Affordable North: Cherry Blossom Tour and a classic Leelanau B & B

The Tour:
Horticulturalists within the cherry industry have selected Saturday, May 16, as the date for the Leelanau County Cherry Blossom Tour—meaning that the date is the peak blossom-peeper weekend this year in the county that has the most tart cherry trees of any county in the nation. Expect jaw-dropping views of blossomes blanketing hills framed in the deep blue of Lake Michigan. The 2009 bus tour includes stops at working cherry farms in Omena and Suttons bay.  Cherry growers will be on hand to explain their work, and tour guides will offer explanations along the route of the history and importance of cherry farming to Leelanau County.

The day will begin with an opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at the the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians’ Eagles Ridge Conference Center in Peshawbestown, located between Suttons Bay and Omena. Bus tours start at 10 a.m., with the final tour leaving at 2 p.m. Tours last approximately an hour. Musical entertainment, free cherry brats, cherry drinks and cherry cookies will be provided from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Eagles Ridge Conference Center.

Self-guided tours are also welcome. Tour maps will be available at area businesses and other outlets prior to the tour . As the tour grows near, maps will be posted in downloadable formats at the websites of the Leelanau Enterprise and the Leelanau Conservancy. There is no charge for the Leelanau Cherry Blossom Tour. For more information, please view websites of the Leelanau Enterprise and Leelanau Conservancy, or call the Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce at (231) 271-9895. 

Where to Stay: The Sunset Lodge Bed and Breakfast in Omena, housed in a 19th-century farmhouse offers lodge rooms, suites and separate cottages, breakfasts, Lake Michigan and loads of classic Leelanau Peninsula charm. Suite with cooking facilities, $89 per night; double room with continental breakfast, $95 per night; double room with full breakfast, $105 per night; room with breakfast-in-bed service, $139 per night. 231-386-9080; omenasunsetlodge.com

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