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Who doesn’t want to glide from a wintery trail to a breakfast sandwich bar? Embrace the snowy season with The Fresh Exchange

Featured in the February 2019 issue of Traverse Magazine. Get your copy.

Here we are in February. The snow has coated our world now and will be the background to our days. We never really know just how long this season will last. For true Northerners and Northern Michigan lovers, this time of year is what we all really wait for. We say, bring on the layers of white.

Whether you hit the hills or just go out your backdoor, the beauty of this area is best enjoyed by way of ski or snowshoe. The only tracks around us are those of our furriest of friends that got out there first. We get in a great workout and even break a sweat during zero-degree temps. This is exactly how we spend this quiet weekend morning.

Our group is gathered in the gorgeous rental property owned by Sean Karcher and his lifestyle and rental company Hygge Stay. His cabin, The Wayfarer Treehouse, is the perfect après ski hideaway. The home was restored by Karcher. When he envisioned the space he saw it taking on the hues of every season, but the black exterior stands strong against the snow-covered ground this time of year.

The home welcomes us into its folds for a much-needed recuperative brunch. The menu is simple: an amazing combo of breakfast sandwiches, and everyone contributed a little something.

We fry eggs, toast local bread, wash fresh veggies, make coffee, and even mix some cocktails. (Find our sandwhich recipes below!) It’s a fun and easy way to refuel.

Wayfarer Treehouse

Wayfarer Treehouse

Lake Leelanau Vacation Rental

To rent Hygge Stay’s Wayfarer Treehouse yourself, go to airbnb.com.

After brunch, we enjoy a fire outside and drink cocktails together while chatting about life and our favorite trails in the area. By the time we depart it’s getting dark, but by getting up early and enjoying this time together, we are ready to head home and get cozy for an evening in. We understand warmth in new ways: stoked fireplaces, deep laughter with good friends, food and drinks that we feel all the way to our toes. This simple morning full of movement and great food leaves us even more excited to enjoy these snow days while they last.

Megan and Mike Gilger create from their home in the countryside of Northern Michigan. Find out more at thefreshexchange.com.


Makes 1 sandwich

  • Butter for toasting
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Leelanau Cheese Herb Cheese Spread or cream cheese pesto
  • Lox or smoked fish
  • Herby microgreens
  • Pickled red onions
  • 1 fried egg

Toast buttered bread in a pan on both sides. Once crispy, spread the cheese on one slice and pesto on the other. Place lox layered on the cheese side and then a fried egg with or without a runny center over the lox. Sprinkle on microgreens and pickled red onions. Top with other slice of toasted bread. 


Makes 1 sandwich

  • 2 slices of bread toasted
  • Seed or nut butter (we love Naturally Nutty’s Pepita Butter)
  • 1 banana
  • Favorite jam (we love Food for Thought’s Cherry Raspberry Jam)

Take your classic PB&J up a notch. Spread nut butter onto both pieces of the bread and add jam on both sides as well. Place bananas sliced into long pieces on one side and then close sandwich. Heat pan with coconut oil and grill so the peanut butter is all warm and melty. Enjoy every bite! 


Makes 1 sandwich

  • Butter for toasting
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 egg
  • Gouda or cheddar, to cover both sides of bread 
  • American Spoon Tomato Relish
  • 4 slices of avocado
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked crisp
  • Microgreens

Toast buttered bread in a pan on both sides. Add cheese to the sides facing up. Remove toast from pan once cheese has melted. Fry egg. Spread tomato relish on top of the cheese. Top with avocado, eggs, bacon and microgreens.

Photo(s) by The Fresh Exchange