We just got back from a five-day weekend in Northern Michigan, and while most of the time was spent at our friends’ beautiful bluff-side cottage in Northport on the Leelanau Peninsula, we decided to check out the Jolli Lodge for a night. Families have been coming to this rustic lakeside compound since it opened in the ’50s, and two generations later, it’s still attracting many of the same folks–like our friend Brian, who spent his childhood vacations running around the forested grounds.
The third-generation owner, Greg, tries to adhere to his grandma’s wise adage: “If the kids are happy, the parents are happy.” We concur! With a tree house in the woods, a giant beach, an old-school playground overlooking the lake, shuffleboard courts, kayaks, an outdoor ping-pong table and tether-ball pole, the place is a dream for kids. It doesn’t matter that the interiors haven’t been fussed with in decades; in fact, that’s part of the charm. Time stands still at this cluster of classic white cottages with green clapboard shutters.
While You’re There
It’s easy to get sucked into the ease of lodge living, but make sure to venture out. The Leelanau Peninsula is one of our favorite places to take our kids. Just driving around, past orchards and far-as-the-eye-can-see farmland, is a thrill. Must stops: Leelanau State Park for hiking (one of the easy trails ends at a small cluster of quiet beach dunes); The Covered Wagon for doughnuts; Windy Knob sheep farm; Fishtown for watching the fisherman come in (and picking up fresh whitefish and smoked trout at Carleson’s), and Tandem Ciders, where we all line up at the small tasting bar (hard cider samples for mom and dad and the sweet variety for the little ones).