5 Antique Apples Our Ancestors Ate

The peak of the apple-picking season is drawing near, which means roadside farm stands will soon be spilling over with great deals on bushels and pecks of Honey Crisp, Gala and Granny Smith. These modern varieties are great. But if you’re looking for unique taste with some real history behind it, read on. 

 John Kilcherman

We caught with John and Phyllis Kilcherman—owners Leelanau County’s Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm—to find out what varieties of apples were cultivated by early settlers in the country now known as the Sleeping Bear Dunes. The Kilcherman’s specialize in growing and selling heirloom or “antique apples”—over 200 varieties, including the five that still can be found growing around the farms and turn-of-the-century homesteads at the Lakeshore’s Port Oneida Rural Historic District. Put these Lakeshore originals on your shopping list when you visit Kilcherman’s this fall, and then try them in the apple recipe at the end, courtesy of the The Homestead’s Chef John Piombo. 


Sweet Bough

Sweet Bough 

About a decade ago, the National Park Service wanted to know the pedigree of the ancient apple trees they found growing around the old barns and farmhouses of Port Oneida. So they took some fruit and went to heirloom apple identification expert, John Kilcherman, who was not surprised to find the Sweet Bough among them.

“The Sweet Bough used to be a popular ‘early’ apple,” he says, meaning it was one of the first to ripen in the fall. “It’s one of my favorite & …

3 Reasons That Will Make You Want to Take an M-22 Fall Color Tour

Just in time for the autumn leaf season, construction on 13 miles of Michigan’s most famous scenic road just wrapped up last month. Newly resurfaced and widened (to better accommodate bicyclists), M-22 is the gateway to everything worth seeing and doing in the Sleeping Bear Dunes and all of Leelanau County this fall. Here’s why:

Bicyclist’s Paradise

M-22 MDOT Sign 

[source: Mlive.com/Michigan Department of Transportation]

As mLive reported last month (click here), one of the biggest and best improvements MDOT construction crews made to M-22 over the summer was making the famed corridor more accommodating to bicyclists. The road named “America’s Best Autumn Scenic Drive” by the USA Today was already known throughout the region as one of the most beautiful cycling routes in the Midwest. Now the famed corridor has even wider—biker-friendly—shoulders to carry the title.

Looking for a good route to hit before lunch? Try heading south out The Homestead and head south toward Empire—it’s only about 7 miles. Glen Arbor to Leland—another good lunchtime place for eats—is roughly 18 miles. And lets not forget the road running from Leland to Northport (another 11 miles). If you’re leaving The Homestead on an all day, scenic excursion that will get you back to the resort in time for dinner and sunset cocktails on the deck of Café Manitou, this Glen Arbor to Northport route is roughly 60 miles round trip for those in pretty good shape.

Drink In The Views

Good Harbor Fall 

[source: goodharbor. …

3 Reasons to Book a Salmon Fishing Trip...Right Now!

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.

Charter Fishing Wattabite 

[source: wattabite.com]

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

Far-Fetched Charter Fishing 

[source: far-fetched.com]

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

Lake Michigan Charter Fishing 

[source: wattabite.com]

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, …

Thanks summer. Fall's got it from here

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. 

Wine Tour Tuesdays at The Homestead

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.

Wine Tour

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


Good Harbor winery 

[source: goodharbor.com]

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. 


Chateau Fontaine


Chateau Fontaine 

[source: chateaufontaine.com]

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


Bel Lago Winery

[source: leelanau.net]

Location: Cedar

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