Chocolate Puddles in Leelanau County

Chocolate meditation? I think I could get into that. I have practiced meditation most of my life. Ever since I can remember, I’ve also been totally into chocolate; although I never thought to marry the two. It sounds like a brilliant idea.

“On any given day you’ll find chocolate-makers in deep chocolate meditation”, says the website of a local chocolate shop, Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate.

Here, in a little village in northern Michigan, apparently, “on any given day”, you can walk into Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate and witness this! So today I drove over there to see it for myself.

Google map to Grocer's Daughter

Google map to Grocer’s Daughter

By the time I got to the lakeshore, out of Traverse City, and into Empire, I was in a full blown snow storm. It’s almost April and there was blowing sleet and snow.  When I stepped inside the happy little green building on the side of the hill, I quickly forgot about the weather outside. Inside it was warm and welcoming. And it smelled amazing.

Grocer's Daughter Chocolate storefront

Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate is a local foodie favorite. And to some degree, it’s still a relatively un-discovered gem. While they haven’t (yet) won nationally acclaimed awards like Moomer’s Homemade Ice Cream has, they have become a ‘must do’ on the annual bucket list for many summer visitors. For some, it’s right up there with climbing the dunes, tubing the Platte River and a day trip to Leland.

The bright green building sits on the edge of an empire, just around the corner from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Visitors Center in Empire, Michigan. When you pull up outside, you get a sense of its charm, but until you enter through the door, you couldn’t possibly imagine how special this place is.

Inside Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate shop, the warm, natural colors and it’s simple decor are comfortable but not pretentious.  Wooden crates and baskets filled with different chocolate creations line the walls. Continue reading

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The new Red Door in Lake Ann

Red Door Coffee House Lake Ann Michigan

Historically, a red door on the front of a building has meant many different things. From welcoming visitors to signifying status. A red door has even signified a safe house in the underground railroad in the time of the U.S. Civil War.

In my research, I found a site with a nice summary of the variety of meanings from over the years. According to American Red Door, in early American tradition, a red door became a symbol to weary horse and buggy travelers that a home was a safe place to rest.

Have you seen the new red door in downtown LA?

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In downtown Lake Ann.  In Michigan, that is.

And what this particular red door represents is a good cup of coffee and a cool place to hang out. (You’ll have to leave your horse and buggy outside though.) Right next to the Almira Township Hall, and across from the Lake Ann Post Office, you’ll find it.

You’ll begin to relax as soon as you pass through that red door.  The welcoming eclectic decor is highlighted by the corrugated steel ceiling original to the building (when it was the village fire house). The walls are covered with work by local artists that are available to purchase.  There are cozy sitting areas as well as dining tables. It would be a great place to bring your laptop and get some work done. All in all, The Red Door Coffee House is a good representation of the best of northern Michigan.

Red Door Coffee House Lake Ann Michigan

The business was opened in 2014 by long time Lake Ann residents and entrepreneurs, Gary and Lori Florip and their daughter and son-in-law, Greta and Travis Kemp. They also have an office on-site for their real estate business, Lakeview Realty.  So if you’re in the market for a new house, or looking for someone to manage your property, they can help you with that too. Continue reading

As good as it looks! Pizza from Pegtown

Large pepperoni pizza please.

A few minutes later, this was on the table. I mean, just look at that crust!

Pizza at Pegtown Station Maple City

The texture was crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside.  Just how I want my pizza!

Best crust pizza Leelenau CountyI know this may seem weird, but I had to show you the bottom of the slice. It was perfectly coated in corn meal (which is one true measure of a good crust if you ask my husband).

So the place is Maple City, formerly known as Pegtown.  Right on the corner across from the Post Office and Gabe’s Country Market you’ll find Pegtown Station. Continue reading

Bud’s – Memories of Summer Camp at Interlochen, Michigan

I grew up camping in Interlochen. One of the places that we use to stop at every year was Bud’s Resort Service. It was the place to go for souvenirs, fishing tackle, the daily newspaper and donuts. Bud’s is a different place today. You can still get the souvenirs and the donuts. And they still have newspapers, but most people enjoy the WIFI and connect to the outside world with their own device these days. You cannot get tackle or live bait at Bud’s today, but go there one time, and you’ll be hooked.

