My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Scenic Michigan, the Leelanau Peninsula

Jutting out into Lake Michigan, the Leelanau Peninsula forms one of the sides of Grand Traverse Bay. It is one of Michigan’s most scenic areas, containing such features as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Empire Bluffs, miles of sandy beaches, and quaint little towns. There are rivers and streams of gin clear water flowing through the area on their way to join Lake Michigan, and lakes of turquoise water dotting the landscape.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was voted as the most beautiful place in the United States by ABC’s Good Morning America viewers, and the National Geographic Society rates it in the top ten of the most beautiful places in the world.

The area has long served as a playground for the rich and famous, and the rich and infamous. Mobster Al Capone built a hideout on the Leelanau Peninsula, and when things got too hot for him in Chicago, he had a high-speed boat to whisk him away to his northern Michigan hide away.

So, for my trip up there, I took the back roads, and I stopped at Nub’s Knob, the highest point in the county in which I live to take a few landscape shots to make sure that I had my set up correct for when I got to the good stuff. While there, I noticed some one watching me intently.

I didn't catch it's name

I didn’t catch its name

My first real stop was a scenic overlook just north of Arcadia, Michigan.

Looking north towards the Empire Bluffs

Looking north towards the Empire Bluffs

I shot this one to add a little perspective as to how high up the bluff I was shooting from is.

Looking north towards the Empire Bluffs

Looking north towards the Empire Bluffs

And, about that time, an eagle did an obligatory fly by to wow all the tourists.

Bald Eagle in flight

Bald Eagle in flight

Bald Eagle in flight

Bald Eagle in flight

Bald Eagle in flight

Bald Eagle in flight

I knew that the light was wrong, but I had to shoot a couple looking south.

Looking south towards Arcadia

Looking south towards Arcadia

This is typical northern Michigan, heavily forested, there are times that it’s hard to see the scenery for all the trees.

Looking south towards Arcadia

Looking south towards Arcadia

My next stop was the Point Betsie Lighthouse.

Point Betsie Light is located on the northeast shore of Lake Michigan, at the southern entrance to the Manitou Passage, north of Frankfort in Benzie County in Northern Michigan. Construction began in 1854, but it was not completed until 1858, and began service in the shipping season of 1859. The lighthouse cost $5000 to build. In 1875, a life saving station was built for $3000.

Point Betsie Lighthouse

Point Betsie Lighthouse

Point Betsie Lighthouse

Point Betsie Lighthouse

I then entered the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, but I’m going to do a separate post on that, so I’m going to skip ahead to the village of Leland, Michigan.

As early as 1880, commercial fishermen sailed out of the harbor at Leland, Michigan to catch trout and whitefish, building wooden shacks where they processed their catch and serviced their fleet. Up to eight powered tugs once sailed out of “Fishtown,” as the buildings came to be known. Today, the historic fishing settlement and two fish tugs, Joy and Janice Sue, are owned by a non-profit organization, Fishtown Preservation Society.

Leland, Michigan's Fishtown

Leland, Michigan’s Fishtown

The small harbor at Leland

The small harbor at Leland

The large boat is the one that does the tours of the Manitou Islands

The large boat is the one that does the tours of the Manitou Islands

Just a pretty sailboat

Just a pretty sailboat

Looking up the Leelanau River

Looking up the Leelanau River

The dam on the Leelanau River

The dam on the Leelanau River

The dam on the Leelanau River

The dam on the Leelanau River

One of the old fishing tugs

One of the old fishing tugs

A pretty old time Chris Craft wooden boat

A pretty old-time Chris Craft wooden boat

From there, it was on to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

Grand Traverse Light is a lighthouse in the U.S. state of Michigan, located at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, which separates Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay. It marks the Manitou passage, where Lake Michigan elides into Grand Traverse Bay. In 1858, the present light was built, replacing a separate round tower built in 1852. The lighthouse is located inside Leelanau State Park, 8 miles (13 km) north of Northport, a town of about 650 people. This area, in the Michigan wine country, is known for its exquisite beauty and is a popular spot for tourists during the summer months.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse info

