Northern Michigan Winter Fun in Leland


January 8, 2020

I have been asked a few times if we REALLY love visiting northern Michigan specifically the Leland area that much and I’m here to tell you, we REALLY love it that much. It is a beautiful historic place filled with nature and never ending options for activities. You can come up on your honeymoon or with your entire family and there is always something going on.

In previous years we would get dressed up and find some fancy party to head out to on NYE but now that we have Otto (and we don’t bounce back as fast as we used to) we were on the hunt for something a little quieter. We have a few friends with babies and kiddos the same age as Otto and I remembered from last year watching the Noon Years Eve countdown at the Leland Lodge for kids. I think that might be one of the most genius ideas of all time. We decided to check availability and head up that way.

Historic Fish Town Leland Michigan

The lodge is just up the hill from the historic fish town which is under preservation efforts right now due to the rising shore lines of Lake Michigan. It’s a perfect little winter walk down to check it out though. It’s as beautiful in the winter as it is in the summer. In the summer you can visit Leland Gal, The Cheese Shanty and fish shop (smoked fish dip..) but in the winter the historic buildings are just a little too cold. There are plenty of other places still open to shop and eat.

Historic Fish Town Leland Michigan Historic Fish Town Leland Michigan Historic Fish Town Leland Michigan

We had plans to venture out for dinner but the lodge was so cozy and the kids were just happy to be there and play that we ended up eating at bogeys twice. I think after about 10 times eating there over the past two years I think the best thing there is the Brussels sprouts and the Mushroom Onion Swiss Burger. They have great food and it’s a casual atmosphere perfect for kids. The first night we were there we ended up having dinner and sitting by the fire playing cards as the kids drifted off to sleep.
The next day we suited up and headed to Trish’s Dish’s down the hill for breakfast. The table unanimously agreed that the breakfast burrito was the clear winner. After that we headed out to the sledding hill at the lodge. Because you know what happens when you promise a toddler you are going to take them sledding? You end up doing it first thing. We had so much fun sledding down the  giant hill! Otto and his buddy kept yelling AGAIN! AGAIN! The dads got their workouts in climbing back up the hill each time.

Sledding Hill at the Leland Lodge Sledding Hill at the Leland Lodge Sledding Hill at the Leland Lodge Sledding Hill at the Leland Lodge Sledding Hill at the Leland Lodge Sledding Hill at the Leland Lodge Outdoor Winter Fun in Northern Michigan Outdoor Winter Fun in Northern Michigan

After a morning of sledding we headed in to the big Noon Years Eve party in the event center. It was a riot! The DJ was playing and they had glow sticks and balloons for the kids. Otto ran around with all his new friends dancing to the loud music and living the dream. at 11:59 am the countdown began and at noon they dropped all the balloons from the ceiling. Otto’s “party balloon” stayed with us the rest of the weekend.

Noon Years Eve for Kids Leland Lodge

After that the boys needed some downtown so we drove around a bit while they slept. We stopped at one of my favorites 9 Bean Rows for some fresh bread and granola. From there we visited a few wineries before heading back to the lodge to have dinner and celebrate the NYE with the adults. We had dinner at Bogeys again before we put the kids to bed. We all settled by the fire again baby monitors in tow to play cards and keep each other up until midnight. We toasted to the new year and the new decade before heading back to our rooms for bed. We woke up and enjoyed some coffee in the lodge and fresh muffins before heading home to finish out the week.
It’s hard to pick a favorite time to be up north. The summer is so green, warm and lush. The winter is so still and calm. The wineries are not as full and there are fun trails to cross country ski, sled and snowshoe. (Black star farms has rentable gear and trails). Each season here has it’s perks. We hope to make this an annual tradition!

  • Thank you to the Leland Lodge for gifting us our stay. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Outdoor Winter Fun in Northern Michigan

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Abigail Albers       Author

Abby is a wife and mother, antique shopper, entrepreneur, gardener, sheep lady, sequin enthusiast and your Midwest Martha Stewart Wannabe.. Follow her on instagram @adventuresinabbyland.

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