The cinnamon buns are warm and ready for even the earliest risers at Johan’s Pastry Shop (565 W. Mitchell, 231-347-3815). Open at 5:30 a.m., the shop will have a behemoth J-Bun in your hot mittened hand before sun-up. That leaves plenty of time to get to Mineral Well Park (across from City Hall, 201 E. Lake) for a snowshoe through the violet morning light along the Bear River.
Keep your blood pumping with a gallery walk. You’ll find fab Michigan artists at the Gaslight Gallery (200 Howard St., 231-348-5079); a colossal body of fine art photography by Venice-born local Luciano Duse at Luciano (221 E. Lake St., 231-347-3157); stunning stained glass at Shadetree Studios (417 Howard St., 231-347-1011); and, if you’re lucky, Up North-inspired impressionist painter Valerie Thomson at work at Valerie (219 E. Lake St., 231-487-1642). Spy the church spires in the cityscape? That Victorian-style former church is now the Crooked Tree Arts Center, (461 E. Mitchell St., 231-347-4337) where, with two galleries, art studios and an intimate red-velvet-seat theatre, there’s always something to see. Hit Cold Nose Productions (437 E. Mitchell St., 231-348-8271) and Art and Soul Studio (433 E. Mitchell St., 231-348-7577) for crafty classes.
Pick up gourmet goodies at Symon’s General Store (401 E. Lake St., 231-347-2438). Don’t miss Symon’s downstairs cellar: Walls and walls of wine nabbed this nook a note in Food & Wine as one of the nation’s 50 best wine experiences.
Afterward, two floors of floor-to-ceiling reading (and cozy chairs in most every corner) assure bookworm bliss at McLean and Eakin Booksellers (307 E. Lake St. 231-347-1180). Then sled, skate and ski away the afternoon at Petoskey Winter Sports Park (1100 Winter Park Lane, 231-347-2500). Come sunset, get to Petoskey State Park (2475 M-119, 231-347-2311) to watch the sinking sun slice rainbows over the giant jewels of shoreside ice.
Back downtown, stroll the gas-lit streets, then slip into one of the old school-elegant half-moon booths in the historic Perry Hotel’s H.O. Rose Dining Room (100 Lewis St., 231-347-4000).
Note: This article was originally published in December 2006 and was updated for the web February 2008.