Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Leelanau County, Michigan
We passed a green sign announcing our arrival in Peshawbestown, Michigan.
“How do you think you say that?” I asked my Brazilian fiancé, motioning toward the sign. I raised an eyebrow at him and took a sip of my coffee. Black. Like my cruel soul.
“This is a town?” he asked. And he had a point. The only sign of civilization was a utility pole. He then gave the pronunciation a solid attempt. I would’ve said the same thing myself.
We thought we had driven past it, but we didn’t. This is the progress I’ve needed to feel better about wedding planning, I thought, as we pulled into the driveway. I’m Type Z, but still conscious enough to acknowledge that we’ve been engaged for over one year and have done nothing. This is part of the reason we came up here, but it’s too easy to get wrapped up in the serenity out at the lake. I will never understand people who throw themselves into wedding planning.
We were greeted by Holly, an extraverted black lab, followed by the owner of the farm. She showed us around. The farm was over 120 years old and stunning. She took us through the kitchen and introduced us to her business partner who was also the chef. “He won’t tell you himself, but I’ll brag on him,” she said. “He was just on Man Fire Food for his fire pit. It’s just out here, I’ll show you.”
She showed us the barn and the grotto, where the bar would be placed, and walked us through the garden where they source some of their food. Her parents were tending the garden. It was all very charming and easy to envision a nice little wedding there. The owner handed us a packet of vendors and we were on our way. “We’re headed toward Northport,” I said. “Any recommendations for breakfast?”
“Try the Tribune,” she said, waving us off.
It was a quick, five minute drive up to Northport. The town was still unbuttoning for the day, despite being nearly ten o’clock in the morning. My kind of people, I thought, but I had a hungry and crabby fiance who didn’t want to hang out at the marina while we waited for places to open. We got back in the car and drove down M-22 toward Leland. The morning had been sunny, but it was starting to get cloudy by the time we got to town.
We walked down to Fishtown, which is a surviving commercial fishing village. Our first stop was the Village Cheese Shanty, because I had to feed the beast. A South Shore (a pretzel bun, ham, dill havarti, tomato, onion, pesto mayo) and a bag of cheese curds, just mildly squeaky (the other side of Lake Michigan is better for these).
After lunch we poked around the docks, stepping around fishing nets, tossing pebbles into a school of minnows in the notoriously clear water. The clouds got darker, though, and drove us back toward the car. We’d parked in front of the bookstore and I noticed, in the window, a poster we had in the cottage growing up. Water Wonderland, it said. A picture of a sun blowing air on Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties. I’d thought about it a few times since my grandparents sold the cottage in 2007. One of those relics that’s present in the background of memories and old family photos. It started to rain. “I’ll wait in the car,” J said. I darted in the bookstore. The downpour began just moments after I closed the door.
I fished it it out of the bin and took it over to the register.
“I told her I should have fetched that marquee,” said the bookseller, looking out the front window. “I can’t get it now, I’ll look like a drowned rat.” She continued ringing me up.
“I don’t have a bag that’ll fit this,” she said.
“Yes you do,” chirped the other worker. “Wrap it in a garbage bag.”
I smiled at their banter and thanked them before dashing out into the rain.
The car was just in front of the store but I was soaked by the time I got in. J was on the phone. I started the car. The windshield wipers wicked away the rain. I turned on the headlights and we drove off down M22.