Top o’ the Mitten .

triprptEveryone knows Michigan’s lower peninsula is the shape of a “mitten”, of your held out left hand. I’m in Interlochen, in the Leelanau peninsula, the fingernail of the ring finger.

This is cherry country, Traverse City’s famous cherry festival, and of sailboats on the protected harbor. The grand traverse bay burrows 20 miles inland, so at its base in downtown T.C you are nominally on Lake Michigan but safe from open waters.

And this whole area is just crawling with inland lakes, each of them stuffed with boaters & kayaks & canoes and ringed with summer cottages “up north” and camp grounds stuffed with wildly colored nylon tents and hip mountain bikes.

….and me.

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This 2 mast sailboat passed by silently.

Traverse City is the adopted home of Michael Moore (and many Detroit, Flint, Lansing wealthy). Although he may have moved away after his recent divorce. Moore presents an annual traverse city film festival, but only Bourne was showing this week. Ho hum. Nothing at the playhouse either, the ballet was on Sunday, Rats!

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A downtown canal backs historic warehouses, now upscale shops, restaurants & breweries.

It is wine country now, new to me since my last visit 25 years ago. It’s always been artsy, but what an explosion! Little studios dot every country road and galleries dot main streets. It gets worse (I mean better) as you head north to Petoskey and Charlevoix (middle finger knuckle). But I’m heading south, heading home. Of course the area is loaded with trendy bike shops & coffee shops and wine shops. “Up north” knows where to find the the money.

I’m only 2 hours by freeway to “Big Mac” the Mackinac Bridge (pronounced mack-i-NAW). I’m already six weeks from home, with all the visiting I hope to do. Going even one more inch north would add weeks, with visits to Mackinac Island, Sault  St Marie (“the Soo”), and the many natural wonders in “the U.P.”  …  Next time, Dave, next time.

Interlochen is an historic art school, with orchestra, ballet, drama, chorus nestled in tall secluded woods in the middle of “up north”. If your name isn’t Dow or Ford or DeVos, you’ll need a scholarship. High schoolers that earn their way to a one week summer “music camp” carry it as a badge on their CV. I had hoped to see a performance, anything, in my 3 days here, but just bad luck. A modern dance performance was Sunday afternoon and a string quartet recital overlapped with my dinner.  I did however see a handsome young 19 y.o. security guard, in his blue mallcop uniform, sitting on a metal folding chair, at the deserted parking lot access gate, practicing his trombone under a canopy of trees. Ah, Interlochen, where that makes sense.

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I bought this t-shirt and love the motto:
Great Lakes: No Salt, No Sharks, No Worries
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