Wednesday, April 30, 2008

2008 Priority Health Tour de Leelanau Featured City - Empire, Michigan

The southernmost town in Leelanau County is Empire. With its soaring bluffs and breathtaking views, it's like no other! Before heading down to the Beach to enjoy the surf or volleyball, basketball and the great playground treat yourself to an ice cream cone at Tiffany's. At the headquarters of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (located in the Village of Empire, right off M-22) you'll find helpful rangers who can help you find out all there is to know about the formation of the dunes as well as point you in the right direction for hiking trails, beaches and scenic drives.

The Empire Historical Society is a fantastic spot to spend a rainy day, be sure to check out the one room schoolhouse! Situated approximately 25 miles due west of Traverse City, Empire is nestled in the center of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. With the Empire Bluffs to the south and the widely recognizable sand dunes of the National Lakeshore to the north, the area possesses breathtaking vistas of the dunes, North Manitou and South Manitou islands, and Lake Michigan. Most Sleeping Bear Dunes panoramas portrayed on postcards are taken from a walking trail which runs to the top of the Empire Bluffs. A wide beach separates Lake Michigan from its close neighbor, South Bar Lake. The much smaller South Bar Lake stays considerably warmer than the big lake during the summer months, and is good for young children.

The Empire beach boasts the Robert H. Manning Memorial Lighthouse, which was built in 1991 as a memorial to Robert H. Manning, a life-long resident of Empire and avid fisherman. Additionally, the beach offers a famous antique anchor which was discovered by Douglas Manning, son of Robert H. Manning, and Michelle Stryker in 1977. Every year, the village of Empire celebrates the raising of the anchor on the third Saturday in July.

For more information on the Village of Empire, visit the Empire Chamber of Commerce website at:

For more information on the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Visitor Center (located in the Village of Empire), visit the National Park Service website at:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

2008 Priority Health Tour de Leelanau
Featured City - Leland, Michigan

The start of the Men’s Tour De Leelanau race is held in the picturesque village of Leland, Michigan. Leland is located on a sliver of land between Lake Michigan and Lake Leelanau, on beautiful Leelanau Peninsula. This uncommon and charming village will mesmerize you with its beauty and amenities.

Guests arrive by car, boat, and bicycle. Once here, Leland is a great "walking around" town. All of the shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums are located within a short distance. There is easy access to public beaches, boat launches on each lake, and a river connecting the two.

Leland's historical district, known as Fishtown, features rustic shanties and docks reminiscent of life and commercial fishing one hundred years ago.

Today, galleries and unique shops fill their walls, and charter fishing trips and the only public ferry to the popular Manitou Islands depart from those same docks. The adjacent full service marina is the perfect place for launching and mooring boats on Lake Michigan. Besides hosting the start of the Tour De Leelanau, one of Leland's signature events is the annual Leland Wine and Food Festival which will be held on Saturday, June 14, 2008. This festival features many of our region’s exquisite award winning wines as well as outstanding food and hors d'oeuvres from local restaurants.Come visit Leland any time. Discover the reason why residents and area guests alike value this place called Leland, Michigan!

For more information on Leland, please visit the cities website at: