late summer in northern michigan

late summer in northern michigan

The pandemic is keeping many of us off airplanes but that doesn’t mean we have to cancel all getaways! Like so many people, Bob and I have been due for a vacation. Yes, we self isolated and literally went  nowhere out of town since the pandemic started… until we discovered what was in our own backyard. 

For starters, there is no road trip until there are plenty of goodies in the car. We stopped at Greenbush Brewery in Sawyer, Michigan, about an hour and a half from Chicago, where they specialize in a delicious charcuterie. We picked up triple cream cheese, Italian prosciutto and crackers. YUM!

After all, we were going to be in the car for four more hours and what best to fill up our cooler with? Lots of munchies for the ride.

Frankfort, Michigan is a 5 hour drive from Chicago. The quaint town sits right between Lake Michigan and the edge of the Crystal River, meaning anywhere you look there’s water and it’s beautiful. It’s centrally located so you can do a lot from just this one town. 

We were in Frankfort for a long weekend and I’m going to tell you right now it wasn’t long enough!

We highly recommend the Harbor Lights Resort. It’s a MAGICAL place located right on the Lake Michigan beach, right there behind us.

This was our view!

Our unit, like most units here, had a back porch facing the lake, perfect for watching the sunset!

Seriously, I could spend weeks at this place.

Did I mention that we put our bikes on a rack and brought them so we could explore? Staying at Harbor Lights proved to be the perfect place to begin our bike rides and catch some of the most gorgeous trails around here.

If you’ve never ridden a bike on the Betsie Valley Trail you’re in for a sweet surprise! It’s 22-miles long and extends from Frankfort through Elberta and Beulah to Thompsonville in Benzie County, Michigan. You can either ride a bike or go on foot.

Trust me, I still don’t know how I managed to convince Bob to ride a bike with me every day. He’s verrrrrrryyy slow… and it’s not because he’s not physically able to keep up, he just refuses to buy a faster bike and prefers his cruiser LOL!

Another day we took the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail in Empire, which spans 27 miles and goes right by the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Let's slip off to a sand dune, real soon
And kick up a little dust. Well, you get the picture!

By the time we got to the port village of Glen Haven off the Lake Michigan shore on the Leelanau Peninsula, we were pooped from riding and needed another rest! Bob could barely move.

I’m always happy if I can relax by the water!

When you get to Leland, don’t miss the super cute almost hidden village of Fishtown, where you can walk along the weathered docks and see the fishing shanties and racks of fishing nets along the Leland River.

One of our best fancy meals came from The Riverside Inn restaurant, where you can sit on the dock and get a drink while you wait for a table.

Just a 45 minute car ride away is Traverse City. Our only regret is that we didn’t get a chance to explore it long enough. We loved walking around on Front Street. We removed our masks for this selfie, and we can tell you we didn’t see anyone on the street who wasn’t wearing a mask. Another fantastic meal at Amical, and possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever had at Milk & Honey. Honestly if Bob had agreed to, I would have driven back the next day!

As much as I loved the ice cream, Bob was in his glory when he found an A & W Restaurant in Frankfort.

Sure, put me on a bike and I can be happy just about anywhere…

We also attended a Friday Night Fish Fry, shopped at an apple stand, visited a pumpkin patch and stepped into fall first class! 

Comments 11

Iris Kerbis on

We love road trips! Thanks for all the great suggestions of places to eat and explore!
Looks like you had so much fun♡♡♡

Donald Bertini on

Looks like you two had a great time. Thanks for the travelogue!!

Donald Bertini on

Looks like you two had a great time. Thanks for the travelogue!!

Mary Jo Babiarz on

Great minds think alike. My 1st trip was South Haven, St. Joseph, Saugatuck, Douglas, Union Pier and Sawyer. Going back at the end of the month.

Ron Sheldon on

Great article and thank you. We visit Traverse City about 4 times a year and will add Frankfort to our list. A little further north Are the towns of Charlevoix and Harbor Springs followed by a beautiful drive north through the "tunnel of tree. If You’ve seen it then never mind. Thanks again

Allison on

Beautiful vacation pics! Looks like you had a lot of fun! LOVE the color of your bike!!!

LaToya on

Love that you took some time to get away for an extended weekend. I’m hoping I can convince my husband to do the same within the next couple of weeks

VInce Conroy on

Looks like a Great trip…I think I need a copy of the itinerary..👍

mark payne on

The resort looks awesome, thanks for posting this!

Geri Leland on

Wow! What a great time you had! Leland and Fishtown are the best! And you can’t beat Traverse City. Our daughter and family live there.

Elizabeth J Odom on

Thanks for sharing your vacation with us! Glad you had a lovely trip, Michigan is SO beautiful especially this time of year. Thanks for continuing to share your recipes!

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