Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Northport to Leland to Frankfort

September 8 - 14, 2008

We've visited Northport, Leland (this year and last year) and Frankfort (this year and last year) a few times so we'll just cover new activities and information in each place.

Northport, Michigan
(September 8-9)

Northport is a great community with a friendly and helpful marina staff. They also have great bakery called Barb's Bakery. Barb's is known for delicious cinnamon twists and as a local gathering spot for a lively exchange of opinions. On one of the mornings that we were there, the subject was nuclear power. Until someone got tired of that topic and changed it, rather abruptly, to the weekend's big college football game. Nuclear Power and Big Ten Standings all in one morning.

Earlier this summer, we biked over to Northport from Leland and were taken in by the painted doors that the area students had done. They were still on display so here are a few more of them.

We also took a bicycle ride out to the Grand Traverse Light. Grand Traverse Light is one of the finalists in an annual event sponsored by Jeld-Wen windows. Each year, Jeld-Wen selects a lighthouse and gives them new windows and doors. The effort is intended to prove how reliable their product is and in the process help preserve historic lighthouses. Good Luck Grand Traverse Light! (We also bought peaches from a roadside stand on the way to the lighthouse. We had to buy more peaches on the way back as we ate all the ones we bought on the way up. They were good!)

Leland, Michigan
(September 10-11)

Like many of the towns in this area, Leland is a big sky town. Meaning that you get an incredible view of the wide open big sky. Makes for great sunsets, sunrises, and every view in between.

We were able to go to one of the last of Leland's farmers markets. Bernie was happy to see that they were holding it at the high school and that the high schoolers were there tasting, talking to the farmers, and buying. OK, it's not like they were buying the carrots and the acorn squash. They were mostly buying cinnamon rolls from the Stonehouse Bakery but that's a start! (That's how Bernie got Phil interested in Farmer's Markets -- lure them in with the pastries and soon they'll be buying the beets and squash.)

Leland is a bit on the hilly side when it comes to biking so we opted for a hike along the shore instead.

All the hurricane activity in the gulf is sure playing havoc with the September weather. (Bernie, will you just give up and admit that September is cold and windy and not part of Summer?) Luckily we caught a half-day weather window and moved down to Frankfort before the winds picked up too badly. Trying to plan a trip around the weather and the Taste the Local Difference Guide to Northwest Michigan farmers markets is a challenge. But an enjoyable one.

Frankfort, Michigan
(September 12-14)

After last year's trip to Frankfort, we really wanted a nice relaxing trip. (If you don't want to follow the link to read last year's account of Meridian's trip from Leland to Frankfort in September, we'll sum it up:

Big Waves
Huge Waves
Gigantic Waves
Kite Boarders?!?
More Big Crashing Waves

Here's a nice fairly straight picture of the Point Betsie Lighthouse. It makes up for the horribly crooked one that we included in last year's blog. You can take a much better picture when the waves aren't knocking you all over the place.
We got into Frankfort about 7:30pm and went to Dinghy's for dinner. The next morning, Saturday, was the Frankfort Farmer's Market (coincidence? Nah!)

Even though it was a little rainy, we really needed some good exercise. Donning what all fashionable bikers are wearing nowadays, we headed off down the Betsie Valley Trail. The Betsie Valley Trail is a 22.5 mile path that runs from Frankfort to Elberta, through Beulah, through part of Pere Marquette National Forest and ends in Thompsonville. It's a beautiful, flat and winding trail over crushed limestone. Last year when we took it, we saw salmon meandering around in the Betsie River near Thomsponville. Apparently they never made it any further up the river because they were STILL there. Still meandering around in almost the same place. ;)

After a bike ride like that, we had no guilty feelings about taking advantage of The Cool Spot's end-of-season ice cream and fudge sale and enjoying the fried cinnamon rolls and cherry fritters at Crescent Bakery.

We think Hurricane Ike cause it to rain all day Sunday. But after a 45 mile bike ride, we could use a lazy day.

On Monday, the weather cleared up and Lake Michigan calmed down enough for us to run down to Manistee.

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