Shanty Creek Resorts
The day after Christmas we headed Up North 150 miles into Antrim County, an outdoors lover’s paradise. We made our base in Mancelona with its proximity to the Shanty Creek mountain system: Summit and Schuss mountains.
We stayed at a chalet in the Lakes of the North community; a sprawling development in the woods complete with an indoor pool inside a clubhouse.
A network of trails weaved through the entire area making it ideal for snowmobiling, Nordic skiing or snowshoeing.
Shanty Creek Resorts near Bellaire were approximately 20 minutes away. Schuss Mountain with 450 feet of vertical drop offered downhill skiing for both kids and adults. The “Bunny Hill” was serviced by a Magic Carpet; moving escalator on the ground. The Cedar Creek Lodge at the foot of the hill offered respite from the brisk wind. A shuttle communted between Schuss and the lodge.
The ski school was in full swing with people falling all over tied to their skiis. We wanted to do dog sledding on Saturday, but due to low snow cover, it was postponed.
Any winter sport including mountain biking on a fatty bike could be spotted here. We ate our lunch at the River Bistro inside the lodge beautifully decorated for Christmas.
Jake with family explored Summit Mountain which brough back memories. Back in the 1990s, it was only known as Shanty Creek. That’s where Jake learned how to ski. Coming full circle, he was now teaching his own kids, Josephine and Dominik, the old skiing tricks.
As the saying around Shanty Creek Resorts goes: “Teaching new pups old tricks.”
Little town of Bellaire
Bellaire is probably best known for Short’s Brewery, Bee Well Meadery, Hello Vino and stores like Little Treasures and the Flying Pig. When the snow conditions are not good for skiing, Bellaire provides a back-up plan.
“We call it Halloween here, when the slopes are deserted,” said the clerk at the meadery.
Some of the sweet mead creations here were: Apple Pie and Cherry Vanilla.
The town of Central Lake is home to Bachmann’s General Stores and Mammoth Distilling; both are great sites to explore.
“If we don’t have it, you don’t need it,” read the storefront.
Truly, you could find here anything from hardware to books, and everything in between.
The “Cherry Bounce” bourbon was one of the many hand-hewn products at Mammoth with the actual still in the back.
Discoveries “Chain of Lakes”
Our team’s biggest discovery was the “Chain of Lakes,” a natural waterway traversing 80 miles across 14 lakes and rivers. The chain starts in Elk Rapids and ends in Ellsworth.
Recently, it was designated as the first water trail in northern Michigan to encourage water preservation and engagement with nature. According to the DNR, it will positively impact local economies of towns along the water trail and encourage healthy lifestyle.
The water trail was designed for non-motorized watercraft and fishing. The water trail has 81 access sites managed by 16 governmental jurisdictions and non-profit organizations that stretch through four counties: Antrim, Charlevoix, Kalkaska and Grand Traverse.
“We’re coming back in the summer,” was the consensus of our team.
For more info on Paddle Antrim go to http://www.paddleantrim.com
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