Today I’m excited to share the first of a set of posts about a recent trip to Northern Michigan.
One of the goals my husband, Joe, and I set when we married in June 2016 was to celebrate our anniversary with a trip each year. While gifts are always nice, we both prefer experiences to things and enjoy celebrating important milestones exploring new-to-us or special-to-us places. We’ve done quite well so far, we honeymooned in Costa Rica in 2016 and visited southern California in 2017 (I’m clearly behind on my travel posts!). Since we have an international trip planned for later this summer we decided to celebrate year two of marriage a little closer to home and headed to northern Michigan for five days of fun and exploration.
We fit a lot into five days, so I am going to split my recap into two posts. Today I’ll share about our weekend in the Petoskey area. We stayed right downtown Petoskey in the most fabulous Airbnb we’ve stayed in to date and made it to Harbor Springs, Boyne City, and Charlevoix between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning.
When we arrived in Petoskey on Friday around noon it was chilly with light rain. I was beyond excited to eat the famous American Spoon cafe, only to find out that it doesn’t serve meals until mid-June (this was no where to be found on their website or social media, I do my research!). Heartbroken, we headed to Beards Brewery down the street and the view of the lake plus their delicious pizza and beer cheered me up (pro tip: ask for a seat upstairs). We wanted around town for a bit, ducking into some of the lovely local shops. I especially love visiting local bookstores when traveling, I could spend hours browsing.
In the afternoon we checked into our Airbnb then took a long walk along the water to take in the views. There were a ton of bugs and I probably ate a couple (disgusting I know) but the views were worth it and it felt good to walk after spending the morning in the car. We ended our walk with a stop at POUR Petoskey for happy hour drinks. I loved their space but their menu is fairly pricey, so happy hour was perfect for us. For diner we headed to Freshwater Grill, a super casual local fish joint in a strip mall near Petoskey State Park. Not the healthiest meal, but I loved that they offered a host of local fish and the decor was a lot of fun. I am all about the Michigan white fish and Joe ordered perch.
Friday evening, we strolled around Harbor Springs, a really lovely little town, and did more window shopping. It wasn’t busy since it was still early in the season when we visited the first weekend of June. We grabbed cookies from Tom’s Mom’s Cookies for dessert and ate them on the lovely garden patio. My favorite was the cherry chocolate chip. Our only regret was not ordering more cookies to take with us for the rest of the trip!
One of the best parts of Harbor Springs is their small marina, they have a great dock with views of the bay and we loved gawking at the boats – some of them were gigantic and oh so fancy! We capped off the night by watching the sun set from a picnic table in Sunset Park with a great view of the Little Traverse Bay.
Saturday morning the weather was much improved, though it was still not quite beach weather. We got up early and headed to breakfast at Dripworks Coffee. I fell in love with the hip little coffee shop. The prices are a bit steep but everything we had was wonderful, from the coffee to the creative food. We split the Thai vegetable frittata and house-made Harissa cheddar croissant. We went back Sunday morning before heading out of town because I loved the coffee shop so much. I can’t wait to go back.
I wanted to visit the Boyne City Farmers Market and Joe was interested in fly fishing so he dropped me off and headed to a local shop at the Boyne Mountain Resort. I strolled around the market, which was very nice even early in the season, and picked up smoked white fish dip and local organic asparagus for lunch. I walked around Boyne City, which is on Lake Charlevoix, until Joe returned and we had a picnic lunch right on the water. It was a lovely afternoon.
Our next stop was north in Charlevoix, which was our favorite town of the trip. Charlevoix is unique with the small town full of shops and local restaurants sandwiched between Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. We loved watching the bridge go up and the boats pass between the lakes. Charlevoix also have a lovely lighthouse that we walked down to right from town. The water was stunningly clear and we finally soaked up some sun on our walk.
Saturday evening we made a stop back in Petoskey for gelato at American Spoon Gelato Cafe (I was determined to try something from there!) before they closed and I grabbed some goodies from the American Spoon store to take home. We then drove north of Harbor Springs to see the tunnel of trees, which was cool but honestly quite short and not worth the drive if it’s not on your way. Though the drive between Harbor Springs and tunnel of trees was very scenic. Near by the tunnel of trees is Pond Hill Farm, a place I had read a ton about. It’s a lovely farm with a restaurant, they make beer and wine, and trails for walking. The beer and wine was good but not our favorite and the trails were lovely but didn’t blow us away. It was a nice place to spend a late afternoon but I wouldn’t go out of my way to return.
On our way back to town we stopped at Petoskey Brewing Company for burgers. The Brewery is in a historic building north of town and close to Petoskey State Park. We started on the patio but didn’t love it so we headed inside for the remainder of our stay. Saturday was a really busy day and we were glad to have such a comfortable Airbnb to relax in and the end of the day.
Sunday morning, after the coffee stop at Dripworks I already mentioned. We started our journey west to the Leelanau Peninsula. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Smoke on the Water in Charlevoix, a bbq restaurant with smoked meat and fish. I loved the smoked salmon omelette they had on special and Joe was thrilled with a bbq brisket and hash brown skillet. With full bellies we headed out for a two hour drive with views of Lake Michigan along the way. Ill share about the rest of our trip in Part 2!