Barns of Old Mission Peninsula

Barns of Old Mission Peninsula

Thank you all for your kind words about my Summer Sampler Series quilt top. If you have followed my blog for any amount of time, you probably know that I live in the Chicago suburbs so that photo with the cows was most likely not from around my home. I am on vacation (brought the sewing machine!) up in Crystal Lake which is in northwestern Michigan. My in-laws have a home here so we visit often. Although it is a long drive with kids (at least 7 hours usually), it is a welcome change from the crowds and hustle of the Chicago area.

Barns of Old Mission Peninsula

We try to visit different areas of northern Michigan when we come, and that usually includes the Traverse City area. This trip we decided to see all the quilt barns on Mission Peninsula.

Barns of Old Mission Peninsula

Mission Peninsula is an area just north of Traverse City that is full of hills, barns, vineyards, wineries and beautiful views.

Barns of Old Mission Peninsula

I’ve numbered my photos to correspond with this map that we followed.

Barns of Old Mission Peninsula

It was like a fun treasure hunt and I discovered my husband is really good at spotting a quilt block on a barn in the rear view mirror.

Barns of Old Mission Peninsula

We also took a drive to Sutton’s Bay and on the way home we stopped at a local quilt shop in Cedar, Michigan called Liberty Bell Quilts.

Liberty Bell Quilts

It was totally adorable, surprisingly modern, and I was able to pick up a few fat quarters.


Next door was an amazing looking yarn shop called Wool and Honey. I didn’t go in as my husband and the kids were waiting for me in the car, and now I’m kicking myself – even though I can’t knit. Their website and blog look so cool! I will definitely be back.

We are now heading up for a couple nights at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the upper peninsula of Michigan. I have never been and am really looking forward to seeing it’s natural beauty. In the meantime, I will leave you with a photo of one of our little friends here that likes to hang of of the hole in the tree and stare at us on the deck.

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  1. 2

    holly | bijou lovely says

    Gorgeous quilts!! I think I need to make a trip downstate sometime soon! Enjoy Pictured Rocks, it’s absolutely gorgeous! I get excited when people come to the UP 🙂

  2. 3


    Just had a similar quilt barn experience here in Western New York yesterday! Don’t you just love the surprise in the apparent middle of nowhere? Unfortunately, I was driving so no pics. Thank you for sharing.

  3. 5


    OK, I have been debating between spending our vacation in Wisconsin or northern Michigan, and just booked our rooms in Wisconsin. Why could I not have seen this post first? That area looks amazing! Barn quilts are so much fun! Safe travels!

    • 6


      I think you will have a great time in Wisconsin! I want to go there too. I am hoping to stop in Door County on our way home from the UP, but it depends on the kids tolerance for travel at that point. 😛

  4. 9


    Those barns are so neat! I have only been to Michigan once, and when I went I was shocked how pretty it was. The state gets a bad reputation outside the midwest (in the midwest everyone seems to know it is gorgeous.)

    I recommend going back to the yarn store- if they are like almost every other yarn store, if you buy some yarn and needles, I bet they will teach you how to knit!

    • 10


      I agree! But did you see Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore won Good Morning America’s Most Beautiful Place in America? The secret might be out!

  5. 11

    Linddylou says

    Have a great vacation, too bad I’m so far West or I would stop to say hi. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan has some of the best kept secrets, in vacation spots.

  6. 13

    Elizabeth says

    I have never heard if these quilt barns. Fantastic! Your kids must have some patience. 🙂 the raccoon photo is adorable, too. Enjoy!

  7. 15

    pbach1 says

    ahhh, michigan! you need to see charlevoix, petoskey, harbor springs, mackinaw & mackinaw island, and hunt the shoreline for petoskey stones. hate to say it, but the “best” time to go is in september, after all of the families are home and kids have started school. fall leaves are incredible, and a drive along any of the great lakes’ shorelines is truly amazing. the area around traverse city has some wonderful wineries, and the cherry festival is great fun.

  8. 18

    Suzanne says

    I grew up in Traverse City. Although I knew of all the orchards and vineyards on Old Mission Peninsula, I never paid much attention to the barns until I attended a lecture last fall about the barn quilts. The speaker, Evelyn Johnson, showed slides and told the stories behind the creation of many of the quilts. She has also written a history of the area: “Barns of Old Mission Peninsula and Their Stories” going back to the early settlers on Old Mission (doesn’t include the quilts, though).

    I’ve got to check out Liberty Bell Quilts one of these days!

