Judy Levin
February 2021
Leelanau County Specialist

What You Can Expect Your First Year In A New Home
Moving can be exciting, and it can also be scary. It can be smooth sailing or so wrought with silly (or serious) issues that your cat peeing in the box of towels because you haven't unpacked his cat dish yet sends you into the kind of rolling-on-the-ground, slapping-your-leg, crying-big-fat-tears laughter that makes your family wonder if you need medical intervention. And that's just the beginning of the adventure.
      In the first year in a new home, you'll likely experience the full spectrum of human emotions, sometimes in the span of a few minutes. And while you can't know everything that's going to happen, you can prepare yourself for some of the inevitabilities, of both the good and
Mortgage Rates
U.S. averages as of February 2021:

30 yr. fixed: 2.73%
15 yr. fixed: 2.20%
5/1 yr. adj: 2.80%

and not-so-good variety.
      Something's going to break It could just be a sprinkler head or it could be your air conditioning unit in the heat of


What to Expect from An Appraisal
     When you’re buying or selling a home, you are likely going to face a home appraisal contingency. It can be anxiety-inducing on either end of the situation. Knowing what to expect can prepare you and reduce a bit of that anxiety.
      What Is an Appraisal? During an appraisal, someone who is licensed to conduct appraisals will do an inspection of a home to determine its actual worth. This is not always the same as the listing price. An appraiser will create a report of their findings, and then they’ll generate the appraised value of the home.
      If you’re a buyer and you’re making a purchase with a loan, your lender will likely order the appraisal.
      The lender doesn’t want to give

When is the Best Time to Sell a House?
     When you’re planning to sell your house, timing is important. You want the most people to see it and be interested, and you, of course, want it to go for the highest possible price. So when is the right timing? When is the worst time to sell a house, alternatively?
      The Local Housing Market We often think about seasonal trends when determining the best time to sell a house, and those are relevant but you have to think about the local housing market as well. Is it a buyer’s or seller’s market where you live?
      While there are national trends, real estate is often much more localized. For example, following the coronavirus pandemic, many big urban markets are dealing with stagnant or declining real estate sales. New York and San Francisco are examples. However, suburban markets are thriving.
      You do need to think about the local condition where your home is, and also even more



February  2021 Blog


Cheers: A First Taste Of What 2021 Will Bring To The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail

By Emily Tyra – The Ticker

From first-ever releases, expansions and pilot programs coming this season on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, there’s a lot of news from the County’s winemakers, movers and shakers in the coming year.

But first, a toast to hard work: Rick DeBlasio, president of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintner’s Association (LPVA) and general manager of Shady Lane Cellars, tells the Leelanau Ticker, “I'm really proud of the way our membership was able to pivot and see success in the face of adversity this year. I think it is really telling that as a wine trail we were able to create a new event and maintain a longstanding one that brought a lot of people to the peninsula and did so in a way that was safe and without incident. It is a testament to the folks in our industry.”

He says most wineries found a core way of operating to keep safety a focus and, “whether it was reservations, outdoor only service — that is where the stability has come from. Everything else kind of launched off of that.”

But it certainly wasn’t without a massive effort in communication: “Tracking down the details and having enough lead time to implement those changes all while trying to capture the business you can in a largely seasonal industry…it continues to be a challenge, especially with seasonal weather.”

DeBlasio adds, “This isn’t over yet, [but] I am confident that we are a resilient industry and will emerge strong in 2021.”

So are the LPVA members.

Heading into 2021, Co-owners Dan and Lucie Matthies at Chateau Fontaine; Owner Paul Hamelin at Verterra Winery; and Mike Laing, “Director of MAWBYness” at Mawby Sparkling Wines each reiterated to the Leelanau Ticker that they are looking forward to welcoming guests into their spaces with the full and unique hospitality experience. And here’s a look ahead to more business highlights:

Charlie Edson, Senior Winemaker, Bel Lago
We are really looking forward to our customers experiencing some of our aged reds from 2016 and 2017. These wines have been in barrels, gaining flavor, complexity and texture —Cabernet Franc, Tempesta, Pinot Noir, Blaufrankisch and Bel Lago Red —they are delicious! We are also looking forward to opening up our newly renovated and expanded tasting room (pictured above) that features a horseshoe bar with panoramic views of Lake Leelanau. We’ve also added a pizza oven and our tasting room manager Patrick has been working with Folgarelli’s to create custom rustic style pizzas.