Grand Traverse Lighthouse info

Grand Traverse Lighthouse

Grand Traverse Lighthouse

The Lake Michigan side of the Leelanau Peninsula

The Lake Michigan side of the Leelanau Peninsula

Looking across the Grand Traverse Bay towards Charlevoix, Michigan

Looking across the Grand Traverse Bay towards Charlevoix, Michigan

Grand Traverse Lighthouse

Grand Traverse Lighthouse

IMG_0047

Grand Traverse Lighthouse

Grand Traverse Lighthouse

That’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as what there is to see on the Leelanau Peninsula, I hope that you have enjoyed this quick tour. It would require weeks or months to photograph everything well, and I tried to do it in a day, so I also hope that you don’t mind the postcard look of most of my photos.

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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16 responses

  1. Carolyn

    So disapointed today….no pictures came through with your comments.
    I look forward to yor postings ..they are wonderful. I am 76 and do not walk well so spend most of my days in my chair. Time with you takes me outside where I spent many years free to roam and see nature. Thank you.

    August 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    • Thank you for the nice words! I don’t know why you couldn’t see the photos, I checked, they are there, did you try to reload it?

      August 11, 2013 at 3:35 pm

  2. plantsamazeme

    Great photos of Lake Michigan! I can hardly wait for the rest of the trip, but I know it takes time. From this tip of the iceberg it looks like you had beautiful weather.
    🙂

    August 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    • Thanks, but the weather was too good. I couldn’t get to many of the places that I wanted to go to, because there were long traffic jams or no parking left.

      August 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm

  3. I don’t think postcard should be a term of abuse. I would have been pleased to have been able to buy one of these shots as a memento of a visit.

    August 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    • Thanks, but I’ve seen your landscape photos, you’d have no need to buy a postcard.

      August 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm

  4. Looks like some wonderful scenes you have up there! Not sure why you thought the light was wrong looking south. Love the texture of the water both north and south. Loved the boat used as a planter! Great little fishing town it looks like! Too bad about the swarms or tourists.

    August 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    • Thanks! You didn’t see how many adjustments and test shots I made to get any of the shots facing towards the south, into the sun. Nor did you see me waiting patiently for exactly the right spot to shoot those shots from to open up so I could take advantage of them.

      And I think that you can see that our coastline of miles of sand is rather dull when compared to your area.

      August 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      • OK… you’re right about not knowing the patience and other stuff it took to get those south shots. As for dull coastline, much of it is positioning. I’ve been frustrated many times, not being able to get to a place to add visual interest. I’ll send you a shot (my one and only of one of the Great Lakes) for a suggestion, IF you can get into a spot that might give you the right angle….

        August 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm

  5. It’s a beautiful place, no doubt about that. The fishing village reminds me of towns along the Massachusetts coast. It looks like you were fairly high up on the bluffs. The shots from up there look like ocean views.

    August 11, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    • Thanks! One of the things that I wanted to convey was that the Great Lakes may be lakes, but for all intents and purposes, they are very much like oceans.

      August 11, 2013 at 8:04 pm

  6. Love this part of MI. My daughter and I did a road trip to the area a couple of summers ago. Camped one night at Sleeping Bear before continuing up to Mackinac. I think it’s hard to capture just how high the shoreline is. You did a great job and I look forward to your next post on the dunes.

    August 12, 2013 at 12:06 am

    • Thank you! It is a beautiful area, but I would opt for the mountains if I had that option.

      August 12, 2013 at 10:30 am

  7. Gorgeous! Love all these photos. It’s okay if they are “postcard” quality – isn’t that what we like to say, pretty as a postcard? So it’s really a compliment! I’m glad you had such a great trip!

    August 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    • Thanks! I once told some one else that the businesses that print post cards generally hire professional photographers to shoot photos for them, so looking like postcards isn’t such a bad thing. 😉

      August 13, 2013 at 2:14 am

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