LivingTravelExploring the vast beauty of Torch Lake, MI

Exploring the vast beauty of Torch Lake, MI

Tucked away in the northwest corner of the Lower Peninsula, Michigan’s longest lake is a spectacular 18-mile glacial lake that at first glance appears to mimic the waters of the Caribbean. Its blue clay background and clear water are known to produce intense color variations, ranging from emerald green to deep gold to deep turquoise. “Torch Lake isn’t pastoral, it’s dramatic,” says Lynne Delling, a Torch Lake resident and local real estate agent. “It can get up in five minutes and have big waves, or be flat as glass.”

While Caribbean in color, the ever-changing Torch Lake sits at the 45th parallel and is part of a chain of 14 lakes that flow through Michigan’s Antrim County. Its long summer days, intense sunsets and the constant northern breeze blowing off Lake Michigan have drawn generations of families to its shores since the 1920s. They came from Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit and Cincinnati, fleeing from the heat of the city for a quiet and relaxed life on the lake.

Several villages – Bellaire, Eastport, Alden, Clam River, and Torch Lake – surround the two-mile-wide lake, offering a laid-back lifestyle adorned with restaurants, shops, and recreation stores. Locals and visitors alike flock to Moka for coffee and pastries, head to Shorts Pub for seasonal beers, and dine at casual dining establishments like LuLu’s. Also within easy reach are the vineyards of new wineries near Traverse City, such as Brys Estate.

In and out of the lake

Torch Lake is famous for its two-mile-long sandbar, a gathering place where boaters line up to swim and socialize, and a prime spot to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July. Those who prefer sailing, head to the Torch Lake Yacht and Country Club. Established in 1928, the family-oriented club offers boating lessons and an active racing program for its members.

Those without a boat can rent everything from pontoons to ski boats to jet skis from local vendors. Non-motorized sports such as canoeing, windsurfing and kayaking are also popular. Swimming in the spring water, which heats up to 80 degrees during the summer months, is also a favorite pastime.

With depths of up to 340 feet, Torch Lake is the deepest inland lake in Michigan. Ideal for fishing, anglers will find a variety of fish: bass, trout, pike, and wide-mouthed whitefish. In 2009, a fisherman caught a 50-pound, 8-ounce Great Lakes Muskie, setting a new Michigan state record for this species of fish.

Near the lake, golfers have 26 nearby courses, including the Arnold Palmer-designed Legend Course and three others at Shanty Creek. Hikers can access a variety of trails in the Grass River and Coy Mountain wilderness area.

The end of summer is marked by the Bellaire Rubber Ducky Festival, a celebration that includes food, arts, crafts, a parade, and a Rubber Ducky race. In September, when the hardwood trees begin to show their color, the city hosts a Harvest Festival and a scarecrow show. During the quiet days of winter, residents head to the trails for cross-country skiing and celebrate the holidays with a Gift Fair and Holiday Lights celebration.

Be sure to do these things too – take boating lessons, go for a hike, tour the vineyards, rent a pontoon, and hit the links.

Find a home

History and sunshine divide Torch Lake’s real estate scene. In the 1920s, families came from the surrounding towns and built country houses on large tracts of land on the east side of the lake. The modern Torch Lakes mansions were built during the 1990s when development grew rapidly on the west side of the lake.

“The cabins on the east side are generational properties,” says Delling, who began vacationing with his family at Torch Lake in 1947. “These residents moved here with their families for the summer and then passed their homes on to other members of the community. family. »Living on the east side comes with perks, especially the prevailing Lake Michigan winds, which help keep mosquitoes at bay. “People prefer the east side for its colorful sunsets,” says Delling. The west side of Torch Lake caters to early risers with pink sunrises.

The west side also has calmer waters and beaches with fewer rocks.

No matter which side you choose, both offer a variety of vacation home opportunities. On the east coast, you can buy a custom Maple Island furnished log home with 168 feet of shoreline for $ 1.2 million or settle for a gated community overlooking the golf course for $ 229,000.

On the west side of the lake, a modern house built in 1998, located on 12 acres with 929 feet of lakefront, costs $ 1.9 million, while a cozy ranch-style cabin located on the lake can be found for $ 525,000.

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