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Archive for the ‘Up North Vicariously’ Category

Northern Michigan is teeming with fruit.  Orchards and berry patches line the rolling stretch of lakeshore between Charlevoix and Traverse City, and each orchard boasts its own little roadside stand filled with the abundance of summer.

For a brief week or two, almost everything is in season at once:  raspberries and blackberries,  cherries and blueberries, peaches and apricots and plums, all grown right here in the Northern Fruitlands.

I’ve been recommending this drive to customers in our Charlevoix store for almost a week now.  Each fruit stand has its own personality and unique offerings — golden raspberries at one, Balaton cherries at another, or the season’s first tree-ripened peaches, fresh from the field. 

If you’re in Northern Michigan this summer, add a stop at one of our roadside fruit stands to your must-do list.  And bring a big basket.

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As Spring has gradually returned to Northern Michigan, so too have visitors.  They arrive in much the same way:  subtly but steadily, until suddenly everything is green and suddenly there are people!  People from Detroit and Ann Arbor, people from Chicago and Indianapolis and Ohio, even people from California and my own home state of Virginia.  All week long I’ve been chatting with these new people, and every one of them has been overwhelmed by the beauty of orchards in blossom.
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The question those in our mail order department are asked most frequently after “what’s the difference between Spoon Fruit and Preserves?” is “what’s the weather like up there?” Since last Friday the answer has been the same: cold and snowy and downright beautiful. The snow arrived just in time for Petoskey’s annual Holiday Open House and fell steadily throughout the day until our little town was wrapped in the hush and the whiteness and the sparkle of winter’s first snow.
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When Justin discovered that my familiarity with the Leelanau Peninsula consisted of a single stroll through Sutton’s Bay and a similarly brief visit to Fishtown, he insisted that I get out and explore.  Now, while half the apple harvest hangs in the orchards and grapes still dangle from their vines.  Now, before the crimsons and the goldenrods and the bright greens of autumn fade into the browns and grays and blahs of winter.
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During the summer, Charlevoix is a bustling resort town full of boaters and shoppers and beachgoers, but once Labor Day has passed, the crowds gradually disperse and quiet settles over the town like a blanket.  Charlevoix remains wrapped in this off-season somnolence until the second week in October when, just as the air has turned crisp and frost has begun to kiss green grass, she kicks off her blanket to host the annual Charlevoix Apple Festival.
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