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.

On Sunday, Sept 10, Holland, Mich. resident Jon Ornée completed what he believes to be the first-ever unassisted swim from North Manitou Island to South Manitou Island. Ornée started from Donner’s Point on North Manitou Island at 7:45 am and reached shore at Gull Point on South Manitou Island at 9:24 am. The 4-mile swim took him 1 hour and 39 minutes to complete.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore deputy superintendent Tom Ulrich, who will retire from the Park later this month, once heard a poignant analogy at a leadership conference that compared the old style of managing a National Park to the Star Wars jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi, who deftly and constantly fends off outside threats with his light saber. By contrast, the new style of Park management is not to deflect or fight off criticism from the public, but to engage, listen and teach as Yoda does. Ulrich arrived at Sleeping Bear Dunes in late 2002 at a time when Lakeshore staff was reeling from widespread criticism after it promoted an unpopular new General Management Plan that would expand portions of the Park classified as “wilderness.” His tenure at Sleeping Bear Dunes dawned a collaborative relationship between the Park and local citizens.

Two Weeks in a Hammock is an education and outreach initiative by Cedar residents Vince and Stacie Longwell Sadowski to inspire regular folks to get out into nature. “As two middle-aged people with average fitness levels and more time than money,” they write on their blog, “we model an active lifestyle of adventure. The Sun recently interviewed them about their “Voices of North Manitou Island” project, a series of videos launched this year that explore the history of the North Manitou Island in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore through the people who have lived, worked, played, and been a part of island life over the years.

James Weston Schaberg says there’s nothing like the view from the sky. As a longtime commercial pilot, he would know. But that’s not necessarily what he means. The Leland native has turned his love of the sky into multiple businesses while reveling in the joy of flying the skies – and flying a kite. That was the inspiration for his film Eye of the Wind, a documentary that was due to be released on video earlier this month. “I didn’t set out to make a movie, just a video journal,” Schaberg says. It premiered for a sold-out show at the Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay before a similarly receptive audience at the Garden Theater in Frankfort.

Novelist Sarah Shoemaker of Northport has been an educator, university research librarian, world traveler, wife, mother, and grandmother. She recently spoke with the Sun about her most recent books, Children of the Catastrophe (2022) and Mr. Rochester (2017). Shoemaker will appear at the Glen Arbor Arts Center on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 11 a.m. for “Coffee With the Authors.” Other events this fall can be found on her website, SarahShoemaker.net.

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.