My friend and I decided to take a last minute weekend getaway. We had hoped to have Fri/Sat night, but unfortunately could only make time for Saturday night. We live in Michigan 2.5 hours down the coast of Lake Michigan from our destination in Leelanau County.
Our plan was to enjoy some rest and relaxation without schedule, and to do some wine taste testing at the Leelanau wineries. What a perfect weekend! The only drawback was we didn't stay for two nights vs one.
I did my usual tripadvisor research on the area and decided on Sunrise Motel and Resort. Sunrise offered what seemed to be a great location with its own beach, at a good price. Before making a non-refundable reservation (it was less than 7 days before our arrival) I called my friend with the details for her approval. She agreed and when I called back the next day Sunrise Resort was booked! As they say, everything for a reason....
After further research I found Sunset Lodge in the village of Omena. It wasn't right on the water, however offered bay views. After talking to Dave the owner via phone I was convinced this was the right place to stay. When booking I was surprised he didn't take a credit card for the reservation. They accept only cash or check so your word is relied upon for showing up. This is how things operate in Omena and at the Sunset Lodge, and I for one really LIKE it!
My friend and I arrived at 5pm after a wonderful, albeit rainy and cool day spent shopping in Suttons Bay, also located on the Leelanau Peninsula, and right on the drive to Sunset Lodge. Upon arrival we were met at the car by Dave, the owner with a smile and a handshake. He offered information and the history of Sunset, helped us unload our car and he led us to our unbelievably quaint, cozy, and SUPER clean room!! It looked as though it has just been refurbished and painted. Everything from the bathroom, to the floors, to the linens and the perfectly stocked kitchenette were nothing less than immaculate!!!
After check-in we went to the main house and Dave showed us around, as well as gave us a map of Leelanau adding personalized tidbits of information about each destination (where to eat, where to shop, etc) FABULOUS! We were off on our adventure. We tried to make the wine tasting offered just down the hill from our lodging at Leelanau Cellars, but arrived at 6:02pm, and all wineries close at 6pm (except Sundays, they close at 5pm) We didn't know this and were disappointed, but decided to drive approximately 30 minutes across the peninsula to Leland for shopping, and my friend's need to have a "smoked chub" which she remembered from childhood visits. Shopping was fabulous! Leland reminds me very much of a Pentwater, MI and Saugatuck, MI, but on a smaller scale, and certainly with its own unique character! Sadly, the smokehouse selling chubs was out of the fish for the day. However, it's worth the 30 minute trip to experience all that is Leland and view the Maintou islands in the distance.
We drove back around 8pm and decided to try "Knot just a bar" which literally is a stone's throw down the hill from our bed and breakfast. Notably, Dave encouraged us to choose our eatery by 9pm as many chefs head home around that time of evening. We arrived at "Knot just a bar", around 8:45pm, and it was HOPPING!!! Filled with many locals and tourists, and offering incredible views of the bay! I read on tripadvisor the fish and chips was not to be missed and they are RIGHT! My friend and I had been eating all day and were far from able to eat an entire order apiece.... HA, or so we thought! We ordered one dinner to split. Soon after our first bite of fish we knew we needed to order another! We asked the waitress if we could just order four more pieces of fish and she said with a smile, "No problem!". (Dinner was 14.99 and just 8.00 for four more pieces of fish :) YUM! Three glasses of wine and two hours later we enjoyed the short jaunt back up the hill to our quaint lodging.
The next day we went for an hour walk along Isthmus road, off the busy two lane through way. We enjoyed beautiful vistas of the water view, passing people always willing to say "hello" and give a wave. We made omlettes in the kitchenette in our room and enjoyed them via the front porch on a glider overlooking the grounds and bay. We checked out of our lovely accommodations which had no vacancy, and notably we never were disturbed by other guests' noise which included many young children!
This being the first time I stayed in a bed and breakfast I was concerned with privacy. I have to say it was absolutely perfect! Dave never intruded upon our plans, he only assisted in accomplishing them! As for the beach access being a concern there is a very nice, small, clean public beach at Omena Park just down the road, next to Knot Just a Bar. There is also a very quaint little grocery store just down the hill, again within walking distance from Sunset which has all you will need for your stay in Omena.
Lastly, while we were in Omena we happened upon the Historical Society's Mayoral Induction ceremonies and parade. All candidates were ANIMALS! (I do not use this as a euphemisms) They were literally dogs! Okay, okay, there was a cat, a horse, a worm and a snail, too! Omena's residents great outlook and idea of fun is evident! What a hoot! The candidates photos were posted in local businesses, on signs in yards, etc!! They all dressed up for the parade along with their "campaign managers/owners" in full regalia. My favorite slogan was for "No poop left behind" (I suspect the campaign managers were Michigan educators) Although my preferred candidate did not win it was good time for all and quite a unique fundraiser for the Historical Society of Omena! I love this village and its people so much I want to MOVE to OMENA!!
We are definitely going back! My friend is already planning a trip with her boyfriend next month and planning on staying at Sunset!
THANKS FOR A GREAT WEEKEND :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sunset Lodge has 12 guest rooms in three historic buildings. Rooms vary in size and configuration; all have private baths. Expansive grounds include pickleball court, social hall building for group activities, and many gardens and porches. Overlooks Lake Michigan's Omena Bay, in the heart of beautiful Leelanau Peninsula. ... more less