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November 6, 2013

Juicy tourism information from Traverse City Tourism

photo credit: expansive by ojoyous1

Suttons Bay Art Walk June 20, 2008

Suttons Bay Art Walk by mstephens7

Traverse City Tourism has surveyed almost 1,800 people who requested information about the area during the past year and a half about themselves, what motivates them, why they choose our area, what they do when they're visiting and how they felt about their experiences here. The findings are pretty interesting and we think that business owners and residents alike will be interested in the eye-opening numbers:

Just over 90 percent of the respondents came from 10 states, well over half from outside Michigan: Illinois (11.3%), Ohio (10.3%), Indiana (7.5%), Wisconsin (4%), Texas (1.7%), Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania (1.3%) and Florida (1.2%). They are likely to travel to the region by car, and 96 percent travel as couples or small family-size groups. Typically they stay two or three nights, taking in a wide variety of activities while here.

While the organization is based in Traverse City and funded by TC hotels, it's clear that Leelanau is an integral part of the "Traverse City experience":

Survey respondents said their top primary reasons for choosing Traverse City were the region’s wineries and breweries, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, other forms of outdoor recreation, and visiting friends and family, and 95 percent said they intended to return to Traverse City. Their reasons? The area’s natural beauty, its many activities, the quality of its wineries, restaurants and shopping and the friendliness of its people.

Window Reflections of Fishtown

Window Reflections of Fishtown by Terry Clark

They continue:

The survey’s significance for Traverse City was underlined by another recent study conducted by Anderson Economic Group of East Lansing, confirming the role of tourism as a major driver of the local economy, generating billions in spending that supports local businesses and municipal services, creating employment for thousands of local residents, and supporting the enhanced quality of life that local residents enjoy.

According to the AEC study, in 2012 visitors made 3.3 million visitor trips to Traverse City. They spent nearly $1.2 billion in Traverse City, supporting (directly and indirectly) about 12,000 jobs across the area – about 30 percent of total employment -- and contributing about $67 million in state use and sales taxes.

On the social and cultural level, the study demonstrated that tourism contributes profoundly to the area’s quality of life by supporting its large number of restaurants, wineries, microbreweries, galleries, museums, festivals and retail shops. This includes significant support for Traverse City’s vibrant downtown retail and entertainment district, which is enjoyed by local residents but is supported in a significant way by visitors.

So the next time a "Fudgie" slows you down on the way to work or you have to take and extra 10 minutes at the grocery store, try and remember that our visitors are having a monumental impact on the quality of life we all enjoy!

October 1, 2013

Shutdown at Sleeping Bear

Filed under: government,hiking,Leelanau,michigan,news,outdoors,sleepingbeardunes,travel — Andrew McFarlane @ 6:35 am

North Bar Lake ... overlook
North Bar Lake ... overlook by Ken Scott

The TC Ticker reports that the federal government shutdown that began at midnight has closed portions of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore:

A park representative said gates will be closed on the park's campgrounds, bathrooms and popular Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive until the shutdown ends, though visitors may still access the park's hiking trails and lakeshore(our emphasis)

Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of five national parks in Michigan affected by the shutdown, a move that comes at an unfortunate time for tourism-dependent parks nearing the end of their operating seasons. The Leelanau County attraction, which will operate with a skeleton crew of emergency-only personnel until the shutdown has ceased, normally averages 2,300 visitors a day during the fall season, according to park reports.

While folks are still able to access much of the Park, there's little doubt this news will reduce visitation during one of our busiest seasons.

September 18, 2013

Leland Heritage Festival this Saturday, September 21st

Filed under: boats,calendar,fall,history,Leelanau,leland,michigan,news — Andrew McFarlane @ 12:43 pm

PDQ Stands for Pretty Damn QuickThe annual Leland Heritage Festival takes place this Saturday (September 21) from 10 am-5 pm. Events are free and take place at multiple locations across the village. Restaurants & shops are also offering a wide variety of specials the village is offering a variety of gift baskets on their Passport prize drawing.

