Adventuring in norther Michigan is one of my favorite things to do and this past Friday, we drove on M-22 and headed to Sutton’s Bay. I had never visited before, however my Mother in Law grew up in the area and recommended we check it out. Our first stop featured lunch at Hop Lot and you can read all about the restaurant here.

After lunch, we drove just a couple miles to reach the downtown area. The town showcases fun trendy boutiques along the main street. You can also see the water while downtown and I knew I wanted to get a closer look.

It was a rather windy cool day so I enjoyed a quick stroll along the beach and dock pausing long enough for a couple pictures before heading back to the the shops. Gucci & Tucker would have enjoyed exploring the beach and park area further on a warmer day.

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My first purchase was a gray cardigan sweater from a unique boutique named The Exchange. I also found a great Christmas gift for my best friend at The Painted Bird. There were a lot of fun stores to browse. Before leaving downtown, I visited one of my favorite northern boutiques, Haystacks,  and I went home with a scarf to add to my collection.

We then headed out for a drive around Lake Leelanau. It was quite a scenic drive with the trees displaying their beautiful fall colors. The lake is quite large so the drive takes a while and we did not complete a full circle as we wanted to also visit Leland that afternoon.

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Leland Fishtown is a century old fishing village and one of the few survivors. It is a super quaint area that is full of history and a unique way of life. There is a great cheese shop to visit and the area is surrounded by Fishtown shanties.  Fishtown has been a working waterfront for nearly 150 years. You can visit the 1960s smokehouse that is still utilized for fish smoking today by the Carlson’s, the first family to smoke chubs in LeLand. Fishtown was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1973 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

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The weathered buildings or shanties also feature fun boutiques worth browsing and I recommend spending a few hours exploring the town. You can see the fish tugs and fish nets along the Leland river and admire the dam. Perhaps watch a boat enter Lake Michigan before you leave.

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There are several restaurants and shops to see on the main downtown street as well. A trendy coffee shop called The Blue Boat (named after the family’s first boat) is a crowd pleaser. I also stopped at the local Murddick’s Fudge and took some treats home with me.

I learned that Leland hosts a large Wine & Food Festival in June. I hope to come back and check out that event a following year.

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About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.