both pages, clockwise from left: Artist Betsy O’Neill focuses on a poppy field in Fennville. The artist studies her wintry blueviolet tones. The quintessential Michigan bonfire stars in a Point Betsie (Frankfort) landscape.

people to slow down and see things, see color, and really start noticing.” O’Neill says she “fiddled with art” growing up, but didn’t study it seriously until later in life. “I was dabbling in it, creating art for my home and for my family, and doing some commissions on the side. But I went to school to become a dental assistant.” In 2014, she sensed what she calls “a shift.” “I started painting just about every day,” she recalls. “We went to Mackinac Island, and I was inspired to make memories from that trip through painting.” A year or so later, she showed her work in the national ArtPrize competition, held every other year in Grand Rapids. “The venue I hooked up with (Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.) had huge windows and I got to know the site sponsors well,” she says. MICHIGAN BLUE

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Empire Bluff at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore takes on a beautiful glow come winter, and artist Betsy O’Neill is well aware of its charms, as seen here in her painterly perspective of a cold winter’s day.

You may catch the gregarious artist at an art show in your area. Do stop by her booth; she loves chatting with browsers. When she’s conversing with fair attendees about the memories that are sparked by her paintings, she says, “I’m talking with strangers, and through my art we have something in common. It’s not political, not religious, or anything like that. It’s just something happy, and that resonates with me. It’s so great to connect with people.” Those conversations have inspired the artist to travel more in her home state, including to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore near Empire, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, and Leelanau County in the state’s pinkie region. “That spurred so much enthusiasm,” she shares. From her studio in her home in southeast Grand Rapids, she contemplates her youth. “I miss the country, but living in 24

the city does have its beauty, with streetlights and the snow coming down around them, and cozy houses with the lights on,” she muses. And, naturally, O’Neill brings the country to what she calls her “teeny city yard.” “I’m working on illustrating a book,” she says. “It will focus somewhat on urban farming and gardening.” The country is so close to her heart that in her city yard, she has a white picket fence, espalier apple trees, squash and gourds growing, and an annual harvest of raspberries, blueberries, and sunflowers. “I love it all — it’s backyard gardening, cooking, community, neighbors sharing,” she says. The future may also bring more works from O’Neill’s sojourns to the Leland area. “I want to explore that area’s trails, the expanse of the sky, the sand dunes,” she says. “That’s what’s pulling me now. “

As for the periwinkle snow and her wintry works, O’Neill admits she isn’t always fond of Michigan winters. “Sometimes we’re like living in a cave, right? I mean, holy cow — we all know that,” she chuckles. “It’s not my favorite season, but I’ve found beauty in it. And those moments when the sun comes out? I try to capture them.” Because, after all, it gives her another opportunity to make the most of that enchanting periwinkle shade.

MORE INFORMATION Betsy O’Neill will be at the Fulton Street Farmers Market and Indie Flea GR, both in Grand Rapids, from January through June. Check her website regularly at betsyoneillfineart.com for updates on times and additional statewide show information.


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W I N T E R 2 0 2 2 | D E S I G N S TA R S

Timeless Style Architect’s open kitchen and bath in his Leelanau Peninsula lake home wows By Jeanine Matlow | Photography by James Haefner and Glen Rauth


ou DesRosiers, below, president of DesRosiers Architects in Bloomfield Hills, designed his personal retreat with his wife, JoJo, to make the most of the sweeping water vistas. The couple, who have been married for 54 years, worked on the interiors of the award-winning Leelanau Peninsula home to create custom spaces like the kitchen and bath overlooking Lake Michigan, the Manitou Islands, and Good Harbor Bay. “The whole house was designed around the views,” DesRosiers says. “We wanted every room to showcase them.” Butt-glass windows deliver unob-


structed views, including the architect’s favorite scene: two lighthouses that determined where the house would be sited between the islands. The kitchen has great views from the sink and the island, and it’s completely open to the great room, where the couple and any guests can watch TV or sit at the dining table. “We can do puzzles, read, work, or watch a football game, and we’re all able to communicate with each other,” DesRosiers says. “It all comes from this idea: Whenever we went to a party, everybody ended up in the kitchen. I decided to put the kitchen in the party.” Besides, he adds, “JoJo cooks a lot, so

the kitchen is the core of the home. Everybody goes there morning, noon, and night.” The space has the same radiant heat on the granite countertop as the wood floors. “It’s not a huge kitchen, it’s just very functional,” DesRosiers says. And he says it has the one feature JoJo always wanted: a Scotsman icemaker for crystal-clear cubes. A walk-through pantry keeps equipment tucked away. “We didn’t want it to look like a kitchen in a corner. It almost looks like a library,” he says. Ribbon-cut mahogany trim adds warmth. “When you’re on the lake for all four seasons, you want your home to be warm and cozy,” DesRosiers says. The same goes for the master suite, where Crema Marfil marble with chocolate trav-


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D E S I G N S TA R S | W I N T E R 2 0 2 2

ertine accents covers the walls and the floor, and a bathtub bay captures dramatic views, whether it’s a snowstorm or a sunset over the bay beyond. A wide pocket door opens to the master suite, ensuring sound privacy for the spouse who may be sleeping in. “It’s very casual,” DesRosiers says. “We didn’t want any swing doors hanging around, and it offers more views of the lake.”


Both pages: Situated on northwest Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula, the DesRosiers’ lake home features special touches in the kitchen and bathroom, with top-notch water views.



“My homes are always about views,” Lou DesRosiers says, “whether it’s a tree or the way the sun casts a shadow.” New technology allows for expansive glass, like the windows in the kitchen and bath, where the goal for this architect was to keep the experience open, rather than confined. In a kitchen, people spend a lot of time at the sink, so he likes to put in a big window without any mullions in front of it. “People like to feel like they’re outdoors, so we’re always trying to bring the outdoors in,” he explains. In a bathroom, he prefers to put the tub in the most practical, functional, and advantageous location, with silent motorized blinds on the windows. “You can usually find a little bit more of a private view, even in an urban environment,” DesRosiers says. — JM

Lou and JoJo DesRosiers’ favorite times at their Leelanau Peninsula home are spent overlooking the ever-changing lake. “There’s no end to it, whether you’re inside or outside, or swimming, or picking up Petoskey stones,” the architect says. “Sometimes we just sit and watch the sunset. There’s a glow on the water. The Great Lakes change color all the time, from Caribbean blue to royal blue, and black, and gray. “We’re never bored there,” he continues. “You feel like you’re living on a pier or a ship.” The couple’s retreat was a great place to be during the lockdown. “If there’s any place I’d like to be in a pandemic, it’s there,” DesRosiers says. “JoJo and I have a rule. If we’re going to stay somewhere else, it has to be more beautiful than where we live.” Needless to say, they rarely travel. — JM


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W I N T E R 2 0 2 2 | D E S I G N S TA R S

Picture-Perfect A Pine Lake new-construction highlights scenic location By Jeanine Matlow | Photography by Beth Singer


ne of the goals for this West Bloomfield new-build was to have a nice flow for hosting family and friends. That objective extends from the main areas of the transitional residence to the outdoor spaces that enrich the picturesque spot. The creative spirit behind the project, Jennifer Asmar, right, of Asmar Interiors in Troy, shares how she addresses waterfront properties. For lakefront locations, Asmar says she likes to keep the sightlines open with low-profile seating such as sofas and ottomans. In addition, she positions an adja28

cent or parallel focal wall for key features like the fireplace and TV, to keep the main view clear. When it comes to furniture placement, Asmar lets the water be her guide inside and out. That’s evident in the great room of this home, which is conducive to conversation and TV, yet open to the lakefront. “Wherever you sit, you have a great view,” she says. Asmar explains that she prefers open-pane windows in a waterfront home, and says she’d rather have no treatments

whenever possible. For spaces that require privacy, like a master bedroom, she suggests minimal drapery panels with shades that recess into the headrail, to offer a better view. The same less-is-more approach applies to landscaping a lakefront property. Homes on the water benefit from fuller but lower plantings like boxwood, hydrangea, and Japanese maples. “You want nothing growing that’s so obtrusive that it would be in the way,” Asmar says. Outdoor seating can be less conspicu-


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D E S I G N S TA R S | W I N T E R 2 0 2 2


ous, too — like the dining table and chairs on the lower-level walkout patio, which was intentionally positioned on the far edge of the property. “It was plotted to be away from the house and toward the lake, for a feeling of being on the water,” Asmar explains, pointing out that the neutral furniture lets the homeowners and their guests savor the rich shades of the lake. Those seated at the indoor dining table can also enjoy continuous views through a wide doorwall, while a lantern-style light fixture above the kitchen island keeps the sightlines open. “Nothing is enclosed, fussy, or busy,” Asmar says. Special touches — like the custom light fixture in the adjacent great room that was centered in the round window — go a long way on the water. “When the homeowners are on their pontoon boat, they can see it from the lake when it’s lit at night,” the designer says.

“When designing a home on the water, I always use a lot of blue,” interior designer Jennifer Asmar says. “It’s just the way bringing that blue into the home makes you feel when you’re on the lake, whether you’re inside or out.” People pay a premium for waterfront property, she notes. “Unfortunately, in Michigan we don’t have a long season, so when you bring the outside in, you’re extending the enjoyment of the space.” As for the application, Asmar adds touches of blue throughout. “I like using it in accents like pillows and artwork instead of furniture,” she explains. In the kitchen, she often introduces the soothing hue in key features. “I like to use it on the countertop and the backsplash,” Asmar says. “Areas like that usually have a polished feel. It almost has that glistening lake feel to it.” — JM

LA K E LI FE LOW DOW N During her downtime, Jennifer Asmar heads to Traverse City, Charlevoix, and Harbor Springs, where she enjoys time spent on Lake Michigan with her husband and their three kids. “We love to go on boat rides or go kayaking,” she says. Her children look forward to going Up North. “It’s such a kid-friendly area,” Asmar says. “They love to go swimming in the lake. Sometimes it’s about just digging your feet in the sand and enjoying the natural beauty.” Her kids gladly pack up their sand toys in anticipation of heading to the popular destination. “They like looking for treasures in the lake, like little rocks and shells,” Asmar says. It doesn’t take much effort to enjoy a perfect vacation day. “We love setting up a beach blanket that’s big enough for all of us to sit on and have lunch and just play in the water,” she says. — JM

MORE INFORMATION asmarinteriors.com

Both pages: Making the most of waterfront views, designer Jennifer Asmar prefers openpane windows and no treatments whenever possible. The dining table and chairs on the lower-level walkout patio were intentionally positioned to feel as if you’re seated right on the water.


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Bathing Beauties Cozy accents for your cottage bathrooms Styled by Jamie Fabbri 1. The expertly crafted Alisal Vanity from ANN SACKS sets a relaxed and contemporary vibe. $5,560.20 (for 36-inch vanity, mirror, and top), Ann Sacks, Michigan Design Center, Troy, annsacks.com, michigandesign.com.

3. The Gracie Triple Sconce from CITY LIGHTS DETROIT combines form and function. $1,239, City Lights Detroit - A Visual Comfort & Co. Lighting Gallery, Michigan Design Center, Troy, citylightsdetroit. com, michigandesign.com.

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5. Add a pop of fresh greenery with the Cement Sansevieria Petite Plant from FLEURDETROIT. $85, fleurdetroit, Bloomfield Hills, fleurdetroit.com.

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2. Step on up to ANTHROPOLOGIE’s Harvest Garden Bath Mat. $54-$74, anthropologie.com.

4. You can’t go wrong with Berrington Blue — a blackened mid-tone blue — by FARROW & BALL. Starting at $110, Habitatery, Ann Arbor, farrow-

6. Stay organized with KRAVET’s Roo Tray Set. To the Trade, Kravet/Lee Jofa/ Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy, kravet.

8. SERENA & LILY’s Tavira Waste Bin is a natural beauty with coastal flair. $58, serenaandlily.com.



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Light the Season Waxing poetic on wintry candles Styled by Jamie Fabbri 1. Impress guests with the regal Nandi Candle by OLD FLAME CANDLE CO. $318, Anthropologie stores, anthropologie.com, oldflamecandleco.com.

aroma of a snow-covered mountain retreat. $44, Blossoms, Birmingham, blossomsbirmingham.com, nestnewyork.com.

