I have always found the Pure Michigan radio spiels to be smooth and enticing, but I never really took them as reality. I don’t even know if there is a spiel for Leland – if there isn’t there should be if for no other reason than to highlight Fishtown. When I told people I was going to Leland for the #MittenTrip, the first thing out of their mouths was, “You have to go to Fishtown,” and I began to think that everyone was over-hyping the experience. I was wrong. Fishtown is quintessential small-town America, with quaint boutiques brimming with local, artesian goods, a candy store, and plenty of places to eat.
The Village Cheese Shanty is possibly the best sandwich I have ever eaten. Right at the main entrance to Fishtown, the Shanty is hard to miss, with the long line out the door, and the smell of their famous pretzel bread wafting in the air. Inside, the walls are lined with craft beer (six-packs and single bottles) and different potato chips, salsas and sauces, not to mention the cases full of cheeses and meats. Plan on bringing cash or your check book – they don’t accept credit cards.
Down the dock, Leland Gal was probably the most vibrant store in all of Fishtown! From the moment you walk through the door, it’s hard not to smile. All of the prints on all of the products are designed and inspired by the founder, Maggie Mielczarek (who has a background in art education), and everything is one of a kind. She was kind enough to gift Awesome Mitten a Spinnaker Wallet and a sweet key chain – both of which will be awesome summer accessories!
The Dam Candy Store represents every little kid’s dream come true, even if you’re still just a kid at heart! Big enough to fit maybe 15 people in the store, the Dam Candy Store features walls lined with shelves full of candy, an ice cream counter, and some specialty treats. One of my favorite items was the mystery bag, a large brown paper bag filled with a mix of mysterious candy. With all of the delicious treats, I don’t think you could actually go wrong.
With all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it was a welcome step out of reality and into the relaxed life of Fishtown.