In the Great Lakes State, unique ways to the water’s edge and memorable cottage days abound.
Sweet slices of Michigan’s legacy cottage lifestyle can be sampled before the season even starts at the Cottage and Lakefront Living Show, presented by ShowSpan. Held at February’s end in Novi and at DeVos Place in March, this ever-expanding spring event offers a cornucopia of products and ideas, seminars and services for anyone looking to build, buy or enjoy a cottage haven of their own, plus an array of related extras like gardening tips, paddling trips and making sand castles.
More inspiration can be found, too, in this special annual edition of BLUE’s Cottage Essays. As individual as the custom retreats they craft, Michigan-based builders, architects and designers showcased here share a passion for tailoring “home” to lifestyle, but achieve clients’ dreams with distinctive expertise, craftsmanship and personal care.
The same can be said of landscape experts with a proven knack for crafting pathways to the lake. Winding through shoreline woods, grassy dunes and down steep bluffs, custom treks to the beach are integrated in a mix of materials, from ground tree bark and pine needles to stained wood and stone, often augmented by special stops along the way.
But while putting greens and screened gazebos can enhance cottage days, smaller outdoor features can make impressions, too: Nestled in a garden or spinning in the wind, made-in-Michigan weathervanes and sundials are nostalgic and a story in themselves, just as hand-fastened salvaged bits and special pieces of the past add lasting warmth and soul.
Building and displaying a collection in creative ways also tightens ties to place and cottage days spent together, from tennis racquets and vintage maps to watering pails and beach glass.
“I find at the end of the day, if we surround ourselves with ‘lost’ objects and their individual stories,” reflects author Tereasa Suratt, “it brings our surroundings much more depth and richness.”