The Cicely Alaska of Traverse City, Michigan

Northern Exposure Traverse City

Years ago, in the 1990’s, our good friends knew they had an open invitation to come hang out at our house every Monday night.  The only catch was you had to be there by 10:00.  That was the time our favorite show, Northern Exposure came on the television. It was an open door on Monday nights.  Just for our closest friends.

We have never done that with any other television show.  Never had before then, and haven’t since. We were hooked. I think it was a combination of the story being told along with the blend of unique characters that lived in Cicely, Alaska. The tight-knit community they evoked on the show inspired us to create our own little community in Traverse City on Monday nights all winter long.

Lake Ann Snow Pine Fest

Today, we spent the day at the Lake Ann Snow Pine Fest .  Lake Ann is a little village about twenty minutes south-west of Traverse City. The locals call it LA. We felt like we’d been placed into the set of Northern Exposure.

The locals call it LA. We felt like we’d been placed into the set of Northern Exposure. The small town feeling was prevalent and charming.  The first guy we met stopped to talk with us while we got out of the car.  He gave us the rundown of the day.  We had just missed the pancake breakfast, but could still catch lunch at the town hall.  I think he was the towns Maurice Minnifield.

Welcome to Lake Ann Snow Pine Fest

Kids were having fun at a good old-fashioned pickup game of broomball on the village ice rink just off the park.

Ice Rink LA Snow Pine Fest

A red tractor ride pulled both young and old up the street to the museum and to a sledding hill complete with a warming station and hot cocoa to keep you warm!

Warming station LA Snow Pine Fest

We headed over to the town hall and took Maurice up on a bowl of chili, which we did but only after checking out the locally made quilt display at the Methodist church. This was an impressive display of handmade quilts made by the women of LA.

quilt show at methodist church lake ann snow pine fest 2014

The Almira Township Hall is a historical building in the center of town with original (creaky) wood floors, worn down by many community gatherings over the years.

Almira Township Hall downtown Lake Ann in Benzie County

We enjoyed our lunch and stayed for the live entertainment. The band played a mix of bluegrass and rockabilly. They were good! I really liked his white guitar.

Bluegrass band and his white guitar


Mother Nature provided a very wintry atmosphere for the Snow Pine Fest this year. These mailboxes buried in the snow bank prove it. It can be a challenge for the mailman, so they say. And I believe it. If it wasn’t bright orange, I may not have even seen this box buried in the snow.

mailboxes in snow

At the end of the day, the people of the village of Lake Ann were warm, friendly and very welcoming.  Thanks to all who worked hard and contributed toward putting on this small town winter fest.  It seems that everyone had a great time.  I know we did. 🙂

Hay Ride Tractor in the Snow Lake Ann


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