2. Keep it local with the Lake Superior Driftwood soy candle by AROMA SCENTS. $14, aromascentsllc.com.

4. FERNWEH EDITIONS’ Pine & Fir Balsam candle is a perfect blend of evergreen trees and spices. $55, fernweheditions. com.

3. The Blue Cypress & Snow candle by NEST evokes the

5. This fern leaf candle from FLEURDETROIT adds a fresh,


elegant touch to any setting. $80, fleurdetroit, Bloomfield Hills, fleurdetroit.com. 6. With notes of cardamom, clove, and sandalwood, the Brass Votive candle by FOUR SEASONS AT HOME takes you on an escape to the country. $399, shop.fourseasons.com. 7. K. HALL DESIGN’s Earl Grey candle embodies comfort and warmth. $26, Cutler’s, Pe-

toskey, cutlersonline.com. 8. BARR-CO.’s Holiday Glass Tumbler Candle is festively scented with cinnamon, apple cider, and clove. $34, Cutler’s, Petoskey, cutlersonline.com. 9. You’ll be transported to Tangier thanks to the notes of vetiver and amber in this candle from RARELUMIERE. $39, rarelumiere.com.


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Some doggone must-haves for your pooch Styled by Jamie Fabbri 1. Sleek, simple, and luxurious, the CozyChic Pet Bed from BAREFOOT DREAMS is sure to please your pup. $148, barefootdreams.com. 2. Treat your furry friend to style and warmth with this BAREFOOT DREAMS Camo Pet Sweater. $48, barefootdreams.com.


3. The Puppy Placemat by MACKENZIE-CHILDS will keep your pet feeling like a prince(ss) at mealtime. $28, Cutler’s, Petoskey, cutlersonline.com, mackenziechilds.com. 4. The Buffalo Check Plaid Dog Bed by THE FOGGY DOG is beautiful and built to last. From $45, The Counting

House, Grand Rapids, shopcountinghouse.com, thefoggydog.com. 5. THE FOGGY DOG’s Lady Bows (shown in Juniper Plaid Flannel) add a feminine touch for dress-up or everyday fun. From $22, The Counting House, Grand Rapids, shopcountinghouse.com, thefoggydog.com.

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12/2/21 12:22 PM

W I N T E R 2 0 2 2 | FA M I LY A F FA I R

Happy Together Major renovation makes family get-togethers more memorable at Lake Michigan retreat By Jeanine Matlow Photography by Werner Straube


or a lake house in West Olive, near Grand Haven, the homeowners wanted their getaway to better accommodate seasonal guests. The couple’s newly remodeled refuge near Lake Michigan serves as the perfect gathering spot, thanks to Deidre Remtema, principal of Deidre Interiors; Brian Doezema, project manager from Scott Christopher Homes; and architectural designer Lori Potter, all based in Grand Rapids. Each summer, the homeowners welcome extended family to their lake house for a few weeks. “It’s a tradition they started that they absolutely love,” Remtema says. “They have a blast, and they wanted to make sure their home is family-friendly.”


A kitchen with a bigger footprint can now handle more people. New features include an island with comfy bar stools and a dining table that seats up to 12. “The idea was that everybody could be together,” Remtema says. “It was too small for people to gather before.” The periwinkle porcelain backsplash echoes the lakeside location, as do the light fixtures above the island, which feature glass globes supported by delicate ropes. The barstools are upholstered in persimmon fabric. “I’m passionate about comfort,” Remtema adds. “It’s just our lifestyle here in Michigan,” she continues. “We’re a state where people want to gather and entertain outdoors, but when we’re inside with family, we want to have breakfast and coffee and dinner and spend time with them, and sink into a comfortable spot.” Shiplap covers the walls in the dining room, where stainresistant cushions encourage lingering at the expandable table. A built-in bench with storage drawers offers additional seating. “People want to entertain and have long conversations, and crack open another bottle of wine,” the designer says. Another popular add-on is the coffee bar that’s part of the kitchen and the hallway, offering better traffic flow. “We separated it a bit so when people are getting drinks in the morning, the kitchen doesn’t get congested — but it still feels connected,” she explains. A small back porch above the walkout-level garage became a game room, which was on the husband’s wish list. Ample seating includes leather chairs with casters on the front legs, so they can easily pivot between the velvet sectional and the TV for movie


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FA M I LY A F FA I R | W I N T E R 2 0 2 2

Both pages, clockwise from upper left: The renovated kitchen now has a bigger footprint and a new island. The periwinkle porcelain backsplash echoes the lakeside location. An inviting coffee bar is located in the kitchen and a hallway.


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W I N T E R 2 0 2 2 | FA M I LY A F FA I R

Clockwise, from left: The popular game room; the expandable dining table that can seat up to 12; and another perspective of the game room.

nights, when the ottoman doubles as a footrest. Upholstered chairs on casters surround the game table. “They’re very comfortable, but stylish. You can sit in them for hours,” Remtema says. Horizontal shiplap on the walls was stained to reveal the texture and grain. A coffered ceiling and wood floors add additional warmth. With a full bar, a dartboard, a pool table, and even an arcade game, the well-equipped space and its location get rave reviews from family and friends. “We wanted to mesh the game room with the rest of the home,” Remtema says. “It’s on the main level, so they can open up the double doors and look at the lake, and the windows create a great cross breeze.” Tall cabinets with drawers make the custom bar feel like a piece of furniture. “It’s extremely functional and very well-planned,” she says. “Everything has a place.” The glass detail was her client’s request. An icemaker and beverage fridge make it easy for guests 38


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to help themselves. The area above the game room was built out to add two guest rooms in the two-story home, which also has an attached guest house. A deluxe guest bathroom can accommodate multiple people with four sinks, two of which are in a separate shower area. The striped effect of the blue and white tiles adds visual interest. “In a lake house, tile is aesthetically beautiful, and also very durable for high-traffic areas,” Remtema says. Hooks are another perfect fit. “People always have beach towels and bathing suits,” she adds. Part of the reconfiguration of the interiors led to a new laundry room on the first floor that’s more functional than its predecessor, and a really pretty powder room. “In a lake house, a powder room is a well-used space. It’s almost like you can’t have enough of them,” Remtema says. Tile covers the lower walls, protecting them and making them

easy to clean. “It adds character,” she says. Blue-and-white wallpaper with a feather motif lends texture, along with a woven grasscloth mirror. “The feathers almost mimic waves, and the frame on the mirror brings in a sand element,” Remtema explains. Now more than ever, Remtema says she values the work she does with clients like these who want to bring their family and friends together in their home or their lake house. “It just feels more meaningful,” she says. “(It’s) all the details about their hopes and dreams, and how we translated that to help them live their life. That’s the part I love the most — (thinking about) the memories and connections that are going to be made after the work has been completed.” Above: The custom bar in the game room features glass detail and tall cabinets with drawers that make it feel like furniture.


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W I N T E R 2 0 2 2 | FA M I LY A F FA I R

BUYER’S GUIDE INTERIOR DESIGNER Deidre Remtema, Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids, deidreinteriors.com BATHROOM Basket, Towel – Target Flooring – Bliss Stone Pebbles, Zen Fiji Cream Lighting, Sink – Visual Comfort, Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids Mirror – Mirror Image Home, Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids Sink – Kohler, Williams Studio, Grand Rapids Wall Tile – Sonoma Tile Makers, Virginia Tile, Grand Rapids BATHROOM, POWDER ROOM Lighting, Sink – Visual Comfort, Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids Mirror – Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids Sink Unit – Scott Christopher Homes, Grand Rapids; Hard Topix, Jenison Wall Tile – WOW Subway Lab, Virginia Tile, 40

Grand Rapids Wallpaper – Schumacher, Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids COFFEE BAR Cabinets – Custom, Scott Christopher Homes, Grand Rapids Flooring – Alder, RT Baldwin, Hudsonville Shelves, Floating – Custom, Scott Christopher Homes, Grand Rapids Wall Treatment – V Board Paneling DINING AREA Bench – Custom, Scott Christopher Homes, Grand Rapids Chairs, Dining – Old Biscayne Designs, Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids Chandelier – Visual Comfort, Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids Flooring – Alder, RT Baldwin, Hudsonville Table, Dining – Old Biscayne Designs, Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids Wall Treatment – V Board Paneling GAME ROOM Armchair, Leather – Hickory Chair Armchairs – Design Master, Deidre Interiors,

Grand Rapids Cabinets, Mini-Bar – Scott Christopher Homes, Grand Rapids Countertop, Mini-Bar – Corian Quartz, Evergreen Drapery – Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids; Fabric, Schumacher Flooring – Alder, RT Baldwin, Hudsonville Lighting – Visual Comfort, Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids Ottoman – Custom, Vanguard Furniture; Fabric, Lindsay Cowles Pillows, Accent – Dwellings, Grand Rapids Sconces, Mini-Bar – Visual Comfort, Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids Sofa – Performance Velvet, Vanguard Furniture Table – Old Biscayne Designs, Deidre Interiors, Grand Rapids Wall Treatment – Wood Paneling, Gray Stain, Scott Christopher Homes, Grand Rapids KITCHEN Backsplash – Sonoma Tile Makers, Virginia Tile, Grand Rapids Bar Stools – Canadel Cabinets, White – Custom, Scott Christopher Homes, Grand Rapids

The powder room and a main bath are in keeping with a lakeside vibe that’s featuring the blue tones of the vast lake just steps away.

Cabinets and Bar, Blue – Custom, Scott Christopher Homes, Grand Rapids Countertop – Corian Quartz, Gray Tundra, Great Lakes Granite Works, Comstock Park Flooring – Alder, RT Baldwin, Hudsonville Hood and Refrigerator – Subzero, Bekins, Grand Rapids Stove – Wolf ADDITIONAL PROJECT CONTRIBUTORS Architectural Designer – Lori Potter, Grand Rapids Client Specialist – Drew Terwee, Scott Christopher Homes, Grand Rapids Project Manager – Brian Doezema, Scott Christopher Homes, Grand Rapids


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Picture perfect lending. Wooded acres, country homes, and room to play. GreenStone can help you realize your dreams of life off the beaten path. Contact your local branch to learn more about our unique financing options.

800-444-3276 www.greenstonefcs.com

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Nature’s Way

Every square inch was considered when designing this beautiful Little Portage Lake new-build By Tracy Donohue | Photography by James Haefner


hen Frank and Lisa Johnson purchased their lakefront property in Pinckney nearly 20 years ago, they envisioned a future “lake escape.” Situated on a scenic corner lot on Little Portage Lake, the original house was a rental duplex cottage — which gave the Johnsons time to stay on the property while formulating their plan to build a new home in which they could gather with family. With a degree in architecture and experience as a contractor, Frank used his knowledge of home design to prepare a conceptual design presentation for the lake district zoning board, which was necessary in order to obtain the needed variances. After three submissions, the couple received approval and hired a team of professionals to help take their plan from concept to reality. The Johnsons hired Young & Young Architects in Bloomfield Hills, Jensen Custom Homes in Grass Lake, and Young Cabinetry in Saline to execute their vision. By Design Interiors, in Saline, provided interior design services. A great deal of planning went into the home’s approximately 2,500 square feet and surrounding property. According to Frank, the design focused on clean detailing, Japanese influences, and an effective layout, as well as ensuring there were unique views of the lake. “Due to the (property)



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Opposite page: An aerial view of the Johnson abode. This page: The home is featured in the book “Creative Process in Architecture.”


