A Love Note to Leelanau

Dearest Leelanau County,

M-22 Highway Sign, Flickr Photo Credit - Kathleen McDonald

Taking the M-22 Drive

Since our first summer with you in 1980, we haven’t been able to get you off of our minds. We knew we loved you from the moment we drove up M-22 and saw your bright red cherries poking through trees in the orchards, as clear blue skies and cotton ball clouds danced above.

Not even distance has been able to keep us apart. Although we moved to Pennsylvania nearly 20 years ago, we defy conventional east coast summers spent “down the shore” and instead, head “up north” to see you, despite the blank stares we get when we talk about your cottages, Manitous, and Petoskey stones to those who do not understand what it means to love you.

4th of July Parade in Leland

4th of July Parade in Leland

That’s because to love you is to be a part of a secret- a secret held only by those of us who have been blessed to sneak away from it all and spend even just a week of our summers with you.

Your birch-lined beaches and potluck dinners on picnic tables captivate us. And days spent with you, bobbing through the brisk waters of Lake Michigan in giant, black inner-tubes keep us coming back for more.

Sunset over the Manitous

Fingers stained from your cherries and strawberries picked up at roadside stands leave a sweet reminder of you. And we cherish the treasures you leave for us in the form of rocks and “Leland Blue” on your shores.

Your sunsets bring us all together for a final evening show, as we sit recalling memories of years spent with you- 4th of July parades marched in, Pyramid Point trails hiked, white fish dinners grilled, Sunfish boat trips sailed, Blue Angels spotted.

Leelanau, thank you for being a part of our history, and for allowing us to be a little piece of yours.

Happy Fouth of July at Jolli Lodge on Lake Michigan

With Love,

The Taylor Family
Martha and Doug Taylor, Newtown,PA
Erin Taylor, Washington D.C.
Katheryn Taylor, Washington D.C.

 

  • Eileen

    I love this. I also moved to PA over 20 years ago (in Philly, not too far from you) but go “home” to Michigan every summer. I’m from Detroit so I visit there, then spend a long weekend in Holland, MI enjoying the beauty of Lake Michigan with family and friends. No where like it on the planet. I love MI! Thanks for such a wonderful “love letter.”

  • Tammy

    The sentiment expressed in this letter hits a chord in my heart. Fortunately, I live in Northern Indiana so I don’t have far to travel when I want to revel in a Michigan indulgment. For me, it wasn’t until ten years ago when I married a native Michigander transplanted to Indiana for his career that I was introduced to Northern Michigan and the unspeakable beauty it beholds. I was literally awestruck in my introduction and disappointed at the realization I had lived so close for many years and this incredible “secret” was just now revealed to me. Since then, I’ve not wasted much time and many days of my vacations have been spent exploring the glory of thousands of Michigan moments and recording as many as possible in the snapshots of my mind. It would take many pages to share the wonderment I have discovered in Michigan, but I, for one, feel so blessed I have been able to see God over and over through the State of Michigan!

  • http://www.michiganinmetal.com Scott Snow

    We were just there this past week! I cant imagine moving away from Michigan because I would also miss this area more then anything, and I feel for those who have moved. Most people who have never been to this area would have no idea the lasting impressions of the small towns, lakes, and sand dune lined, aqua blue water beaches. Once you visit…your hooked for life. I believe the beauty of this area… and many more areas of Michigan, can equal or surpass any place in the country.

  • Marty

    I may have been born in Baltimore, however grew up outside of Detroit. Michigan will always be home to me. I miss it so and maybe one day, I will move back.

  • Annette

    Taylor Family…I grew-up every summer coming for vacation on Green Lk.
    in Interlochen so we know the area well…as Tammy expressed above, it pulls at the chord in my heart. My whole family, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins enjoyed many memories there yearly, we would rent 2-3 cottages and enjoy a couple wks. together. As we married, we to have passed this to our own children and now having a grandson, hope to have some of those times back in the same area. There’s not a place I would rather be or go, not getting to go there this summer which is breaking my heart, but will somehow in the yrs. to come. The fun of going out in the lake jumping off a boat and swimming, fishing, hearing the music from the camp, nights laying outside on the dock to see the stars, hearing the loons and campfires fill my heart with memories and a bit of sadness since my parents passed away last yr. and they so loved it. I loved it so that I worked 3 yrs. at the Music Camp in college and still keep in touch with a friend from there. So, to all of you that know how this feels, thank you…my life wouldn’t be much without the wonderful memories I shared in the Grand Traverse area of Michigan. It made me a better person to appreciate beauty, serenity and be closer to God for the few wks. a year I had in that beautiful area.

  • peggy harris

    I spent most of my childhood summer vacations in an A-Frame cottage between Leelanau and Northport. The cottage was located directly on Lake Michigan and it was absolutely “Beautiful. We would go to Leland and get smoked chubs at the shack by the damn, then throw the heads in the water for the fish to eat. Those sure were the good days and I would give anything to be able to spend time like I did as a kid. Wonderful Memories indeed!

  • Jan Shafer-Bunting

    i enjoyed reading all of the above as I feel the same way about my beautiful birth state of Michigan. I have lived in many states since 1977, but the few times I have been back have made me wish that everyone could see what an awesome state Michigan is. Can anything in this world beat standing on a bluff, hearing the waves and seeing the incredible blue-green water below?? Or watching a brilliantly colored sun set over the Lake?? I could go on and on…