I have a confession to make. I am a Hallmark Christmas movie junkie. I suppose I’ve known the truth for a long time, but it wasn’t until last week that it really sank in. The evening started like any other, I was curled up on the couch with a cup of herbal tea in one hand and a sleepy terrier in my lap waiting for the Hallmark holiday movie to begin. Three minutes into the movie, I loudly announced my predictions for the plotline as my husband, who was sitting in his corner chair, glanced up at the TV and laughed.
“What’s funny?” I asked
“You know we’ve already seen this one, right?”
He responded like someone who thought he was being conned.
I paused for a moment, staring up at the screen, “I honestly have no memory of watching this movie,” I said, still searching my brain’s massive Hallmark movie storage center, “I’m a little worried about that.”
We both sat silently. Then, almost on cue, Jordan said, “Well, look at the bright side. You’ve watched so many of these that a little Hallmark amnesia is kind of a gift.” And, he was right.
After the memory lapse, I thought I might take a break from Hallmark for a few days and instead, take a tour of a few of the villages of Leelanau County. The towns themselves are so picturesque and snow-covered, they could play host to any Hallmark Christmas movie.
So, armed with a last-minute-gift list, I set out on a village shopping trip.
As if Suttons Bay weren’t charming enough, Poppy Things turns the charm-o-meter off the charts. Located along M-22 in the village of Suttons Bay, Poppy Things celebrates the art of handmade with a wide collection of goods that highlight artists local to Leelanau and Michigan as a whole. From clothing to jewelry and more, Poppy Things will delight anyone who loves the story of a gift just as much as the gift itself.
Over the course of the last forty years, Enerdyne has become the epicenter for lovers of science and nature, and thanks to a wide variety of products, there is no such thing as a quick trip inside their unique store. I spent nearly an hour perusing their extensive collection of telescopes, STEM-based toys and experiments (don’t miss the robotic tumbling hedgehog), and rock collecting gear. Right next door to Enerdyne is another smart-shopping choice that focuses on smart fun! From games to puzzles to toys, Brain Storm is a great choice for the life long learners and brainiacs of all ages on your list. *Pro-tip: Brain Storm even has hard-to-find expansion packs for Catan, Mysterium, Photosynthesis: Under the Moonlight, and more.
The variety of gifts at The Front Porch is astounding. Only at the Front Porch can you find a beautiful Michigan shaped cast iron skillet perfect for the home-town home chef on your list alongside a unique collection of wine accessories sure to dazzle the most scrupulous sommelier.
When I was a kid, we would travel to Northport at Christmas time to see my Aunt. Even though it was just a 40-minute drive, at Christmas time—and with a name that included the word “north,” I was convinced that Northport was, in fact, the North Pole. I think that’s why I love The Pennington Collection so much. Pennington is more than a gift shop—it’s a menagerie of thoughtful favors to mark any occasion, or, no occasion at all. And, for the Christmas lover (like myself) Pennington’s collection of ornaments and gifts is enough to make even the Grinchiest of grinches heart grow a few sizes. I scored an adorable Breyer Pony dressed in holiday gear for my favorite horse lover.
For anyone on your list searching for “comfort and joy,” the Leland Gal is the perfect fit. With a gifting profile ranging from adorable lemon earrings, athleisure attire and even dog print wallpaper, the Leland Gal’s gifts will spread a little more laughter and light wherever you are.
Sometimes you come across a store that is so special, shoppers will drive three hours one way just to see the treasures with their own eyes. Tampico Imports in Leland is that special. Tampico features handmade Leland Blue, Petoskey, and Beach Glass designs to accompany a variety of sterling silver settings and some of the most extraordinary Navajo, Zuni, and Santo Domingo jewelry I’ve ever seen. Handmade pottery, planters, and blown glass treasures can be found amongst a variety of home and garden goods and, let’s not forget the famous collection of Tampico Vintage Southwestern Cowboy boots. I walked away from Tampico with a darling pair of Leland Blue and sterling silver earrings for under $50.00 and a wish list of my own.
You might not always think of a distillery as a great stop for Christmas gifts, but Northern Latitudes in Lake Leelanau is sure to convince you otherwise. Where else can you purchase locally made small-batch spirits and a super kitschy cat-shaped bottle holder in one stop? From Michigan Dogman Moonshine to the limited edition Plum Liqueur, Northern Latitudes offers the perfect gifts for the over 21 crowd, with a side of fun and decorative stocking stuffers and a huge collection of hilarious cocktail napkins. Northern Latitudes definitely has something for everyone.
For nearly nine years working in morning radio at WTCM, Leelanau Coffee Roasting’s coffee has kept me going from morning show to midday show and beyond. I credit every good moment of my day to the sweet nectars of the Gods—otherwise known as the Lakers Blend we brew each morning at the radio station. Lakers is just one of a vast variety of regionally roasted blends offered at Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co. And, if there’s any gift I love to give—it’s the gift of caffeine. So, if you have a Roaster on your Christmas roster, be sure to stop by.
For upscale clothing, footwear and home goods, shoppers in Glen Arbor flock to Coastal. Offering gifts for the whole family, Coastal is perfect for brands like Smartwool, Vineyard Vines, Sperry, Sorel and more. I found a gorgeous pair of Hatley mittens and matching hat on sale! Nothing beats a good deal at a truly exceptional store.
A holiday shopping trip in Leelanau County is not complete without a trip to the original Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor. What began in 1989 as owner Bob Sutherland selling tee shirts from the back of his car has grown into a premier brand for Michigan flavors and gifts. *Pro tip—be sure to pick up LOTS of the Original Cherry Salsa. You’ll thank me later
The Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate is a dream come true for any chocolate lover on your list. With amazing offerings like drinking chocolate, good tidings truffles, and sea salt honey caramels (drool), unwrapping a box of Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates will put you at the top of anyone’s “nice” list. Although my intention for this village tour was to find gifts for others, I had to gift myself a box of caramels that may or may not have made it home (they didn’t).
As my holiday trek along Leelanau County leads me to the Polish Art Center in Cedar, I am absolutely smitten with the treasury of Polish heritage inside this adorable Cedar store. Gorgeous polish Christmas ornaments line the walls and shelves, along with handmade Polish stoneware and Polish treats perfect for stockings. In addition to the amazing gift ideas, you can learn more about Polish traditions like Wigilia (Christmas Eve dinner) through recipe books and other history books sold at the Polish Art Center.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to list all of the fantastic shopper-tunities in Leelanau County, so discover the magic yourself in the next 48 hours! Whether you’re looking for last-minute gifts, or just hoping to catch the Christmas village spirit, Leelanau County is your answer!
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