Michigan's Small Town Treasures: Take a Day Trip to Leland
Take a Day Trip to Leland
The name Leland originated from the nautical term “lee ward” or “lee land,” meaning the side of a ship sheltered from the wind and Leland has always protected its ships from storm. Fishing has been a resource of the Leland economy for a century and a half and the Fishtown Preservation Society successfully saved a slice of history for you to explore. You can walk alongside Fishtown’s weathered, cedar-shingled shanties, stopping at a number of shops that beckon.
At Reflections Art Gallery you will find Rick Lahmann’s new Piano Reflections IV, the perfect background music for your next dinner party. If you want to grab a lunch to take to Neddows Beach, step inside the Village Cheese Shanty that describes itself as “A never trendy, tourist friendly, palate pleasing, neighborhood store offering fresh, made-to-order sandwiches, over sixty imported cheeses, local cherry and related products, nourishing Leelanau County with better-than-ever food for over twenty five years.” The Dam Candy Store will satisfy your sweet tooth with ice cream, caramel corn or perhaps a handful of Swedish Fish.
Fishtown’s tugs and docks are a living legacy to the area’s maritime culture; where fishing is so much in the local blood that on August 3rd Leland is hosting a 50th birthday party for one of their fishing tugs.
Downtown Leland has space for fifty retail shops and all but two are filled and prepared to greet tourists this summer. After wandering Fishtown and shopping (make sure to check out the Leland Toy Company, Rustic Roots, Nature’s Gems and Tug Stuff), leave time to enjoy a fine dinner at either the Cove with its waterfront dining, or the Riverside where fresh local ingredients make the difference.
Fishtown photograph provided by Rick Lahmann.
Julie Albrecht Royce, Michigan Editor, is the author of Traveling Michigan's Sunset Coast and Traveling Michigan's Thumb, both published by Thunder Bay Press. She writes a bi-weekly column for wanderingeducators.com, entitled Michigan's Small Town Treasures.