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edge view,” Frank says. During the planning stages, the homeowners perched on ladders and the duplex’s roof, to ensure the right elevations and window placement to showcase the home’s stunning lake views. Todd Young, principal architect at Young & Young Architects, collaborated on this project with his father, Don Paul Young, also a principal architect at Young & Young Architects, and project manager Chris Harrington. The Johnsons’ home appears in Don Paul Young’s recent book, “Creative Process in Architecture,” which includes his insights over more than six decades in practice. Young explains, “We try to create spaces that connect man and nature through the balance of interior and exterior space. Each house is a prototype. This one is like a very finely tuned, tightly designed wooden boat or small yacht. Every square inch was thoughtful, every piece had a reason. We wanted to maxi-

constraints, we couldn’t just throw space at the design,” he says. “Our enjoyment came in developing ideas, sequences, and surprises starting from the driveway and continuing through the house.” Unexpected details are plentiful throughout the contemporary home’s interior and outdoor spaces. A secret bookcase door panel leads to the media room — a concept devised by the couple’s oldest grandson, who was inspired by watching Scooby-Doo. A model wooden boat floats under a glass panel between the Eagle’s Nest and second floor below, and a warmwater sprinkler delights grandchildren in the center of the driveway. “The view from the front door has a surprise factor. It appears the lake visually extends from the kitchen countertop, creating an infinity 44


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mize the views and connect them to nature as much as possible, but maintain privacy. “It was a great collaboration. Frank knows how things go together, so it was like a partnership. The builder was phenomenal. The team of craftsmen was incredible,” Young says. “The biggest challenge was fitting the homeowners’ plan into the constraints of the space.”During the nearly two-year process, the Johnsons

lived in their Ann Arbor home. “We weren’t in a rush and enjoyed the process,” Lisa says. “We understood the give and take.” The Johnsons’ thoughtfully designed property has become the family gathering place they envisioned with Sunday family dinners, sleepovers with grandchildren, and an outdoor shower for rinsing off after enjoying the lake. The third-floor Eagle’s Nest, or “Eyrie,” is a place for viewing sunrises and sunsets, as well as a space that easily allows for overnight guests, with seating cushions designed to fit twin sheets — and built-in storage underneath to store them. When asked about some of their favorite areas of the house, Lisa responds: “I love having coffee on the terrace and seeing the sun coming up from the Eagle’s Nest. I love the kitchen, especially the view to the water. It’s almost like being on a boat.” Then there’s the master shower. Says Frank: “It has corner windows with the sill height adjusted for privacy, and you can see the lake and watch fish, turtles, and eagles.” Adds Young: “A project is a success when clients don’t want to go on vacation because they’re happier at home — everything they dreamt and planned has come to life. It feels good to help make that happen.”

Both pages, clockwise from opposite page, far left: Every space has a stunning view, from the foyer and bedroom to the media room, kitchen, and dining area.


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HOMEOWNERS Frank and Lisa Johnson, Little Portage Lake, Pinckney BATHROOM, GUEST Cabinet, Floating Vanity – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline Flooring – Crossvillle Shades, Vapor, Virginia Tile, Livonia Glass Shower Enclosure – Custom, Wolverine Moore Glass, Dexter Vanity Top and Glass Shower Enclosure – Travertine Marble, Sienna Silver, Boston Tile & Terrazzo Co., Detroit Wall Treatment, Bathtub and Shower – Crossville Shades, Fog, Virginia Tile, Livonia BEDROOM, GUEST Armchair – Wayfair Artwork – “More Possibilities, No. 3, State 4,” Michelle Hegyi, WSG Gallery, Ann Arbor Bed Frame – Work Bench Contemporary Furniture, Kerrytown Market & Shops, Ann Arbor Bedding – Macy’s Blanket (leaf) – Macy’s 46

Ceiling Treatment (paint) – Benjamin Moore, White Wisp Ceiling Treatment (wood) – Western Red Cedar Chests, Bedside – Work Bench Contemporary Furniture, Kerrytown Market & Shops, Ann Arbor Flooring – Oak, Schafer Hardwood Flooring Co., Tecumseh; Installation, Superior Hardwood Flooring Distributors LLC, Waterford Township Lamp, Bedside – Pier 1 Lighting – Halo, Gross Electric, Ann Arbor Pillow, Armchair – Pier 1 Pillows, Accent – Custom, By Design Interiors, LLC, Saline Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Boothbay Gray EAGLE’S NEST Bench – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline; Cushion, Custom, Badall’s Upholstery, Stockbridge; Fabric, Duralee, 5-blue Boat Display – Glass Floor/Interior Skylight, Wolverine Moore Glass, Dexter Flooring – Teak and Holly, Homestead Hardwoods; Installation, Finn Jensen, Jensen Custom Homes, Grass Lake Railing – Q-Railing Systems; Installation, Finn Jensen, Jensen Custom Homes, Grass Lake Skylight – Wasco Skylight, Abbott K Schlain Co., Livonia

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Rockport Gray ENTRY AND STAIRCASE Cabinet – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline Ceiling Paint – Benjamin Moore, White Wisp Doors, Closet – Custom, Midnight Millwork, Lambertville Door, Front – Custom, Midnight Millwork, Lambertville; Installation, Finn Jensen, Jensen Custom Homes, Grass Lake Flooring – Oak, Schafer Hardwood Flooring Co., Tecumseh; Installation, Superior Hardwood Flooring Distributors, LLC, Waterford Township Lighting – Halo, Gross Electric, Ann Arbor Stairs – Custom, Ironstone Welding, Ypsilanti; Installation, Dan Parrotte, Ironstone Welding, Ypsilanti; Finn Jensen, Jensen Custom Homes, Grass Lake SS Stair Railing - Q-Railing Systems; Installation, Finn Jensen, Jensen Custom Homes, Grass Lake Stair Treads - Custom, Midnight Millwork, Lambertville; Installation, Finn Jensen, Jensen Custom Homes, Grass Lake Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Rockport Gray Window, Stained Glass – “Van Gogh” Sunflower Stained Glass, Riccardo, Darra, Vetreria Ducale S.R.I., Murano, Italy KITCHEN Appliances – Big George’s Home Appliance

Mart, Ann Arbor Bar Stools – PAM Bar Stools, Ligne Roset, Birmingham Cabinetry – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline Chairs, Dining – Zuo Modern Contemporary Countertops – Danby Marble, Genesee Cut Stone & Marble Co., Flint Door, Sliding – Marvin Windows, Laurence Smith Window & Door, Bay City Flooring – Oak, Schafer Hardwood Flooring Co., Tecumseh; Installation, Superior Hardwood Flooring Distributors, LLC, Waterford Township Lighting – HALO Recessed Can, Gross Electric, Ann Arbor Paint, Ceiling, Trim and Interior Door – Benjamin Moore, White Wisp Table, Dining – Custom, Wolverine & Moore Glass, Dexter Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Rockport Gray MEDIA/TV ROOM Artwork – “Aspen Glades,” David C. Schultz, West Light Images Gallery Cushions – Custom, Badall’s Upholstery, Stockbridge; Fabric, Silver State Sunbrella Fabrics, Basket Tweed in Charcoal Door, Bookcase – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline Flooring – Bolero Wool Carpet, River Stone, By Design Interiors, LLC, Saline


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Paint, Lower Ceiling – Benjamin Moore, White Wisp Paint, Raised Ceiling – Benjamin Moore, Charcoal Slate Pillows, Accent – Custom, By Design Interiors, LLC, Saline Sofa – Custom, Young Cabinetry, Saline; Installation, Finn Jensen, Jensen Custom Homes, Grass Lake Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Weimaraner SCREENED PORCH AND TERRACE Armchairs – Coast Lounge, Summer Classics, By Design Interiors, LLC, Saline Fan – Minka-Aire, Top of the Lamp, Ann Arbor Flooring – IPE Decking in Brazilian Walnut, L. L. Johnson Lumber, Charlotte; Installation, Finn Jensen, Jensen Custom Homes, Grass Lake Lighting – Halo, Gross Electric, Ann Arbor Lounges, Chaise – Coast Chaise, Summer

Classics, By Design Interiors, LLC, Saline Glass Railing Mounting System – CRL Architectural Hardware; Installation, Finn Jensen, Jensen Custom Homes, Grass Lake Railings (glass) – Wolverine & Moore Glass, Dexter Screen Wall – System, Centor Model S1, Newmyer Kitchen & Bath, Milford; Installation, Finn Jensen, Jensen Custom Homes, Grass Lake Table, End – Coast Ottoman, Summer Classics, By Design Interiors, LLC, Saline Wall and Ceiling Treatment – Western Red Cedar EXTERIOR Garage Door – HAAS Garage Door, Ann Arbor Garage Door, Ann Arbor Roof, Flat – Firestone Roofing Products, Bloom Roofing, Brighton Roofing, Metal – PAC CLAD in Weathered

Zinc, Anvil Roofing, South Lyon Siding and Trim – Western Red Cedar Siding Paint – PPG Proluxe, Butternut Specialty Glass Installation – Wolverine & Moore Glass, Dexter Windows – Marvin Windows, Bronze Clad Exteriors EXTERIOR (EVENING PHOTO) Chairs, Outdoor – Café Curved Back Chairs, Frontgate Heaters, Electric Radiant – Solaira Heaters Pillows, Accent – Frontgate Planters – The Produce Station, Ann Arbor Seating, Outdoor – Baleares Circular Daybed, Frontgate Table, Sunken Outdoor Dining – Custom

Builder – Jensen Custom Homes, Grass Lake Custom Cabinetry and Built-In Seating – Young Cabinetry, Saline Drywall and Painting – Osbun’s Custom Drywall, Britton Electrical – Stein Electric Co. Inc., Manchester HVAC – Robertson Morrison Inc., Ann Arbor Interior Design – Nancy Krzesicki, By Design Interiors, LLC, Saline Plumbing, Radiant Floors, Driveway Snowmelt and Outdoor Shower – Tokar Mechanical, Brighton Sound System and Media – Architectural Media Systems and Overture Audio, Ann Arbor Tile Work, Fireplace Surround and Bathrooms – Ken Mahn, Colosseum Tile & Marble, Plymouth

ADDITIONAL PROJECT CONTRIBUTORS Architects – Young & Young Architects, Bloomfield Hills

This page: The home takes on a special glow come evening. Opposite page: The Eagle’s Nest and screened porch are two popular spots.


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Making Waves

A complete gut ensures a dated design lives up to its potential By Khristi Zimmeth Photography by Beth Singer


The owners of this lakeside home wanted it to be contemporary and clean. Their goals were met, especially in the sleek living room.

ike a time capsule from the 1980s” is how interior designer Carrie Long remembers the “before” of a recently completed West Bloomfield project. With four bedrooms and four and a half baths, the home had plenty of positives but also its share of negatives, the designer explains. At the top of the positives list was its lakeside location and the “absolutely beautiful, wide-open spaces” from which to appreciate the views, the designer says. Not-so-positives, on the other hand, included dark spaces (including bathrooms filled with black absolute marble) and having to work within the existing constraints of the original property, which had been remodeled a number of times through the years. Long estimates that the last remodel was completed sometime in the ’80s. In fact, she says, she isn’t even sure when the original house was built, adding that it has been changed so many times over the years. “The house wanted to be contemporary,” the designer explains. The answer was “a complete gut and renovation” to bring it into the present, Long says. Luckily, the homeowners were on board. “They let us take it as far as we wanted,” Long explains. “Their No. 1 goal was for it to feel contemporary and clean.” Additional goals were to improve the flow and floor plan, while lightening and brightening the residence and giving its owners the serene feeling they were seeking. “We ultimately changed the entire layout and function of the house,” the designer says. Updating and modernizing were priorities, too, but so was making the home “sophisticated, yet warm and cozy,” according to the designer. The hands-on homeowners enjoyed the process and worked with Long during the planning stages, researching materials and expediting decisions. Rearranging some rooms and taking down walls fixed the floor plan. Changes included carving out an office off the foyer from the existing first-floor master suite, and reworking the two upstairs en suite bedrooms. Walls were moved in the lower level to create a yoga and exercise room. While the kitchen had been redone before Long started working on the home, she worked with Perspectives Cabinetry to update both the master and the MICHIGAN BLUE

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This page: Intriguing lines and architecture define the home, including in this alcove area. Opposite page: The living room and top-floor great room, from a variety of angles, look out to the best views of the lake. A perspective from the top of the stairs also impresses.


