Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Glen Arbor, Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has long been considered one of the best beaches in the US. With its sweeping sand perched on a curve of the Western Michigan shore, it is a challenging hike and the miles of shifting sand a great contrast to the soft serene waves of Lake Michigan.
There is campgrounds in the dunes, but since I visited there in late September, I was looking for fall weather, I didn't want to battle any cold weather.

So I looked for a hotel or a B&B in the nearest town, Glen Arbor. I found an owner at The Homestead resort who was renting out their condo. It had a fireplace, patio and was mere steps away from Lake Michigan.
I had a long weekend, spur of the moment trip, but the weather was agreeable with mostly bright sunshine with one day of rain. 

Since Glen Arbor was a sleepy little coastal town, I thought I would spend time just sitting around with a book. Instead I found the Crystal River Outfitters where I could rent bikes and various water sports paraphernalia. 

I had stopped by since the Homestead was a bit north of the city proper and made arrangements for them to drop off a bike and helmet for me at my condo. Then when I was ready, I would just need to call them to pick up the bike when I was done with it. 

It was a semi cloudy day, but it stayed dry and the colors were wonderful. I always appreciate staying active when there are new byways for me to wander.

I circled the main streets of Glen Arbor in less than 5minutes. There's one corner that had the local grocers and the few restaurants in the area that catered to visitors.

What I was more enamored with was the country roads that wound around the Leelanau Peninsula. There are no big expressways here, it's all twisting and turning country roads. There are also several larger inland lakes that dot the area. Some times I'd make a turn and it felt like I was by the seashore, all I was missing was the salty air. 

On one rainy day I had, I took my car up M22 to the Leelanau State Park and went to the very end to see the Grand Traverse Light House. 

The light house is beautifully kept. It participates in the national park program that allows visitors the ability to stay in the light house's living quarters and do some maintenance work. The gentlemen who was taking the entrance fees for the lighthouse was staying there that week before he and his girlfriend headed south for the winter. His girlfriend tended the gift shop. 

I enjoyed the way they had restored the lighthouse back to they way it was back in the 1920s. I was fascinated by the furniture and their appliances back in the day. 
Visitors were allowed to climb up to the top where the giant lamp used to be that lighted the lighthouse. It was a very tight spiral staircase that had me bumping my head on the ceiling. Sadly it was a grey raining day and a rain storm was descending, but it did explain why they built the lighthouse there. The water churned dangerously and I could understand how ships might have met tragic ends had the lighthouse not been there to warn them of the dangers.

I may not have heard of Glen Arbor before since most people visit Traverse City. But obviously enough people knew about it since I did end up paying $10 for an 'artisanal' Reuben sandwich. 

I did enjoy the quiet moments at the condo, meals on the patio and gentle sunsets. I would come back in a heartbeat. Fall was off season so the condo was very reasonable, the colors were brilliant but the tall waving acorn trees drilled my car with dents as it shed its acorns like bullets on top of unwitting visitors. I may have gotten a dent on my head.

So if you're looking for a serene and slow paced area to visit. I would suggest you look at Glen Arbor.