The community of Glen Arbor is located in Glen Arbor Township—a civil township of Leelanau County. South Manitou Island is also located within the township. The population of the town expands rapidly during the summer months as a result of it being a summer colony.
Located on a small strip of land between Glen Lake and Lake Michigan in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Glen Arbor’s natural beauty attracts many visitors throughout the summer. In fact, Glen Lake is considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the entire state.
Glen Arbor was first settled around 1848 when John LaRue moved from South Manitou Island to set up a trading post on the Sleeping Bear Bay. A wooding station was built later on to provide fuel for passing steamers as more families moved into the area. One of the settlers, Mrs. John E. Fisher, gave the town the name “Glen Arbor” in 1854. In 1856, a dock was built to aid in the loading of the steamers, which soon became known as the Central Dock.
By 1868, the township of Glen Arbor had 200 people, three docks, two hotels, four stores, a copper shop, and a blacksmith shop. The Empire and Southeastern Railroad stopped in Empire just a few miles away, providing transportation to the area.
In the mid-19th century, the town’s economy was largely based around the lumber industry. Wood became the first commodity of Leelanau County as it was used for constructing houses and for fueling the steamers that traversed the Great Lakes.
The size of the town has gradually risen over the years. Nowadays, the primary industry of Glen Arbor, especially in the summer months, is tourism. Kayaks and canoes are available to rent from several businesses along Glen Lake, Crystal River, and all the way to Lake Michigan, for experienced paddlers. The famous Dune Climb is just minutes away from Glen Arbor, and there you can climb up the 150 foot dune.
Glen Arbor Homes & Real Estate
The region is full of open spaces, beautiful lakes, rivers, forests, farmland, orchards, vineyards, and many other natural wonders. It’s no surprise that some people go beyond simply visiting Glen Arbor and actually look for a place to reside here.
Glen Arbor has a rural vibe, and residents can also feel closer to nature. The breathtaking scenery and relaxing lifestyle of Northern Michigan is something everyone should experience. And Glen Arbor is a great choice if you are looking for a wonderful place to live.
Many of the available real estate in Glen Arbor are small cottages that are perfect for couples and small families. These properties often have amazing views of nature. Glen Arbor is a great place to live if you love the great outdoors.
There are cottage-type homes with a forest view, tucked away amidst mature pines and hardwoods. Some of these properties are just a quick walk away from the village, from restaurants, or from Lake Michigan. There are many conveniently placed homes that are near nature, near bodies of water, and near local establishments. Of course, Glen Arbor is also the perfect place to buy a vacation home or summer house.
In the summertime, Northern Michigan’s weather is warm and beautiful. This is why people come from all over the state to enjoy it. There are plenty of local places to visit including wineries, restaurants, and vineyards. Glen Arbor is the perfect alternative to the stressful city life. It even has “must see” destinations such as the Leelanau Peninsula.
Glen Arbor is full of opportunities to enjoy the wonders of Mother Nature. You will surely find your dream getaway cottage here.
Glen Arbor Waterfront Homes for Sale
In 2011, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was voted the “Most Beautiful Place in America” by viewers of Good Morning America. This gorgeous place is where Glen Arbor is nestled: between Lake Michigan and Glen Lake. And with these bodies of water surrounding the area, it’s no wonder that there are plenty of waterfront homes in Glen Arbor for you to choose from.
The big lakes and the dunes draw tourists in. Residents can also swim, sunbathe, waterski, or boat in the warm turquoise waters of Glen Lake. Meanwhile, Crystal River is great for river enthusiasts and kayakers. The lake life in Glen Arbor is also slow and easy, known for its long days and warm nights.
One property in Harbor Highway is a spacious Sleeping Bear Bay waterfront home. It provides uninterrupted views of Lake Michigan, and is a prime location for hosting friends and family. There are many homes in Glen Arbor that provide the same vibe.
Average Home Prices in Glen Arbor
Zillow lists the median home value in Glen Arbor to be around $404,988. But according to another source, Livability.com, the median home value for Glen Arbor is $777,174.