Betsy Sedlar & Tim Hearin, Farmers/Owners, Green Bird Organic Cellars 
We began an internship program at Green Bird Organic Cellars [in 2020] that was such a success that we’re expanding it to include focus areas in animal husbandry, vineyard management and winemaking. This allows us to both share our project with aspiring farmers and to help them gain hands-on experience at a diversified farm practicing regenerative agriculture. Application for positions will officially open in 2021. [In the meantime, those interested can email]

Gabe Marzonie, Director of Marketing, Leelanau Cellars 
Leelanau Cellars will be launching its first ever subscription wine club in 2021. With five-tiered club options to choose from — one for every palate and pocketbook — customers will be able to dive deep into their preferred style of wines from a diverse array of options, including sweet, dry, fruity, bubbly and enjoy exclusive member events and offerings.

Rick DeBlasio, General Manager, Shady Lane Cellars 
At Shady Lane Cellars, we are really excited about entering our second season with BRIO a product line we launched mid-summer last year. It is a fun, upbeat brand with products offered in can that are the perfect go-anywhere, do-anything package.

Susan Braymer, Owner, Laurentide Winery 
After several seasons of Rosé, we are looking forward to the return of Laurentide Pinot Noir 2020 slumbering in new French oak barrels this winter!

Julie Lopata, Tasting Room and Venue Manager, French Valley Vineyard 
Completion of our tasting room construction — fingers crossed — is set for mid-May. Once finished, the large warehouse style barn will have a charming rustic-industrial aesthetic. Additionally, we have been working on developing our own food/product menu and are really excited to show off all the work that has been done at our grand opening in the spring. 

Paula Ciccone, Winemaker, Ciccone Vineyard & Winery 
Ciccone Vineyard & Winery is looking forward to our new releases, increasing our ecommerce and online presence, seeing how the new planted hybrids do in the valley, and the tasting room reopening!

Matt Goodell, Operations Officer, Amoritas Vineyards
At Amoritas Vineyards in Lake Leelanau we will be putting in our first red wine grapes in spring of 2021, roughly two acres of Gamay Noir, Blaufränkisch, and Saperavi. These red varietals are in addition to the fourteen acres we currently grow, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Auxerrois, and Muscat Ottonel. While the new grapes are being established we will continue to produce our estate grown white wines, and red wines with grapes sourced from other Michigan farms and out of state.  

Nic Schulte, Tasting Room Manager, Two K Farms 
We’ve been working diligently and excitedly over the last year to get our first vintage of Pommeau ready. It finally is time! Traditionally originating from Normandy, Pommeau is a fortified beverage of unfermented fresh apple juice blended with barrel-aged apple brandy. This drink is typically served as an apéritif, but can be sipped on its own for dessert or paired with meats, and blue cheeses… we’re estimating will be bottled and ready for purchase as early as the end of January 2021.

Tom Knighton, Co-owner, Blustone Vineyards 
We’re looking forward to exploring new and creative ways of connecting with our guests — stay tuned for some exciting changes to the Blustone wine and food experience. Due to the very productive 2020 in the vineyard, we will be able to offer our guests increased quantities of some of our artisan wines like Latitude, Gewurztraminer and Cabernet Franc Rose. 

Dan Young, Co-owner, Cider Maker, Tandem Ciders 
At Tandem Ciders we are looking forward to completing renovations on and moving into our new production facility, a building [formerly utilized as a horse barn] south of Lakeview Hills Road on Co. Road 641. We will not be open to the public there, aside from an occasional open house. Our tasting room will stay the same — [but] with more room. We also put in two varieties of cider apples, Yarlington Mills and Dabinett.

Christopher Lopez, Retail Sales Manager, Black Star Farms 
We are very excited for the 2020 whites to start coming out this spring. 2020 was an excellent growing year and the wines from this vintage are exceptional. In particular, look for the 2020 Arcturos Pinot Noir Blanc, 2020 Arcturos Sauvignon Blanc and the 2020 Arcturos Pinot Gris. You will not be disappointed!

McKenzie Gallagher, Co-owner, Rove Estate 
Rove is excited for another 5-acre planting of vineyards in the spring —Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. We are also excited to unveil some new experiences for our guests…stay tuned!

Dave Albert, Owner, Boathouse Vineyards 
We are releasing our first Pinot Blanc, and looking forward to an exciting line up of live music on the river all summer long. Luckily, we’ve been able to install heaters on our porch and in the music stand so there are many outdoor options the winter months ahead as well.

Luke Pickelman, Co-owner, Soul Squeeze Cellars
Soul Squeeze has two new products we are particularly excited about — one is our still Gruner Veltliner. The fruit was remarkable this year and it will be an abstract take on the varietal, very full bodied and almost Burgundian. And a new cider — dry hard cider aged a year in used tequila barrels and then blended with agave and yuzu fruit. Super interesting, super yummy. It will be released in May.

Alanna Grossnickle, General Manager, 45 North Vineyard & Winery
Early 2021 we will be setting up an outdoor tasting space with firepits and heated igloos. We hope folks will come out and enjoy our beautiful 3-mile trail on the property and stay for a glass of wine afterwards. We have groomed trails for cross-country skiing and fat tire biking. We are also planting 5,000 apple trees in the spring. This will allow us to produce an all estate-grown cider lineup. 

