Outdoorsy types can get their fill of nature (and a few surprises) around Boyne City, a wintertime ski destination that makes a smooth change to sublime summer hangout come the warm season. A highlight of this hamlet for families—or any group of Frisbee lovers—is the free nine-hole disc golf course at Avalanche Preserve Recreation Area (1129 Wilson St., boynecity.com). Bring your own Frisbee to play a round, then clamber up the 462 wooden steps to Avalanche’s overlook for an on-high view of Lake Charlevoix.
Get up close to that beautiful blue with wheels on loan from North Country Cycle Sport (104 S. Park St., 231-582-4632). It’s 20 miles round-trip from the shop to a gotta-see-it Northern marvel: the Ironton Ferry, a sweet little four-car cable ferry that’ll chug you and your bike 300 feet across the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix for a dollar (50 cents if you leave your bike on shore). A plaque displays the famous ferry’s bragging rights: a former captain made it into Ripley’s Believe it or Not for floating 15,000 miles without traveling more than a quarter of a mile from home during his stint on board.
Back in town, visit Bali Living Imports (119 Water St., 231-582-2663) for teak-root furniture, Balinese masks and home decor. For souvenirs originating a little closer to home, poke your nose into The Bird’s Nest (112 Water St., Suite B, 231-758-3500) for kids ensembles, then find dreamy antique wooden boats—full-size and miniature—at Sunburst Marine West (101 Water St., 231-582-7149).
QUICK BITE: Chandeliers and a pressed-tin ceiling lend Water Street Cafe plenty of vintage charm. But there’s nothing out-of-date about their delectable panini, soups and smoothies. Closed Mondays. 113 Water St., 231-582-9929.