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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Time for a Downtown Update

Tucker's of Northport
Let's start as you enter town, making that left turn onto Waukazoo Street. Whoa! What's that enormous new building?

Looking north on Waukazoo Street
Tucker's of Northport is a boutique bowling alley and entertainment center with restaurant and bar, and yes, it's open, with lots of new jobs for local kids. Just to the north there will soon be a new village parking lot (with bike racks, too, I hope and pray). Across from Tucker's (not pictured), the building with the blue awnings is the restaurant now called, as of last year, the Soggy Dollar, with bar and full dinner menu.

Parking lot-to-be
On last year's map, the next commercial building north would have been Motovino, but that great little wine-tasting and gourmet shop has moved over to the Big Store on the opposite corner, the building that also houses Northport Fitness and Lelu Cafe (Lelu now thoroughly remodeled and open again for dinner), and where Motovino used to be you'll find Dorothy Irvine's antique shop. Below is the west side of the north end of our block of Waukazoo Street.

My end of the block!
New Motovino/Lelu entrances on Nagonaba Street
Garage Bar Grill is still going strong, and George is doing lots of gumbo this year -- don't miss it! Then come Red Mullein, Dog Ears Books, and the David Grath Gallery. Eighth year already in this location for the bookstore. (Where have the years gone?) And across Nagonaba from Deep's Store (gas & sundries) is Mary Kent's well-known clothing boutique.

Up on the north side of the T-intersection of Waukazoo and Nagonaba, there have been teasing signs for weeks that Northport Brewing was getting ready to open very soon, and finally word came out: 5 o'clock on Wednesday, June 25th! It's quiet again this morning, Thursday, but all that outdoor seating signals more fun in the offing.

Northport Brewing Co.
Turn right on Nagonaba and just past Tom's Market you'll see a beautiful renovation taking place, as the old Ship's Galley is transformed into the Tribune Cafe, a nod to newspaper history in Northport. This place is going to be so cool!

Front seen from east
Back deck in the making

All the way down by the marina parking lot, the old Depot building and caboose have gotten more than a facelift. They are beautiful! And from the looks of things, the Depot shop will be open very soon. Many new and interesting features have been added (while retaining historic charm), and the antique gas pump and Little Free Library are a couple of them, but I want to call special attention to the solar panels behind the caboose.

Caboose behind Depot

Solar panels behind caboose
Ours is, there's no denying, a small village, dependent on summer tourism, with a shrinking school population and a growing number of retirees. But Northport is hardly asleep at the switch, as this investment in solar power demonstrates.

Other big news is the new golf course (not opened yet) and clubhouse (ditto) north of town, out past the cemetery -- look for those to welcome you in July -- and get a load of what else is out there: more solar panels and in the background (difficult to see on this slightly overcast morning) a wind generator tower.

Golf course clubhouse is moving forward
More alternative energy investment

North End is still serving great meals; Kampgrounds Kreamery and the Willowbrook and Pennington Collection going strong, along with Dolls and More, Barb's Bakery, Nature Gems, and Here Shops the Bride. You'll remember the Wright Gallery and Joppich's Bayside Gallery: they're still here, too. Idyll Farms out on Peterson Park Road is very lively, with not only goats (for the cheese) but also chickens and miniature horses.

I think I've figured out that morning traffic concentrates on Mill Street and the post office block of Nagonaba, while later in the day the crowds shift a block west on Nagonaba and all along Waukazoo. Friday morning crowds concentrate down by the marina, as farm market day in Northport is on Friday, beginning at 9 a.m. Rain or shine, the vendors are there, and they love coming to our village because, as one told me, "Whatever the weather, Northport shows up!"

Music in the Park begins this Friday, June 27th, also, with the Ron Getz Quartet. Summer in Northport wouldn't be summer without music down in the marina park on Friday evenings. Bring a picnic and a blanket. The concerts are free, but donations are appreciated and help keep this tradition alive.

Gardens around the village deserve a post all their own, and as for all the activity in the countryside, there'd be no keeping up with that, so I'll simply close for today with this old, quiet photo from last year about this time. The Feast of St. John, like the summer solstice, is already past, but the St. Johns-wort is just now coming into glorious bloom. There are dasies and coreopsis, too, along with the less colorful but fascinating blooms of bladder campion, visible in this little picture if you look hard enough and featured over on my drawing blog, also. Long before the roses bloom, there are reasons to slow down and appreciate our surroundings.


Dawn said...

Wowm. When I get back up there I'll hardly recognize the place!

Barbara Stark-Nemon said...

Thanks for the great update/summary!

P. J. Grath said...

You're welcome. I've realized, to my utter and complete astonishment, that often when people ask "What's new?" they are not asking about books! Go figure....

BB-Idaho said...

Reminds me a bit of Detroit Lakes, MN. A great place to visit:
they are surrounded by resorts and get both the summer crowd and the winter crowd. I'm thinking Northport gets a good deal of tourist business as well?

P. J. Grath said...

We have morels in the spring, beautiful fall color, and, in the winter, great cross-country skiing, but yes, summer is our big tourist season. The Leelanau peninsula (home to Sleeping Dunes National Lakeshore) has Lake Michigan on one side, Grand Traverse Bay on the other, and inland lakes besides. Boating, fishing, sunning, swimming -- famous "sugar sand" beaches and sparkling water. Do I sound like a promotional brochure? But it's all true.

Anonymous said...

Amazing to see all the wonderful things going on, what a vibrant time for Northport! Thanks for sharing, and for all you have done over the years to keep Northport strong.

Karen Casebeer said...

Great summary of the action going on in our little village. It's fun to watch all these additions take shape. I'm especially impressed with the cute exterior for the Tribune. Hope they finish in time to enjoy the summer crowds.

P. J. Grath said...

Thank you for visiting and commenting, Karen and Maiya. Maiya, people were in yesterday who are renting the house you and Dave and the boys stayed in one summer! Karen, I agree that the Tribune has a great look -- fresh and clean but with a historical flavor.

I've been thinking about what book I can tuck into the Little Free Library in front of the Depot....

Farm market was great this morning! Dinner with friends at an outside table at the Garage Bar & Grill was fantastic! I had a new draft -- beer? ale? -- called Founders' Centennial (I think), and the taste made me think I was in Grand Marais. (That's a compliment.) Dinner specials all sounded so good it was hard to decide, but when I heard the word "lamb," I ordered the kabobs without hesitation and was a proud member of the Clean Plate Club before we left for home.