Leelanau News and Events

Boat To Fun, Safely, On Lake Leelanau

By Emily Tyra | June 29, 2020

These Lake Leelanau and Leland River establishments make it possible for patrons to arrive by boat to dine or unwind — in some cases never needing to leave the vessel:

At The Riverside Inn in Leland, those with dinner reservations may make arrangements to arrive by boat, making use of “The Riv’s” private dock slips. Others can opt for dockside to-go service — a twist on curbside — or the newly added picnics. The “Boater Box” is the charcuterie board of the day, plus fava bean bruschetta and extra baguette for $30. Beer and wine are also available to go. All can be picked up dockside with an hour’s notice (call 231-256-9971).

On South Lake Leelanau, dock slips (and a rum runner) await at South End Tiki Bar. All service is strictly outdoors for the time being, with the bar opening as weather permits.

Vie for the two dock spots at Boathouse Vineyards, where boaters can spread out from other guests on the winery property, or purchase wine to go and return to relax on the boat. Co-owner Dave Albert says the live music on Wednesdays and Sundays is a siren song for boaters; other days, the no-wake boat traffic in The Narrows is its own entertainment.

Those making use of public dock slips in Leland can step ashore to the newest socially distant addition to The Bluebird restaurant’s property. Explains third-generation restaurateur Skip Telgard, “with much  support from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, I am now licensed to use a portion of the parking adjacent to the Early Bird as an expanded patio section. Everything I have read on Covid-19, outdoor restaurant seating is much, much safer. And, truly, we always wanted to have more outdoor presence.”

Local company 307 Events & Tents set The Bluebird up with a tent for the summer. Telgard says, “the vibe in the tent is wonderful…welcoming, inviting. Customers love sitting out there.”

He adds that The Bluebird’s available seating will remain outside for now. “We are determined to be safe.”


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