10 Reasons to Love Leelanau

1. Cedar Polka Festival: Cedar celebrates its Polish heritage with music, dancing, beer and traditional foods at this annual event, held during the first full weekend of July. 231-228-3378.

2. Tamarack Gallery: Folk art, fine art, sculpture and other inspired works can be found in this Omena gallery. Featuring the work of nationally known local artists such as Glenn Wolff, Len Cowgill and Dewey Blocksma. 231-386-5529.

3. Fishtown: Dinner tonight is fresh-from-the-lake whitefish, smoked chub and a bottle of local wine, all courtesy of the shops in Leland’s 140-year-old fishing village. 231-271-9895.

4. Around the Horn: Locals consider it the county’s must-do road trip. Trace M-22 along the Leelanau coast from Traverse City, up to Northport and then south to Empire. Make as many stops as curiosity requires and the tour will take a day.

5. Glen Haven history: Explore this former steamship-fueling town’s rich past. Inspect historic boats at the maritime museum or fill your pockets with treats from the candy counter at the restored Day’s General Store. Ranger tours available in July and August. 231-326-5134.

6. Jazz festival: Linger and listen to live jazz tunes while dining on fantastic regional fare, including wine from local vineyards. Suttons Bay Marina Park, last Saturday in July. 231-271-4444.

7. Biking Leelanau’s tip: 15 scenic miles of pedal-worthy pavement and dirt roads make this an ideal bike loop. Start in Northport and detour for tasty snacks, beautiful Lake Michigan views and a tour of the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

8. Bay Theater: A flickering old-fashioned marquee and red-and-white-striped boxes of popcorn lend to the classic cinematic magic at this one-screen theater in Suttons Bay. Enjoy new releases, concerts, plays and documentaries. 231-271-3772.

9. Manitou Islands: Three campgrounds on South Manitou Island and 15,000 acres of wilderness on North Manitou Island are yours to explore for daytrips or overnight camping. Call Manitou Island Transit for ferry schedule. 231-256-9061.

10. Sleeping Bear Dune Climb: No one leaves the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore without a tumble down this mountain of sand. 231-326-5134.

Emily Bingham is assistant editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.[email protected]

Note: This article was first published in May 2006, and was updated for the web February 2008.

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