Leland Classic Car Show: An "invitation only" automobile exhibition, growing since it's inception and now numbers about a hundred vehicles from many eras. ~ Sponsored by Van’s Garage

Fishtown Celebration and Working Boats Expo: Music, chowder, dockside fishing, tug boat tours! Click for detailed event schedule. ~ Sponsored by Fishtown Preservation Society

Magic Show, and Discover Your Heritage, Hysterical-Historical Stories and Book Sale: Click & scroll down for schedule. ~ Sponsored by Old Art Building & Leland Library

Native American Traditional Dance and Culture: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians traditional dance performance and cultural exhibit at the Leland Village Green ~ Sponsored by Leelanau Conservancy

11th Annual Wood Boats on the Wall: 100 years of vintage wood boats from the region, including Chris Craft, Century, Lyman and Garwood ~ Sponsored by Leelanau Historical Museum

Photo credit: PDQ Stands for Pretty Damn Quick by John Clement Howe

September 3, 2013

BATA Bike-n-Ride program a big success in Leelanau!

Filed under: biking,Leelanau,michigan,news,nonprofit,travel,traverse city — Andrew McFarlane @ 5:08 pm

bike-and-ride-leelanau-countyOur region is getting rave reviews for its natural beauty and culinary scene, and now it looks like we're jumping out in front on the public transit front. The Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) has a new Bike-n-Ride program that is one of a handful in the nation and the first in Michigan. The service encourages groups of recreational riders to pedal 17 miles on the paved Leelanau Trail between Traverse City and Suttons Bay and return on one of two retrofitted school buses with capacity for 11 bicycles and child trailers.

Doug Dowdy, Manager of Transportation Services for BATA, says that the “important spoke” of the success of the Bike-n-Ride initiative is its ability to move families and riders of varying abilities, like Judy Walter, a senior rider from Suttons Bay. She loves that the Bike-n-Ride service allows her to ride her bike in to Traverse City on the Leelanau Trail, access the amenities downtown, including spending time with her grandchildren, and ride the bus back a couple hours later, which to her is “truly a gift.”

Walter is not the only cyclist who thinks the Bike-n-Ride program answers a need. Because the Bike-n-Ride service “enriches the experience” of locals and tourists alike with “more ways to enjoy all that is wonderful about northern Michigan including active access to farms, water, restaurants and the towns,” posits Lee Maynard of Traverse Area Recreational Trails (TART), the project collaborators see growth potential and more economic impact on the region. They are eyeing other trails, connections with other municipalities (like the Village of Suttons Bay) and seasonal opportunities for service growth to fulfill the transit need in line with organizational missions.

Organizers expected the service to be successful after they saw an increase in the use of the Leelanau Trail after the final paving was completed. A 68% increase in ridership along the route, however, has facilitated unexpected local economic impact as well.

“We have really been feeling the boost to business here in Suttons Bay. I’ve been hearing from a lot of people that this is their best season ever. Half of all our guests have been grabbing bikes and completing the trip,” shares Nick Wierzba, owner of Suttons Bay Bikes. “The Bike-n-Ride program makes it more accessible for all ages.” The service provides a “safety net” that encourages riders to experience the scenic trail and know they can ride the bus back if desired. 45th Parallel, a café in Suttons Bay, has also experienced increased restaurant traffic. Owner Tim Lambdin, exclaims “with doubled or more bike traffic, we’ve experienced a phenomenal summer.”

August 27, 2013

Free admission to Sleeping Bear Sunday for 97th NPS Birthday!

Filed under: beach,government,history,Leelanau,news,outdoors,sleepingbeardunes — Andrew McFarlane @ 8:49 am

North Bar Lake ... ahhh
Photo: North Bar Lake ... ahhh by Ken Scott

The National Park Service turns 97 this Sunday August 25, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will celebrate by offering free admission on Sunday (camping, concessions, etc, not included). Park Superintendent Dusty Shultz says:

“Birthdays are a time to celebrate and we want everyone to join the party. National parks belong to all Americans and offer something for everyone. So plan to visit your park, enjoy a ranger-led activity, tour the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, climb the dune at the Dune Climb, go for a bicycle ride along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, or simply enjoy a day at the beach.”

With the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, the United States was the first country to set aside its most significant places as national parks so that they could be enjoyed by all. When President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation that created the National Park Service on August 25, 1916, there were 37 national parks.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was authorized on October 21, 1973. You can read the story of that online in A Nationalized Lakeshore: The Creation and Administration of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore  by Theodore J. Karamanski.

