The best time to get out on the big water and tangle with one of Michigan’s greatest gamefish is right now! From now until the end of September, any salmon stream flowing into Lake Michigan is a hotspot for the big Chinook and king salmon now staging super close to shore. All you need is the desire and the right charter-fishing guide. That’s where The Homestead comes in.
The end of summer definitely has a way of sneaking up on you. One day you’re sitting there on the beach in your shorty-shorts, toes in the white sand of a Sleeping Bear beach, and the next thing you know the cherry-picking season is over. The apples are starting to hang heavy on the trees and—instead of the occasional barge cruising through the Manitou Passage—all you see are fishing boats bobbing around on the Lake Michigan horizon.
Odds are pretty good that all those boats are salmon fishing.
If you’ve always wanted to give it a try, there’s no need to put it off until next year. Some of the best fishing of the year is happening right now. From Glen Arbor to Leland, big salmon are the buzz. Catch one (or a cooler full) and you’re guaranteed a memory that will last a lifetime. But if that’s not reason enough to convince you, here’s three more:
The Toughest Fish Anyone Can Catch
Hire a charter-boat captain, and you don’t need any fishing gear. You don’t have to know any fishing knots or how to even take a fish off a hook; that’s what a first-mate is for. All you have to do is have valid Michigan fishing license (ask your captain about a “24-hour-on-the-boat” fishing license for $11), show up with sunglasses, snacks and drinks, come dressed in layers and prepared to have a good time.
Salmon can reach weights of 25-pounds or more. Get one on the line and it feels a little bit like hooking the rear-bumper of a car screaming away from a red light in rush-hour traffic. Salmon are strong, but kids barely able to walk have landed them.
Charter captains know where the fish are congregating and what they’re biting on. Get one on the line and it’s just a matter of being able to calm your pounding heart as you crank, crank, crank the reel and wrestle the fish to the net.
Some Many Memories, So Little Time
Name one other outdoor activity where you can leave in the morning and be back in time for lunch guaranteed to have an experience you’ll never forget? Whether you book a morning or evening trip for salmon, the experience of being out on the big water of Lake Michigan chasing one of the state’s greatest gamefish is the stuff memories are made of. A great family activity, …
Everybody loves the long days and bright sun of summer, but around here, falling temperatures and shorter days bring smiles– Leelanau County is never more beautiful than when the leaves are changing. The lake stays warm even after the air temperature drops, so swimming is often possible much later than one would expect. Best of all? Autumn means you can have the place practically to yourself– after labor day, crowds thin out, and prices drop as Leelanau Golf courses, restaurants, and vineyards celebrate the beauty of this restful season. Call 231.334.5000 to book any of the packages.
Take a Leelanau Peninsula wine tour and let The Homestead do the driving. Afternoon tours by passenger shuttle bus are happening every week now and on into fall. Here’s a look at the four award-winning wineries you’ll experience, along with advice on what to sample while you’re there.
Wine tours are fun. Picking the designated driver? Not so much.
Wouldn’t it be great to jump in a van with a bunch of your friends and be driven around by a local—someone who not only knew all the best wineries in the county but would have you back safely in time for dinner? Enter The Homestead.
The Homestead hosts wine tours every Tuesday from 12pm to 5pm. Transportation is provided by a passenger shuttle bus and departs from the resort's Village, just outside of Cavanaugh's. From there you’ll hit four of the best, award-winning wineries in the region:
Good Harbor Vineyards
Location: Lake Leelanau
What Makes It Great: Lake Leelanau’s Good Harbor Vineyard is a family-owned operation located on North Manitou Trail in the heart of the Leelanau Peninsula. For three generations, Good Harbor Vineyards has developed over 65 acres of land (planted to vine) and now boasts one of the largest Pinot Grigio plantings in Michigan.
Must Try Wines: 2013 Riesling and 2016 Rosé, both Double Gold winners at the recent 40th Annual Michigan Wine Competion.
Location: Lake Leelanau
What Makes It Great: Chateau Fontain is a family-run winery that started growing grapes in 1987. Starting with Chardonnay, Pino Gris and Pinot Noir, Chateau Fontaine now grows 15 varietals and produces some of the most awarded wines in Michigan. Beyond recognition in the Midwest, Chateau Fontaine has even garnered world distinction for several of their white wines, winning the John Rose Award at the Finger Lakes International Competition for dry and semi-sweet White Rieslings in 2012 and 2013, respectively, and the Best Pacific Rim White Wine for their 2010 Gewurztraminer.
