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River Club Glen Arbor, located where the Crystal River turns and heads northeast toward The Homestead and Sleeping Bear Bay, has announced its grand opening in mid-June. The project of former advertising executive and current Lake Leelanau resident Mike Sheldon, the River Club will offer Mexican-inspired foods, signature drinks from the Caddy Shack bar, riverfront and sky deck seating, a concert stage, a landscaped 18-hole mini-golf course and a gift shop. The destination will bring even more action to the east side of Glen Arbor, where Crystal River Outfitters, the Cyclery, the M22 Store and Coastal already draw crowds. River Club will throw a Job Fair/Party in the Park on Saturday, May 18, from 11 am – 3 pm. The event will provide an opportunity to meet the team and get an exclusive firsthand tour of the park.

Grand Traverse Engineering and Construction and the Leelanau County Road Commission have announced that roadwork to improve Crystal River stream crossings along County Road 675, northeast of Glen Arbor, will resume late this summer or early this fall. The culverts where kayakers on the Crystal River gleefully “shoot the tube” are next on the list. Click here to read more and to view a map of the project.

The restored Mill on the Crystal River in Glen Arbor will open its long anticipated dinner service on Wednesday, April 17. The restaurant named “Supper,” which seats 32 people in the building’s lower level, will be open five days a week, Wednesday-Sunday, from 4-9 pm and eventually add Tuesdays for the summer season. Reservations can be made online, no more than seven days prior, at TheMillGlenArbor.com.

Leelanau County has long been a haven for artists and creatives, and the region is rife with individuals, businesses, and organizations working together towards common goals. For Kelsey Duda, co-founder and creative director of Fernhaus Studio, a hospitality group based in Traverse City, the region’s creative culture and collaborative community was a large part of what drew her to move to northern Michigan in 2020. In the three years since, the hospitality group has taken over Riverside Inn in Leland, Outpost (formerly Brew) in Traverse City, and perhaps most notably, restored The Mill in Glen Arbor, opening it in the spring of 2023 as a cafe. This summer, Fernhaus opened Millie’s in Glen Arbor, a pizza and ice cream shop where Riverfront Pizza was previously.

This year was a banner year for news in Leelanau County. The Glen Arbor Sun’s top viewed stories on our website in 2023 included the strange—a relationship coaching cult in Suttons Bay (“Twin Flames, a Suttons Bay cult, an inferno of controversy” was our fourth most-viewed story of all time); the heroic—a neighborhood effort to rescue boaters from a burning craft; the celebratory—The Mill made its long awaited opening on the Crystal River, and collaboration between the National Lakeshore and Leelanau Conservancy to preserve Glen Lake ridge property; the breaking news—an 18-hole putting course and restaurant planned to open next year in Glen Arbor; the historical—our 12-part series covering Leelanau’s farming families; and the reflective—remembering Horndog Newt Cole. Thanks for your readership, and Happy New Year! Here’s the list of our top 10 stories by online views in 2023.

Late last month Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore acquired 8.66 acres of picturesque Miller Hill ridgeline property with views of the Glen Lakes and Lake Michigan from the Leelanau Conservancy for $685,000. Conservancy executive director Tom Nelson said the conservation of the Glen Lake Ridgeline project was the result of a collaboration with true, unsung heroes in the Glen Lake community and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The Conservancy and the Lakeshore have an innovative history of working together to acquire and preserve pristine and sensitive land. In 2005 the Conservancy acquired property along the Crystal River that had been potentially slated for a golf course and turned it over to the Lakeshore. The acquisition represented a happy ending to a saga that divided the local community.

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.

Just outside of Glen Arbor, a well-traveled section of County Road 675 is imperiled as it crosses three sets of undersized culverts slowly crumbling into the Crystal River. That’s a multi-million-dollar problem for the Leelanau County Road Commission. The engineering plans call for the construction of a concrete and steel structure to replace the culverts under CR 675 closest to M-22. That will keep the two road surfaces closely matched in elevation. The two sets of culverts further east, including the “shoot-the-tube” culverts, are to be replaced with classic wood bridges providing a lot of headroom for paddlers, ending the need for portages across the road. Plans call for the replacement of the Tucker Lake overflow culvert with a wide and substantial concrete box culvert.

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.

Detroit native Pam Baad—pictured here jogging up the Lake Michigan Overlook at Pierce Stocking Drive—was named women’s “champignon” of the 2021 Bordulac Attack. The informal race is organized by the Bordulac family, includes six segments in and around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and must be completed between June 15 and Halloween. Anyone can form a team or compete solo on any given day by using the Strava mobile app.