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“Hello Summer!” // Q&A with founder Annie Lang - Part I

“Hello Summer!” // Q&A with founder Annie Lang - Part I

Summer is in full swing, so we sat down with Compass founder Annie Lang to check in on her summer plans, find out her favorite things about the season, snag her recommendations for your visit to the Leelanau Peninsula, and get the low-down on all her must-haves for summertime adventures! 

If you didn’t already know, Annie LOOOOVES summer (and Michigan), so she has tons of great stuff to share with you all. Here’s Part 1 of our interview, and Part 2 will go live tomorrow, so stay tuned!


Q: Describe your perfect summer day!

A: Since I live for summer I legitimately have at least five different perfect summer day scenarios, but after being woken up by Hank and Rufio, I’d head outside and chill in the backyard rocking pjs, drinking our morning hot drinks (in our favorite Compass Paper Co. camp mugs!) and playing fetch with the boys. And of course water all my plants before it gets too hot! 


Then I put on my Leelanau Trails Hat, we load up, pick one of those sweet trails, and take off for a hike -- gotta get our miles in before it gets too hot! Since we have to stop every 15 seconds to smell something, it’s slow going… but we are just stoked to be outside. :) From there, we head to the nearest dog-friendly beach so the pups can cool off by standing up to their elbows in Lake Michigan, and we drop them back at home to nap away the hottest part of the day.
From there we head up to Fishtown, windows down and summer jams playing (obviously), find a parking spot and weave our way through Leland to Fishtown. I restock the store and help customers while Meghan gets a long break to grab something cold to drink and head to the beach to cool off. And of course put in an order for a Cheese Shop sammie for me to enjoy later!

Later in the day I’m off to the beach, my favorite tote bag loaded up with my camp towel, snacks, my sammie and a book. I find the perfect spot, plop down. I made sure to get there before my friends and I decided to meet up so I can get a bit of reading time in (love reading on the beach). Once they arrive, the hours fly by as we talk and swim and plow through the pile of snacks we all brought. 


When evening hits, it’s time to head back home for dinner, enjoy some backyard time with summery drinks, and watch Rufio fall asleep in the shade while Hanky-panky plays fetch and gets into trouble. We load up into the car again and head for the beach to catch the sunset -- perfect way to wrap up a great day! Once we’re finally back home for the night I fall into bed, covered in bug bites, weird tan lines and sandy feet.

Q: If someone were coming to Leelanau for the first time, what would be your recommendations for activities to do, places to eat, events to attend?

A: Sooooooo many things to do!

  • You HAVE to get some time in at Sleeping Bear. The park is huge, so you have a lot to choose from. I always say if you can only get one hike in you should do Pyramid Point - it has the most amazing view. And obviously, get some beach time in! The Leelanau Conservancy has lots of great natural areas too to enjoy -- my favorite is Clay Cliffs north of Leland (you are close to our shop, so probably a good idea to stop by and say hi before or after your hike!).

  • Food! I love discovering new places to eat on vacation. Here are a few of my recommendations:
  • If you are staying in Traverse City, be sure to get some tacos at Happy’s Tacos in The Little Fleet (fun fact: we had a Happy’s Tacos’ truck at our wedding instead of doing a stuffy, sit down dinner).
  • Looking for a good, simple breakfast? Our go to is Market 22 between Leland and Glen Arbor.
  • Our favorite lunch option is of course Village Cheese Shanty in Fishtown. While you are waiting for your sandwich, come say hi to us - they are our neighbors!
  • And you should probably get an afternoon ice cream from the Dam Candy Store. They are literally right between our store and Cheese Shop - I HIGHLY recommend their lemon bar ice cream - lemon ice cream with lemon curd and graham cracker bits? Yes please!
  • And you gotta hit up at least one winery while you are here. My hands down - absolutely no competition favorite is Mawby’s. Who wouldn’t love some bubbly wine, a laid back atmosphere and awesome snacks to enjoy, while overlooking their vineyards?! Be sure to grab a bottle of Detroit to enjoy afterwards - serve it with ice and a huge slice of lime. It’s my go-to summer beverage.

  • Looking for a place to stay? If you need to hotel, hit up Falling Waters Lodge in Leland overlooking Fishtown. It’s such a unique spot and so close to beaches, trails and fun shops (oh hey, like us)! One hot tip if you want to camp - GET RESERVATIONS! We are an INCREDIBLY busy vacation spot and resting your entire vacay on getting a first-come- first-serve spot will likely end in heartbreak and scrambling for a place to stay. Things book fast too, so plan months in advance!

  • As locals we avoid most big events, but the one I will fight traffic and the perilous task of finding a parking spot for are the free movies in the open space during the TC Film Fest. They are fantastic. They pick awesome movies like Twister, Back to the Future and  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. During non-COVID years, that fun festival happens in August on non-pandemic years. Make a plan to come enjoy it in 2022!

    Check back in tomorrow for more from our interview with Annie, where we’ll hear about how her time as a summer camp counselor helped inspire her work at Compass, her craziest camp memories, current favorite products and more!

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