The 30-acre Michigan Legacy Art Park on the grounds of Crystal Mountain is the fulfillment of an artist’s dream. In 1988 sculptor David Barr proposed a "place of harmony to contemplate art, history and nature." Now more than 35 sculptures set off nearly 4 miles of meandering, hilly trails. Each juried work pays tribute to Michigan’s history and natural resources.
Pull into the parking lot off Mountain Side Drive and view the first of Barr’s five Sawpath Series sculptures, based on the progression of the Golden Mean, seen in the spiral of pine needles and the nautilus. Grab a map at the kiosk entrance and start walking. Bill Allen’s galvanized steel and copper Frog shimmers in the light, and across the way, Sandra Osip’s bronze spiral, Unravel. Some of the works, like Barr’s Stockade Labyrinth, are there for climbing and exploration. Others, like the newest work by David Petrakovitz, Mysterious Traveler, a totem made of found industrial steel, is yours to admire and contemplate.
You will find, as you continue through the park, a fine quietude. Stand in awe and just listen. Take in the towering trees, the light filtering through, and revel in the moment.
When you’re sated, head back to Crystal’s Scottish-themed Thistle Pub & Grille in Kinlochen Lodge for a big leafy salad, or a Black and Tan and an Angus steak. If it’s a Friday night in July or August, you can hear a concert in the Art Park’s amphitheater. For admission to the park or rates for concerts:231-378-4963, michiganlegacyartpark.org.
Patty Lanoue Stearns is a freelancer based in Traverse City, Michigan. pattywrites.com
Note: This article was first published in June 2006, and was updated for the web February 2008.