Fall Thoughts, an Awesome Holiday Art Fair, and Toasting the Season in Leelanau

A Twilight Paddle past Neahtawanta Point at Bowers Harbor
A Twilight Paddle past Neahtawanta Point at Bowers Harbor


Autumn is the briefest season, and the season I’m most loathe to let go of. Now, as it gives up these last few days of beauty before inevitably slipping away, I find myself doing as much as I can to prolong the experience. Paddling out onto the bay, riding the bicycle a few more times, even raking up the leaves, all seem to be bittersweet rituals of farewell.

And so we come to Halloween. The time of goblins and witches for some of us, of saints and angels for others. And for everyone, I trust, lots of cold cider and warm donuts and the scent of fallen sun-crisped leaves. And if you’re not interested in the annual spookfest that’s Halloween in Traverse City, here’s a different suggestion for the coming weekend: the Holiday Art Fair at the Dennos Museum Center.

As you may or may not know, the Dennos is one of the finest small art museums in the country; this annual Art Fair features the same attention to exquisite beauty and high quality, as well as its habit of featuring fine arts and crafts by Michigan artists. Artists are encouraged to bring original art in all price ranges, but especially items below $30, so customers have lots of choices for choosing original art as a holiday gift. These are handmade, unusual gifts — the kind that make museum stores a special place to shop.

The fair will be held Friday  and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

Fine arts and crafts from 50 area artists, Christmas and Hanukkah gifts, arts and crafts kits and more are just a few of the enticements for holiday shoppers. Looking for special gifts for children? They’ve got a selection of craft kits and a variety of books relating to all the arts, sciences and the Inuit peoples. There are many wonderful small “stocking stuffers” for kids and many small gift items children can chose as gifts for family and friends.

One event that’s been added to the fair is a benefit “art raffle” to help schools offset the cost of museum visits. Over 2,000 students benefited from the money raised in last year’s raffle. The holiday artists have donated a piece of art for the raffle. Tickets will be only sold on site for $2 each and 6/$5. Any questions? Call them at 231-995-1586

Fall Color in the Lake Leelanau Wine Country
Fall Color in the Lake Leelanau Wine Country

Next weekend? Man, it’s November already! But be of good cheer – the folks in the wine country of the Leelanau Peninsula are ready to brighten that often-dismal month with some tasty wine and food pairings. It’s the annual “Toast the Season” wine touring event organized by the

Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association. For the next two weekends (Nov. 5-6 and Nov. 12-13) you can take a self-guided tour of up to eight wineries each day — in any order you choose – to sample some of those fine Leelanau wines paired with foods made by local chefs. I’ve seen the menu, and it made my mouth water. Not good when you’re working with an electronic keyboard.
Here’s how the tour works: one of the 19 Leelanau member wineries is designated as your “starting winery.” When you arrive, they give you a commemorative glass, a holiday ornament, a souvenir wine key and a holiday gift bag featuring local food including fair trade coffee from Higher Grounds Trading Company of Traverse City, cocoa-coated chocolate covered almonds from Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate in Empire, and (of course) Michigan cherries from Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor.

Tickets for Toast the Season are $50 per person or $75 per couple (couple ticket holders receive two glasses, pours and food at each winery, but only one gift bag and ornament). You can order them online at http://www.lpwines.com/toast/.


About mikelovestc

These days, I’m the media relations guy for the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau, but before that I spent 25 years as a reporter and columnist at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, a job that frequently took me out into the most remote backroads, forests, beaches and islands of the beautiful Grand Traverse Region. My strategy was pretty simple — just drive, paddle, ski or walk until you’re certain you’re lost, and then find somebody to talk to. It was a great job! I never intended to live in Traverse City. I grew up in Grand Rapids, spent four years in the Coast Guard in places like Miami Beach, Monterey and San Francisco, and when I finally graduated from college I took a summer job at the Miami Herald. To my surprise, I discovered I didn’t like the tropics nearly as much as I thought I would — and when the Record-Eagle offered me a job I took it, figuring I’d put in a year or two and head off to someplace like Seattle or Portland. What I discovered very quickly is that this place gets to you in a variety of unexpected ways. The beaches here are as lovely as anyplace else I’ve ever been, the weather is mild all year round — warm enough for swimming in September and cold enough for skiing in December — and just about the time you’re getting tired of one season you get another one every bit as pleasant. The people are laid-back and friendly, the music and arts scene is awesome, and the place still hasn’t gotten so sophisticated that a guy like me feels out of place.
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2 Responses to Fall Thoughts, an Awesome Holiday Art Fair, and Toasting the Season in Leelanau

  1. Deb says:

    I just came across your “Loving Traverse City” column while taking a momentary break from the work day and looking for a T.C. fix……..nice column. The first article I randomly chose was about a bear roaming around in Traverse City. Come to find out I know the author of this column and the photographer/firefighter who was quoted in it. Too funny. Hope all is well with you and your family. You’re right TC is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Monterey and Point Lobos were very impressive too—back in the 70s.

    • mikelovestc says:

      Hi, Deb!
      I’m glad you like the column. I post a new one every Monday, so you can get a regular “fix” if you like. A lot of my readers are TC expats who like to reminisce about the place. Yes, Monterey and Point Lobos were also wonderful spots, and I’m glad I got to share all three with you. The family is doing well; Jacob is a Lt. jg in the Navy, and is in Japan; Elizabeth has graduated from college and is actually looking at going into the Coast Guard. Life is strange… Take care of yourself and say hello to your family for me!

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