August 15, 2013

Steamer Leelanau explosion, August 1908

Filed under: boats,history,lake leelanau,Leelanau,leland,michigan,news,photo — Andrew McFarlane @ 12:28 pm

On August 15th or 16th, 1908, the passenger steamer Leelanau that serviced North & South Lake Leelanau exploded. It merited a brief article in the New York Times that you can see right here (also see this account from the Aug 17 Eaton Free Press with a different take). You can click the pic for a larger view and read the transcription via GenDisasters below:

AUGUST 17, 1908 - Mrs. Isabel La Bonte (New York City) of this city was killed and a score of passengers were injured to-day by the explosion of the boiler of the passenger steamer Leelanau, bound from Leland to Fouch, on Carp Lake, in the Northern Michigan resort district. Among the passengers were a number of visitors from other States, but the list of casualties contains only the names of Michigan people.

The little steamer was plowing down the narrow lake with a steam pressure of eighty pounds, trying to make up the time that had been lost on the earlier stages of the trip. As she was passing Bingh (Bingham) the engineer discovered a loose bolt in the engine, and shut off the steam to remedy the defect.

It was while he was working at the loose bolt that the explosion occurred, tearing off the top of the engine and demolishing the pilot house and the forward upper works of the steamer, but leaving Engineer Edward Hardy unscathed by the havoc that swept before him.

John Hartung, who was at the wheel, was probably fatally injured. Many were thrown into the water and clung to wreckage until rescued by farmers living along the shore, although some were able to swim to shore.

July 29, 2013

Sleepy Bear Twilight Ride ~ Sunday, August 11th

Filed under: biking,calendar,glen arbor,hiking,Leelanau,news,nonprofit,sleepingbeardunes — Andrew McFarlane @ 7:49 am

The first annual Sleepy Bear Twilight Ride to benefit the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail takes place this Sunday, August 11.  Trail maintenance costs approximately $1,000 per mile annually, and a donation of $30 for families and $10 for individuals will be used to keep the trail clean and clear for safe riding in the spring, summer, and fall and grooming for cross country skiing in the winter.

The non-competitive ride will begin at 8 PM at Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor and refreshments will be provided at Glen Haven. All ages are welcome at the event, and riders can choose from a 4.5 or 9 mile loop on the trail.  Bike rental is available at Crystal River Outfitters. Register in advance through Friends of Sleeping Bear.


July 27, 2013

Grace Dickinson and five more Leelanau Women Photographers

Filed under: boats,glen arbor,history,lake michigan,Leelanau,leland,news,photo — Andrew McFarlane @ 9:04 am

Via Michigan in Pictures...


This week's Glen Arbor Sun has a great feature by Kathleen Stocking on Six Leelanau County Women Photographers: Barbara Nowinski, Kathleen (Dodge) Buhler, Meggen Watt Peterson, Ashmir McCarthy, Marty Schilling and Grace Dickinson. Here's Grace:

Grace Dickinson has a photo studio across the road from the place her grandparents first came to on the south shore of Little Glen Lake in the summer of 1912. Her grandparents traveled to the Leelanau Peninsula by steamer, from the Navy Pier in Chicago up Lake Michigan to Glen Haven. In 1942 her parents met and fell in love while her mother was a writer/editor at the Leelanau Enterprise and soon after became year-round residents. Grace’s father, Fred, a broker who worked from home, spent his free time photographing the dunes and the islands. One unusual photo shows a cloud the exact size of one of the Manitou Islands, above the island, a rare phenomenon caused by condensation when the temperature of the island is colder than that of the surrounding waters of Lake Michigan.

From an early age, Grace followed in her father’s footsteps, quite literally, accompanying him and sometimes photographing the same scenes. Grace left her studies at Northwestern Michigan College to go on a year-long sailing adventure in the Bahamas, and followed this with a two-decade-sojourn out in Montana where she married a rancher and finished college. Grace returned to the Leelanau Peninsula in the late 1980s and became a mapmaker for the Leelanau County Planning Commission. She began taking photos of the Leelanau Peninsula and opened her own studio out of which she sold her own and her father’s photos and maps. In the mid-1990s she revived the 1930s art of photographic hand-coloring, laboriously hand-tinting her father’s black and white photos of earlier years, photos which evoke the shadows and starkness of some of the photos of Diane Arbus, but as applied to nature, not people. In the medium of hand-coloring Grace discovered a way to keep her father’s legacy alive and express her own love of Leelanau. Her photo studio is on Glenmere (M-22) west of the bridge over the Glen Lake Narrows.