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guest baths, opting for a mix of light and dark tones in both that played with contrast while remaining true to the home’s contemporary style. Not surprisingly, another goal was to maximize the lake views. “Every view in the entire house was about the lake,” says Long, adding that the dining room, living room, great room, and walk-out lower level had watery vistas. She purposely resisted a color palette that referenced the water and avoided any lake-themed accents, preferring instead to let the dramatic views speak for themselves. “We kept everything neutral so the lake would provide both the focal point and the pop of color,” she explains. With the floor plan fixed, the lake now takes center stage as the home’s headliner. “The big, beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows showing the view of the lake are def-

Both pages, from far left: The wine cellar, office, and powder room exude detailed beauty.



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initely highlights of the house,” Long says of the abundant windows. “They were all there, but were reframed and maximized.” The living room fireplace, once adorned with large fieldstone boulders that didn’t complement the home’s contemporary style, was re-clad in lighter stone slabs the designer calls “soft and serene.” The new fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom are, in fact, two of her favorite features, and Long says the living room is where she would like to hang out if the home was hers. “I love how big and wideopen the spaces are,” she says. “The oversized sectional is a great place to sit and enjoy both the striking new fireplace and the lake.” The extensive renovation took about a year to complete, the designer says. “Everything just works so much better together now,” she says. MICHIGAN BLUE

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BUYER’S GUIDE INTERIOR DESIGNER Carrie Long, Carrie Long Interiors, Royal Oak, carrielonginteriors.com BATHROOM, MASTER Sconce – Torch Wall Sconce, Polished Nickel, Boyd Lighting Stool, Vanity – White Linen Round Stool, Nickel Base, Worlds Away BEDROOM, MASTER Bed Frame (fabric) – Custom, Charcoal Two-Tone Textured Faux Leather, Armani/ Casa Chests, Bedside – Custom, Carrie Long Interiors, Royal Oak Ottoman – Bright Chair; Fabric, Antica Gunmetal Velvety Fabric, Weitzner 54

Rug – Light Gray and Silvered Heathered Wool, Stark Carpet, Troy Sconce – Matte White and White Linen Wall Sconce, Donghia Wallpaper – Off-White Striped Velvety Wallpaper, Weitzner LIVING ROOM Chair, Club – Holly Hunt; Back Cushion Fabric, Chocolate and Silver Stripes, Brentano; Body Fabric, Chocolate Brown Crushed Velvet, Donghia Rug – Dark Oatmeal Ribbed Rug, Stark Carpet, Troy Sectional – Stewart; Fabric, Light Oatmeal Hopsack, Castel Table, Coffee – Custom, Marble and Resin, Martha Sturdy, Baker Furniture OFFICE Chair, Desk – High-Back Swivel Chair, Bright Chair; Fabric, Full Grain Aniline Dyed Calfskin

Leather, Holly Hunt Wallpaper – Magnetic Wallpaper in White, Weitzner

Deep Patina Bronze, Robert Abbey Sectional – Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; Fabric, Dark Gray Velvety Fabric, Donghia

POWDER ROOM Artwork – Francine Turk Studio Countertop – Bianco Precise Slabs Faucet – Axor Sink – Stone Forest Wallpaper – Hartmann & Forbes


STAIRCASE Painting – Francine Turk Studio Vases – Martha Sturdy GREAT ROOM/SITTING ROOM, TOP FLOOR Ottoman – Custom, 60-inch Round; Fabric, Faux Leather, Light Oatmeal, Brentano Pillows, Accent (fabric) – Dark Gray with Silver Diamonds, Brentano Sconce – Jonathan Adler Parker Sconce,


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Both pages, clockwise from opposite page, far left: The wine cellar, master bedroom and bath, and office (another perspective) were all part of the renovation, which took about a year to complete.


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W I N T E R 2 0 2 2 | E N T E R TA I N I N G AT H O M E

Bean There, Let’s Do That!

Ellie Krieger Creates “One-Pot Wonders” with highly nutritious legumes By Honey Murray | Photography by Randi Baird


llie Krieger’s latest book, “Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Sheet Pan or Skillet,” is the perfect kitchen companion for creating simple, delicious, and richly nutritious soups, stews, and entrées — as well as appetizers and desserts — for delicious lakeside entertaining. The cookbook author and food show host, who makes her home in New York City’s upper west side, recently shared some entertaining insights. A lover of the Great Lakes State, Krieger is quick to note that she “dreams of being in northern Michigan. “My husband is from Michigan, and we’ve gone to various places there. Most recently, we’ve been to Frankfort and Sleeping Bear Dunes,” says Krieger, whose daughter attends Michigan State University. When cooking up a batch of goodness for friends and family at your cottage, consider Krieger’s philosophy of “usually-sometimes-rarely,” which is the mainstay of all seven of her cookbooks (two of them are winners of the James Beard award): Vegetables, whole fruits, grains, lean proteins, seafood, beans, nuts and seeds, healthy oils, and dairy products such as yogurt are the backbone of what you eat each day, with “sometimes” foods (processed grains, honey, maple syrup) “sprinkled” throughout recipes, and foods like refined sugars, bacon, and butter used “rarely,” although definitely not forbidden. Krieger’s special joy in her most recent book comes from the fact that it “clears so many hurdles,” she says, for people to cook. “Using one pan not only makes less cleanup,” she says, “but it also makes it easier on the front end, with fairly simple prep.


“I value cooking and want beautiful food — but, honestly, most days I don’t want to, or don’t have time to, work that hard or make a meal into a project.” That’s why many of her dishes — including some of her favorite entertainment recipes — contain healthy convenience foods liked canned beans and tomatoes, frozen peas, and microwaveable brown rice. “What I love about these recipes is that you can have all of these ingredients in your cupboards,” Krieger says, “ready for pop-in guests … like dried basil, if you don’t have fresh, and raw, cleaned shrimp in the freezer that thaws quickly under running water. You feel, ‘I can do this!’ And you can — and it’s all in just one pot

or pan.” Krieger, who stars in the Food Network’s “Healthy Appetite” and Public Television’s “Ellie’s Real Good Food” (she’s also executive producer), has another media concoction brewing. “I’ve got an announcement,” she says. “A podcast. It’s imminent, and I’m very excited.” Krieger, a registered dietitian nutritionist who was once in private practice, is enjoying spreading the word, “and having the joy of nourishing people.” On the following pages are recipes from Ellie Krieger’s latest book:

Ellie Krieger’s new book is sure to be a cottageowner’s go-to, thanks to the many healthy recipes that require only one pot, sheet pan, or skillet!


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WARM CHIPOTLE RED BEAN DIP From the chef: “I love this dip! It’s warm and luscious, with a smooth, smoky spice, and it even has cheese in it! Something about dip is interactive; there’s a huge fun factor.” 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced ½ teaspoon ground cumin ¼ teaspoon ground coriander 2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium pinto or other red beans, drained and rinsed 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, seeded, plus 2 teaspoons of the adobo sauce ½ teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for serving ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces) To serve: 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas 1 medium-size jicama, cut into wide sticks 16 small hearts of romaine lettuce leaves (4 ounces) 4 radishes, cut into wedges Preheat the oven to 425 F. Heat the oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, and coriander and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Put half of the beans, 2 tablespoons of water, the lime juice, chipotle and adobo sauce, salt, and the onion mixture in the small bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Return the bean puree to the skillet. Stir in the remaining beans and the cilantro. Sprinkle with the cheese and place in the oven. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

Just before serving, while the dip is resting, wrap the tortillas in foil and place in the oven to warm for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve the dip in the skillet (with a towel around the handle!), garnished with cilantro, with the tortillas, jicama, lettuce, and radishes for scooping. Alternatively, you can serve taco style with the jicama and radishes cut into matchsticks and the lettuce shredded. Makes 4 servings

ANCHO BLACK BEAN CHILI WITH ORANGE ESSENCE From the chef: “This is one of my favorite party foods

(shown above). In a crockpot on low, with an array of toppings on the side — like pickled jalapeños, Greek yogurt, cheese — people can come and go, helping themselves.” 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium-size onion, diced (about 1½ cups) 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup) 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1¼ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste 1 teaspoon dried oregano ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste MICHIGAN BLUE

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2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 cups canned, crushed tomatoes 3 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest, divided 1 tablespoon honey 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice ½ cup plain Greek yogurt ½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ancho chile powder, cumin, salt, oregano, cayenne, and tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the crushed tomatoes, beans, 1 teaspoon of the orange zest, the honey, and ½ cup of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have melded, about 20 minutes. Stir in the orange juice. Add additional water by the tablespoon if the chili is thicker than you’d like, and more salt and cayenne to taste. Serve each bowl garnished with a dollop of yogurt, cilantro leaves, and a pinch of the remaining orange zest. The chili will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days, or in the freezer for three months.

cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 pounds) 1 cup canned no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed ¾ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground cumin ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/ teaspoon ground turmeric 8 Pinch of cayenne pepper 5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth 1 tablespoon honey 2 tablespoons tahini ½ cup packaged crispy chickpea snacks (plain or lightly salted) 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes; add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the squash, chickpeas, salt, cumin, black pepper, turmeric, and cayenne. Add the broth and bring to a boil,

then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. (Alternatively, allow to cook slightly, then puree it in several batches in a regular blender.) Stir in the honey. Place the tahini in a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of cold water. Add more water by the teaspoon until the tahini is loose enough to be drizzled. Serve the soup drizzled with the tahini, garnished with the crispy chickpeas and parsley. The soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days, or in the freezer for three months.

LOADED POTATO NACHOS From the chef: “These are fun for a holiday party or game night, and can be part of a ‘smallplates’ meal.”

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH CRISPY CHICKPEAS From the chef: “This soup (shown at right) has a special highlight. … Secretly, inside, is a whole can of chickpeas, blended in, making it creamy. On top there’s a drizzle of tahini, giving it a nutty flavor. And instead of croutons, packaged crispy chickpeas — which I also love as a snack.” 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 3 garlic cloves, chopped 7½ cups butternut squash, seeded and 58


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1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing pan 2 medium-size russet potatoes (about 10 ounces each), unpeeled ½ plus 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium pinto beans, drained and rinsed 1 teaspoon chili powder ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic ¼ teaspoon ground cumin ¼ teaspoon ground coriander ¾ cup chopped fresh tomato 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1 tablespoon chopped red onion 1 tablespoon chopped fresh jalapeño pepper ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice 1/ cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar 3 cheese 1/ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 3 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced ¼ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (optional) Preheat the oven to 400 F. Brush a sheet pan with oil. Cut the potatoes crosswise into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Place them on the sheet pan; drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and toss to coat. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the sheet pan and bake until they’re crisp, browned on the bottom, and release easily from the pan, about 25 minutes. Flip the potatoes and cook 8 minutes more. While the potatoes cook, toss the beans in a medium-size bowl with the chili powder, granulated garlic, cumin, coriander, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Combine the tomato, cilantro, red onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Use tongs to move the potatoes toward the center of the pan, fanning them out so they each overlap slightly. Top with the seasoned beans, then the Cheddar and Jack cheeses; return the pan to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted. Use a spatula to transfer to a large serving platter or individual plates and serve topped with the tomato mixture, avocado, and, if desired, a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

SHRIMP AND WHITE BEAN BRUSCHETTA From the chef: “This recipe (shown above) is very easy to pull together. The bruschetta could be served as a meal, or if you use smaller pieces of toast, for finger foods.” 8 medium-size or 16 small, ½-inch-thick slices of crusty whole-grain bread (8 ounces) 3 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 teaspoon anchovy paste ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste 1 pound medium-size shrimp (26-30 count per pound), cleaned, tail off 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 4 medium-size garlic cloves, very thinly sliced 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes ½ cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the

bread slices on a sheet pan and brush the tops with 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil. Bake until crisp and browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the bread to serving plates. (The toasts may be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.) Put 1½ tablespoons of the oil, the tomato paste, the anchovy paste, salt, and red pepper flakes in a mediumsize bowl and stir to combine. Add the shrimp, beans, and garlic to the bowl, and toss to coat. Then, stir in the tomatoes with their juices. Spread the mixture evenly on the sheet pan and bake, stirring once at the midway point, until bubbling and the shrimp is pink and no longer translucent, about 15 minutes. Spoon the shrimp mixture generously onto the toasts; drizzle each plate with a teaspoon of olive oil, and garnish with basil leaves and additional red pepper flakes to taste. INFORMATION: Read about Ellie Kriegers’ books and podcast at elliekrieger.com, where you’ll also find her videos, articles, recipes, references, and more.


