I met Kalin of Stems & Sprigs and Sweetwater Lavender Farm in May of this year when I was in Northern Michigan for the Fieldguide Farmhouse True North Market, and while our chat that day was brief, I had secretly been following her on Instagram for many weeks prior, stalking her hilarious, inspiring, and gorgeous images. She’s a lake girl, a flower girl, a girl boss, and a “good vibes only” girl with dry, honest wit that I really can’t get enough of. Every time I get an influx of navy “Lake Day” hat orders from Northern Michigan, I check her Instagram stories, and sure enough, she’s wearing it. People are drawn to this girl for her ability to keep it real and “MAKING LIFE EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL,” something that we can all get behind. Today Kalin talks about the lake that literally pulled her and her husband away from the norm to create a new life in Northern Michigan: Walloon Lake.
In the Northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, snuggled in between Little Traverse Bay and Lake Charlevoix, there is a magical gem of a lake. The water is so blue you may actually have a hard time believing it: most people can’t. Coined, “Walloon Blue,” it’s a steely turquoise, shimmering sort of color. At night when the sun sets, the lake reflects that glow and turns pink. Walloon Lake is beautiful enough that it’ll stop you in your tracks.
I got married on this lake. On a sunshine-drenched August day, standing in my parents backyard, the lake shimmering behind us, we said ‘I do,’ and then danced our butts off all night. A couple pontoon boats dropped anchor nearby and listened to the music from the water. Walloon is so woven into our story that I cannot imagine our life without this beautiful place.
We loved it so much up here near Walloon that 2 years ago we uprooted our life and moved here. Honestly, we were sick of driving up and back every single weekend. Why not live in the place you love the most? We purchased a farm and named it after the fresh water we are squeezed between. “Sweetwater Lavender Farm” is exactly one mile from Lake Michigan and two miles from Walloon Lake. Sweetwater was added to the name, as I read something years ago about when Native Americans would live on the water near here they called it ‘the sweet water’ for its salt free taste and beautiful appearance.
Petoskey and Boyne City are the two small towns surrounding Walloon that have all the mainstream comforts you’d need: both have ample shopping, restaurants, breweries and attractions for any family. The Village of Walloon Lake is a teeny tiny town with cute shops and two restaurants (Barrel Back & Walloon Lake Inn), all accessible by water or land.
Everyone has a different version of a ‘Walloon day’ but most of them somehow involve being on or in the water from sun up to sundown. Take the boat to the village for coffee and a doughnut in the early AM. The lake is extra quiet and you’ll see fishing boats and the occasional waterskiier. As the day wears on, jump off the dock, stand up paddle board to the neighbors, or pack a cooler and boat the entire perimeter, visiting friends & stopping to catch up.
My favorite time of day is at night when the smoke from various campfires begins to swirl across the lake - golden hour. The pink water is still and the crackle of a fire warms you. Naturally you now smell like bug spray, lake water, sunscreen & beer. But it’s summer on Walloon. This is what it’s all about.