Leland, MI Travel Guide
Ready to move here.
I have to admit that whenever we venture up north we typically find ourselves in Traverse City. While there is much to love about that location as well, spending some time in Leland definitely stole a piece of my heart. Everything about it screams small town in the most sentimental, lovely ways.
Our visit came through a blogger/social media retreat with fellow creatives from all over Michigan. We came together to chat, learn, and experience sweet Leland in all of its glory. Setting a bunch of us free in town? We had just a little fun…
WHERE TO STAY
The Leland Lodge. It’s everything you could want in your home away from home. Old charm mixed with cozy amenities make it the perfect little haven. They are nestled on a hill next to a golf course with a lovely view of the tree-line and water. All it took was seeing their beautiful white building with green trim to be in love. Every corner of the lodge was endearing…the fleet of golf carts to swing into town, the warm fireplace with come-sit-here leather couches, fresh baked cookies, plaid vintage carpet…when can I go back?
For the retreat we were doing, it was so convenient to all be in one place. We could regroup before heading out or at the end of the day but still had individual space if we needed some rest. We did a breakfast in their bar area, dinner in the cellar, yoga class in their conference room, and a flower class on their outdoor patio…was so nice to feel like there was space for those activities right outside your bedroom door.
TIP: If you are traveling with your family, they have rooms that have double bunk Murphy beds in the wall. Perfect way to be able to stay in the same room but us space efficiently.
WHERE TO EAT
This is a toughie because there are so many amazing options in this area of Michigan. We enjoyed so many local hotspots but I thought I would share a few highlights:
• Bogeys 19th Hole: This gem is actually right inside the lodge. It was so nice to have a restaurant on site for a quite bite to eat (read: for a quick glass of wine).
• 9 Bean Rows: Sarah (our tour guide and Leland Lodge contact) suggested this spot to us. It’s bakery in the middle of the countryside with the most beautiful pastries and fresh baked bread. We made sure to stop in one more time on the way out of town to grab some goodies for the road. Doug was THRILLED with his chocolate chip cookie and macaroon.
• Village Cheese Shanty: Another treasure right in Fishtown. We stopped in her to grab some sandwiches before our hike. Talk about charm. Friendly staff. Stickers that reinforce their love for their city. A generous owner who gladly shared tips for our ramps/mushroom quest. Oh, and one of the best sandwiches that I have ever had…you all must go here, you all must order the pretzel bread. DM me your thanks later.
• The Cove: Right on the channel in Fishtown you can get the area’s most infamous Bloody Mary called the Chubby Mary. I will be honest they’re not my thing but the gals at the table that enjoy them said it was a-mazing. I opted for a glass of a local riesling and some fish…both were delightful.
• The Mitten (Northport): We have a location here in Grand Rapids so felt like a little piece of home to grab a beer and have some pretzel. I say that as if the pretzel isn’t important…it’s a big deal guys.
• Blue Boat Coffee: If you need a coffee for your adventures, stop into Blue Boat. We again felt right at home as they serve Madcap coffee. The aesthetic of the space is stunning along with a great patio if you want to coffee al fresco. If you’re lucky, the owner Susan might be there. She was such a lovely, spunky, kind woman who was so generous to host our group one of the mornings we were in town.
TIP: Wasn’t kidding about the pretzel bread at Village Cheese. Your sandwich experience will never be the same.
WHAT TO DO
Forget that it’s a small town…there is so much to do in this area. If you did a long weekend here your days would be full of the best that Northern Michigan has to offer.
• Fishtown: This is almost a given if you are in this area. It’s the heartbeat of the town and within walking (or golf cart-ing) distance from the lodge. You can feel the history as you walk along the docks with the fishing shanties proudly outlining your path. There’s a lot of fun activity in this area as well from the visitors to the hard working locals (Leland is still a functioning fishing village). Make sure to wander down to the water’s edge and take in the beautiful view as well.
• Shopping: This goes hand in hand when you’re visiting Fishtown since many of the shanties along the channel are now boutiques. A few favorites: Leland Gal (she has these beautiful acrylic earrings that are one of my favorite finds from our trip), Two Fish Gallery, Leelanau Books, and Tug Stuff.
• Venture to Northport: A short 15 minute drive from Leland is another great Leelanau County town. Wander main street, get lost in an antique shop, grab a glass of wine.
• Idyll Farms Tour: A definite highlight of the entire trip. Read my post here for this magical experience (complete with baby goats in pajamas). *Note: tours need to be arranged or booked on public dates.
• Winery Tour: When in Rome friends. There are so many amazing wineries in this area you could make a trip out of just visiting them. When we had a spare minute in our schedule we would go find one for a quick tasting. This time around we visited L.Mawby #bubbles, Tandem Ciders, and Blustone Vineyards.
• Take a Hike: We took the most beautiful hike on our last morning. It was less than a mile and the view was breathtaking. I will never get tired of the sparkling, teal colored water in this part of Michigan. Of course we were also on a mission to find ramps in the woods on the way up/back since they were in season. Read about foraging for these little babies and what I did with them once I was home here.
• Sunset Cruise: One of the most peaceful parts of our trip up north was a sunset pontoon cruise. There are organized cruises you can do or if you know Sarah, you can have a pontoon waiting for you at the local marina after a phone call. She’s magic guys.
TIP: The particular hike that we did is one of many. Consult a local for some suggestions or check out this countdown from Pure Michigan.
WHAT TO WEAR
This time around we visited the area at the end of May and overall had great weather. I 100% overpacked since the weather was warm when we arrived, chilly in the middle, and then nice again the day we left. My trusty trench coat was perfect for the cooler days. My wardrobe mostly consisted or graphic tees, sweaters, and of course some solid denim. For dinner that we had in the lodge’s wine cellar, I brought a black shift dress, color blocked shrug, and booties. Overall, the vibe there is super relaxed so no need to bring your clubwear. Leave those in your closet but make sure to bring a great jacket, walking sneaks, and of course, some hiking gear.
TIP: If you are going the wine tour route, wear a comfortable outfit with pockets. You will be hopping in and out of the car throughout the day (comfort) and skip the huge purse for a more compact clutch or simple cardholder wallet (pockets).
Ready to go to Leland? It’s your turn and you can book a room at the lodge here. A special thanks to the whole staff at The Leland Lodge for being so accommodating and Sarah Peschel for being a planning/marketing wizard.
*I partnered with The Leland Lodge on this post but all content and opinions are my own.