About five years ago Kathleen Bittner-Koch and her husband Thomas moved Up North to start Polish Art Farm, where they could grow their own food and raise their young family. Kathleen grew up working at the Polish Art Center owned by her parents, Raymond and Joan Bittner, in Hamtramck, a historically Polish enclave in Detroit. She saw the potential for an extension of their vibrant store in tiny Cedar, also a community with Polish roots.

Both shops are packed with imported foods, linens, folk art, amber jewelry, books, paper goods, apparel and the handmade and hand-painted Boleslawiec Stoneware. Joan and daughter Michelle Gerdan teach Wycinanki papercutting and Pisanki egg decorating at the original Polish Art Center, and Kathleen offers traditional folk art classes at her location near Traverse City. polartcenter.com

Photos by Kath Usitalo

This article originally appeared in the 2019 spring/summer issue of Experience Michigan magazine. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published; however, it’s possible some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations, attractions or restaurants mentioned in this article.

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Kath Usitalo is the author of three books, “Secret Upper Peninsula: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure,” “100 Things to Do in the Upper Peninsula Before You Die” and “100 Things to Do on Mackinac Island Before You Die.”

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