Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sleeping Bear Dunes

We made our annual trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes at the end of our trip to the U.P.   I didn't really like tacking it on to the end of a long road trip like that, but it made the most sense logistically.  We were there over 4th of July, which we've done before, but after our experience this summer, I can safely say we will actively avoid being there that time of year again.

What we love about the area is the beauty, the lack of development, the lack of chain stores and restaurants, and how relatively uncrowded it is.  Well, that area has gotten some national exposure in the past couple of years, what with being named America's Most Beautiful Place by Good Morning America, and a certain celebrity chef who bought a vacation home in the area.  I hear there was also a write up about Leelanau County in Martha Stewart's magazine.  Whether it is this exposure, or the fact that we were there for the 4th of July, or a combination of the two, the place was wall to wall people this summer.  Long lines to our favorite restaurants, overcrowded beaches, and no place to park!  What has happened to my lovely little retreat?  It was shocking.  Someone even walked off with one of our beach towels when we weren't looking.  I can only hope that was an honest mistake.  That's the first time I've ever had something of mine disappear while on a Michigan beach, and I've been going to Michigan beaches my entire life.

I take some solace in thinking about what it must be like there now: peaceful and uncrowded, all the tourists gone home.  And I will admit that even while we were fighting the masses, the sunsets were still calming, the view over the water was free of crowds, and, if you know where to go, you can still find a quiet place in the woods.