Nathaniel Rose, Winemaker/Owner, Nathaniel Rose
I’m excited to see the way 2020 evolves in the cellar — because it is by far the very best vintage I have ever seen; and for Chicagoland distribution in the new year. We're bringing on vineyard guru Tom Cariano and preparing for a grand opening (if the pandemic allows…we all need a good party). When we do open, it will be time to release dozens of wines we have had in cellar, several of which have taken some of the most prestigious accolades in wine. [Rose is known for his classical style and long-view in winemaking.] And, on a personal note, getting together with fellow winemakers and raising a glass together again.






Photo of the Month

 Lake Michigan ... sunset, 'on the rocks'
By Ken Scott


Property of the Month 

Around the second week of January I showed this extraordinary home on Lake Michigan. It has a main house with 3 bedrooms, a guest house with three bedrooms and a studio with bedroom area above the main house garage. The quality is superb, the views are wonderful, the guest house has a widow's walk at the very top so it's an incredible view. The modern design is not stark but very free flowing, lots of beautiful wood is used and everything flows nicely. 

In the spring the seller has a contract and signed permit to add large stone at the shoreline to keep Lake Michigan's high water at bay and a complete renovation of the beautiful sand beach. There are about 10 steps to the beach and you have 325 ft of privacy. What a family compound!!!! Please review the pictures and copy of this wonderful home.

This house is listed by Linda Schaub of Real Estate One. I will be delighted to be your buyer's agent and look out for your best interest not the seller's at no charge to you.

9071 N Onominese Trail
Northport, MI 49670 - MLS #1883105

 Click here to view the listing


Real Estate Update 




2.17 acres with 150 ft on Lake Michigan including land across the private road. Magnificent sunsets and beach for your special up north home. 

9021 N. Onominese Trail Northport
MLS 1879822 $525,000.00
Click here to view listing


Resturant of the Month



413 N St. Joseph Street Suttons Bay 
Phone: 231-271-2344

I recently ordered a delivery with a superb walleye dinner and eggplant parmesan for appetizer. It was a feast. This is a wonderful idea anytime you are here in the County. They start deliver at 5:00pm

 Click here to view Marthas Table's Website

Recipe of the Month 

 Valentine boxed cake mix cookies

Very easy delicious and make it special with your chocolate and sprinkle ideas.

1 box cake mix, any flavor
1 egg
½ cup canola oil
Valentines Sprinkles


Step One: Set Oven to 350 degrees
Step Two: In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix with egg and oil
Step Three:  Roll cookie dough into balls about 2 inches across
Step Four: Flatten each with the bottom of a glass. Add sprinkles as desired
Step Five: Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. 


Glen Haven's Sleeping Bear Inn, Shuttered Since The 70s, To Be Restored As A B&B Lodge

By Emily Tyra | Jan. 8, 2021

A long-vacant frontier inn within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakehore (SBDNL) will once again open its doors to travelers, starting the summer of 2022. The National Park Service (NPS) issued a letter of intent to lease the 1865-era Sleeping Bear Inn and garage in Glen Haven, park officials announced yesterday.

This lease — to the nonprofit Balancing Environment and Rehabilitation (BEAR) — will allow for the restoration and adaptive re-use of the inn and garage (pictured), which are part of the 13-acre Glen Haven Village Historic District, located within the SBDNL. Renovations are to begin spring of 2021.

BEAR is helmed by Maggie Kato and Jeff Kato of Genesee County. As the nonprofit's president, Maggie Kato brings administrative and organizational experience from her 15 years as executive director of Genesee County Habitat for Humanity (HFH). She retired in 2020. Her husband, Jeff Kato, has extensive restaurant management experience.

In addition to operating as a B&B lodge, the inn will be a breakfast and lunch spot open to all visitors to the Lakeshore. The Katos intend to be the innkeepers of the Sleeping Bear Inn operation “for many years,” with plans to hire kitchen, front-of-house and housekeeping staff.

Maggie Kato also tells the Leelanau Ticker, “Weddings are definitely part of our business plan, though maybe not year one.”

They recruited general contractor George MacEachern, currently construction supervisor at HFH in Genesee County, to oversee the historic rehabilitation, which will involve extensive interior work, utility upgrades, and adding a fire suppression system in order to bring the building up to code. Kato tells the Leelanau Ticker, “We are very interested in sustainable construction both for the environment and for the long-term operation of the inn. We would like to use solar/wind energy if feasible.”

“We are fortunate to have one of the best general contractors in Michigan,” says Kato. “George is a hands-on construction leader, a fact that enables us to do much of the work ourselves under the guidance of the National Lakeshore construction manager.”

During the physical renovation of the inn and garage, BEAR will work closely with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and SBDNL Historical Architect Kimberly Mann.

