For more than 50 years this first-class Northern Michigan resort has treated its guests to an authentic Up North experience on one of the most pristine stretches of lakeshore in the Great Lakes (no sharks!). This summer, the venerable resort cranks up the experiential-fun meter with a fresh offering of intimate amenities curated just for you and yours. Here’s how The Homestead gets your Sleeping Bear Dunes vacation rolling.
1. For a (Stunning) Hike and a (Cold) Northern Michigan Craft Beer
The world-class resort sidles right up to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (voted The Most Beautiful Place in America by Good Morning America viewers). Access is as close as a trailhead for the stunning eight-mile, looped Bay View Trail that is, literally, just steps away from the new outdoor bar in The Village. Work up a thirst on the trail while soaking in killer Lake Michigan vistas and picturesque farmsteads. Then wrap it all up with a Michigan craft beer brewed right in The Homestead’s backyard. As you satiate your thirst, watch (and inhale) the scent of your made-to-order burger sizzling in the gleaming stainless open kitchen at Whiskers. Cheers!
2. To Have a Genuine (and Genius) Italian Chef Cook For You
Meet Head Chef John Piombo once and you are going to love him forever. Quick with his smile and snappy one liners, his vibrant personality is only matched by his cooking, which is rooted in his Italian family and his childhood in Italy. Fresh, authentic Italian paired with local ingredients eaten while surrounded by Lake Michigan vistas and Northwoods’ forests: Magnifico!
3. To Order Scallops with Your Sleeping Bear Sunset
Bliss? Heaven? Nirvana? Words don’t do justice to the setting around Cafe Manitou, tucked as it is between the mouth of the Crystal River and the blue expanse of Sleeping Bear Bay with the Manitou Islands on the horizon. Guests of the resort dine on an inspired menu—that includes Diver Scallops with cannelloni beans, pancetta, salsa verde and veal reduction. Time your reservation right and you’ll feed your senses on an orange-and-pink view of the sun sinking into the water.
4. So You Can Gather Round the Wood-Fired Grill
In Argentina, they called it an asada—which means “gather around.” The Homestead’s is an authentic Argentinian asada-style grill, manufactured in Northern Michigan by Grillworks, a brand used in the world’s best restaurants. With the grill set smack in The Village, your mouthwatering Kobe burger or slice of grilled lamb is steps from your plate.
5. To Play Golf at the Arnold Palmer-Designed Course, The Manitou Passage
Set in one of the Leelanau Peninsula’s most tucked away, tranquil settings, 18-holes at the Manitou Passage course is what the doctor ordered. For a shorter serenity hit, try the Par 3 Mountain Flowers course that looks out over Lake Michigan. And while we’re talking games … tennis anyone?
6. For Easygoing (and Epic!) Adventures By Land And Water
Kayak and paddleboard on Sleeping Bear Bay and the Crystal River. Powerboat on Glen Lake. Boogie-board in big waves. Bike past unforgettable scenery on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Book a charter boat (and reel in salmon and lake trout). The adventures are endless here, and the memories last forever.
7. So You Can Ski in One of the Most Family-Friendly Spots in the Midwest
The Homestead’s intimate, ultra family-friendly ski area has 13 runs—something for everyone—and a stunning view of Lake Michigan from the top of the hill. (Trust us, it never gets old!) And parents: this is THE place for kids to learn. The slopes are safe and blissfully uncrowded, the instructors are legendary and the celebratory hot cocoa is always ready. Adults wanting a refresher will be at home here, too, at the PSIA- and AASI-Certified Member Snowsports School. Prepare to have a blast on the hills, and go home with a young skier-for-life.
8. To Dine Al Fresco at the Snake Table
So ya’ know how the table shape is never quite right to allow conversation with anyone besides your seat neighbors? Meet the Snake Table—so called for the way it undulates like a snake. It makes great conversation with more than one person at a time a reality. Set in The Village next to Whisker’s and Nonna’s, tucked under the lights and beside an outdoor fireplace fixes, it’s waiting for your group. Now.
9. Because a Pool-Side Massage at Spa Amira Is Waiting
All that hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, golf … and wow, reeling in that King Salmon was a workout. Spa Amira has your recovery covered!
10. So You Can Fuel the Fam Up at Cavanaugh’s, The Grocerant
Fresh from Europe, The Homestead offers a trendy dining experience for everyone in your family. Custom pizzas made right before your eyes moments later, a soup and salad bar, grab-and-go foods, homemade lasagna and other hot dishes ready to scoop up and go! The no mess, no fuss way to feed the gang healthy, homemade food they love—leaves more time to play!
11. You Sip. Kids Play. Everyone’s on Vacation.
You and your significant other relax at the outdoor bar within sight of your happy kids enjoying the splash pad and the latest and greatest play equipment. Say ahhhhhh …
12. Because the Breathtaking Leelanau Peninsula is Outside Your Door
From the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the southern half of this stunning peninsula, to wine country in the northern reaches, from Leland’s iconic Fishtown and Northport’s Grand Traverse Lighthouse—and all the small towns chock full of galleries, eateries and boutiques in between, this peninsula is a magic kingdom, in all four seasons.
13. To Imagine What The Homestead Looks Like In Winter …
Follow the ski lift to the tippy-top of The Homestead’s ski area to a view of Lake Michigan that rivals any blue-vista across the planet. Picture that scene filling up your ski goggles.
14. Because the Red Beach Umbrellas are Waiting For You (And So are the Drinks!)
A fleet of them, with beach chairs beneath, all set out on the end of The Homestead’s pier—that feels more like the deck of a cruise ship.