A neighborhood lemonade stand, but for morel mushrooms. Gaylord day trips. A sublime water trail. Here’s what our editors are loving this month.

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Allison’s Swooning Over …

Allison’s Swooning Over …

The Morel Mushroom Stand

If you’re like me and have yet to find a single morel this spring, the folks at Great Lakes Treats have you covered. Sure, it’s not quite the same as the thrill of the hunt, but I felt pretty giddy when I spotted their morel mushroom stand at 238 E. Tenth Street in Traverse City.

Jill and Aaron Grenchik are certified mushroom experts who specialize in culinary and medicinal wild foraged fungi, and you can often find them at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market with an array of shroom products—from Chaga tea and dried varieties, to fresh mushrooms like the elusive morel. They’ll be there all summer long selling seasonal gems offered up by the Northwoods.

But for those of us who can’t wait until the Saturday market, the morel stand is a dream come true. Go grab a quarter-pound bag, head to Oryana for some Raduno pasta and seasonal produce, and whip up a spring feast. (Note, Thursday, May 16 will be the last day to pick up morels at the self-serve stand.) 

Photo by Allison Acosta

Ashlyn’s Swooning Over …

Ashlyn’s Swooning Over …

Downtown Gaylord Day Trips

Last summer, my family booked a four-day stay at a vacation rental way out in the woods near Gaylord, Michigan. The cabin was absolutely gorgeous, equipped with a fire pit, deck, game room and a loft sleeping area. We had one must-do for the laidback week ahead of us: visit downtown Gaylord. If you’ve never been, this Alpine-inspired village looks as if it were ripped right out of the pages of a storybook. Quaint shops, eateries and businesses line Main Street and the surrounding area. Lately, I’ve been reminiscing on that visit and realized it’s the perfect day trip from Traverse City. Plus, there are plenty of parks, trails and freshwater spots in the area to round out your adventure.

During my quick trip, I had one main stop in mind, but stumbled upon a few other surprises including a colorful bistro and a hobby store with a mythical vibe. 

Main quest: Alpine Chocolat Haus. Honestly, I don’t have a sweet tooth (salty snacks are my weakness), but even I couldn’t resist the magic of these gourmet, handmade chocolates. My favorite bites: the seafoam and chocolate-covered potato chips. They’re delightful.

Side quest: Plot Bound Books. This small independent bookstore has a charming, curated selection of books for readers of all interests. I left the shop with a new release and a cute bookmark. 

If you’re searching for more recommendations, we’ve put together a summer guide that includes secret-fun in the Gaylord area. Order your copy here.

Read Next: Have You Seen Gaylord’s Stunningly Turquoise Sinkhole Lakes?

Photo by Ashlyn Korienek

Photo by Ashlyn Korienek

Carly’s Swooning Over …

Carly’s Swooning Over …

Paddle Antrim’s Anniversary

A decade ago, few organizers imagined that the creation of Paddle Antrim, a small nonprofit, would become a catalyst for regional support to protect and promote Northern Michigan’s magnificent Chain of Lakes. Now, thanks to Paddle Antrim’s collaborations with volunteer paddling enthusiasts, local governments and businesses across the region, residents and visitors have access to the first state-designated water trail in Northern Michigan, a 100-mile route through 12 lakes and interconnected rivers. And let me tell you, it’s wildly gorgeous.

“They were visionaries a decade ago,” says Executive Director Deana Jerdee. “They dreamt of bringing people together, connecting people through these waterways and promoting the wonderful paddling opportunities this region has to offer, all while safeguarding them for future generations.”

The aquatic equivalent of a hiking trail for kayaks, canoes and paddleboards, the Chain of Lakes Water Trail has trailheads, parking areas, restrooms, potable water and picnic spots set strategically along the route, which passes through four trail towns—Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire and Elk Rapids. Designed with paddlers in mind, the trail keeps people close to shore and the routes are designated as beginner, intermediate or advanced based on lake size, the distance between access sites and more safety considerations. Check out Paddle Antrim’s website for a detailed water trail map, paddling routes based on skill level, schedules for stewardship courses, volunteer opportunities, and classes for both beginner and more experienced paddlers.

Paddle Antrim will host a special 10-year Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, June 1 from 2–5 p.m. in Bellaire. The festivities will kick off with a community paddle on the Intermediate River, launching from Richardi Park. Following the paddle, all are invited to raise a toast at Short’s Beer Garden in Bellaire. 

Read Next: Paddle Northern Michigan’s Beautiful Chain of Lakes Water Trail

Photo by Paddle Antrim

Photo by Paddle Antrim

Photo by Paddle Antrim

Cara’s Swooning Over …

Cara’s Swooning Over …

Run the Runway

Nope, not the fashion variety—the TVC kind. Back when the snow was still flying, my aviation-nut son Kieran saw a billboard advertising this quirky and amazing 5K charity run on the actual airport runway. He begged to do it. On May 18 at 9 a.m., Cherry Capital Airport closes down the 7,016-foot-long North-South runway for the event. Spring seemed a distant impossibility at the time, so my answer was a chirpy, “Sure!”

And now it’s upon us and I realize I have just a few days to pull it together and show up for a 5K. Here’s hoping my weekly Peloton sessions can translate; truth is, my only airport running has been when trying to make the tight Delta connections in Detroit.

But the cause is worth any discomfort coming my way. The run, which aims to welcome 700 runners this year, raises funds and awareness for Wings of Mercy, a nonprofit that coordinates volunteer pilots and offers free flights to distant medical destinations for our rural families who can’t afford to travel commercially. There are still spots available—here’s where to register.