The style of the guest rooms and interiors will be in keeping with the Arts and Crafts movement, with Mission-style furnishings.

Kato says in addition to the guidance from historians, BEAR will lean on the expertise of a local board of directors “who all believe strongly in the history, preservation and legacy of Sleeping Bear Inn and Glen Haven, including Leslie Voiles, Chris Comeaux, and Kerry Kelly, who is very well known in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore community and past president of Friends of Sleeping Bear.”

Originally the Sleeping Bear Inn served as a frontier hotel for business travelers and local dock workers, and — famously — is where Northern Michigan visionary D.H. Day lived when he first arrived in Glen Haven. He owned the company town from 1881 until his death in 1928. The inn, which naturally evolved into tourist lodging, has been closed since the mid-1970s.

In order to determine fair market value rent for the inn and garage, an appraisal of the buildings will be completed this year, prior to finalizing the lease. BEAR will then enter into a long-term lease, with the NPS always retaining ownership of the property.

BEAR is responsible for securing the funding needed for the rehabilitation and the subsequent operation of the Inn. Initial funding is a combination of personal funds from the Katos; a loan from USDA/Oxford Bank; and grants and donations BEAR was able to secure. BEAR is actively welcoming donations.

“We estimate rehabilitation and furnishings to cost $1,700,000,” says Kato.

The Katos have not yet relocated full-time to Leelanau County. “Part of our financing for the project will come from the sale of our home in Genesee County and we did not want to make that move until we were close to the actual renovation stage of the project,” she explains.

MacEachern also intends to stay on staff to ensure proper maintenance and future rehabilitation.

Proceeds from the Sleeping Bear Inn are to be re-invested throughout Glen Haven Village Historic District. “Our goal is to return profits from the operation of the inn back into all of Glen Haven,” says Kato. “There are several other homes and buildings that need rehabilitation. There are even remains of a tennis court and curling rink in Glen Haven and we intend to restore these structures as well,” she says.

SBDNL Superintendent Scott Tucker is thrilled to have found such a strong partner for the future of the inn and garage. “We have been looking for someone willing to invest in the inn, and we feel we have an excellent match with BEAR,” Tucker said in a press release. “The lease will preserve the two buildings and allow greater visitor experience in the historic Glen Haven Village.”

Adds Kato, “We could not be more grateful for Superintendent Scott Tucker and the hardworking National Lakeshore staff, especially Chief Ranger Phil Akers who was tasked to find a lessee for this project and whom believed BEAR was the team with the right stuff.”


Judy’s Movie Reviews




A woman who has a talent for doing jigsaw puzzles sneaks away from her suburban town and goes to New York where she partners with a man for the National Puzzle Tournament in Atlantic City. As she experiences independence away from her family, she begins to view her value and her whole life in a new light. 4 out of 5 stars Click here to view the trailer




If you enjoy Jane Austen type of movies during the British early 1800 to 1850 midcentury, love beautiful costumes, handsome men and gorgeous women that is the series for you. It’s one of Netflix’s most popular now. Lots of family action trying to get mates for their children and a good amount of sexual action. This is the first season. 
4 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer



This documentary takes you with Alex Trebek though his career. Alex, the show and the contestants are delightful. Great to remember all of this. 4 out of 5 stars.
Click here to view the trailer  



Martin Scorsese, a great director and Fran Lebowitz, a wild and eccentric New Yorker have a seven-episode series that brings you Fran’s thoughts that inspire and irritate. It’s most about her New York life that shows how really funny she is and never holds back on her opinions.  4.5 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer


THE SPY              

 This stars Sacha Baron Cohen. I normally am not a fan but this performance I really appreciated. This movie is inspired by the real story of a former Israeli Mossad agent, Eli Cohen. He successfully went undercover in Syria in the early 1960”s. He becomes close enough to ambitious military leaders to earn a game changing level of trust.  There are 6 episodes and it kept me on the edge of my seat. 4 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer



An overweight young man is bullied and he has withdrawn. He finds a support system with other high school misfits after a vice principal brings him into counseling. John C. Reilly gives an excellent performance in this sleeper movie. 4 out of 5 stars.
Click here to view the trailer



This is a 1999 comedy starring a young Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. The story revolves around a student body election and high school life. It was filmed in Omaha, Nebraska. A good movie for all ages. 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.
Click here to view the trailer 


Video of the Month  

Click here to view the video of the month

Why Leelanau? Kehl Lake in Winter 2020
By Leelanau Conservancy 


Local Information

The City Opera House

The State Theater and The Bijou By the Bay

Old Town Playhouse

Leelanau County Farmersmarket

Met Opera



  Daily News and Advice

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Judy Levin,CRS e-PRO
231- 218-7653
Coldwell Banker Schmidt
71 Fourth Street
Suttons Bay Michigan 49682

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