Off the Eaten Path

Off the Eaten Path
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Growing Pains
Less Is... Impossible: One Man's Quest to be like Mies

When I moved from the city to the lakeshore of Michigan, many of my urban friends firmly believed I should be institutionalized.

“How will you live?” some wondered. “And where are you going to eat?”

By relinquishing my city status, it seemed, I would not only have to yank grubs from the ground for dinner, but I would also be taking up residence in a lean-to.

Yes, my partner, Gary, and I had moved near Saugatuck, Mich., but we had also moved in the dead of winter, when many places were closed. And we had moved to the woods.

We no longer had a Starbuck’s at the end of our street. We had a horse stable.

While out for a Sunday drive the spring after we had moved, Gary and I followed an expanse of blooming orchards and stumbled into a little barn. The place was Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant, and it reminded me so much of sharing a meal at my grandparents’ old log cabin that I realized I was home.

This gastronomic walk back in time also reminded me that the best places I tended to eat at in the city were not the chains or even the snooty cafés with valet parking. They were the little mom-and-pop places, the city’s BBQ joints that were no wider than a slab of ribs.

I had to look to find them, yes; but the search was always worth it.

This travel log celebrates those trails that meander to some of the lakeshore’s best restaurants “off the eaten path.” I urge you to try a trail or two this summer and bend your concentric circles a little.

Just make sure to set your GPS.