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Nature Calls

The downhill ski slopes at Treetops Resort overlook the beautiful Pigeon River countryside.

There’s room for everyone to start making some fresh tracks this winter in Gaylord’s snow-covered dreamland


bout a decade ago, as we sat around a snowy bonfire, I remember Barry Owens — who at the time ran Garland Lodge & Resort, a player in the Gaylord Golf Mecca — telling me how this gateway-to-adventure town was booming as one of Michigan’s favorite winter getaways. He said many visitors seeking to explore the wilds of northern Michigan were telling him the area felt like it was a different world in winter. “Our location along I-75 is so critical. It’s easy to get to, and there’s just so much for everyone to do around here,” he said. Today, as general manager of Treetops Resort, he’s still working on luring more visitors to enjoy the ever-expanding outdoor gems of Gaylord, located in the middle of mid-Michigan’s snowbelt, which spans from Grayling to Indian River. His pitch hasn’t changed, but the experiences keep getting better every season. Owens’ longtime promotional partner, Paul Beachnau, executive director of the Gaylord Area Convention & Tourism Bu60

reau, boasts that over the years, the community has positioned itself as the best winter destination in Michigan. “We have the most consistent snow conditions and the widest variety of quality winter activities in Michigan,” Beachnau says. “We have winter rafting and two downhill ski resorts. We have cross-country skiing and snowshoeing that ranges from rustic, at the Pigeon River Country State Forest — similar to a big, wild adventure out West — to the best-groomed cross-country trails, along with snowmaking, at Forbush Corner, and everything else in between. We have extreme tubing, more than 300 miles of groomed snowmobile trails where you can ride from our town to the Mackinac Bridge, or venture east to Alpena and west to Petoskey. We have cool winter events such as sleigh ride dinners, skiable feasts, guided hiking, dog-sled rides, and winter wine walks.” Beachnau doesn’t stop there. “Gaylord has five major rivers — the Black, Sturgeon, Pigeon, Upper Manistee, and North Branch of the Au Sable — and more

than 90 small lakes. There are many areas where water actually comes right out of the ground to start these river systems, particularly at Treetops Resort, Otsego Resort, and in the Pigeon River forestland, which exceeds 110,000 acres of managed wildlife habitat. “With the highest elevation in the Lower Peninsula, the views are breathtaking — especially when you put 153 average inches per year of snow on top. That’s partly why we’re known as the Alpine Village, in addition to our quaint, small-town charm. It’s all very appealing,” he says. Wintertime in Gaylord brings fun and excitement. That’s why Beachnau and Owens are ever the promoters, inviting snow lovers to visit and partake in the area’s outstanding outdoor pastimes. Read on!

PLAN IT! Gaylord Area Convention & Tourism Bureau gaylordmichigan.net


Stories by Ron Garbinski


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Time to Play

Book early for these adrenaline-pumping experiences


wild, roller-coaster-like sprint down a swift run on a tube. A horse-drawn sleigh ride through a winter wonderland. A robust walk through the woods atop deep, fluffy snow. Those are a few of the winter attractions the folks at Treetops Resort use to keep guests coming back year after year. “We offer one-of-kind experiences that are guaranteed to kick the adrenaline up a notch and get you excited about the outdoors,” says Beth Pittiglio, the resort’s marketing manager. “We understand that not everyone may ski or snowboard. That’s why we offer extras that visitors can’t find anywhere

else, including dog-sledding and our famous Skiable Feast.” The resort unveiled its new extreme tubing course this season. “Our original tubing hill is 400 feet in length and has an 80-foot vertical drop. Our second tubing hill is more like a run, with turns and twists instead of a straight drop,” she says. “We’re so excited. It definitely will be a highlight this winter. Not only do we have one of the best extreme tubing hills in northern Michigan, but we’ve added another run that will be just as wild.” PLAN AHEAD: Tubing on either hill is only offered during 55-minute time slots, and times vary. You can tube as much as you want during your designated

time. Book your reservations in advance. Another new tubing addition this year is a magic carpet that takes tubers back to the top to enjoy “the speed, the slope, the run, the high-pitched laughs and screams as you feel like you’re going to be thrown over the bottom hill, but are then shot back up,” Pittiglio says. Looking for something a little less wild? The resort has extra snowshoeing gear available for all ages and sizes. “It’s a great activity to include the whole family,” Pittiglio says. “Our newest event, Spudtacular Snowshoe Lunch, was created with the family in mind. We guide groups around the Potato Railroad Trail located on the property; (it’s) a once-booming


Treetops Resort added a second extreme downhill tubing hill featuring a twisting run. The original wild 400-footlong tubing hill drops 80 feet.


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Fast-Flowing Action Engage with nature on a guided winter rafting excursion

railroad line that moved potatoes from Alpena to Boyne City. Snowshoers make stops where they feast on different potato dishes prepared by the resort.” TIPS: Wear a warm pair of boots and layers of clothing you can discard as needed during the outing, because you’ll probably work up a sweat. “There’s terrain around the resort for all skill levels, including hills, woods, and plains. We have trails on trails on trails to explore.” Sleigh rides along an improved route located on the Jones Masterpiece Golf Course are provided by the local Cook Family Farm, and start after 3 p.m. on weekends. Each ride is about 25 minutes. “On certain days through the winter, we also offer an unbelievably amazing dinner after the later scheduled times,” Pittiglio says. She advises visitors to check the resort’s website for more details, and recommends booking food-themed events weeks in advance because they often sell out, due to their popularity. NATURE SIGHTINGS: While out exploring the 1,500-plus acres of Treetops’ winter playland, it’s possible to spot lots of wildlife, from turkeys to deer, bald eagles, elk, and even a black bear if you’re lucky. So, try to keep an eye out during all the excitement. — RG

PLAN IT! Treetops Resort treetops.com 62

The action-packed adventure lasts about 90 minutes, with six passengers and a guide in each raft. Reservations are required for the three daily departure times. “I’ve never had a customer disappointed with this winter trip,” Jacklitch says. “Guests comment on the exceptional beauty of the experience and how they can re-engage with nature. People love this trip, and it becomes an annual excursion for many because each one is different.” FOODIE TIP: Warm up with lunch or dinner at The Thirsty Sturgeon, located a mile north of the shop. “We’ve had paddlers of all ages join us and no experience is necessary, since you’ll be floating with our raft guides,” Jacklitch says. “All we ask is that you bring a sense of adventure.” — RG

PLAN IT! Sturgeon River Paddle Sports sturgeonriverpaddle.com

Above: Treetops Resort’s sleigh rides on improved routes are a must-do! Below: No experience necessary for a Sturgeon River rafting trip.



ome of the best stories you’ll hear around town come from those who’ve experienced a winter rafting adventure. Many of them say it’s probably the coolest thing they’ve ever done. In the winter, Sturgeon River Paddlesports offers raft trips with skilled guides on one of the fastest-flowing rivers in lower Michigan. In the summer you’re on your own — but in the cold months, having a captain guiding the ship can make the icy outing twice the fun. “We float through tunnels of cedar trees blanketed in fresh snow, past incredible ice shelf formations, and among native wildlife that seek out the river’s open water during the winter months. Experienced guides present a captivating narrative that brings the stunning, crystal-clear Sturgeon River to life,” says shop owner Jamie Jacklitch. He’s been running Sturgeon River trips for more than 20 years and has owned the shop since 2014.


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All members of the family can learn how to ski or snowboard at Gaylord’s two big resorts.

Sky-High Glee


Being the mitten’s highest city adds a little kick to the skiing options

ith a peak elevation of about 1,348 feet above sea level — some 800 feet greater than Mackinaw City, just an hour north on I-75 — Gaylord is the highest city in Michigan’s mitten. That, combined with the abundant lake-effect snow from Lake Michigan, about 50 miles away, creates a delightful winter playland. “The elevation around here can make for challenging skiing for both downhill and cross-country, and the viewscapes throughout town are incredible. Two of the best views in Michigan are from the main lodge at Otsego Resort and Legends on the Hill at Treetops Resort,” claims Paul Beachnau, executive director of the Gaylord tourism bureau. “We have a wide range of terrain, with two resorts for downhill skiing and 10 places for cross-country skiing,” Beachnau says. He explains that some areas are groomed expertly, while other places —

like the Pigeon River Country State Forest — aren’t groomed, but offer what Beachnau calls “real adventures.” The two big players in town — Otsego Resort and Treetops Resort — entice with multiple downhill runs. Beachnau says Otsego has longer runs, is more spread out, and rarely has lift lines. Treetops ranks among the highest slopes in Michigan. “Otsego Resort opened to the public three years ago (after being a private club) and the skiing there is amazing. They have five chairlifts and 25 downhill ski runs. It was one of the first ski resorts in Michigan (founded in 1939),” he says. “The River Cabin at the base of the hill is one of the coolest warming cabins and places to get a snack and sit around the fire in Michigan.” Treetops, a few miles to the east, features 23 runs overlooking the Pigeon River Valley and offers plenty of scenic spots for selfies around the slopes. “We’ve tripled our snowmaking capacity this season, covering more ski, snowboard, and tubing terrain,” says

Barry Owens, Treetops Resort’s general manager. “This gave us the ability to open sooner and get all our trails open sooner, and now we’ll hopefully be able to stay open later.” The resort also improved its rental equipment fleet by 30 percent, with stateof-the-art gear including new boots, bindings, skis, and snowboards. Owens says there’s something for all abilities and ages. NIGHT LIGHTS: If you want to see elk and have a fun and easy cross-country ski or snowshoeing adventure, Beachnau recommends Aspen Park, which backs up to the City Elk Park. There are rolling hills and the groomed trails are lit at night (Michawayé Resort also has lighted trails), providing another enjoyable way to stay outdoors longer in Gaylord. — RG

PLAN IT! Gaylord Area Convention & Tourism Bureau gaylordmichigan.net MICHIGAN BLUE

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Gaylord has 11 groomed crosscountry ski trails and most of those are snowshoe-friendly.

Hit the Trails


ne step into Casey Buckleitner’s White Birch Outfitters on Main Street in downtown Gaylord and you’ll soon realize how excited his crew is about sharing the region’s great outdoors with everyone. “It’s very important to us. We’re sharing our community with them, and they’re spending their hard-earned time off with us,” Buckleitner says. His staff’s enthusiasm when it comes to offering tips and ideas on how best to enjoy the countryside is contagious. “In winter, for example, we rent a lot of snowshoes and cross-country skis. We provide adventure-seekers with a map and everything else they need to have an enjoyable experience. It’s really rare that they come back to our store without a 64

smile,” he says. The local trails for those adventures are exceptional. “The area offers everything from a groomed and lit cross-country ski and hiking trail in the middle of downtown, at Aspen Park, to world-class cross-country skating opportunities at nearby Forbush Corner. There are literally hundreds of miles of seasonal roads through the wilderness around the Gaylord area that make for great fat-bike rides,” Buckleitner adds. The outdoorsman says there are 11 nearby groomed cross-country ski trails, and most of those are snowshoe-friendly. Runners enjoy A favorite, the High Country Pathway, the forested trails Marquette to the northeast, is anaround 83-mile loop for available biking and hiking only.that It’sare been desigto outdoor nated as an Epic Trail by the International enthusiasts. Mountain Bike Association — it’s the only such trail in Michigan, and one of about

50 in the world. “It’s the snow that makes Gaylord so special. We can never get enough of it,” Buckleitner insists. “Our proximity to Lake Michigan, being far enough away and 750 feet above it, provides fantastic lake-effect snow. (In Gaylord), we get the most snow in the Lower Peninsula. When it gets really windy in other parts of the region, our forests will maintain a nice environment for walks and hikes that won’t blow your hat off. And being at the highest vertical elevation location around, we have about a half-dozen world-class trout streams that start in Otsego County, including the Au Sable.” Here are a few of Buckleitner’s winter suggestions: GET OUT AND SKI: “The best allaround cross-country ski trail close to town is the Pine Baron Pathway (8.75


