Page 57 - Visitors Guide 18
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4” x 2”
“It’s a Midwest secret,” said Jenny Rice of Elkton, Md., about the Empire Bluff trail and view at the top. She’s shown with her husband, Conrad, and daughter Emma.
11470 Leelanau Hwy ~ Empire, MI ~ (231) 620-7223
4” x 2”
SURF SHOP & APPAREL / RENTALS / LESSONS LIVE THE FRESHWATER
Empire a ‘walkable’ town
LIFE
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beach parking lot is not free. And, if Great Lakes’ water
even the occasional hang glider.
is too cold, just across the street is South Bar Lake, which stays a bit warmer and is protected somewhat from Lake Michigan’s gusts.
“It is so cool,” Sharry said. “It’s a walkable village. You can walk around town, to the beach. And you can walk out to North Bar and back if you want a three-mile walk.”
Empire Bluffs is another gem, set just outside of town. The winding path through
the woods climbs steadily upwards until hikers reach
the top to a view overlooking Lake Michigan. A look to the right, and the view will include Empire Beach down below. Looking up, the view may include someone’s drone or
You’ll  nd that Empire loves a party, too. In May it hosts
an asparagus festival, with a hill climb, hops festival and heritage day planned in the fall. The big summertime event, though, is Empire Anchor
Days set for July 14-15. It will celebrate the 40th anniversary of town fathers  nding a giant anchor — the same one that welcomes visitors to the beach area.
In Empire, just getting to know people can be fun, Sharry said.
“You meet really neat people coming into the village to see the beach or go up on the bluff trail. When they  nd out you live here, they say, ‘You’re so lucky.’ And I feel I am,” she said.
Beth Price Photography
231.326.9283 (WAVE) sbsurfandkayak.com
Empire, Michigan
A military town
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died in 2016 at the age of 100. The Air Force base remains, albeit it in a repurposed form.
After the base was closed in 1978, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore assumed ownership and now uses it for housing.
Many Air Force men remained in Leelanau County after marrying into local
families. Such was the case for Ted Swierad, who coached the Glen Lake girls’ basketball team from 1975-98. Now deceased, he  nished with a 427-107 record and a state title.
So Empire started as a lumber town, became a hub for trade by connecting a rail line with a long dock, changed to farming, captured the hearts airmen, and in recent years hosts the headquarters to Lakeshore.
That’s quite a life.
china ~ linens ~ children’s books
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Sunday 11-2
china ~ linens ~ children’s books
Opening July 1st
china ~ linens ~ children’s books
Opening July 1st
Thursday-Saturday 11-3
Opening July 1st
Thursday-Saturday 11-3
Sunday 11-2
~ or by appointment ~
STuhnudrasdya1y1--S2aturday 11-3
11470 Leelanau Hwy ~ Empire, MI ~ (231) 620-7223
~ or by appointment ~
~ or by appointment ~
11470 Leelanau Hwy ~ Empire, MI ~ (231) 620-7223
leelanauvisitorsguide.com
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