Maybe it’s the gift of unscheduled time, maybe the inspiration of lake and woods, but no trip to our family cabin has ever ended without the practice of art in some form. On rainy days, someone inevitably reaches atop the hutch, on which my husband’s nature-loving grandmother painted the likeness of a favorite bird, and pulls down the well-worn box holding a potholder kit of hooks and fabric loops.
Games of Pictionary may or may not count, but there always was plenty of creativity there, as well as in hours spent coloring, making tie-dye shirts or heading out by kayak in the pre-dawn to capture in photos the lake’s changing color and light.
Here are five cottage country galleries to inspire your own artful season, places to find new art for the walls or simply to enjoy on a rainy day at the cottage.
TAMARACK GALLERY, OMENA
You’ll find expertly curated art at this bend-in-the-road gallery found in one of nature’s most artful Michigan towns: Omena. Tamarack sits across the street from the bay and the setting is reflected inside in clay vases that resemble birch bark trees, misty landscapes and mixed media works that inspire storytelling of your own. tamarackartgallery.com
TODD AND BRAD REED PHOTO GALLERY, LUDINGTON
Arguably the top nature photographers in the state — and surely in the running for kindest — this father-son duo leaves no arms-length distance in their shots of lakes mid-wave or closeups of eagles and sleeping fawns. If yours is a lakeshore or Upper Peninsula cottage, chances are they’ve uniquely captured a landscape you love. toddandbradreed.com
FRESHWATER GALLERY, BOYNE CITY
This is an oasis of warm space and riotous color midwinter as you explore under a soaring wood ceiling. The art is hung on brick walls, scattered throughout a space with room enough for the massive wooden beds crafted by owner Tony Williams. More than 200 artists are featured. The venue also doubles as space for concerts curated by his wife Robin Lee Berry. freshwaterartgallery.com
OTIS POTTERY, EAST JORDAN
Though it’s open year-round, it’s good to call ahead in winter to be sure you’ll find David or June Otis or their son, David, at work on their distinctive pottery that is often finished in their new wood-fired kiln. Pick up a teapot set for your cottage — inspired by June’s Japanese heritage — or other functional dishware or massive pots that often boast brightly colored accents of turquoise inspired by Michigan lakes. otispottery.net
J. PETTER GALLERIES, DOUGLAS
There’s nothing hidden about the fact that Saugatuck and Douglas are the state’s hotbed of art galleries, but Petter Galleries stands out in being both a fine art gallery and an artisan wine gallery. Find some 1,000 specially chosen works of art inspired by landscape, form or moments in time, and 400 specially chosen bottles of wine. jpettergalleries.com ≈
Kim Schneider is an award-winning travel writer who shares her travel-savvy in every issue of BLUE.
*Photography courtesy Todd and Brad Reed Photo Gallery