Hannah Reel, IStock
The first order of business for your two-wheel tour along the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula? Park your car at Haserot Park at the end of Nagonaba Street in Northport (leelanau.com/northport) and set out on foot along the scenic Lake Michigan shore for some pre-pedal leg stretching. Task No. 2: Fuel up at Eat Spot (215 Mill St., 231-386-7536), where you can choose from the always-amazing homemade soups or delish dishes like the ginger chicken sandwich, chicken Tandoori salad or a fresh-from-the-oven calzone stuffed with roasted peppers, fresh mushrooms and thick slices of pepperoni.
Next, straddle your trusty bike and wheel out of town. You'll head north along M-201, hugging the right shoulder as the road curves to join C-629 and following the signs to Leelanau State Park. The Leelanau Peninsula's signature rolling hills flatten out considerably as you near the tip of Michigan's pinkie, but there are still a few swells to tackle along the 8-mile route. Take it slow and gauge your oomph at the stone fortress-style Woolsey Airport; from here, you're about halfway to the park. The paved shoulder comes and goes from this point on, so keep your eyes peeled for traffic.
When you get to the park, turn in and make your way to the main attraction, the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum (231-386-7195, grandtraverselighthouse.com). The admission fee allows you to wander the 1920s-era keeper's quarters, which legend says is haunted by one of the early lighthouse keepers. You might not see ghosts, but on a clear day, a look from the tower will reveal Beaver Island to the northeast, and North and South Manitou and Fox Islands to the west. Every Saturday during the summer, volunteer keepers blast the restored air diaphone foghorn to give visitors a sound lesson in lighthouse life.
Want to get up close and personal with Lake Michigan's Cathead Bay? Stroll the rocky shoreline, pick a pretty spot and lounge awhile. There's no better way to rest before the ride back home than watching the waves roll in.
Katie Holland was an intern at Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.
Note: This article was first published in May 2007 and was updated for the web February 2008.