Monday, August 20, 2007

Leland, Michigan

After arriving in Leland on Wednesday afternoon, then getting the boat squared away, Phil took his typical nap while Bernie did her standard reconnaissance of the town.

(Oh, for the record, the Leland Marina is a hard dock - meaning Meridian-high walkways, the Leland dockhands come out to help with lines automatically, they tell you which side you’ll tie up on when they tell you which slip to go to, and it’s best to contact them on the marine radio instead of cell phone. They will also loan out electrical cord splitters.)

Let’s skip ahead to the first night in Leland … . Well, let’s just say we’re glad we decided to hang out here for a few days. A really strong wind picked up and, even though we were in the marina inside the breakwater, we were rocking around a lot. We had to get up to adjust the lines and put out the fender board Phil made. It was so windy that Bernie made Phil put on a lifejacket before he started adjusting the lines. We’ll talk more about the windy days in a future post.

Thursday was still windy but sunny, warm, and clear. It was also Farmer’s Market Day in Leland. Bernie practically ran to the market. It is a small market but has a nice selection of fruit, vegetables, honey, syrup, ground beef, and flowers. This is one of four markets in Leelanau County. They also publish a booklet of farms, restaurants, artisan food producers and related information in a directory called "Taste the Local Difference". Bernie bought blueberries, blackberries, cherries, tomatoes, creamed honey, Keilty’s Leelanau Natural Beef, and Copper River Farms flowers. The creamed honey is quite good on toast (or untoasted) whole wheat bread. It’s probably good on any kind of bread.

Leland has a nice downtown area with a number of quaint shops on the main street (which actually is Main Street). There is The Rock Shop (rocks and crystals), Tampico (sterling silver, animal carvings, pottery), Leelanau Books , several art galleries and clothing shops and a large grocery store (Leland Mercantile). The first night we were there (before the wind started blowing), they had a jazz band, Big Noise, concert in a park near the marina.

Leland also has an area called Fishtown, which is one of the most photographed sights around here. This used to be the center for the commercial fishing businesses. As that business went away, shops, restaurants, and charter fishing companies moved in to the old fish shanties and buildings. The Fishtown Preservation Society recently purchased Fishtown to save the area from being “developed”.

The Village Cheese Shanty is in Fishtown. It has great made-to-order sandwiches (huge sandwiches for $4.95), cheese curds, many Michigan wines and a large selection of cheeses. Bernie liked this sign that was by the cheese display.

And the area is good for bicycling. There are some steep hills, but the scenery along the way keeps you from noticing. There are a number of road side markets in the area (we stopped at the Covered Wagon Farm Market - excellent baked goods and produce) and three of the area wineries are within biking distance of Leland.

We biked down to Sutton’s Bay on one of our windy weather layover days. It’s always a refreshing change when you get to peddle downhill. (The wind was blowing so hard we couldn’t take a straight picture.)

Leland lies just north of the 45th parallel, which is exactly half way between the equator and the north pole. I guess we are now officially "up north".

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