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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Suttons Bay and Traverse City, Michigan / boating, Leelanau Trail, wineries, breweries, dining...

July 2017, Weekend-weekdays, 6-nights

Beautiful clear aqua colored water in Suttons Bay and Grand Traverse Bay!

Suttons Bay Marina, north slips 

We made a reservation at the marina for Friday and Saturday night in advance. You can do this online, and then pay online, or you can mail in a check. We opted to mail a check because there is a service charge to pay with a credit card at this marina. Our home port marina (Muskegon) also charges a service fee to pay with credit card, which is new this year. We did not make an advance reservation for our next stay, as this was during the week, and we were not sure exactly which day we would be returning. Harbormaster Edie was very easy to work with.
View from picnic table in front of slip 68
We stayed in slip #34 for two nights when we arrived. This slip is located in front of the harbormaster office near the boat ramp. It was surprisingly quiet, although there is no view from this slip. When we returned, we stayed two nights in slip #67, which is located farther down on the north side. There is a nice view from this location, although the hike to the restroom is a bit farther. The marina facilities are located in the same building with the public restrooms next to the marina entrance from Front Street. The facility was always well maintained and clean.

View of slips 64 - 71. Click on photo to enlarge and see detail.

There are picnic tables in front of the boat slips along the north side. Although there were not enough tables for each boat slip, we did not have any difficulty finding an open table when we needed one.

Traverse City Marina and Power Island

We stayed in Traverse City marina for one night on a weekday. We were happy to receive a nice slip assignment (D41), since we had stayed on the wall the last time we visited this marina. This marina has a few extra amenities: inside kitchen and lounge area, outside gas grills and covered picnic area, outside dishwashing area with two deep sinks, and laundry facilities. Everything was clean and well maintained. There is no service charge to pay with a credit card at this location; however, the overnight cost was $10 more per night for our 25' boat.

There are many restaurants and more within walking distance of the marina. We visited North Peak Brewing Company (always a good value for beer and growler fills), Pangea's Pizza (excellent Happy Hour), and Burritt's Fresh Market. After we had ordered beverages at Pangea's Pizza, we learned they have a beer brewed specifically for them by Shorts Brewing Company (Pangea's Pils). We had a taste, and it was very good. Visit the Women's restroom, if you can; it is beautifully painted inside with a mural on the entire room. Burritt's has an excellent selection of wine, gourmet foods, and fresh food. It was a bit pricey, but good quality and delicious. I recommend the Smoked Salmon Jerky - superb!

Power Island
We anchored at Power Island on a weeknight for one night. It was calm and peaceful, although we prefer the anchorage at South Manitou island. It is stony in both areas; however, the bottom is a bit muckier at Power Island, and the water is not as clear as it is at South Manitou. There were many boaters in the area during the day, and they all left around dinner time. We hiked the island in the morning. The island has primitive campsites, outhouses, and a hand pump for fresh water.
Sunrise from anchorage at Power Island

Leelanau Trail

Leelanau Trail is a 17-mile paved trail between Suttons Bay and Traverse City. We did not have opportunity to bike the entire trail, although I would like to. Bike-n-Ride offers transportation service, if you only want to bike one-way. If you do not have your own bikes, you can rent them from Grand Traverse Bike Tours located in front of Suttons Bay marina on Front Street.

Leo Creek Preserve
Some of the places we visited via the trail: Leo Creek Preserve, Hansen Foods (grocery store), L. Mawby tasting room, and Hop Lot Brewing Co. The preserve is a beautiful garden area with picnic tables. It is located where the star is positioned on the map below. Hop Lot and the grocery store were easy to get to from the trail. We rode alongside the road with traffic (arrows on map below). We thought the growler prices at Hop Lot were good, and we got ours filled. L. Mawby is located farther off the trail, and there is not a paved lane for bicycles. The tasting flight at L. Mawby has increased from $5 to $9. I am not sure we would bicycle to any of the wineries again, as we prefer to ride on designated trails. Drivers were courteous; however, we do not like biking alongside traffic when there is not at least a paved shoulder on the road.

Map showing businesses on south side of Suttons Bay near trail
I assume there is some kind of bug control in this county, because we did not encounter any bugs the first couple of times we rode our bikes on the trail. We observed a few our last day, although still not many. We also did not see any mosquitos at the marina, and they have been plentiful in many areas we have visited in Michigan this summer.

Restaurants and pubs

In addition to Hop Lot, we visited two other restaurants in Suttons Bay: Boone's Prime Time Pub, and 45th Parallel Cafe.

Massive Mary on the deck at Boone's
Boone's has Happy Hour daily from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. We sat on their top deck to share their famous Massive Mary. The information I had read online said this drink is 36 oz. for $17. I did not look at the menu until after we ordered it, so I did not realize that information is no longer correct; it is only 24 oz. for $19.99! It was kind of a neat experience; however, it was not worth the price, in my opinion. We shared the food, which was very good. The Bloody Mary flavor was merely so-so, and we did not feel like it contained more than one shot of vodka.
Seafood omelet and Irish omelet at 45th Parallel Cafe
We had breakfast at 45th Parallel Cafe on a Sunday. I thought we could share one of their large entrees; however, they charge $2 for shared or split plates. We each ordered an omelet, and then cut them in half to share (we both like to try new things!). The food at this restaurant was way too greasy and rich for me, and I am not sure I would dine there again. There was a ton of fat/grease from the cheese on top of both omelets, and our toast was dripping wet with way too much butter. Neither omelet had very good flavor. Both omelets were mostly egg and cheese without much corned beef or crab. The sourdough bread was good, and I wish we had requested our toast to be lightly buttered, or served unbuttered. Additionally, the online menu prices were incorrect at the time of this post. Both of these omelets are listed as $8 online, and they were actually $9 each.

Knot Just a Bar and Leelanau Cellars tasting room are located in the same building in Omena just north of Suttons Bay. The location is accessible by boat via Omena Bay. You can anchor in the harbor and dinghy in, or park at one of the docks, if you have a small boat. The service at both locations has always been excellent, and the Steak Bites and Wonton JalapeƱo Poppers were both very good.

Wine on the Water Festival

Just before we arrived in Suttons Bay, we learned about the Wine on the Water Festival. This was in the marina park, so we decided to go. We shared a table with a great family and enjoyed the afternoon. They had attended the festival before, and told us that there had been more vendors in previous years. Festival vendors included a few wineries, Hop Lot Brewing Co, a cider company, and a couple of food vendors. The first band that played was very good. If you do not care about viewing the band, you can hear the music well from the marina.

More pictures and information about the area can be found on my Facebook travel page. Feel free to share this information!