Kish and I are up in northern Michigan for a vacation.  The other day we went to visit “Fishtown,” which is a part of Leland, Michigan.

“Fishtown” is an area that used to be used by commercial fishermen on Lake Michigan.  There is still a functioning smokehouse there and lots of fishing vessels that you can charter, as well as a boat you can take over to some nearby islands, but most of the structures are occupied by gift shops, t-shirt emporiums, restaurants, bars, and other businesses that cater to the tourist trade.

Fishtown is small in size, but is still a real treat for the senses.  The structures are wooden and weathered and gray with age.  There are some unusual objects here and there, like a rack used for drying nets, a metal fish windsock, and various nautical items.  The smells are the kind of smells you associate with the waterfront, like the smell of fish and of decaying plants, intermingled with the very enticing smell of whitefish being smoked.  And the sound is the gentle slap of the water against the pilings of the pier and the occasional cry of a seagull.

Fishtown is a good example of the kind of pleasant and interesting surprises you often find when you travel through America and are willing to go off the beaten path.

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