Michigan's Small Town Treasures: A Short Side Trip to Cross Village

by Julie Royce / Sep 15, 2008 /
Julie Royce's picture


Twenty miles from Harbor Springs, if you follow the magnificent Tunnel
of Trees route along M-119, is Cross Village. The route takes you along
a twisty-turny two-lane road through dense forest. In most places the
trees form a canopy over the road. You are almost guaranteed to see many
deer along the way and you will catch breath-taking glimpses of Lake
Michigan peeking through the foliage. Cross Village is not a vacation
destination, but an interesting stop for lunch when visiting Mackinaw
City, Harbor Springs or other nearby places.

Father Jacques Marquette, just before his death, is said to have raised
a large white cross on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan at the site of
Cross Village. Today a replica of that cross stands at the site and can
be seen from boats out in Lake Michigan.

If you blink you will miss Cross Village completely. So, keep your eyes
open and look for the two spots that make this a worthwhile side-trip.
The first is Leg’s Inn (6425 Lake Shore Drive). Billed as a
“Monument to Nature” the restaurant is listed as a Historic
Landmark. It stands on a high bluff overlooking Lake Michigan and has
been owned and operated by the same family for more than eighty years.
The original stone and timber building was created by Polish immigrant
Stanley Smolak who fell in love with the area and its local Odawa and
Ojibwe culture. Smolak decided to settle in Cross Village in the early
1900s. The hand carved furniture in the restaurant is made from tree
stumps, roots, driftwood and tree limbs, and sets against many huge
stone fireplaces. On pleasant days you can eat on the outdoor patio
overlooking the azure blue waters of Lake Michigan. 

Check them out at: http://www.legsinn.com/

Leg's Inn

The restaurant offers American as well as Polish food, but I highly
recommend ordering one of the many authentic Polish dishes. The Potato
Pancakes were as good as my grandma used to make, and the combination
luncheon of cabbage rolls and pirogues was excellent. Open summer seven
days, noon until 10:00 pm.

Three Pines Studio and Gallery (5959 West Levering) is a working studio
with approximately sixty artists with ties to the Cross Village area.
The artwork includes pottery, jewelry, furniture, paintings, glass,
quill boxes, fiber art, bird feeders and an assortment of other unique
items. Open daily except closed Wednesdays. Shorter hours in the winter.  Check them out at:  http://www.threepinesstudio.com/

Three Pines Studio and Gallery

 

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.

 

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