Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Northport, Michigan

Northport, which is located near the northeastern tip of Grand Traverse Bay, is probably the smallest port we’ve been in so far. But it has a lot of character and history nonetheless, and it was a favorite of ours.

A plaque located in the park by the marina gives a great description of the early days of Northport.

I know for some this is getting old, but we have to mention that the Northport Marina staff are just as nice, helpful and accommodating as the prior ports we’ve been to. (When we were leaving, it was a bit windy and they helped us with the lines. Even after we left, they watched out for us -- radioing us to make sure we knew about some shoals that were out by an island we were headed toward.) The Marina is in a nice park area – with grills, tables, and benches and a nice pavilion. We noticed a lot of the young people from town hang around in the park and marina area.

The main streets in town are Nagonaba and Waukazoo (Bernie just wanted to type those names). Northport’s downtown seems to be experiencing a little economic setback though – there were more empty storefronts than in other towns. The town seems to be working on that and hopefully that will fill those empty stores. The area is quite pretty and has some nice historic architecture. A couple of notable businesses in town are:

  • Tom’s Market - a well-stocked grocery store that lets you borrow carts to take your groceries to the marina
  • Dog-eared Books – a used book store
  • Nature’s Gem – a rock and crystal shop
  • The Galley – for ICE CREAM!
  • Barb’s Bakery – THE morning gathering spot for the town and maker of scrumptiously-cinnamon twisty rolls
  • Scott’s Filling Station – free Wi-Fi
  • The Post Office – which, quaintly, closes for lunch from 11:30 – 12:30

We took a self-guided tour of the historic business buildings and houses in the town. The town has a little brochure with descriptions of the houses and you’ll get a good sense of the town by walking the path. But you do have to watch out for the watch-goat on Fourth Street. He doesn’t seem to like strangers – when we walked by he started whinnying at us and we could still hear him after we had passed the house and turned the corner. He seemed very well fed. We weren’t sure if that was from goat food or from slow pedestrians. We didn’t stick around to find out.

We were surprised to see “an old friend” while walking past the Old Mill Pond Inn on our tour – the bumper sticker car that we first saw in Leland!

The Old Mill Pond Inn seems to be a bed and breakfast – or it could be an artist’s home. It's hard to tell from the road. But the yard certainly has some interesting fruit trees. We think these are heirloom Schwinn Peaches. Although the photo only shows one tree, they had a whole orchard of these special trees, with a wide variety of "peaches".

Wow! For a small town, we wrote a lot – and we aren’t done yet. We stayed two nights (the wind followed us from Leland). Next blog is about our Bike Trip to Grand Traverse Light.

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