Famous Homes in Glen Arbor
Glen Arbor is more popular for its various sights and sounds, rather than having any particular famous home. But there is one historic property in Glen Arbor that is definitely noteworthy, and that is the George Conrad Hutzler Farm.
Established in 1870, this farm is notable because it is where George Conrad Hutzler Jr. first experimented on hybridization of Rosen rye and Michelite pea beans. Hutzler’s Barn is a historical agricultural building located north of the cemetery on South Manitou Island. It is the oldest remaining portion of George Johann Hutzler’s homestead. Hutzler was a German immigrant who staked his claim on South Manitou Island in 1863. His barn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Well Known Historical Landmarks
Aside from the George Conrad Hutzler Farm and Hutzler’s Barn, there are plenty of other historical landmarks in Glen Arbor that tourists can visit.
Glen Haven Village Historic District, for example, is a restored logging village on the shore of Lake Michigan. It has attractions such as the restored Blacksmith Shop and General Store, and the former Glen Haven Canning Co. building. It is located on the shore of Lake Michigan on the Leelanau Peninsula.
Sleeping Bear Inn is another historical tourist destination. The inn was originally called the “Sleeping Bear House” back in 1857 when it was built by C.C. McCarthy. It operated as a boarding house and hotel through the rest of the 19th century, and even well into the 20th. It eventually closed in 1973 and was purchased by the National Park Service along with the remainder of Glen Haven.
Located on South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan, 16 miles west of Leland, Michigan, is another destination for you to pay a visit: the South Manitou Island Lighthouse Complex and Life Saving Station Historical District. This lighthouse was built in 1872 and is the third to be built on the island. The first two, built in 1840 and 1858 respectively, were both deemed structurally deficient. The third one still stands to this day, although it was decommissioned in 1958 and is now a museum.
Restaurants in Glen Arbor
A trip to Glen Arbor wouldn’t be complete without visiting some of its finest restaurants.
Blu, located in 5705 S Lake Street, Glen Arbor, is a contemporary American restaurant that offers flavors from around the world. The menu changes daily, which reflects Chef Randy Chamberlain’s unwavering desire to remain spontaneous. Blu sources the freshest local ingredients to provide savory dishes that are highly recommended by all of its customers.
Chef Randy and his crew receive most of the praise for their topnotch cuisine. But a significant portion of Blu’s appeal also comes from the magnificent view of Sleeping Bear Bay and the Manitou Islands. Its location is unparalleled by any Michigan restaurant. With an unbeatable view and a thoughtfully executed cuisine, Blue gives you a dining experience that rivals the finest restaurants in the world.
Art’s Tavern is a great choice if you’re not necessarily looking for a fine dining establishment. This is a small bar/restaurant that serves chili, grilled cheese, onion rings, chicken sandwiches, and various kinds of soup—among others. It is located at 6487 Western Ave, Glen Arbor and it provides good food and a great atmosphere. It is the perfect spot after a morning at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.
Cherry Public House, located at 6026 S Lake Street, Glen Arbor has a complete dinner menu that includes delicious entrées including cherry BBQ ribs, hand-cut steaks, smoked pork chops, and fresh white fish and pasta. It’s not just a lunch spot anymore. Reviewers say that the food here is always well done, and that the soups are particularly exceptional. There are also a variety of beers and wine for you to enjoy. The price is also reasonable.Lastly, if you are looking for a great coffee place at Glen Arbor, try Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co. It’s a pleasant stop with accommodating staff and a wide range of choices for coffee.
Big Glen & Little Glen
This is really the main attraction of Glen Arbor. Carribean blue waters entice nature lovers from all over the world. The towns of Glen Arbor and Empire split the two bodies of water named, Big Glen and Little Glen respectively. The bodies of water are connected by a small channel. State Route 22 bridge goes directly above the connection. Once you cross that bridge, you know you are entering Northern Michigan heaven. Big Glen has 4,871 acres and Little Glen has 1,415 acres of water. Big Glen is the deeper of the two with reported depths of up to 130 feet. While Little Glen is about 13 feet deep.
Glen Arbor is not just a nice place to visit—but also a nice place to live in. Residents get to enjoy the sights and sounds all year-round. So if you are looking for a place to escape from the stressful city life, Glen Arbor might be right for you.