Stay-cationing in Michigan

1 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

See cottage prices on Michigan’s bargain-friendly east coast.

You love the fresh smell of manure in the morning as a shiny-coated horse pulls your carriage to a quaint fudge shop to buy copious amounts of the sweet treat.

From $165,000 for a waterfront chalet near Alpena to under $400,000 for what was once a $1-million house off an inland lake, a middle-class income can still buy a lot of cottage along Michigan’s “sunrise side.” • $164,900 chalet on Lake Esau: The four-bedroom house is tucked into the woods along another all-sport lake outside Alpena. With the help of some local travel agents we’ve put together a list of the top places to travel to in Michigan outside of the Thumb region as well as the top activities to do in the Blue Water Area. We’re not hating on the island life (well, kind of we are), but we’re just challenging you to discover what else this mitten state has to offer. •Munising: Traveling to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is about standing beneath a tumbling waterfall and finally feeling clean. One drawback is the slightly marshy water’s edge. • The $227,900 cottage on Grand Lake: This three-bedroom house on an all-sport lake also has a creek alongside it. Munising is the sweet town that’s home to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. “The scenery at Pictured Rocks is so stunning you may forget you’re in Michigan, with 15 miles of beautiful sandstone cliffs towering 200 feet over Lake Superior,” said Jason Schneider, owner of True North Travel in Port Huron. “To get the full Pictured Rocks experience I recommend seeing them from above on a day hike or below on a guided kayak tour.” If hiking, Chapel Rock Beach should be a priority.

That can be good news for middle-class cottage hunters who missed out on buying when vacation properties statewide were at their lows around 2009 through 2011. There is also a basement, which is rare in such cottages. • The $379,900 big cabin on Long Lake: There are rough-sawn cedar walls and an expansive foyer with nearly floor-to-ceiling windows. While there have long been differences between vacation real estate on Michigan’s east and west coasts, the contrasts in the market have lately become more distinct. Higher-quality beaches, better skiing and snowmobiling, and more dining, entertainment and shopping options are among the reasons why agents say vacation properties in Lake Michigan towns have historically fetched higher prices than those on the Lake Huron side.

There is a dock and pier. • The $89,900 getaway: This two-bedroom ranch borders a state park forest and has deeded access to about 700 feet of beach near the mouth of Saginaw Bay. West coast properties also have had particular success in attracting out-of-state buyers, including well-off families from the Chicago area and Texas. The property’s interior, however, is screaming for modern renovations and one can still smell the previous occupant’s cat. • The $299,900 lakefront cottage with sunsets: This two-bedroom cottage on Lake Huron offers a westerly exposure to sunsets. Plan on showing up before 8 a.m. to stake your territory before leaving to explore for the day. •Traverse City: Traverse City is a perfect young couple’s vacation. Vacation home prices in the Traverse City area are nearly back to their prerecession peak, said Realtor Dee-Dee Burch with Real Estate One in Traverse City. “It’s a good time for buyers and sellers,” Burch said. “Buyers can get a nice waterfront home for $200,000 or $300,000, or up to $2 million to $3 million.

It’s known for dozens of wineries including the Old Mission Peninsula and the Leelanau Peninsula, Schneider said. “Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is an easy drive from Traverse City and features 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline with sand dunes towering over 400 feet above (the lake),” Schneider said. So it’s good for everyone right now.” In the Lake Charlevoix area, prices are about 10% higher than two years ago, yet still 15% to 20% off their peak of last decade, said Pat O’Brien of Boyne City-based Pat O’Brien & Associates.

There are many novel features, including tall library shelves accessed via a sliding ladder. • The $389,900 year-rounder: Those looking for a year-round residence in Gladwin County might consider this large five-bedroom house in the Sugar Springs recreational community with access to Lake Lancelot and Lake Lancer. That compares with 11 sales at this time last year with two of them over $1 million, he said. “I think it’s people having more confidence in their financial situation, and they’re more ready to get back in the second-home market,” said O’Brien said. Traverse City also has the standard kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding experiences that every Michigan destination town brags about along with their “unique blue waters.” However, it is one destination that also has stand-up paddleboard yoga.

You can either splurge on this trip or seek out the many free films that will be screened that weekend. •Detroit: Detroit attracts thousands of visitors each weekend to fill sport stadiums and concert venues located in its familiar downtown. Built as a single A-frame in the early 1960s, the second “A” was added in the 1990s Neighbors dubbed the property “Twin Peaks.” The seller, Ralph Kanaar, said he and his wife got their idea after spotting a double A-frame in Hawaii while on vacation. He has seen only one similar house in Michigan. “I saw a place just off the side of the road that was two A-frames, connected off the second floor with a glass walkway, and I thought ‘That’s what we can do,’ ” he recalled. Skip the standard Detroit Institute of Arts experience and head to the lesser known art destinations such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Lincoln Street Art Park, the African Bead Museum and Signal-Return, a letterpress print shop in Eastern Market.

Inside an old school in the Cass Corridor, visitors will find an old theater stage with a movie screen surrounded by red theater seats and the smell of popcorn. All meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, should be consumed in Mexican Town — chimichangas from Armando’s, fajitas from Los Galanes, enchiladas from Taqueria El Ray, and cake from La Gloria are necessary options to round out the day.

And because a Michigan vacation isn’t a true Michigan vacation without an affair with the blue waters, take a picnic to Belle Isle, stretch out on the lawn next to the conservancy, rent a paddleboard and swim in the briny waters of the Detroit River. If the tulip farm didn’t feed your flower needs, Windmill Island Gardens will fill the gaps with a two-hour walk around the gardens while it transports you to the feel of old Dutch culture. And while Petoskey could just be another Michigan winery-brewery-and-blue-waters trip, it saved itself by also being perfect for old-soul romantics who need a little escape. There are too many shops for us to name and they all look the same, so for a complete list of antique shops in the area go to •Beer: Now this suggestion is perfect for those who like minimal excitement and believe that one beer tastes different from the next (and OK, OK, we know they taste different, we’re just giving you a hard time). It will be a full day of driving, so find a designated driver and stop for lots of food along the way. •Theater: Nothing says small town summer flavor like a hot and sticky show performed in a barn theater.

The Barn Theater in Port Sanilac is slated to host “I Hate Hamlet,” “James and the Giant Peach,” and “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” this summer season. The Lexington Village Theater will cover the musical entertainment by hosting David Cook, John Waite and a Bruce Springsteen tribute called Bruce in the USA.

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