YOUR DAY-TRIP ITINERARY TO BEAT THE SUMMER CRUSH
As published in Northern Express, July 9, 2022 by Brighid Driscoll
’Tis the season when we northern Michiganders start to feel a case of summer ennui setting in. Traffic is heavy, the days are hot, and a rotating cast of friends and family seem to be in the guest room every weekend. (And don’t get us started on how long it takes to get a table at our favorite restaurant.)
Whether you need to get away—or send those aforementioned guests out of the house so you can get some chores done—Northern Express has a summer day trip planned full of charming downtowns and views (and welcome breezes) of Lake Michigan. From Charlevoix and Petoskey to Harbor Springs and Boyne City, our by-the-minute itinerary takes you through these neighboring towns, all of which are perfect for a day or weekend destination.
9:00am | Breakfast at My Grandmother’s Table, Charlevoix
115 Bridge St, Charlevoix
This breakfast and lunch (and early dinner) café offers up international cuisine in downtown Charlevoix. The concept was created by owners Nick Easton and Chef Jozef Zebediah, the latter of whom drew culinary inspiration from his grandmother Martha and grandfather Alberto.
Zebediah experienced his grandmother’s hospitality and cooking alongside the guests she would feed at her table. When Grandma Martha would make new friends, she would ask them about a favorite dish they missed from back home. Whether home was across the street or across the world, Martha would collect the freshest ingredients to make that meal for her friends.
Through the years, she built up quite a recipe reserve, and Zebediah developed a taste for global foods. From Polish kielbasa and potato pancakes to Italian frittata and Swedish rice pudding with tart cherries, the variation and ever-changing specials he brings to My Grandmother’s Table ensure there’s something for everyone. Located at the corner of Bridge Street and Park Avenue, the eatery offers a great view of the lake from the bridge.
10:00am Mushroom House Tours, Charlevoix
106 Park Ave, Charlevoix, MI
Charlevoix resident Earl Young designed these homes, so named for their mushroom-like architecture, starting in the 1920s. Over the course of 50 years, Young designed 30 unique mushroom houses. Today, some are inhabited year-round while others are vacation rentals. You can take a tour of these iconic homes with a self-guided tour book from the Charlevoix Historical Society or schedule a guided tour through Mushroom House Tours.
11:00am | Drive to Petoskey
11:30am | Crooked Tree Arts Center, Petoskey
461 E. Mitchell Street, Petoskey
Take a stroll through downtown Petoskey and find yourself at Crooked Tree Arts Center. There is always something beautiful to see at CTAC, and free admission makes it even easier to stop by and check out what they have going on. In addition to a rotating slate of exhibits, they’ve brought back the annual Charlotte Ross Lee Concerts in the Park series that run from noon to 1pm in Pennsylvania Park every Wednesday and Friday (except July 13 and 15). A local musician performs on the gazebo stage for lunchtime entertainment, and the performances are free and open to the public. Check their website for weekly events at crookedtree.org.
12:15pm | Lunch at Roast and Toast, Petoskey
309 E Lake St, Petoskey
Grab a quick bite at this well-loved lunch spot. Coffee, sandwiches, and baked goods make this downtown eatery an easy choice for something quick and good. Tip: Take lunch to go and eat it at the picnic benches near the Petoskey City Marina.
1:00pm | Petoskey State Park Beach, Petoskey
2475 M-119, Petoskey
It’s not a perfect northern Michigan summer day without a trip to the beach (and some rock hunting). Snag two birds with one Petoskey stone at Petoskey State Park. Beach towels, camp chairs, sunscreen, and water can be tossed in the trunk before your trip begins, and you can pick up a beach read at indie bookstore McLean & Eakin while downtown. Over 300 acres of forest and beach await at the park, and the beach there is sandy and known for having plenty of its namesake stones for rock hounds. (Note: A recreation passport is required for entry.)
3:00pm | Drive to Harbor Springs
3:15pm | History Museum in the Old City Hall, Harbor Springs
349 E Main St, Harbor Springs
Before the museum closes at 4pm, pop in to learn about the history of Harbor Springs, starting with the history of the ancestral land of the Odawa Native Americans and ending with how the ski industry developed in the town post WWII. Also included in the museum are interesting stories of local folks that will give you plenty to talk about over dinner. (Admission is donation based.)
4:00pm | Naas, Mauger, Raunecker, and Leslie Nature Preserve
4th Street, Harbor Springs
Wander over to the Naas, Mauger, Raunecker, and Leslie Nature Preserve, home to 45 acres of conifer-deciduous forest and cedar swamp tucked just outside of downtown Harbor Springs. Stretch your legs on the flat trail (plus boardwalk) before you hop back in the car for the last town on your itinerary.
4:45pm | Drive to Boyne City
5:30pm | inspired living, Boyne City
119 Water Street, Boyne City
This lovely little gift shop has lots of fun, Michigan-themed gifts to bring home. (Bonus: Many items are organic, recycled, and/or locally made.) Curiosities fill every corner of this small and unique shop, and you’ll easily lose yourself in the treasures.
6:15pm | Dinner at The Pointe Fish & Grill, Boyne City
970 Marina Dr, Boyne City
Newly opened, The Pointe is located within Sommerset Pointe Yacht Club, with dinner hours open to the public from 5pm to 9pm Thursday through Sunday. Despite its upscale context, the restaurant has varied price points. Nautically-themed dining quarters and a view of Lake Charlevoix make this a great spot to enjoy dinner and conversation.
8:00pm | Dessert to-go at Cafe Santé, Boyne City
1 Water St, Boyne City
Pick up dessert from Cafe Santé, a local French restaurant. Their dessert menu is simple but delicious, currently listed with three favorites: tiramisu, pot de crème, and crème brûlée cheesecake. Grab one (or two, or all three?) and take it over to Old City Park. There’s a fountain, gazebo, scattered park benches, and more at this riverside park. After finishing dessert, take a stroll along Boyne River. And if you’re too tired from all the fun to drive home, Boyne Mountain Resort is just 10 minutes away.
Now if that isn’t the perfect day, we don’t know what is. Sometimes summer goes by so quickly that it feels like we didn’t do our due diligence in enjoying the place we call home, but day trips are a fun reminder that a lot can be enjoyed in a little amount of time. (Just be sure to check all hours of operation on the day you choose to explore!) Catch the sunset on the way home, and let us know how it went.