Easiest way to win “Mom’s Favorite Child” status this Mother’s Day? Whisk her away on a road trip to Les Cheneaux that includes Applecore General Store on M-134 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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Exactly as cute as its name and location suggest, Amy Polk’s gift shop is stocked with all the Michigan-made and state-celebrating goodies—art, jewelry, clothing, housewares, garden gear, specialty foods and much, much more—that a Yooper or Mitten momma could want.

Sweeter still, all those goodies are lodged inside an equally gasp-worthy 120-year-old Craftsman-style farmhouse trimmed with green shutters, grand pillars and a wide porch. So, if you time your road trip right, you and Mom can enjoy a leisurely post-spree sitting spell on that porch, under the blooming boughs of an enormous old apple tree.

Polk, a former news reporter who long wanted to be an entrepreneur, is living her dream through Applecore General Store—minus one thing: “I’m an English major, and I purposely misspell the store’s name, which really bugs me,” she laughs. “But that’s how Donald Applecore is spelled, all one word.”

Sign at Applecore General Store

Photo by Allison Jarrell

If you (like we, and even Polk, initially) don’t get the reference to Donald Applecore, that’s because it’s the name of an animated Walt Disney short from 1952. In it, Donald Duck stars as an apple farmer who goes to increasingly whacky lengths to keep rascal chipmunks, Chip and Dale, from devouring his orchard. While chowing down, the chipmunks add insult to injury with a call-and-response taunt they punctuate by hurling apple cores at Donald.

Before Polk and her husband were married, he’d tease her with the rhyme—and toss the core at her—any time he ate an apple. The minute she learned the source, she joyfully fired her cores right back.

These days, the couple has plenty of apple ammo. Besides the gigantic ol’ gal hugging the porch, the store’s property boasts eight other apple trees. Polk picks their bounty for primarily peaceful means each fall: to make and freeze the loads of applesauce she uses throughout the year in her wheat-free Apple Snaps, one of four kinds of all-natural, homemade dog treats in her Sea Dog Biscuit Co. line.

Inside of Applecore General Store

Photo by Allison Jarrell

Local and all-natural ingredients, like Les Cheneaux Distillers’ beer, coffee grounds from Les Cheneaux Coffee Roasters, herbs from Polk’s garden and clay from area soil, find their way into her homemade Cedar Shore Soaps line, too.

You can easily go to Applecore’s website to order Mom some of Polk’s dog biscuits or soaps, one of her clever curated gift boxes or any number of the hundreds—literally, hundreds—of Michigan gifts she carries.

But before you click and ship, maybe muse a minute on those nine months your mom carried you. And the 18+ years after that. Maybe treating Mom to a road trip, shopping spree and porch sit is worth it whether Applecore’s trees are blooming or not. Go ahead and ask her. We’ll wait.

Entrance of Applecore General Store

Photo by Allison Jarrell

Photo(s) by Allison Jarrell