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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Frankfort, Michigan / Marina, Stormcloud Brewing Company, Betsie Valley Trail, and more

July 2017, Weekday-weekend, 2 nights

Sunset over the pier in Frankfort, Michigan

We stopped in Frankfort on our way south from Suttons Bay, as we wanted to visit Stormcloud Brewing Company and do some biking on Betsie Valley Trail. We ended up staying for two nights!

Frankfort beach, boat launch, and marina

It is about a half mile walk from boat slip #2 at the municipal marina to the beach. Lake Michigan was warm enough for swimming, and the water and beach were both packed even though we visited on weekdays. I took the photo below when we walked on Friday morning. We passed many people heading to the beach already on our way back to the marina. 

Frankfort beach in the morning
The cost to slip our 25' boat overnight was $40, and the launch ramp fee was not included. Most marinas we have stayed in comp the boat launch fee when staying overnight (Suttons Bay and Muskegon municipal, for example). When I asked about this, I was told that the boat launch is separate, so they could not do anything about that. I thought that was odd, since they are both run by the City of Frankfort. The boat launch fee is $7 per day. Frankfort municipal had the best price for gasoline on the water that we saw this week; $3.60 a gallon, and it had been closer to $4 a gallon everywhere else.

Little Betsie Lighthouse north of Frankfort
Slip #2 is at the west end of the municipal marina near Jacobson's Marina. This is closer to town and the beach; however, it is also farthest from the restrooms and showers. We liked the slip because it is private, and we liked the neighbors (friends we knew from a seasonal stay at this marina a few years ago). Complimentary wifi is available through the City of Frankfort and the marina; however, neither came in well inside the boat. The signal was strong on shore in front of our boat slip. When we decided to stay in Frankfort, we also considered staying at Jacobson's Marina because they have a hot tub and pool. We decided it was not worth almost $25 more per night.

Hillside between Betsie Point and Frankfort
Boating weather was fabulous during our stay, and one could have easily cruised to S. Manitou island. We have been there many times, so we opted to just travel north a bit, stopping occasionally to swim and enjoy the view.

Stormcloud Brewing Company

This was our first visit to Stormcloud. We tried a sampler, individual beers, and we had our growler filled (not all during the same day or visit!). We were happy with everything, although I can never understand why breweries charge so much more for a sampler. The beer prices for a 12 to 16 oz glass were $5 to $6.50, yet the price for a 16 oz. sampler (4 - 4oz. pours) was $8.50. Stormcloud also sells a freshly sealed can of beer similar to a growler, which looked like half the size. Casual outside seating on the lawn was available, and a local musician played when we visited in the evening.

Bestie Valley Trail and misc.

Bestie Valley Trail is 22 miles long, and runs between Frankfort and Thompsonville. It is paved from Frankfort to Mollineaux Beach on Crystal Lake, where is then turns to crushed gravel. Bestie River is visible from the trail in some spots.

We did not dine in any of the local restaurants this visit. We shopped at Family Fare Supermarkets, which is located just a couple of blocks from the boat ramp. People were lined up down the sidewalk for food at the cafe next to True Value on Saturday morning. One customer who had apparently just gotten his food was not too happy as he angrily reentered the establishment when we walked by. Photos from 2016 show the location as L'Chayim Delicatessen, although I did not see the business name when we were there, so I do not know whether it is still the same.

Let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to share this post!