  9. 21


    If you’re looking for a great place for swimming, Miners Beach near the Miners Castle overlook is for me hands-down the best! In recent years they’ve upgraded the restroom facilities —- still rustic, but bigger and cleaner. When I was quite a bit younger it was either the vault toilets or changing between beach towels in the parking lot. {grin} You’ll catch a gorgeous sunset, too, from the beach if you stick around long enough!

  10. 23


    Thanks for sharing Faith….I love these pics, love to hear about vacation ideas and loved the Wool and Honey shop/website. I’m currently in my knitting phase so am loving new websites/blogs:)
    Have a great time!!

  11. 24


    That’s so funny Faith, I think we’re doing almost the same trip as you but in reverse! We’re on Mackinac Island right now. We came here via the UP and almost went to Pictured Rocks, but changed our mind at the last minute (didn’t think the 2-year-old could do the 3-hour boat ride). Next we’re headed down to Grand Rapids to visit my family before coming home. I’ll have to try to hit Liberty Bell Quilts on my way down there. : )

    See you a week from today at Malka’s class! So excited!

    • 25


      No way Lee! That is crazy! What if by some twist of fate we would have run into each other? I love it! Can’t wait to see you Thursday. 🙂

  12. 26

    Rita says

    My inlaws live in Central Michigan. Love the UP. The end of June we went to Traverse City and up the old Penisula. It was very cold and windy the day we went, but still wonderful. Took a short trip over to Sleeping Bear Dunes. The kids loved it! Never get tired of visiting along the northern lakeshores. Pictured Rocks is one of our favorites. We combined that trip with a stop at Whitefish Point and Tahquamenon Falls. ENJOY!

  13. 27


    What a super, interesting post. The barn tour looks such fun and thank you for the links to such wonderfully inspiring scenery. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

  14. 28


    I enjoyed my cybertrip to see the Barns in Old Mission Peninsola and hope to see them in person sometime this fall when we visit Traverse City, our favorite site in Michigan. Will try to check out the quilt shop also.

    Enjoy the Pictured Rocks!

    Karen (from lower MI)

  15. 29

    IslandLakeAnn says

    I did your summer sampler series. I loved it. I live and work in Traverse City.
    I think it is the best place to live and quilt. We have quite a few quilt shops here and quilting is definitely alive in Northern Michigan. Loved the quilt barns.

  16. 30


    I LOVE quilt blocks on barns! It makes me really want a barn! You never see anything like that in Utah, but I was soo happy when I saw them in Kentucky.

  17. 31


    Boy, we have some things in common! We lived in a tiny town, about 30 minutes from Gaylord for 3 years. We have family in the West burbs of Chicago (my DH is from Oak Park), so we’ve made that drive many many times, with kids in tow… LOVE Traverse City, and have been down that stretch of road, although we were after fruit and veggies, and I missed the quilt blocks :-(. I love the light house at the end! And the views… oh my! I kind of miss Northern Michigan, but love it here in Oregon too. My favorite quilt shop is in Grayling, called “the Icehouse”. It’s amazing!! And the doughnut place right across the street (Goodale’s) is a must too!

  18. 33

    Maureen says

    You threw me a curve when you said you were vacationing in Crystal Lake. i live in Crystal Lake, Illinois. We have barn quilts up here too in McHenry County. Check them out sometime!

  19. 34


    My grandparents lived on Crystal Lake for years (south side)–my dad went to Frankfort HS. It’s a super special place to me and my family.

    So wish you would have stopped by, Faith! Next time! 🙂

    • 35


      That is so cool Melissa! I will definitely stop in next time. I sent your shop info to another family member that visits a lot, I’m sure she will be in as well!

  20. 36


    I was astonished by this post.

    I have been contemplating what to do with the cherry print fabric I bought in Traverse City on our last trip to Lake Leelanau in July and found your pattern “Add it up.” I’ve was thinking about the print sizes and number of fabrics and colors, when I read this post.

    Although I did not buy my cherries from this particular store, Liberty Bell Quilts was one of my stops in July. I did spend quite a lot in this shop and can’t wait to go back – I’m still thinking about the fabric with the airstream campers on it. And Milk and Honey – I knit so badly. I even wrote about it last week on my blog.

    We are planning a trip back there in September and plan to spend many free weekends there next year. I hope that we will run into each other sometime in Cedar.

  21. 38


    Those quilt squares are always fun to see. I went to Tillamook Oregon in July to visit my little sis and they have those on barns and business all over the place.

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