Head over to the Glen Arbor Sun for more! The photo above is labeled as having been taken in Glen Arbor in 1909, but former Leelanau Historical Museum Director Laura Quackenbush identified it as Leland's dock. The photo was hand-colored by Grace from an old negative on glass found in the Leelanau Enterprise office during the time her parents (briefly) owned it.

If you're interested in more work bu Grace and her father, head over to Dickinson Photography. I've also featured several photos from Fred Dickinson on Michigan in Pictures, and you can click that link to read a little about the coloring process.

July 24, 2013

5th annual Glen Arbor Paint Out/Plein Aire Weekend

Filed under: art,Leelanau,michigan,news,nonprofit,outdoors,summer — Andrew McFarlane @ 7:55 am

The Glen Arbor Art Association (GAAA) annual Plein Art Weekend is scheduled for August 2-3. Artists from across Michigan and throughout the Midwest are registered to participate in this 5th annual event, which has become one of Michigan’s largest and most popular Paint Outs.

On Friday, August 2, a Quick Draw features artists who will “Paint the Town”, capturing the charm of Glen Arbor and its iconic places to visit, in just two hours. Watch the artists at work and then join the fun at the Quick Sale at the Glen Arbor Township Hall from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Free Admission.

On Saturday, August 3, the main event, the Plein Air Paint Out, begins early in the morning. Sixty pre-accepted painters will have their canvasses date stamped and then head off to find their idyllic spots and set up their easels for the day. The aim and challenge of a Plein Air Paint Out is to “capture the moment”, working quickly to complete a painting. All 2-D works must be initiated and finished on this one day -- rain or shine.

The artists return to GAAA in the late afternoon to enter their work in the judged exhibit. This year’s juror is Chicago artist and Leelanau resident, Hank (Chips) Feeley. The Wet Painting Sale and Reception opens to the public and the works are offered on a first-come basis when the gong sounds at 5:45, sharp. The event is at the Glen Arbor Art Association, 6031 South Lake Street, Glen Arbor, and is a benefit for the art association.

Admission is $10 per person, and includes a wine sampling and appetizers from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

For more information call the GAAA at 231/334-6112 or visit their website.

July 17, 2013

Port Oneida Fair ~ August 9-10, 2013

Filed under: calendar,farms,history,Leelanau,michigan,news,summer — Andrew McFarlane @ 2:02 pm

The annual Port Oneida Fair offers you a chance to step back in time and experience life as it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The event takes place in the Port Oneida District of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on August 9 and 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Visitors can take the shuttle, drive, hike, or bike to the six unique historic sites where a variety of activities take place. Over 80 demonstrators will be at the fair. Timber framers, quilters and basket weavers will be demonstrating their crafts. Potters and blacksmiths will be hard at work. Oxen will be cutting hay in the fields. Interpreting the history of the Port Oneida community and its settlers will also be an important aspect of the fair. Park Rangers, volunteers, and families of Port Oneida residents will share stories at various farm sites. Food will be available for purchase or you may pack a picnic lunch to eat on the trail or in a farm meadow.

By partnering with Bay Area Recycling for Charities, the National Lakeshore will be going “green” and composting or recycling throughout the fair. On Friday you can spend a day at the Fair and sit down for the 3rd annual Port Oneida Picnic presented by Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear and benefitting the Fair. Tickets are $15 and need to be purchased in advance. There's also a Star Party on Saturday from 9-11 PM at the Thoreson Farm. Join Park Rangers and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society members who will share their telescopes and knowledge while viewing Mars, Saturn, and the Perseid meteor shower. Remember to bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car!

The Port Oneida Rural Arts and Culture Fair promotes the preservation of rural traditional skills, crafts, landscapes, and communities of the Upper Great Lakes Region through education, artistic expression and the development of a coalition of community organizations. Port Oneida is the largest intact historic agricultural district in the United States, and is fully protected within the National Lakeshore. With 19 historic farms (four privately owned), more than 300 buildings, and over 3,000 acres of land. In addition to the farmhouses, barns, and wonderful variety of specialized outbuildings, the historic district contains the fields, orchards, fence rows, roads, cemetery, forest and other elements that make up the historic landscape.

The Port Oneida Fair is hosted by the National Lakeshore and co-sponsored by Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear and the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. It's a free event, but you must purchase a Park Entrance Pass and display it in your vehicle. Please call 231-326-5135, ext. 328, to make reservations (if you plan on bringing a group), or ask questions, or visit their website or the National Lakeshore’s Facebook page.

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