I live on Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula, which also comprises almost all of Leelanau County. Thus, I'm equally correct if I say "I live on the Leelanau Peninsula", or if I say "I live in Leelanau County".
Its a beautiful place to live...we're surrounded by Lake Michigan on three sides (well, two sides actually, as the peninsula is a triangle). We have forests, we have lots of inland lakes, and we have great tall hills with panoramic views. We have picturesque little towns, both inland and on the shores. We have great National Park and State Park dunes and sand hills along our Lake Michigan shores.
Amazingly enough, we only have one traffic light completely within our borders (and one at the county line), and for fast food, only two Subways. Its really a unique place to be.
I moved here thirty four years ago, to join our family business. My father had moved the business here a couple of years before that. Since then, the population has tripled, but it wasn't very much to start with, so there's still some elbow room to be found, if you know where to look.
When I arrived here (almost out to the very northern tip of the peninsula) it was still a typical northern Michigan hardscrabble town. Jobs were somewhat plentiful, but most all were temporary or seasonal, and paid quite low. People did what they had to do to get by. As there is now, back then there were seasonal visitors, mostly summer folk with cottages. There are still common folk around, scratching out a living, but not as many now.
This place has always been a mecca for artists of all types. In the last twenty or so years, as we've become "discovered", the artists have flocked here. It really is a beautiful place for an artist. We have lots of art galleries and quaint book stores, and now we even have about fifteen wineries here.
I'm not much of an artist....my mind thinks more in black and white. I'm a nuts and bolts kind of guy. Consequently , I don't hang much with the artists. Once in a while, I have the occasion to talk with some of them, but not too often. I usually ooh and aah over what ever needs to be oohed and aahed over, and then I quietly leave.
It struck me, several years ago, though, that many of the artists have become so taken with this place that they refer to it as "The Leelanau". "The Leelanau" distills it to the essence, I guess.
So, in a "tongue in cheek" way, I have also been refering to Leelanau County as "The Leelanau" for several years now.
As the spirit moves me, I hope to write a blog once in a while about living here.
And I suppose, at some point, I should touch on why some people refer to this as "The County".