Seasonal adventures await at every turn around the Gaylord area


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miles of groomed skiing and hiking trails southwest of Gaylord). It’s set up in a shape of a clover leaf, so every so often you can decide if you want to continue or head back to the parking lot. It’s short enough for beginners, hilly enough to make it interesting, but not dangerous.” SPECIAL TIMES: He says the Beaver Dam trail behind the Otsego Resort is truly special. “We usually host a few hikes a year out there. On a sunny day, the trail along the Au Sable River at Michaywé Resort, south of town, is magic.” SOMETHING NEW: Buckleitner suggests the trailhead facility at the intersection of Main Street and the Iron Belle Trail (two routes, one for hiking and one for biking, that will span the entire state from north to south). “I’ve been to many trailhead facilities, and this is the crown jewel of the Iron Belle Trail. It’s a huge deal for our community and has been in the works for years. More than seven agencies and organizations contributed to the project.” DID YOU KNOW?: “Almost 800 acres with lots of beautiful, groomed trails and great facilities were donated to Otsego County by the Groen Family Land Gift. Louis Groen was a major McDonald’s franchisee in the Midwest and the inventor of my favorite sandwich, the Filet-o-Fish. He was an American entrepreneur, and he and his family decided to give back to our community.” ADVENTURE CYCLING: “The Pigeon River Country State Forest is the definition of adventure. It’s a few miles east of I-75, but stretches almost all the way to Alpena. Riders can take dirt roads from the outskirts of Gaylord almost all the way to Cheboygan, or south to Grayling. It’s remarkable. Ernest Hemmingway hunted there and called it ‘The Big Wild.’ ” — RG

PLAN IT! White Birch Outfitters whitebirchoutfitters.com Up North Trails upnorthtrails.org

Pine Cone Vacations lists 32 properties for rent, some of which are on water and perfect for anglers.

Where to Stay?

Vacation homes offer plenty of room to spread out


hoices abound in this thriving community, with more than 1,357 available rooms thanks to the addition of The Tru by Hilton and Comfort Inn/MainStay last year. Accommodations are available to suit every taste and budget, from resorts that offer on-site dining, spa services, and outdoor activities to trusted motel chains and independents. If a visitor wants to book something different, Pine Cone Vacations can help. “First-time guests should stay in one of our vacation homes, cabins, or condos, depending on their vacation needs, and let us handle the rest — from golf tee times to catering, dinner reservations, and more,” says owner Sandy Mattingly. “I think families and golf groups like vacation homes better because of the option to cook their own meals or have meals catered,” she says. “In the Gaylord area, we have a mix of 32 properties located on golf courses, the lakefront, in resort areas, or tucked into the woods. Depending on the visitor’s vacation plans or adventure, we can help make sure their lodging destination is close by.”

Mattingly’s Pine Cone Properties specializes in short-term vacation homes. For large groups, Pine Cone manages properties that can sleep from four to 16 people in the same house. “We’ve added a couple unique lakefront homes that are fabulous,” she says. Here’s an example: A 4,500-squarefoot home on all-sports Opal Lake, complete with a game room and pool table. “The house will wow you with the views, museum interior, and location just south of Gaylord, making it the perfect destination with 12 individual beds,” Mattingly says. “There’s also a seven-bedroom lodge overlooking the ninth fairway on the Michaywé Pines Golf Course. It’s packed with great amenities.” ANOTHER OPTION: The small Pine Cone Inn, with beach access to Otsego Lake directly across the street, can be booked for $200 per night (four rooms with baths plus Wi-Fi, refrigerators, and microwaves). — RG

PLAN IT! Pine Cone Vacations pineconevacations.com MICHIGAN BLUE

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Free-roaming elk around the Gaylord area number between 900 and 1,300.

Calls from the Wild

Expert tips on how to spot free-roaming elk in their home range


t’s chilling to hear elk bugling while you’re out exploring the woods. The animals’ loud, highpitched calls are best heard from late August through mid-October, during mating season. The bugling, which can be heard from great distances away, can mean a variety of things, from attracting mates to advertising their territories during rutting time. Northeast of Gaylord is prime territory to see and hear these massive creatures. 66

Standing about 5 feet tall at the shoulder, a mature male can weigh more than 700 pounds. Add huge antlers, which can come in at around 40 pounds, and these beauties are majestic sights in the wild. What makes elk-viewing around Gaylord so special? “It’s unique. There’s no other place in Michigan to see free-ranging elk, and very few places in the eastern U.S. that you can do so,” says Brian Mastenbrook, of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Gaylord. He supervises elk

habitat and management activities in the range, which is roughly bounded by I-75 on the west, M-68 on the north, M-33 on the east, and M-32 on the south. Mastenbrook says that as of now, Gaylord’s herd appears stable. Part of the reason for that stability is the large blocks of state land that can be managed to accommodate the animals. There are between 900 and 1,300 elk roaming northeast of Gaylord. The best opportunities to see them are in the Pigeon River Country State Forest, because


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it’s the largest block of contiguous undeveloped land in the Lower Peninsula. While southern Michigan’s elk were wiped out by the late 1800s due to unregulated hunting and habitat changes, the species was translocated from the Western U.S. and re-established around Gaylord in 1918. Mastenbrook, who spotted his first elk in 1982 (“I was thrilled!”), offers these tips for successful elk-spotting: • Study the elk-viewing guide and map available on the DNR’s website. It shows the best roads and managed areas to explore. Print a paper version of it, because cell phone/GPS reception may be limited throughout the viewing areas. • The elk range landscape spans from hardwood to pine forests, and to cedar swamps with fast-flowing cold water streams, all located within a few miles on a quiet road. “Sitting at a viewing area at dawn or dusk in the spring or fall is one of the best ways to see them in the wild. Walking quietly on closed roads or trails can also work.” • Elk are unpredictable wild animals. “People who aren’t familiar with elk shouldn’t be closer than 25 yards if they’re on foot. In a car, you can approach as closely as the elk will let you. If you’re at a viewing area, please don’t walk out into the field to get closer. You’ll scare the elk away and take away that opportunity from someone else.” • Your chances of spotting elk depends on how much work you put into it. “Your outing can range from a short drive to a day-long walk. If you can find a field or area where elk are grazing during the day and you can sit quietly at dawn and dusk, when they’re most active, you probably have a pretty good chance. There also will be some luck involved.” – RG

PLAN IT! Michigan DNR mi.gov/elk (Scroll to the bottom of the page to access the guide.)

Destination Highlights Suggestions to round out your visit

ALL IN: “Families love the Call of the Wild Museum’s educational and interesting mounted wildlife exhibits. It recently added an interactive Great Lakes exhibit. Children and adults love learning about the animals and browsing the gift store. Also, the Gaylord Area Council for the Arts’ downtown location displays and sells local artwork. For entertainment action, the bureau’s online nightlife calendar provides information about comedy shows, live musical performances, and more.” — Christy Walcott, Gaylord Area CTB GREAT PICKS: “My top must-visit places are the Pigeon River Country State Forest Visitor Center, located behind the headquarters building; the Pigeon River and the flowing well at the Pigeon Bridge campground; the sinkhole lakes on Osmun Road, north of Hardwood Lake Road; and Inspiration Point at the corner of Osmun and Clark Bridge roads.” — Brian Mastenbrook, Michigan DNR A LONG LIST: “Any food event at Treetops is an absolute must. See events on our website for details. Catching a sunrise or sunset on ‘Top of the Hill’ at Treetops is also a must-see; the vistas are unreal and we’re lucky enough to enjoy both at the resort, from either side of the ski slopes.” — Beth Pittiglio, Treetops Resort TRAIL-READY: “On Gaylord’s many groomed and scenic trails, remember that proper clothing choices matter. It’s not the bad weather; it’s your bad clothing — jeans and cotton aren’t even close to a good option. Wear suitable gear. Should you go with great friends, or maybe no friends? I think solitude can be pretty special on our cross-country trails. One of my favorites is to spend an afternoon riding the chairlift with one of your kids. You might learn a thing or two.” — Barry Owens, Treetops GO DIFFERENT: “Look for Chaga mushrooms growing on the white birch trees. These are only to be harvested in winter, and make a tasty tea. They look

like burnt coal, but taste better. The River Cabin at the Otsego Resort is one of the most unique bars in the state. You can only ski or snowshoe in, or take the shuttle bus there. Order a ‘Broken Leg’ (hot cider and whiskey or rum) and walk the groomed trail about a mile to the Beaver Dam, a picnic structure near some beautiful rapids on the headwaters of the Sturgeon River.” — asey u k eit er, hite ir h utfitters YOUR CHOICE: “If you like moderate terrain and double-tracked crosscountry ski trails, go to Pine Baron Pathway. If you like challenging rustic terrain for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, try the Shingle Mill Pathway in the Pigeon River Country State Forest along the Pigeon River. I love to cross-country ski at Pine Baron Pathway. Snowshoeing is such an easy, fun activity. Anyone can do it and it’s not expensive. You see terrain around here in winter that you’ll never see in summer, due to no leaves on the trees. I love winter better than summer around here. It’s my favorite time of year.” — Paul Beachnau, Gaylord Area CTB Gaylord’s quaint downtown is reminiscent of an Alpine Village.


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Throttle Therapy Michigan's legendary, impressive snowmobile trail network showcases stunning snowy scenery By Marla R. Miller


n Upper Peninsula winter storm was brewing. As snowmobilers loaded up their trailers to safely journey home across the Mackinac Bridge, other long-distance riders settled in for an annual snowmobile trip on the Crazy 8 trail system from Grand Marais, through the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore parkland, and on to Munising. Blizzard, schmizzard. We were there to ride and brave the elements, as previous trips had dished out sub-zero weather and 2-inches-per-hour snowfall.


Lake Superior upped the ante this time as we headed back from Wolf Inn and Pine Stump Junction, a vital gas stop where several trail systems connect in Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula. The wind howled. The dark sky unleashed February’s fury. Snow pelted my helmet. The visibility? Zero. Blowing and drifting snow quickly swallowed the wide and well-groomed Trail 8. It was all I could do to follow the taillight in front of me as we traveled the 40 miles back to safety. Once we arrived, Grand Marais lost power for the night. The weather can whip up a whiteout without warning along the shores of Lake Superior. And yet, on a calm winter day, the scenery in and around the Pictured Rocks shows off the best the season has to offer. Blue skies and sunshine. Crisp air and glistening snow. Icebergs jutting from the Great Lake’s shore. Knee-deep powder. Snowcapped pine trees as far as the eye can see, and sky-blue pink over the north woods as the sun sets. Snowmobile Paradise Once the snow flies, the Upper Peninsula transforms into a snowmobilers’ playground that attracts sledders from across the globe.

