Northern Michigan Summers: Insider Tips

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Northern Michigan Summer

Read on for the inside info....

It’s the best time--summer in Northern Michigan! If you are like me, you spend the entire winter of Michigan just counting down the days until you can throw off your boots and mittens and spend every waking moment at Lake Michigan, basking in the sun and saying, “Oh yeah, THIS is why we live in Michigan!”  For those of you know follow me on Instagram, you know that I spend a lot of time opining about how bomb Michigan is, and specifically how great Northern Michigan can be.  Now, I’m not going to give you all the secrets of Northern Michigan, but I am going to share a few jewels with you that you might miss otherwise.

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  1. Berry picking:  Berry picking is possibly my favorite summertime activity--really! I have fond memories of picking raspberries, strawberries and blueberries when I was a little kid, and that novelty has not worn off.  Northern Michigan has a plethora of U-Pick spots and there is nothing better than spending a day in the sunshine, getting some healthy treats and supporting a local farmer.

  2. Esch Beach:  This is not my FAVORITE beach of all time (that one’s a secret I've got to keep!), but it is pretty darn close. Esch is about 10 miles south of our house in Empire and it’s a great spot to catch some late afternoon sunshine and walk the beach combing for treasures. Lots of parking and little tributaries make it a great spot for kids.

  3. Wilson’s Antiques in Traverse City: Wilson’s is a treasure trove of thrifted riches and if you have a rainy afternoon, a perfect spot to spend a few hours.  The inventory turns over pretty frequently and while some stuff is too pricey for me, there are hidden gems to be found if you’re willing to dig!

  4. Fogarellis in Traverse City:  This Italian deli and grocery has HUGE homemade sandwiches, cured meats (26 varieties of salami!), pickles, olives and a to die for wine section.  While there is another, rival, Italian deli across the street with a fancier sign, Fogarelli’s is family run and down to earth.  Don’t miss this!

  5. Shalda Creek near Good Harbor:  Long story short--the house we bought in Empire was owned by the Shalda family for about...100 years before we bought it.  It came with a lot of lore and rumors and history, as is the case when a family owns the same piece of property for generations. The Shalda name is pretty well known throughout Northern Michigan and there are a few spots named after them--my favorite of all the spots, though, is hands down, Shalda Creek near Good Harbor. It's a very small trailhead down a pretty remote road and it has a BEAUTIFUL area for wading, a short walk to the beach, and (best of all) no cell phone service, so you can find youself lost here for a bit without anyone knowing where you are!

  6. Sonny's Farm Stand: M22 near the ski resort, Sonny's has a SUPER awesome history to it, the sort of thing that makes you yearn to have seen an ad advertising, "Farm looking for farmer" and move to Northern Michigan full-time.  The eggs are top notch and there are often cut flowers too. Be careful as you pull off to the side of the road though, we got some crazy drivers in Northern Michigan who apparently can't slow down to enjoy the beauty on M22. 

  7. Early morning sunrises: The west coast of Michigan doesn’t have the most amazing sunrises (we luck out with the sunsets though), but there is nothing I love more than getting up super early on a weekday morning, loading the pups into the car and heading out to an empty beach for a sunrise.  The first peeks of light are my favorite and spending a few totally silent moments is priceless, especially in the busy of a Northern Michigan summer!

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