Must Try Wines: Chateau Fontaine won a four gold medals and seven silver medals at July’s 40th Annual Michigan Wine Competition. But their 2016 Laughing Waters Dry Rosé was one of the events biggest standouts when it took home both Double Gold and Best of Class in Rosé.
Bel Lago Vineyards & Winery
What Makes It Great: If the view of vineyard against the backdrop of south Lake Leelanau doesn’t move you, Bel Lago’s wine and cider will. Founded in 1987, Bel Lago grows more than 100 varieties on 37 acres. In addition to popular vinifera varieties including Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer and Riesling, Bel Lago also specializes in rare varieties like Auxerrois, Siegerrebe and Cayuga White among many others. In addition to wine, the Bel Lago cidery produces several hard ciders, including oaked, hopped and flavored varieties.
Must Try Wines
Autumn is right around the corner and that means harvest season—that special time of year when local farm stands, markets and U-pick orchards all across Leelanau County are busting with fresh-picked vegetables, local fruit and berries. Here we rundown a few our favorite places to taste and enjoy the farm-fresh experience starting this month.
Fun And Freshness
It’s picking time again in Leelanau County for blueberries, red and black raspberries and even gooseberries. That’s followed in early October by the ripening of the apple crop, which an adventure that the whole family can enjoy.
Alpers Berry Farm
Season: Season varies, mid-July to mid-Aug. U-pick, seven days a week, 10 AM to 6 PM. Call ahead for U-pick. 231-271-6656
Location: Just two miles north of Suttons Bay, Michigan, on the right hand side of Setterbo Road
U-Pick: Blueberries, black and red raspberries, gooseberries
Season: Mid-April through October 31st. Hours 9am to 6pm Monday through Sunday.
Location: Take M-72 west out of Traverse City, approximately 13 miles to County Road 667 (Maple City Rd). Turn right and follow County Road 667 into Maple City. One hundred yards past the flashing light, turn left on Burdickville Road (County Road 616). Farm is located 1/4 mile further on the left.
Good Neighbor Farms of Leelanau County
U-Pick: apples, black raspberries, blackberries
Season: Mid-August and apples during weekends in October (please call first). Good Neighbor Farms has 13 varieties of apples, five varieties of garlic, six varieties of lavender, black rapberries, and blackberries.
Location: 9885 Engles Road, Northport, Michigan, 49670. Phone 231-271-5679. Take M-22, three miles south of Northport.
Buy Fresh. Buy Local.
While the 2017 farmers’ market season officially kicked off back in mid June, September is the month when roadside stands and market tables bow under the heaping weight of farm-fresh goodness. It’s all here: local honey, fresh-pressed cider, vegetables, pecks of apples and peaches. Here’s a town-by-town rundown of times and dates for farm-market buying from Northport to Empire.
Suttons Bay Farmer's Market
May 12th – October 27th
9 am to 1 pm, Saturdays
Located at North Park, intersection of M-22 & M-204 (601 Front Street)
Empire Farmer’s Market
June 16th – September 15th
9 am to 1 pm, Saturdays
Located next to the Post Office (10234 W Front St)
Lake Leelanau Farmer's Market
Using a little technology to find vacation bliss in Northern Michigan just got a little bit easier and a lot more fun. Last month, The Homestead launched a newly optimized and user-friendly website along with a new hashtag campaign that gives guests and residents a platform to share their treasured resort memories.
The Paradox Of Choice
There’s a unique problem that comes with being the only four-season resort located in the heart of the “Most Beautiful Place in America.” But according to The Homestead’s Peter Kuras, it’s a good problem to have—unless you’re a webpage designer.
“We have so much to offer our guests—more than other similar properties—that it can be a little overwhelming trying to convey it all [on a website],” says Kuras.
Golfing. Tennis. Hiking. Biking. Skiing. Snowboarding. The list of outdoor activities goes on and on. Then you have the local foodie scene, the long list of award-winning wineries and fine restaurants. There’s charter fishing, outdoor concerts, autumn leaf tours, a never-ending list of festivals for everything from craft beer and artisan cheese.
Everyone knows The Homestead …