IMG_8447We left Northport Sunday morning at 7:30 with the sun shinning.  What a beautiful morning to be on the water.  Northport is on the west shore of Grand Travers Bay, and we have to backtrack 10 miles to continue down the shores of Lake Michigan to Leland on the eastern shore along scenic shoreline.   We still have 17 more miles to navigate to Leland after we backtrack but we are only 5 miles across by water.

These pictures are still of Grand Traverse Bay formed by the Leelanau Peninsula in the northwestern Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

IMG_8454This is the Grand Traverse Lighthouse located at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula nine miles north of Northport and inside the Leelanau State Park.  It marked the Manitou passage where Lake Michigan elides into Grand Traverse Bay.  The first version of this lighthouse  was ordered built by President Millard Fillmore in July 1850 but was replaced in 1858 to the present structure.  Some call it “Cat’s Head Point Light” or locally called Northport light in honor of the nearby town of Northport.

We had a nice day to travel it wasn’t to rough and arrived at Leland Harbor Marina around 11:30.  This point is to our starboard (right) side as we heading towards Leland before we turned to enter the marina by the breakwall.

Later in the day Jeff & Brenda (Satori ) loopers docked not far from us.  Next to them we met Cecil & Danny (Desperado) loopers from Florida.  When we started a year ago we met loopers that were almost finished with the loop and now a year later we are one of those loopers all most home.  There are also several gold loopers (finished the loop)  and a platinum looper ( have done it twice) in the marina enjoyed meeting some of them.  Look at the handsome captain sitting in the rocking chair waiting for Jeff & Brenda (Satori) so we can walk downtown.


Leland is a picturesque little village located on a sliver of land between Lake Michigan and Lake Leelanau on beautiful Leelanau Peninsula.  Look at the beautiful color of the water you would think we are in the Bahamas.  Leland is built on the site of one of the oldest and largest Ottawa villages on the Leelanau Peninsula.  Where the Leland river flows into Lake Michigan there were natural fish ladder (which was a traditional Native American Fishing grounds).  Barked covered shelter, gardens and fishing sites  marked the settlement of Mishi-me-go-bing meaning “the place where canoes run up into the river to land, because they have no harbor”.  White settlers began arriving in 1830 took advantage of the location as a fishing settlement.  White settlement increased after Antoine Manseau, and John Miller built a dam and sawmill on the river in 1854.  From 1870 to 1884 the Leland Lake Superior Iron Co. operated an iron smelter north of the river mouth supplied with ore from the Upper Peninsula and charcoal made from local maple and beech timber and was sold in 1884 to Leland Lumber Co.  In 1880 commercial fisherman sailed out of the harbor to catch trout and whitefish, building wooden shacks where they processed their catch and serviced their fleet.

IMG_8484 Fishtown was and is still composed of weathered fishing shanties, smokehouse, overhanging docks lined with fish tugs, charter fishing boats and the Manitou island Transit Ferry.  Today the historic fishing settlement and two fish tugs Joy, and Janice Sue are owned by a non-profit organization, Fishtown Preservation Society.  Fish town is home to a working fishery and a thriving charter fishing business.  The riverfront is lined by a boardwalk with the cheese store, Dun Candy, and quaint shacks that have been converted into tourist shops.  Leland had a decidedly festive atmosphere.  Walking in Fishtown gave you the feeling of actually being back in the old days with the smell of fish and smokers.  I am so glad we were able to stop and enjoy this quaint town.


The busy fleet of charter fishing boats and the classic old commercial tugs of the Carlson Fishery dock in the fast running mouth of the Leland River also known as the Carp River.  Carlson Fishery a family business passed down through five generations opened in 1904 in one of the shanties along the docks.  In 2004 they sold the fish town property, fishing licenses, tugs and gear to the Fishtown Preservation Society with the  provision that they be able to continue operating their retail business at the dock.  We stopped and got some fresh white fish for supper and some smoked salmon.  The salmon was great but was not to keen on the white fish. IMG_8482

Nestled at the base of the falls is the The Cove you have upper level dining room or snacking from the grill that serves the deck bordering the river.   Brenda and I walked around the shops while Jeff and Kent stopped at the Cove were we met them later.  While we were their Cecil and Danny (desperado) joined us.

Kent and I on Monday walked to the Leland County club were we could get a great view of  Leland Lake.  The view was amazing I took some pictures and then we walked to the Leland Lodge situated on a hill overlooking the fairways of the Leland Country Club.  We had a nice visit with the manager Erin she was interested in our journey on the loop.

Leland is the departure point for ferry service to both North and South Manitou islands.   Located 15 miles to the west of Leland is this unspoiled wilderness South Manitou island a favorite daytime picnicking and hiking spot.  North Manitou Island only allows primitive camping and there are no docking facilities on either island.   The deep crescent bay cut into the lee shore of South Manitou is an ideal anchorage for day or night.  Would love to anchor there but not knowing the area and with the weather and wind always changing It could be a problem.  The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is nearby.


This is our beautiful sunset we had on Monday night.


This is our beautiful sunset on Tuesday night.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Burkhalters says:

    Very interesting quaint little fishing town. You sure have many memories to enjoy for years to come. Thanks for sharing😍

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