A long-awaited wine tasting room, which also features small plates and seasonal dinners in downtown Suttons Bay, opened Sept. 1. Gilchrist’s tasting room will offer a selection of whites, reds, and frozen beverages. In addition to their wine menu, Gilchrist’s culinary team has developed a seasonal menu of 7-9 small plates that will rotate with the seasons and highlight local produce with a balance of creativity and simplicity. 

Shady Lane Cellars plans to celebrate the harvest season in Suttons Bay style. This year, the estate winery will welcome crowds to a Celebrate Harvest Pig Roast on Sunday, Oct. 1, from 2-6 pm. Chef Larry Burdek of Traverse City’s Chef’s Pride Catering will prepare a succulent roasted pig and serve a full menu made to pair with Shady Lane Cellars wines. The estate winery’s 150 acres of rolling hills will serve as a backdrop to live music and the high-octane rockabilly sounds of Delilah DeWylde. 

The Mill in Glen Arbor will launch its long anticipated restaurant this fall in the historic Braemmer flour mill on the Crystal River. The Mill announced its Supper Club on Instagram today with 12 dates between mid-October and mid-December. According to Kelsey Duda, owner of Fernhaus Studios, which manages The Mill, supper club tickets will start at $75 per person.

Poppy flowers look so fragile, with flame-colored, papery petals held high on wiry stems. Yet these bold beauties are surprisingly resilient as well, returning each spring to delight the eye in garden and field. Just so with Poppy Things, the brand and eponymous boutique, which will be celebrating four years in Suttons Bay this autumn. Chelsey Sawallich Skowronski, creator of Poppy Things, knew she wanted to be an artist from a young age. She describes her delighted discovery at age 12 of an abandoned farmhouse near her family’s Centerville Township farm: “I had never seen poppies before; they were glowing against the weathered siding. From [then on], I knew. It’s something I’ve always loved.”

The metamorphosis continues as Meg Paxton readies the Blue Maple for its debut. The one-time garage in the middle of Maple City was home to Gabe’s Country Market for decades before Paxton moved in. She bought the 100-year-old, 5,000 square foot building in 2019 and immediately began deconstructing, then reconstructing it to fit her vision for the Teenie Weenie store, a retail shop focused on small dogs such as her own and their humans. In addition to a retail site, it will serve as a workshop for her and her sister Emily’s sewing and embroidery endeavors.

Today, 15 million Europeans are using specially designed Nordic ski walking poles, and that trend is slowly spreading to the United States—even right here in Leelanau County. It is a modern-day walking sport that started in Finland. For decades, beginning sometime in the mid-1900s, skiers deprived of snow in Finland kept in shape for winter cross-country skiing by walking in the summers using their snow ski poles. They simply called it “ski-walking.” Here, at home, we have the ski pole companies, American Nordic Walking System and Ski Walking.com headquartered in Empire, both founded and owned by Pete Edwards.

Betsy Ernst gazed at a lobelia cardinalis, admiring the perennial flower’s cardinal red blooms as she worked at Peninsula Perennial Nursery, the business she owns with her husband, Kris Ernst. The 20-acre nursery, located on Swede Road near Northport, cultivates and sells a variety of perennials, flowering shrubs and trees, ornamental grasses, and groundcovers suited for the 45th parallel’s climate. “We try to take moments of gratitude,” Betsy said. “People are really friendly. They come in with unique ideas and issues. We are very happy to be here.”

He’s a showstopper, that’s for sure. Any number of people driving past Gilbert on M-72 are stopping to get a photo with him. Because who doesn’t love a copper-colored, life-size T-Rex? Gilbert is the brainchild of Curtis Warnes, and was crafted by sculptor Enoch Flaugher. Warnes is the owner of Steel Appeal, a firm specializing in metal work & custom furniture. He hired his cohort Flaugher to build the dinosaur, which now stands next to the building Warnes is using as a gallery to promote the “functional art” side of his business. “People are lining up” to see and take photos of Gilbert, says Warnes.

This summer means now. A sign reading “Opening this Summer” inside the window at Millie’s, the new pizza and ice cream restaurant on the footprint of the famed Riverfront Pizza, has been replaced by a new sign that reads “Grand Opening” and “Thursday to Sunday 12 pm to 8 pm.” Millie’s holds its grand opening on Thursday, Aug. 10, and features made-from-scratch “Roman Pizza al Taglio,” known for its semi-thick, light and fluffy interior and crispy exterior. Pizza slices, which cost $5 or $6 each, offer cheese, pepperoni, sausage and onion, or mushroom and roasted garlic. For dessert, Millie’s features ice cream in two flavors—cinnamon toast and dark cherry—crafted from a rich, custard base that uses cream, whole milk, sugar, salt and egg yolks. The restaurant is managed by Fernhaus Studio hospitality group, whose team also runs The Mill, another time-honored Glen Arbor landmark on the Crystal River, The Riverside in Leland, and Brew in Traverse City.

“In wine, there is truth.” Overquoted? Maybe. But in the case of the early winery owners and their family members of the Leelanau Peninsula, the expression holds true. Writing for the Glen Arbor Sun, Rebecca Carlson set out to understand the origins of the current successful wine industry in Leelanau. Through years of experimenting, working and taming the soil and vines, “In Vino Veritas” is in the lifeblood of these early Leelanau Peninsula vintners.