North Manitou Island Day Trip – September 11th, 2023

*2023 Registration is Now Closed.
(We are at full capacity)

Monday, September 11th, 2023
$85 for LHS Members or $115 for non-members
The cancellation fee is 50% within 15 days of the trip.
Pack your own lunch. Cold beverages and snacks will be provided

This event is hosted by the Leelanau Historical Society showcasing the unique history of the Manitou Islands.  Amenities on the island are primitive, this includes pit toilets and one source of potable water. Unforeseen circumstances do occur that cause us to alter our plans, we kindly ask for your patience and flexibility if we need to change our agenda while on the island. We promise you will have a unique historical experience. 

In previous years the North Manitou Island site tours have focused on the history of Cottage Row, the Life-saving Station, the lumber industry, history of rural agriculture and other aspects of island life. We will have interesting guides and interpreters volunteering their time who will share their knowledge of North Manitou Island.

***UPDATE 8/23/23 – It has been confirmed that the North Manitou Island Dock will will dredged by Sept. 11th, 2023. This day trip will be to North Manitou Island as planned.
See the schedule and speakers for North Manitou Island below.

First and foremost, please be aware that although scheduled to visit North Manitou Island this trip will be determined by the ferry’s ability to dock at the Island. If the North Manitou Island dock is not dredged by the date of our trip, the Leelanau Historical Society reserves the right to change the destination to South Manitou Island or cancel the trip and provide a refund.

In the event that the Leelanau Historical Society cancels the trip a full refund will be issued to your original form of payment. Or guests have the option to convert their ticket fee to a tax-deductible gift to the society.


Schedule & Speakers: You will have the option to attend two tours on this trip. You can pick the tour you wish to attend during the morning and afternoon sessions on the day of the trip. A walking guide and map will be provided on the day of the trip with details.


Morning Tour Options: 1 hour duration (10:45-11:45am) Pick one of the two:
1. Life Saving Service History. This tour will be led by Stacie Longwell Sadowski, Leelanau Historical Society Board Member, and her husband Vince Sadowski. You will learn about the history of the US Life Saving Service while touring the buildings that make up the Life Saving Service Complex on the Island. This Life Saving Station is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

2. North Manitou School Site
Led by Nick Seguin, Leland Public School – Learn about the island school and the future plans being considered by Leland Public School, the property owners. (1 .5 mi total)

Afternoon Tour Options: 2 hour duration (1:00pm-3:00pm) Pick one of the two:
3. Apple Orchard Hike
Led by Tom Adams, from the Leelanau Conservation District, and Dave Hooper, a retired Park Ranger and local historian – This will be a hiking tour (2 mi total) uphill & off trail to an unmanaged apple orchard that was started in the 1880s and progressed into a large commercial operation. What trees that have survived are considered unique and unusual apple varieties that the Park Service is working to preserve.      

4. Cottage Row History. This tour will be led by Susan Wasserman, the 2022 recipient of LHS’s Leelanau Press Research Fellowship & Kim Mann, Historical Architect for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore –  Walking tour (½ mi total) of the summer cottages first established in 1880 by Chicago families.


8:00am – 8:45 Check-In at the Dock at the Leland Harbor

8:45am Board the Boat (Mishe-Mokwa)

9:00am Depart for North Manitou Island

10:00am Arrive on North Manitou Island

10:00am-10:30am Disembark, bathroom break before tours begin

10:45am-11:45am Morning Site Tours: (Pick one of the following: Life Saving Service History or School Site)

11:45 -1:00pm Lunch break in the village

(Pack your own lunch. Cold beverages and snacks will be provided)

1:00pm-3:00pm Afternoon Site Tours: (Pick one of the following: Cottage Row or Apple Orchard Hike)

3:00pm Board Boat

3:30pm Boat departs to circle the North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse, “The Crib” (Weather permitting)

We should return to Leland no later than 5:30pm (if not earlier)

Please be aware that although scheduled for Monday, September 11th, 2023 this trip will be determined by the weather. High wind or heavy rain (among other conditions!) will cause us to travel on Tuesday, September 12th. The boat captain makes this decision the morning of the trip. We will be riding aboard the MISHE- MOKWA, so definitely bring a jacket and hat if you plan to sit on the top deck!

Dress: Good walking shoes/boots are essential; dress in layers and include a light jacket, depending on the weather. Hats, backpack/bag, bug spray, binoculars, walking sticks, water bottle, sunscreen come in handy. A watch is recommended.

Food: Remember that you must bring your own sandwich. We will provide beverages (water and soft drinks), snacks and cookies. This eases the process in case of cancellation or using the rain date. Cash bar and additional snacks are available for purchase on the boat. If you like, you can contact the Village Cheese Shanty ahead of time to order a sandwich and they will have it ready for you in the morning for pick up. 231-256-9141. They have requested that you place your order prior to 3pm the day before the trip.

If you have questions, please call Kim or Elizabeth at the Leelanau Historical Society at 231-256-7475.

Photo Gallery from Past Trips:

  • Discover more history behind North Manitou Island prior to your trip. Check out the historically detailed Map & Book in our gift shop created by Rita Hadra Rusco, the last person to live on the island before it became part of the National Park.