Nestled near the Sleeping Bear Dunes, which are named for a Native American legend about a mother bear forever waiting on shore for her two drowned cubs, the tiny hamlet of Glen Arbor is pure storybook.
Ready yourself for a peek inside by first stopping at the town’s corner bakery, Barb’s Country Oven (5921 Lake St., 231-334-3686). Pick up a sticky pecan roll and stroll north up Lake Street to Sleeping Bear Bay. A go-on-for-miles beachwalk is welcome – so long as you stay near the waterline – and so is Petoskey stone hunting. Come up empty? You’ll find Petoskey and precious stones in remarkable jewelry at Becky Thatcher Designs (795 Lake St., 231-334-3826).
Refuel at Art’s Tavern (6487 Western Ave., 231-334-3754) with a true Lake Michigan-lover’s lunch: a whitefish burger and pint of Sleeping Bear Brown Ale. The electrifying tales of the tavern’s early days are a must-read menu option. If they leave you hankering for more, you’re next door to historic log cabin turned The Cottage Book Shop (5989 Lake St., 231-334-4223). Among the bestsellers, find local auther Linda Alice Dewey’s Aaron’s Crossing.
Ask directions to the trail at the base of Alligator Hill that leads you to the real-life ghost story’s cemetery setting, but first, two pre-hike stops: the whimsical Cherry Republic (6026 Lake St., 231-334-3150) for some trail-worthy dark chocolate-cherry-caramel turtles with pecans, and The Yarn Shop (Village Sampler mall, 231-334-3805) for a pair of ski walking poles (skiwalking.com). Yes, The Yarn Shop sells yarn too, so be warned: You may be invited to sit in one of the cozy shop’s rocking chairs and learn to knit before you go. Take the owner up on her offer. A pair of needles, a skein and a dream of a scarf-to-be make for a happy ending to a full day.
Stay the NightThe Homestead: exceptional accommodations, ski, golf and hiking overlooking Lake Michigan, stay & dine packages, 231-334-5100 or thehomesteadresort.com
Visit Up North Vacation Rentals: homes, cottages and condos in and around Glen Arbor, 888-334-3051 or visitupnorth.com
Glen Arbor Lakeshore Inn: walking distance to downtown and Lake Michigan, 231-334-3773 or lakeshoreinnmotel.com
Leelanau Vacation Rentals: variety of properties in and around Glen Arbor, 231-334-6100 or leelanau.com/vacation
Lynda Twardowski is travel editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.[email protected]
Note: This article was originally published in March 2007 and was updated for the web February 2008.