Hi! My name is Chelsea, pictured above with my best friend and partner, John. We’re native Michiganders living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, sharing a passion for the Great Lakes and a Northern outdoors lifestyle.

A few years ago, I started The Big Lake with a few watercolor paintings and prints of Michigan and the Great Lakes. At the time, John and I were busy studying and working in grad school, and I began running my online shop as a side business to help with the cost of books. As time went on, I started adding new paintings, designs, and products, and was contacted by a few Michigan retail shops interested in carrying my pieces. I absolutely loved meeting people from all across the Great Lakes region and beyond who connected with my work and this special place, and decided to expand my offerings and brand.

Nearing graduation, we made the decision to move to the U.P. from the lower peninsula. I left my teaching position and put all of my creative efforts in The Big Lake while John began his professional career. Together we’ve committed to celebrating an “Up North” lifestyle through our work and mini-adventures. We absolutely adore it here in the U.P., and it is our mission to write, create, and share our Northern, outdoorsy, and Great Lakes lifestyle.

My hopes for this blog:

My primary goal with this blog is to share a little bit about life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and showcase the unique beauty of the northern Great Lakes region. It’s such a special place, with endless opportunity for four-season adventure and more stunning landscapes than should probably be allowed.

Here’s what you can expect to find on The Big Lake blog:

  • Pictures and updates about life in Michigan, and especially the Upper Peninsula (ask any Yooper–it truly is a world apart!)
  • Travel ideas and microadventures in and around the Great Lakes region
  • Travelogs from our adventures with Vinny, our converted Van (#VanLite for those frequent but not full-time van getaways!)
  • Updates from the studio, where I share behind-the-scenes stories, new products, and other info from the art & business side of The Big Lake
  • Great Lakes and Northern lifestyle posts, inspiration, and favorite things.


If you’re new here, welcome! To learn more about The Big Lake, check out the following sites and popular posts:

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