Buds Interlochen

Reminiscent of the past

If you’re fishing for a healthy snack or something for your sweet tooth, you’ll find something to satisfy at Bud’s.

Chocolate chip and cherry chunk cookies at Buds in Interlochen

Bakery items

Fresh squeezed orange juice and yogurt parfaits at Buds Interlochen

Fresh squeezed orange juice and yogurt parfaits

Eat in, or you can take it back to camp with you. They ask that you please call ahead for special orders or more than two dozen donuts if you’re feeding a crowd.

Special order baked goods at Bud's Interlochen

Special order baked goods

Looking for a specialty coffee drink? The Mocha Chiller is my husband’s favorite. I mean his absolute favorite. To be clear, his favorite frozen mocha drink EVER comes from Buds. Continue reading

A Taste of Detroit on M22

market22 on Little Traverse Lake Leelanau County from the road

Right across from Little Traverse Lake on M-22 north of Maple City in Leelanau County, I found a little piece​ of t​​​he big D.  From the antique truck at the edge of the driveway to one of the best square pizza’s I’ve had in a long time, this little market is a nostalgic reflection of the best that Michigan has to offer.

Market 22 sits across from Little Traverse Lake in Leelanau County

Market 22 sits across from Little Traverse Lake

Market 22 was carefully crafted out of an antique barn on the side of a road near Glen Lake, Michigan.  The interior is warm and inviting with an eclectic mix of re-purposed woods and chalkboard menu signs.

market22 on Little Traverse Lake Leelanau County cool decor

The first (chalkboard) sign I noticed after stepping inside the warm inviting space, said “Featuring Detroit Style Pizza in the true automotive blue steel pans”.  When I asked what was a Detroit style pizza, the answer was, “like Buddy’s“.  Ah, yes,  I know Buddy’s Pizza.  Continue reading

Simple Sandwich Satisfies

We were busy running around town and wanted a quick and easy lunch. I just wanted to feed the kids but wasn’t up for the whole event of a sit down restaurant and didn’t want to feed them fast food either. Leone’s would be perfect.​

Leones Ice Cream in Traverse City

Located on 14th street just behind the football stadium, Leone’s​ has been a Traverse City landmark for many years.  It’s a simple soft serve ice cream shop.  Plus they have simple deli style sandwiches and hot dogs. When I say simple deli style, they are more like lunch box style.  Deli’s aren’t usually that simple anymore with artisan this and artisan that.  You know what I mean. Continue reading

Long Lake-Taylor Township Park

Spend a day at Taylor Park with friends and family for good old fashioned fun in the sun.

Taylor Park Long Lake

Taylor Park on Long Lake

The park is located on North Long Lake Road in Traverse City, Michigan just across the road from Long Lake Grocery. Long Lake Grocery, an up north classic, is a nostalgic sort of place with creaky wood floors and lots of charm. They have cold refreshments and make sandwiches and pizza. Many people who live on the lake enjoy the convenience of the public dock and pick up their pizza from their boat.

Pizza pick up from Long Lake Grocery

Pizza pick up from Long Lake Grocery

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I’ve been Chasing Rainbows-You’re in for a Rare Treat!

There are many great things about Traverse City.  One of them is that you can be downtown, and in just ten short minutes you can be out in beautiful rural farmlands.

There are small hobby farms and micro farms that supply local foods, as well as larger production farms. The main crops grown in the area are apples, grapes and cherries (Traverse City is known as the Cherry Capital of the World).

You’ll find locally sourced foods on the menu in restaurants all around the area.  This local emphasis is a contributing factor in the growing reputation of Traverse City being a Foodie Town.

I visited a farm today that offers a commodity you probably won’t want to eat.  This Iris Farm is open to the public when the flowers are in bloom.  They also grow Day Lilly’s.

To get there from downtown Traverse City, you head west on M-72 about ten minutes. The Iris Farm is on the right. And when it’s in bloom, you can’t miss it.

Out in the Iris field Traverse City Michigan

Out in the Iris field

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