Michigan’s nearly 6,500 miles of designated snowmobile trails take sledders to unique destinations accessible only in winter. The collection of groomed U.P. trails stretches from Gogebic County (the westernmost county in the U.P.) and the Keweenaw Peninsula (the northernmost region) to Sault Ste. Marie (Canada’s neighbor) and Drummond Island (the easternmost end). The trail network crosses the Mackinac Bridge (by vehicles and trailers) and connects communities throughout northern lower Michigan to the state’s southern border. How good is that network? One year, I met a solo rider in Grand Marais Tavern who had left from Wisconsin and was making his way across the U.P. and back. Not a bad winter excursion! Michigan can’t claim the most miles of trails, but it has one of the most extensive interconnected trail systems in the nation. The Upper Peninsula ranks among the country's top 10 snowmobile destinations. “We have some pretty high standards that we hold our trail systems to,” says Ron Yesney, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Upper Peninsula trails coordinator. “There are lots of miles in other places, but those places are a lot more developed. There’s a lot more stopping and going and




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ditch riding (in those locations).” Michigan’s snow-capped landscape glistens in winter, and sledders can choose trails that head into national forests or out to the Great Lakes. Memorable highlights near water include Lake of the Clouds, High Rock Bay, Brockway Mountain, Kitch-itiKipi, Montreal Gorge, and Drummond Island. Other amazing snowmobile adventures await at Tahquamenon Falls, across the Mackinac Ice Bridge from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island, and around the Mighty Mac bridge to see the blue ice formations. Community Efforts Many trailheads start or connect in coastal communities such as St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, Paradise, Grand Marais, Munising, Marquette, Big Bay, Ontonagon, Eagle River, and Copper Harbor, where snowmobilers support the local economy by staying overnight or buying food and gas. Fifty percent of the state’s trails are on private land and only open to snowmobilers. Land leases allow the Michigan DNR and local clubs to connect trail systems. “I think the most intriguing and interesting part of it, for me, is you can travel from community to community and you can go for miles and miles and miles without a stop sign, without any traffic,” Yesney says. “A lot of these trails are in some real remote scenic areas that aren’t accessible at any other time of the year.” The DNR helps administer grant funding for trails, some land lease agreements, and the trail permit program. But Yesney credits the program’s success to partnerships with the Michigan Snowmobile & ORV Association, local clubs, volunteers, and landowners. “There are so many partnerships and snowmobile clubs that do the day-to-day maintenance and management of these trails and work with the property owners to have these trails in place,” Yesney says. “On top of that, it’s a self-funded program.” Annual trail permits and snowmobile registration fees fund the trail system, and those dollars are directly reinvested into the trails. Nearly 70 snowmobile clubs across the state work with local landowners, brush trails and install signs, and groom through-

out the season. The DNR program reimburses for trail-brushing and signing, plus a certain amount per groomed mile, to offset the costs of maintenance and fuel. Economic Boost Beyond the dedicated trail volunteers, the success of Michigan as a snowmobile destination hinges on the local communities that welcome those who travel by snowmobile. It takes a network of restaurants, gas stations, and lodging establishments to stay open and cater to snowmobilers. If you don’t own a snowmobile but want to try it, snowmobile rentals are available from hotels, powersports retailers, and other businesses across the U.P., or in Lower Peninsula cities such as Harbor Springs, Traverse

City, Indian River, and Gaylord. Many U.P. businesses rely on snowmobilers to help them survive the seasonality of summer tourism. Pine Stump, located at historic Pine Stump Junction north of Newberry, has been a restaurant, gas station, and local attraction for more than 75 years. It added cabins a couple of years ago. Owner Rob Stein says winter is definitely a busy time. “Snowmobiling is crucial to the economy here,” Stein explains. “If it wasn’t for snowmobilers, a lot of businesses wouldn’t be able to survive up here. It’s critical that we have a good winter.” Expanding Markets Snowmobiling attracts a melting pot of people with diverse backgrounds and in-

This page: The Great Lakes State ranks as a Top 10 snowmobile destination. Opposite page: Michigan has one of the most extensive interconnected trail systems in the nation, with some connecting the Upper and Lower Peninsula.


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winter, loading their sleds on trucks and trailers to attend festivals and races. Various clubs and organizations host organized rides, giving enthusiasts the chance to gather with other snowmobilers, show off their vintage sleds, and celebrate the sport. Take the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum in Naubinway, for example. It displays vintage sleds, and promotes vintage shows and rides throughout the year. Downstate, the Harbor Springs Snowmobile Club grew out of an annual ride among locals — The Moose Jaw Safari — which led to grooming the Moose Jaw Trail System since 1975. The club maintains more than 100 miles of trails north of town, connecting to Mackinaw City, Indian River, and Gaylord. The Moose Jaw Safari, held annually in January, started in 1965 and was considered to be the nation’s longest-running snowmobile ride until COVID-19 forced its cancellation in 2021.

“Back in the day, they didn’t have trail systems,” says Dean Dryer, club president. “They would ride somewhere out in the woods, spend all day riding to it, and have a cookout. They decided to get a groomer to groom that trail and make it a better ride.” A FUN MEMORY: After a blizzard in Grand Marais, a group of riders took to the trails and found huge snowdrifts and downed trees blocking many of them. Fellow sledders waved us down to warn us of the impending danger, and it didn’t take long for the Grand Marais Sno-Trails Association to get back out there — with chainsaws — to clean up the Crazy 8s so sledders like me could “braaap on!”

PLAN IT! Michigan Snowmobile & ORV Association msasnow.org

A group of sledders traverses the trails in the Upper Peninsula's Alger County, near Munising.



comes. Newer four-stroke snowmobiles run quieter and cleaner, with many averaging 20 miles per gallon. More women and families also are getting into the sport. “Snowmobiling is my one true passion in life,” says Tara Pomaski, founder of Michigan Sled Chix (MSC), a Facebook group for women riders that spurred clothing and accessories. In 2019, MSC organized a Ride for Cancer on the Crazy 8 trails, raising $6,000 for the nonprofit Michigan Faith in the Fight. Pomaski started riding 14 years ago and has been hooked ever since. When she first ventured into the sport, it was mostly men, but she didn’t let that stop her. “I’ve never felt so at peace, so excited, so in awe at the beauty of Michigan as when I’m out riding,” she says. “We always travel in groups, and it’s so fun to have mini-vacations all the time with your closest friends.” Snowmobilers also make the most of


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While many people dream of warm beaches at this time of year, Cadillac residents hope for snow.

72 Tasting Room An Elk Rapids distillery relies on local foragers and farmers for its distinctive variety of spirits.

74 Dining Out The homey Sylvan Table restaurant’s menu features locally sourced and uncommon ingredients.

76 Book It With views of Grand Traverse Bay, the cozy new Delamar hotel feels like a Traverse City snow globe.

78 Discoveries Tucked into northwest lower Michigan, Cadillac is a popular and affordable hub for winter sports activities. MICHIGAN BLUE

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

Synthesized Spirits Local foragers and farmers provide the vital ingredients used in this Elk Rapids distillery’s signature cocktails


By Dianna Stampfler

he owners of Ethanolo¿y launched their small distillery in Elk Rapids with a keen understanding of how to achieve success in Michigan’s competitive craft beverage industry. Nick and Geri Lefebre, the distillery’s husband-and-wife entrepreneurs, say creativity and uniqueness are the building blocks of their business near Traverse City. From day one, they’ve focused on creating a company that’s deeply connected to the people and the land of northern Michigan, while producing stellar spirits and artistic cocktails that entice their tasting room guests to keep coming back for more. The distillery’s distinctive Ethanolo¿y name comes from the words “ethanol” — the base molecule in beer, spirits, and wine (and also the intoxicating agent in all of those libations) — and “ology” — a study or branch of knowledge. “Simply put, we’re the science and art of distillation,” Nick says. Nick manages the business side, from booking bands and marketing to serving on the board of the Michigan Craft Distillers Association, while Geri oversees production. At the onset, Geri dove head-first into learning the ancient alchemic art of distillation, craving a deep understanding of the process and seeking to blend that knowledge with her desire to create products with regional roots. Drawing on the rich microclimate created by their proximity to Lake Michigan, Ethanolo¿y believes that each farm, field, season, and barrel has terroir (the characteristic taste imparted to a product by the environment in which it is produced), which gives the finished product (the spir-


The distillery’s tasting room facilities include a comfortable seasonal outdoor seating area and a wellstocked gift shop.

it and the cocktail) its own distinct flavor profile. Local foragers and farmers provide the vital ingredients used in the signature cocktails that make up Ethanolo¿y’s seasonal menu. The Lefebres say they’ve strived to develop and maintain relationships with their agricultural neighbors. Ethanolo¿y’s small-batch spirits — vodka, gin, whiskey, and Mel® — are authentically crafted on a custom 500-liter distillation system. By focusing on just one product at a time, Geri is able to give her full attention to each batch. Mel (Latin for honey) is Ethanolo¿y’s proprietary spirit, a single distillation made of 100 percent northern Michigan cherry blossom honey from Cherry Ke Farms in nearby Kewadin. Never filtered, this 80-proof spirit is lightly aged in new American white oak barrels, which results in its heavenly “Nectar of the Gods” taste. “The idea for Mel sprung from our commitment to local agricultural products,” Nick says. “Naturally, we live in the largest production region of tart cherries in the world, and every single cherry is naturally pollinated by a honeybee. These factors led us down the path to producing a honey distillate, and it’s been an integral part of showcasing our creativity, our commitment to local agriculture, and producing exemplary spirits. “The spirit is like nothing else in the world and has beautiful notes of banana, caramel, and cherry blossom, with a viscous mouthfeel and a long, caramel finish,” he adds. “The spirit’s floral notes are similar to a Japanese single malt, with the sweetness of a bourbon, yet without the grain bite.” Private tastings of each of the com-


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

pany’s spirits are available during guided and grain-to-glass distillery tours (limited to eight people), which are offered from 2-5 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. For those who may be interested in learning more about the entire process of distilling spirits, Ethanolo¿y’s immersive “Barrel by Name” program provides that opportunity. Geri leads the immersive program, which allows customers to learn every aspect of the spirit-creation process, from the selection of grain to its milling, mashing, fermentation, distillation, barrelaging (complete with a brass plate adorned with the individual’s name placed on the cask, chosen by the guest), and bottling. In the end, each guest receives a case (12 bottles) of spirits from their own barrel. Ethanolo¿y’s Spirit House tasting room is located just east of U.S.-31 in Elk Rapids. It’s open Thursday through Sunday, year-round, with live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Winter visitors will find a new front bar area inside, as well as an encapsulated and heated outdoor Cocktail Courtyard with a clear acrylic roof, which gives the space a greenhouse vibe. The Yurt Village, with wood-burning stoves, blankets, and fun games, is available by reservation only. “We visit Ethanolo¿y often and have property in Elk Rapids, so it’s a place we stop by whenever we go north,” says Allison Wong of Grand Rapids, who started going to the distillery when it opened in the early summer of 2017. “It’s a perfect Michigan setting with bonfires, wood pergolas, rustic décor, and even live music — exactly what we expect in northern Michigan,” Wong adds. “The staff is top-notch and it’s truly an experience watching these mixologists craft drinks from several unique ingredients that all come together for a delicious drink. We love taking friends and family there to experience it all.”

PLAN IT! Ethanology Spirit House & Distillery ethanologydistillation.com


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Farmhouse Conversion

Sylvan Table earns high marks for its creative menu and homey atmosphere


By Dianna Stampfler | Photography by Alex Groffsky

ince opening last summer (2021), the Sylvan Table restaurant has become so popular that diners usually are waiting in line for the doors to open each afternoon. Tucked into the tiny community of Sylvan Lake (about 20 miles northwest of Detroit and bordering Pontiac), the rustic eatery has quickly established roots as a culinary destination. Tim and Nicole Ryan have been build74

ing restaurants throughout the Midwest since launching their company, Ryan Construction, in the mid-1990s. Their earlier projects inspired them to follow their dream of owning and operating their own restaurant, focused on the values that are important to them — sustainability, creativity, and wholesomeness, with a welcoming and homey atmosphere. The epitome of a farm-to-plate experience, Sylvan Table’s 5-acre property is

anchored by a 300-year-old, two-story reclaimed barn (complete with two fireplaces and a glass atrium). Three acres are dedicated to growing operations for 100 different crop varieties. Three high-tunnel hoop houses and beehives help provide a bounty of natural ingredients for the continually updated, seasonal menu. Fruit trees — apple, pear, plum, and Michigan kiwi — will eventually add to the estate-grown produce.


