February 21, 2013

Amazing Places #6 - Smith Cottage in Lake Leelanau

This amazing place is special indeed. Probably the most special place to me ever.


The Smith Family cottage up in Lake Leelanau Michigan. 

"Home" for me in many ways since it is the only place we have been going to since I was a baby and will continue going to forever I hope. Frank proposed to me here in 2003 and we were married here in 2004. My parents met up here as kids. That's how special this place is.
Over a hundred years ago (I must ask my dad the exact date), the Smith cottage was built by my great grandfather. He was a chemist from Chicago who found the most perfect vacation spot in the world and bought some land and built this little cabin. It started out small, and they just kept adding on and on. Reminds me of a cardhouse a wee bit. My great grandmother was an amazing artist who painted all the rooms with quotes/silhouettes/and animals. I think that is a big part of what makes the cottage so unique. Her favorite color was periwinkle so all the shutters are a wonderful periwinkle. Now it is my favorite color (I had to use it for our wedding).

The busts/pottery were all made by the family as well. The house is a bit creepy at times. Especially at night. It creaks and moans on windy nights and the shadows/drawings always make me feel like my great grandpa is there watching us. The whole cabin is a bit dark because the house is surrounded by cedar and birches and made of dark cedar wood. We've never cut them away because it just wouldn't be right to.  That's my great grandpa's silhouette above. Mmmm. I can just smell the cedar, fresh flowers, and fresh lake breeze right now.

 The cheeriest room of the house is definitely the kitchen painted in sunshine yellow and full or roosters and cherries (my mom's favorites).

Mom has done a lot to cheer up this place and make it so livable and warm over the years (reupholstering furniture, curtains, bedspreads, flowers everywhere etc). Like this antique sofa below. It was a dark green velvet before and you could barely even see it in the room against the dark grain wood.

Another favorite part of this home to me are the handles on all the cupboards and hidden closets and passageways throughout the house. No two handles are the same. Sometimes you even pull strings for doors or turn wood sticks to hold the door closed. Really intriguing when you're a little kid. Well, what am I saying. I STILL love the handles and get excited showing them to visitors.

The hallway is more like an enclosed bridge made of three long boards that you can jump on and they wobble up and down and are quite loud. Not so great a night, but sure fun in the day. This is the "maid's room". I don't think my grandparents even had a maid, but that's what we call this teeny little room.
An old Indian trail went straight through the breezeway of the cabin in the old days. Still does, but not used by Indians anymore. The Indians would come and sell/trade their hand made crafts, many of which are still hanging in the house like these snow shoes.

 Even the old dirt floored boathouse is pretty special with all kinds of antique tools floating around and wood. I always want to spend some time down there working on projects, but get lured away by the lake a few steps out the door.

 We tend to spend a lot of time out on the dock or on the deck my dad helped build. Don't you just love how they left the trees in the deck? I do. Every other year or so, my dad has to widen the holes around the trees as they age.

 The location of the cabin is also just perfect. Lake Leelanau happens to be one of the most beautiful places on the face of this earth... Well in my opinion at least, and I've been to a lot of places. Think rolling hills, cherry orchards, vineyards, pristine sandy beaches, national dunes/parks, crystal clear lakes, adorable fishing villages and touristy towns and completely lacking franchises.

Oh goodness. Sure wish it was summer and that I was here with my whole family. Looking forward to spending summers here with my kids and passing the traditions down. Our little piece of heaven on earth.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mandy,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Lake Leelanau to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!


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