Fall Escape: The Perfect Leelanau County Farmhouse
I love traditions. There's something really special about punctuating our life with familiar rituals – from the simple act of making a cup of coffee in the morning, to baking favorite family recipes for holidays. Growing up, we had all sorts of special traditions I loved (choosing our own birthday menu, making homemade fudge on Halloween and delivering it to our friends, keeping an eye out for the little reindeer that "appeared" around the house a few days before Christmas, eating suet pudding on Christmas morning), and now that I'm married, I've started my own traditions with Brandon. We've created a few so far: Sunday morning croissants and coffee from Balthazar, Thanksgivings in the city with friends around the yellow table, buying and decorating our own little Christmas tree every year, and (my favorite!) our yearly anniversary trip to Traverse City, Michigan.
Today is our third wedding anniversary (I'll spare you the gushing that I already did today on Instagram :) ), and it's the third year that we've celebrated our anniversary week in northern Michigan. The tradition was born accidentally when Brandon surprised me with a trip to Traverse City on our first anniversary. I'd been dying to visit T.C. as I'd heard it was a great foodie spot. (Mario Batali spends his summers here, what more evidence do you need?!) That first year, we stayed at a B&B in downtown Traverse City, exploring the town and all of its great restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, and other foodie spots. We drove up and down Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas, visiting wineries, farms, breweries, and hiking in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. We discovered deserted beaches, old lighthouses, cute little villages, and completely fell in love with the area. So much so that we came back again last year.
But last year we did something different: we rented a farmhouse on Airbnb, way up on Leelanau Peninsula. And I mean in the middle of nowhere. From the front porch, all you can see are miles and miles of farmland, rolling hills, and huge old trees, blowing in the breeze. And endless sky. I can't see any houses from here, and on a given day, one car might pass on the road out front. Maybe. When it's warm enough, we open the windows so the breeze blows through the house, or go outside and work at the picnic table - or take a nap in the hammock. And at night (despite the fact that we're constantly a little creeped out by how DARK it is), the stars are breathtaking.
We fell so in love with the house last year, that we booked it again this year. It's pretty much perfect. The owner (who divides his time between Michigan and NYC) bought the 100-year-old farmhouse several years ago and gutted it, adding lots of windows and tearing down walls to create a spacious kitchen and living area downstairs. The place has three bedrooms and bathrooms, an office, a gorgeous dining area, and even a sauna.
With its original wood floors, white bead board walls, natural light and rustic-meets-modern decor, the place looks like it's straight out of Dwell magazine. It's so peaceful and so uncluttered that we breathe a collective sigh of relief the moment we walk through the door.
I have to say that my favorite room (can you guess?) is the kitchen. It's probably four times the size of my NYC kitchen, and with the big island, endless counter space, and industrial-size sink, I'm pretty much in cooking heaven. Oh, and did I mention that there's a garden here? Sean, the owner, lets us pick anything we want, so every day we have fresh lettuces, herbs, vegetables, and beautiful tomatoes. This place is the perfect peaceful antidote to the crazy hustle-bustle of NYC-living. I love writing here, and spend quite a bit of time perched at the desk typing away. Ahhh...escapism!
Tomorrow, we're taking advantage of the kitchen and the fantastic back dining area and throwing a collaborative dinner party with several of our friends in the area (including Megan and Mike Gilger of The Fresh Exchange and Cammie Buehler and Andy Schudlich of Epicure Catering). I'm heading out to do the shopping shortly - stay tuned in the coming week for a post detailing the evening!
If you'd like to rent this farmhouse, you can book here. Just kindly don't book over the week of September 12. Because Lord willing, this time next year we'll be right here. Happily in the middle of nowhere.