Quaint, TV-free cottages near the lodge. For more photos, check out the gallery »
LAKE LEELANAU, MICHIGAN
DRIVE TIME: 6 HOURS
LOCATED BY: LAKE LEELANAU
BEST FOR: FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
“None of the cottages here have TV,” says Erik Zehender, a fourth-generation member of the family that has operated Fountain Point Resort—a whitewashed lodge and collection of cottages on the eastern shore of Lake Leelanau—since the 1930s (it was built in the late 1800s). Zehender’s mother, Susan Nichols, has watched over the property since she inherited it from her mother and aunt 24 years ago, and the no-TV policy is her way of keeping Fountain Point connected to its past. Luckily, Nichols’s sense of historical authenticity is also relaxing and fun. You’ll thank her for sticking to her guns once you stroll through Fountain Point’s impeccably preserved yet cheerfully cozy lodge (the entire resort is a dream for fans of American heritage antiques), play a game of badminton on its lakeside lawn, or dive off one of the resort’s wooden docks.
Mornings begin with a continental breakfast at gingham-checked tables, followed by any number of decidedly low-tech diversions: paddleboat rides, tennis, or pontoon boat rentals for an afternoon. Kids can run freely across the 50-acre property. (“We want this to stay a place where kids can be kids,” says Zehender.) In the evening, the aroma of grilled meats fills the air—every cottage has a kitchen, and farmers’ markets and grocery stores are easy drives from the resort. At night, listening to storytellers, watching outdoor movies, and sitting around campfires are perfect ways to wind down.
On rainy days, sit beside the stone fireplace in the lodge and read a book from the library. You can even surf the Net—the Wi-Fi connection is a rare concession to contemporary needs. Or challenge your friends to foosball, Ping-Pong, billiards, or Monopoly in the game room, where cupboards are filled with children’s books and mystery novels. The room also houses the resort’s collection of memorabilia, including wooden skis, gas lanterns, and local maps. “Some of our most valued treasures are of little intrinsic worth,” declares an antique sign over Fountain Point’s check-in desk. Lazy days spent reading in the shade and looking out over Lake Leelanau’s glassy expanse? Priceless.
Grab a bike (rent one from Geo Bikes, 102 S. Grand Ave., Leland; 231-256-9696) and pedal the two-mile route from Fountain Point to Lake Leelanau’s other shore, passing roadside fruit stands and worn barns on hills with postcard views of the lake.
The peninsula is home to more than 20 wineries and a cider house, Tandem Ciders (2055 N. Setterbo Rd., Suttons Bay; 231-271-0050), which serves sweet and hard varieties in a snug tasting room overlooking a kid-friendly meadow. Drive the short stretch to Leelanau State Park on the peninsula’s northernmost tip, where the Grand Traverse Lighthouse (15500 N. Lighthouse Point Rd., Northport) offers a panoramic view of Lake Michigan. Feeling hungry? Stop on the way back at Fischer’s Happy Hour Tavern (7100 N. Manitou Tr., Northport; 231-386-9923) for fried perch and broasted chicken.
990 S. Lake Leelanau Dr., Lake Leelanau; 231-256-9800, fountainpointresort.com
Cottages sleep from 2 to 13 people; weekly rates range from $1,270 to $5,600 and include breakfast. Rooms in the lodge are $100 to $120 per night during peak season.
Photograph: Daniel Shea