Showing posts from December, 2017

Leelanau Guilt Trip

Fresh water surrounds and permeates Leelanau County.  It is everywhere.  With hundreds of miles of shoreline and a myriad of inland lakes and rivers, this is truly a water wonderland. And I feel guilty about it. My cousin recently shared a photo of he and his wife standing amidst the smoldering rubble of their home in Ventura, California.  A lifetime of family possessions fueled the flames.  All that remains are the charred stone porch pillars and brick fireplace.   The look of utter devastation in their eyes is heartbreaking. California is bone dry and just a spark away from being wholly consumed by wildfires.  Michigan, already flush with water, had torrential rains and flash floods this year. The reasons for this disparity are many and complex:  Natural cycle?  Global warming?  Water mismanagement?  Lay of the land? Who knows. What I do know is that Leelanau has water in abundance, while Ventura has but a trickle. And I feel guilty about it. See You Up North, Chri

The Empire Bluffs Don't Care ...

That you finally got that job promotion, ... or, sadly, that your dog died last week. The lake and the dunes don't care that you got a speeding ticket on the way up to see them, ... or that your ex just filed for an increase in child support. It's true.  These massive works of nature are indifferent to the human struggle. There is, however, a profound calming spirit about them.  These Leelanau natural wonders have an immensity of serenity that centers and grounds us.  They give our mundane concerns a much needed cosmic perspective. We are, after all, creatures of the cosmos. Hike up Empire Bluffs in the Lakeshore, marvel at the vast expanse of sand and water, and you'll know just what I mean. And the Bluffs couldn't care less that you'll be a little winded after the hike. See You Up North, Chris  

Empire's Best Kept Secret ...

Hint:  It's where the surf meets the sand and starts with the letter "b", as in beach. So why am I writing about a beach in December?  In Michigan?  Well, it's less crowded for sure. Seriously, Empire's Lake Michigan Beach is the jewel of the Leelanau peninsula, and is perhaps the best beach in the state, and beyond.  I'm a little biased, but its hard to match its scenic beauty, white sand, crystalline water, kid's play area, proximity to town and more. You actually get two lakes for the price of one, with little South Bar Lake across the parking lot from the big Lake. And if you're up for a winter hike (moderate to strenuous), there's no better place to start.   Head north along the beach for about 45 minutes and discover the secluded North Bar Lake with its channel to Lake Michigan.   Or go south along the beach about 1.5 hours to picturesque Otter Creek which also flows into the big Lake. This time of year, you probably won't

Welcome ...

     To Leelanau Up North, a creative life space amidst the splendor of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - a.k.a, the "most beautiful place in America."      Empire Village, Michigan, home of the Lakeshore, has been my Leelanau Up North getaway for over 20 years.  I am refreshed and renewed with each visit to this little town on the big lake.      I invite you to share comments, stories, art, music, poetry, etc. about life in northern Michigan ... and life in general.  And let's enjoy the view! See You Up North, Chris P.S.:   Leelanau Up North, at, is dedicated now and forever to Sue, the Love of My Life. 

Leelanau Up North

Dear Friends: Stay tuned for a lively look at life with the backdrop of the most beautiful place in America.                "dunes towering over seas of sweet water" See You Up North, Chris