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Sylvan Table’s focus is purposefully localized, with an emphasis on neighborhood relationships when it comes not only to sourcing ingredients, but also to satisfying customers. That philosophy and environment were just what Executive Chef Chris Gadulka was looking for. “I have heart and soul invested into this,” says Gadulka, who plans on hanging his apron in this kitchen for the rest of his career. “This is every chef’s dream. You usually don’t get a chance to get everything you ever possibly wanted and the ability to develop the culture of

the restaurant.” Before the barn was even reassembled, Gadulka was brought in to develop the culinary program and to hire a team eager to learn skills ranging from deboning meat to pickling produce. He strives to feature lesser-known ingredients, including different types of meat — like rabbit — to make Sylvan Table relevant and keep guests returning to see what’s new. “We’re not going too crazy with the menu, but going just far enough — (it’s) slightly different and still amazing,” he says. “We look for ways to use products

that you may not have thought of.” The evolving menu showcases dishes suitable for sharing, embracing the culture of breaking bread, sipping wine, and enjoying conversations. Starters, shareables, entrées, and desserts are lush with colors, textures, and flavors. The grilled oysters with apple kohlrabi slaw are a light and savory start, while the hearth-braised rabbit — slow-cooked in the wood-fired oven — offers a taste of something different (and delicious), pairing perfectly with roasted Brussels sprouts (with pancetta, pepitas, apple kimchi, and honey), herb tahini multicolor carrots, and root vegetable potato dauphinois rich with asiago, double cream, and chili peppers topped with caponata. Fresh-baked artisan breads served with a trio of seasoned butters are great for nibbling between courses. The extensive beverage list includes local and global wines, several Michigan craft beers, and a creative cocktail list. “What a great dining experience. The food, the ambience, the company — all 10 out of 10,” says Angie Shekell, who dined at the eatery in early fall. “The steak and root vegetable dauphinoise potatoes were a must-try. We’ll definitely be back.” For winter, Chef Gadulka has turned to heartier items, drawing from his wellstocked pantry. Many of the ingredients are canned, pickled, frozen, fermented, dehydrated, and powdered for just such a season. In early fall, the staff (both the back and front of the house) even banded together to preserve more than 600 pounds of tomatoes, utilizing techniques familiar to their parents and grandparents, but not necessarily to them.

PLAN IT! Sylvan Table sylvantable.com This page: The restaurant’s menu features locally-sourced and lesser-known ingredients. Opposite page: Framed by two large fireplaces and a glass atrium, Sylvan Table has 152 indoor seats plus a seasonal outdoor space. MICHIGAN BLUE

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The Delamar’s main lobby is a mix of modern, rustic, and locally crafted décor.

Traverse City Hot Spot

Rebranded Delamar hotel improves on its bay views and cozy amenities


hen it’s cold and gray outside this season, cozy up and enjoy Grand Traverse Bay views or lounge in an outdoor pool at the rebranded Delamar Traverse City. It’s the hottest new hotel in town, and you can swim outdoors in an 80-degree heated pool illuminated by colored lights, with steam gently rolling off the water. Music, limited igloos for outdoor dining, outdoor bar service, and resort amenities add to the ambience. The former four-story West Bay Beach 76

property, situated on the north side of Front Street just east of the downtown shopping district, continues to update its 173 guest rooms as part of an ongoing, multimillion-dollar renovation project. Its new owners, Greenwich Hospitality Group, turned their focus to renovating public spaces first, including the lobby and pool areas, the Artisan Waterfront Restaurant, event and meeting spaces, and outdoor spaces along the bay, according to General Manager Brandon Sheldon. He joined the Delamar last summer after working nine seasons at Mackinac Island’s

Mission Point Resort, where he was GM for his last three years. “We wanted to take a fantastic blueprint and fantastic location and turn it into a destination,” he says. “The team emphasizes the guest experience.” Complimentary guest amenities include a welcome glass of local sparkling wine, valet parking, concierge services, and airport and downtown shuttle service. “The welcome was one of the most important pieces we did,” Sheldon adds. “It’s that arrival experience for guests.” The hotel has kept its outdoor pool


By Marla R. Miller


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Above: The living room in one of the suites showcases delightful Grand Traverse Bay views. Below: Airy rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows.

open during the remodel and COVID-19 restrictions, and that’s been a big hit with guests. An added bonus for couples: The outdoor pool is adults-only in the evening. There are other perks to visiting Delamar and Traverse City during the cold weather season: fewer people, off-season rates, and a slower pace. The hotel provides a cozy escape for those who want to be near downtown. “The Delamar is basically a little snow globe,” Sheldon explains. “You don’t have to leave. We have two different pools, and large open spaces with fireplaces. We have everything right here to keep you cozy.” The hotel has a bar for evening artisan cocktails and West Bay Bistro, with a coffee bar, serves breakfast. The Artisan restaurant, open to the public, features New American cuisine with an emphasis on farm-fresh fare from local and regional farms, plus outdoor patio seating during warmer months. “Our hope is Artisan is the place to be. We want to lead the pack with creative and innovative experiences,” Sheldon says. Guestroom renovations are ongoing, so there could be minor inconveniences in some areas. Updates include glassenclosed showers in bathrooms, 55-inch TVs, mini-fridges, and Bulgari bath amenities. Airy standard guest rooms are

about 350 square feet, while suites measure about 700 square feet. Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows. The lobby, a mix of modern, rustic, and locally crafted décor, offers views of Grand Traverse Bay and a fireplace that’s the perfect backdrop for those who want to enjoy a drink or relax on a snowy day. Guests can swim in the outside pool or use the indoor pool, Jacuzzi, and sauna. For those serious about exercise or who are on a business trip, the hotel’s renovat-

ed fitness center includes Peloton Bikes. In the summer, Delamar bustles with boaters, wedding guests, and tourists. The hotel, an easy five-minute walk to downtown’s Front Street district, has private event space for corporate meetings, social events, and large receptions. Warmweather seasonal activities are offered on the hotel’s waterfront property, and guests can hop on a nearby biking or hiking trail to explore the region’s wineries, lakes, attractions, and more. Guests can sit by the bay or poolside cabanas, book add-on excursions including sailboat and catamaran cruises, rent watercraft on-site, and rent an eBike or beach cruiser. Greenwich Hospitality Group operates three other luxury Delamar hotels in Connecticut.

PLAN IT! Delamar Traverse City delamar.com/traverse-city


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This page: Fattire bikers hit the wooded Cadillac Pathway. Opposite page: Lucky skiers take in the amazing winter views from the top of Caberfae Peaks and on its South Peak chairlift.

Rolling Out the White Carpet Cadillac blankets visitors with warm welcomes and outdoor delights


n Cadillac, a ton of snow really is a good thing. “We’ve been blessed with being in a little pocket of some of the best snow in the Lower Peninsula,” says Pete Finch, owner of Coyote Crossing Resort, which welcomes snowmobilers, ice fishermen, skiers, and snowshoers when the temperature plummets each season. Tucked into northwest lower Michigan, about three and a half hours from Detroit, Cadillac is a popular and affordable hub for snowmobiling and other winter sports. With 200 miles of carefully


By Ellen Creager groomed snowmobile trails, three scenic lakes, clear rivers, and the Caberfae Peaks ski resort, energetic Cadillac blankets visitors not just with snow, but with warmth. Want to try paddling in winter? Pine River Paddlesports owners Jacob, Mark, and Alaney Miltner will offer guided winter rafting trips down the Pine River. Spend 60 to 90 minutes on a rubber raft floating amid crystal splendor, then either hike back on the Silver Creek Pathway trail or ride in a warm car. The fast river doesn’t freeze, so rafting is possible. The winter trip (usually December through March) is magical, especially

after a heavy snow. “It’s the beauty — it’s hard to explain; it’s the constant changing of the river in the winter and the quiet,” Jacob Miltner says. “It’s a totally different experience than summer.” Snowmobiling might sound a bit intimidating, but K&R Outfitters in Cadillac arranges guided snowmobile tours for beginners, snowmobile included. Most trails wind through the million-acre HuronManistee National Forests, often stopping at the tiny Boone Country Store. Serious snowmobilers appreciate the meticulous grooming that makes Cadillac trails so smooth, according to Finch. “The


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trails are our pride and joy,” he says. “Snowmobilers want to ride where trails are smooth and cared for.” For confident sledders, independent snowmobile rentals are available at spots in town. Many visitors seek a classic “Up North” experience, so the Coyote Crossing Resort has 10 wood-paneled, two-bedroom cabins, a bar-restaurant, and plenty of space to park your snowmobile or off road vehicle (ORV). A rule that became effective in 2021 allows ORVs onto national forest roads. Not far from Coyote Crossing is the oldest ski resort in the Midwest, Caberfae Peaks. With 34 runs, five lifts, and a 485foot vertical drop, it caters to both novices and experienced snowboarders and skiers. The family-friendly resort offers 39 rooms of lodging at Mackenzie Lodge, a steaming outdoor pool that’s open in winter, and family-friendly ski packages. Yes, the resort has challenging black diamond runs, but it also has easy hills. Caberfae gets an average of 140 inches of snow per year. You may not know a rod from a reel, but if you’d like to give ice fishing a try, swing by the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center. They offer equipment and classes for newcomers to the sport — and, who knows, maybe a pike or bluegill will bite your line in Lake Cadillac or Lake Mitchell. Because Cadillac’s snow is more reliable than other places in the state, its fluffy powder attracts quiet winter sports fans, as well — fat-tire bicyclists, snowshoers, cross-country skiers, and hikers like to roam the national forest and other trails. The Cadillac Pathway is maintained in the winter with two trails, one groomed just for cross-country skiers and one winter sports trail for fat-tire cycling, snowshoeing, or walking. Another option, Mackenzie, is a 10-mile multi-terrain trail for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing near Caberfae. The good thing about Cadillac is that it’s small, and everything is within easy reach. Although you’re never far from the great outdoors, you’re always close to a

restaurant or resort. In addition to lodging at Coyote Crossing and Caberfae Peaks, try Evergreen Resort or one of the many other affordable choices in town. Catch a meal and brew at Clam Lake Beer Co., dig into a specialty steak at The Timbers, or enjoy farm-to-table European fusion cuisine at Raven Social. Snowed in? It’s definitely possible in Cadillac. Just make sure you’ve picked up a good read from the

local Horizon Books or Book Nook shops. While many Michiganders dream of warm beaches at this time of year, Cadillac has other aspirations. Says Finch: “We’re hoping for a snowy, cold winter.”

PLAN IT! Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau cadillacmichigan.com


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This dog likes to watch his master fly-fish, even in the snow Text and Photo by Todd Reed


rvis the dog watched intently as professional fishing guide Chris “Uber” Raines defied the wintry weather to flyfish for steelhead on a fliesonly stretch of the Pere Marquette River near Baldwin. The stretch of the National Wild and Scenic River known as Claybanks looked like a winter wonderland as the biggest, stickiest snowflakes I had ever seen clung to everything in sight. “There’s something almost magical about standing in the river as the water sweeps past you and the snow is coming down; it’s mesmerizing,” Raines shared. This was a perfect day for die-hard fishermen, Labrador retrievers, and photographers. It didn’t start out that way. It started with pouring rain. Brad, my son, and I had committed to a year-long book project, photographing Michigan all day each Tuesday of the year, so we had to find a way to make good images despite the ugly weather. I spotted and photographed misty-


looking Emerson Lake near Walhalla; a giant weeping willow in the foreground made the scene appear more mystic. Ten miles down the road, Brad spotted a scene sure to brighten the gloomiest shooting day: bright red winterberries amidst cattails. The rain and mist softened the swampy background and made the winterberries rocket out of the scene far more than they would on a sunny day. By mid-morning we’d worked our way to the Pere Marquette Lodge Orvis fishing shop south of Baldwin, hoping to learn where we could photograph some trout fishermen. While the owner, Frank, was obliging us by arranging for us to rendezvous with one of his guides who’d be doing some off-duty fishing, we noticed the rain was turning to snow. A half-hour later, when we started hiking a wooded trail to the river at Claybanks, the world had been transformed into a fairyland. Chris was hoping the fishing would be good. Brad and I knew, at that

point, that we were going to catch some magical moments. This image wound up being my favorite shot of the entire yearlong project, during which I tripped the shutter more than 20,000 times. I sure was glad we overcame our gloomy attitudes at the start of that rainy morning and kept on keeping on. P.S. The Pere Marquette National Scenic River is a 66-mile stretch from the junction of the Middle and Little South branches east of Baldwin to Ludington’s Old Highway 31 Bridge located on Pere Marquette Highway. More information on the Pere Marquette River Lodge can be found at pmlodge.com. This Postcard excerpt was edited from the book, “Todd Reed: 50 Years Seeing Michigan Through a Lens.” Learn more about the book at toddandbradreed.com. Reed has explored 50 years of Michigan’s beauty in his photography art book, first through his eyes as a photojournalist, then as a distinguished Coast Guardsman, and since 1975 as an awardwinning outdoor photographer.


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