I never intended to write about this place. I booked it a couple weeks ago as a last-minute family getaway to kick off the beginning of summer the right way: roasting marshmallows over a fire, swimming in Lake Michigan, catching frogs in the marsh, building sandcastles and spending long, extended daylight evenings on the screened-in porch reading and playing board games. As far as I was concerned, the lodgings were irrelevant. But it ended up being so special and charming, how could I not share it? Especially since I get so many requests for great places to stay in Northern Michigan.
Nestled into a wooded, grassy coastline in Leelanau Peninsula’s Northport, this summer cottage has been in the same family since 1963–and from what I understand, not a thing has changed (except that tall grasses have sprouted up on the beach, making it no less beautiful to look at from any of the three porches). The owner, Theda, used to be a home ec teacher before retiring, and her devotion to handcraft is evident throughout the cottage–in the form of framed needlepoint works, crocheted blankets, embroidered pillows and lots of other sweet handmade details. Aside from the beautiful floor-length drapes made from colorful, super-awesome medieval fabric that matches a pair of armchairs, everything is mismatched and rustic, just like a lake house should be. Theda left freshly picked flowers around the house for us and a basket of farm-fresh strawberries upon our arrival, and she even brought the kids doughnuts one morning from the local bakery. My sister-in-law and I spent a lot of time pouring over the massive old book collection and admiring all the antiquities (a collection of oil lamps and old kitchen tools hanging from the wall). But even more importantly are the things that the house doesn’t have: a TV or wireless internet (and patchy cell service). We couldn’t have been happier.
Two bedrooms and a breezy, second-story sleeping porch. There’s also a screened-in back porch with beautiful views of Lake Michigan and plenty of worn-in wicker furniture. Prices start at $1200 for a week (and there are still a few weeks left this summer). Rent it at homeaway.com.