Thumbnail portrait: Harbor Springs

Tuck a credit card in your bathing suit when you head to this four-block downtown on Little Traverse Bay known for its upscale boutiques, antiques stores and art galleries. If the choices leave you overheated, slurp down an old-fashioned malt at Mary Ellen’s Place or cool off in the harbor at Zorn beach. Dip into this town’s cache of Native American history at the Andrew Blackbird Museum on Main Street, then find more history across the street at the Harbor Springs Historical Society. You’ll also want to know that Ephraim Shay, inventor of the Shay locomotive, built the curious hexagonal house on the edge of downtown in the 1880’s. Learn more about him at the town’s Shay Days festival the third weekend of July.

But truth be told, this town is pretty enough just to sit and look at—make your perch a kayak (rent one from The Outfitter on Main Street) in the harbor, or kick back under a leafy tree on the bluff above town for a languorous look down on rooftops, church steeples and sailboats on Little Traverse. 

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