We made a stop at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where the views were so pretty we decided to take a walk. It was a landscape I was not expecting in Michigan: fairy carpets of white trillium in bloom, dramatic red-tinged sedimentary cliffs a hundred feet above the water, and multiple waterfalls.
Driving around this area, you see lots of roadside places advertising pasties, hand pies filled with meat and vegetables. For lunch, we stopped at Lehto’s (open since 1947) (626 N. State St.), where the only thing for sale is pasties — it seemed like the authoritative place. The ones we got were filled with beef, potatoes, onion, and rutabaga. Spoiler alert: not that delicious.
We drove across the Mackinac Bridge and discovered the lakefront town of Petoskey, which has hundreds of well-preserved Victorian homes. This place was a revelation! The town is hilly, so there are terrific views even fairly far away from the lake. House after house had fantastic turrets, ornate gables, gorgeous bay windows, and wildflower gardens. My hotel colleague, Michigander Mary Beth Bennett, just purchased the Terrace Inn (1549 Glendale Ave.) there, so we peeked in. It has a beautiful dining room from the turn of the last century and a super-pleasant flower-filled terrace with roses. I can’t wait to see what she does with it.
Brett had to make a work call, so we took a break in Traverse City, where the kids played in the sand at Clinch Park on the lakefront while we watched a group of teenagers horse around in the icy water, shouting and splashing. I sat in one of the oversize Adirondack chairs provided by the park and passed a pleasant hour with my feet in the water.
Got to the farmhouse we had rented on the Leelanau Peninsula, owned by my friend Meghan McEwen. The house is decorated with Shaker furniture and great quilts and has so many thoughtful touches — real beeswax candlesticks, tea from herbs grown in the garden, hand-thrown mugs to drink it out of, tons of board games, and trees for climbing. While we unpacked, the kids boomeranged between the tree swing and the fields.
We ate dinner in the garden and made raclette with the terrific local Leelanau cheese, some tiny new potatoes, and grilled asparagus, which was abundantly in season and for sale at roadside stands all over.