Monday, July 15, 2013

Last days in the Mitten… on to the UP’er…

The Mitten and Beyond 006Our last day in Traverse City, MI we decided to take yet another drive up along M22 onto another peninsula. The northern target was the town of Northport, MI. Again the scenic vistas from the road as we headed west out of Traverse City were gorgeous as the turquoise waters of Lake Michigan reflected the sunlight.

The Mitten and Beyond 012    The Mitten and Beyond 016

The Mitten and Beyond 022After about 10 minutes we cleared most of the “citified”  atmosphere of Traverse City and were now in a more rural environment. As with the Old Mission Peninsula we saw ample wineries and lots of cherry trees full of ripe fruit. About half way to Northport is the small town of  Sutton’s Bay which has a lovely harbor where we took a walk around on the boardwalks while taking in the scenery. Since it was Sunday many sailors were prepping their boats for a jaunt into Grand Traverse Bay. Many sailboats were tied off to shore with neat cleat hitch knots and some would then coil the left over rope nearby making for a neat spiral of rope. Along the lines that stretched back to the boats were fledgling swallows waiting for a parent to bring a The Mitten and Beyond 027goodie to them. It was fun watching them being fed…

Back on the M22 we made our way to Northport a small town of about 550 people, primarily growers of cherries. There isn’t much to Northport but we strolled around anyway before heading south. Further north is Leelanau State Park and another of Michigan’s lighthouses but our goal today was to head south on M22 to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

As we drove south we entered the town of Leland a nice town at the mouth of the The Mitten and Beyond 025Leland River. This town was packed with people as an art festival was on going along with the normal traffic that had parked to take the ferries over to the North and South Manitou Islands. Lots of these cars may have been parked here to take advantage of the camping allowed over on the islands. We walked around a bit and were planning to grab a bite here but between the prices and the mob of humanity we chose to continue our drive south.

The Mitten and Beyond 026Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is located in south of Leland, MI along the shores of Lake Michigan. Unbeknownst to us the main headquarters was in Empire, MI but at the time we thought it was in Glen Arbor. Not being able to find it we drove along some of the dirt roads near Point Oneida where we found a pullout along the road and walked around taking in the farming legacy featured in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District. Then we found a trail leading through a maple/beech forest that took us down a slope to the blue waters of Lake Michigan and the white sandy shoreline along its edge. Walking along the shoreline as the waves lapped ashore we picked up many a fine mother nature polished rock each with its own peculiar layered colors.

The Mitten and Beyond 028After relaxing along the shore of Lake Michigan we headed back across the peninsula toward Traverse City, MI. After several miles of rolling hills dotted with forests, orchards and farmsteads we were back at the fairgrounds. The BMX bikers were still racing and finished up Sunday morning. Sunday morning was also our time to head north 120 miles and cross over the Mackinaw Bridge over to the UPer and the town of St. Ignace where we will stay for a bit at the Tiki RV Park & Campground another Passport America Gem…


  1. Paul keeps wanting me to go up that way. I think we better do it. It looks beautiful.

  2. Such beautiful country side that we prefer as opposed to the urban areas. Love the coastline of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
    We stayed at Albert E Sleeper state park years ago and had a nice campsite tight beside a lovely beach, was awesome.
    Enjoy Mackinac Island.

  3. While you are in the UP, wild blueberries should be coming into season. They are smaller than the commercial varieties but are much more flavorful. Another of nature's treats not to be missed at this time of year are thimble-berries. We would walk the woods just to feast on them right off the vine.

  4. Such a beautiful place. We were there a couple of years ago. Enjoy Yooper land. My best memory from there was walking along Lake Superior from our campground in Munising and collecting the colorful rocks.

  5. I'm having so much trouble getting internet in Acadia and don't want to miss any of the Lelanau Peninsula. The cherries make my mouth water. Loved Sleeping Bear dunes. Hope you get to see those dunes. You'll love the UP. I'm having a great time going back there with you.

  6. Just started following your blogs, have added la hacienda to our Albuquerque list. About a week behind in reading blogs.

    Try a pasty at Muldoons in Munising while in the UP, if you don't like em there you probably won't like em.