Northern Michigan Summer Fun Guide

  1. Blueberry pick on Old Mission Peninsula’s Buchan’s Blueberry Hill. Make it even more of a thrill and approach the farm from the east, via Nelson Road, a rambling sun-speckled dirt two-track off M-37. Once home, put your plunder into blueberry purses, recipe on MyNorth.com (click Food & Wine, choose recipes). localdifference.org.
  2. A leisurely paddle that ends with Lake Michigan lapping on a silky soft sandy beach? Sign us up. Rent your craft at Riverside Canoe Trips and lolligag down the Lower Platte River. canoemichigan.com.
  3. The wildly talented Young Americans perform Broadway tunes while you dine at Boyne Highlands’ popular dinner theater, June 26 through August 29. Tickets are $46; 12 and under $28, 231-526-3152, boyne.com.
  4. Do a Mackinac Island Fudge-Off. Since you stumble upon a fudge shop every few yards on this magical island, do like Alton Brown and figure out which chocolate reigns supreme. Buy three bricks of the same flavor—plain chocolate for the most pure results—find a quiet park bench and conduct your blind taste test. mackinacisland.org.
  5. Gather the fam at a storybook farm to catch ’n’ keep or catch ’n’ release. Staff at Jordan Valley Trout Pond provides tackle and poles and will clean and ice your rainbow trout should you choose to make it supper. jordanvalleytroutpond.com.
  6. Take home the very best bottle from each of the seven wineries on Old Mission Peninsula. Plot a seven-course wine dinner to serve your very best friends. wineriesofoldmission.com.
  7. Grab the hubby and make it a date at Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. The rooms are too luxurious to not spend the night. turtlecreekcasino.com.
  8. Live well and eat well all day on a guided agri-culinary tour of the Leelanau Peninsula. Stops may include: Leelanau Naturals beef farm, Carlson’s Fisheries, Leelanau Cheese Co. and Bel Lago Vineyards. Then enjoy a cooking demo and dinner with the day’s gleanings in the herb garden at Sweeter Song Farm in Cedar. June 3, 10, 17 and 24. learngreatfoods.com.
  9. Elk Rapids’ downtown block-parties, known as Evenings on River Street, are Americana at its best. Wednesdays June through August. elkrapidschamber.org.
  10. Take a full moon hike. Lady luna is out June 7, July 7, August 6, and September 4. Find great public preserves at gtrlc.org.
  11. Be moved by the raw and extraordinary talent of the prodigies of Interlochen Summer Arts Camp at the sell-out Collage event, July 7, in the open-air Kresge Auditorium. interlochen.org.
  12. Pack a purely downtown Petoskey picnic: a loaf from Crooked Tree Breadworks, a jar of Roast Apple and Onion Relish from American Spoon Foods, a bit of brie and a bottle of bubbly from Symons General Store.
  13. A dark cloud over Traverse City? Bring on the bowling at Wilderness Crossing. wilderness crossing.com.
  14. Stroll the lawns of the Grand Traverse Commons (formerly Traverse City State Hospital) with a frozen cheesecake-on-a-stick you snag at The Underground Cheesecake Company. It’s in the sweet little brick root cellar on the former hospital grounds. undergroundcheesecake.com.
  15. Bon Appétit magazine’s “The United Plates of America—a guide to the best things to eat, drink, and buy in all 50 states,” named the sour cherry pie at Cherry Hut in Beulah the one to try in Michigan. Taste why. cherryhutstore.com.
  16. Be a spectator at the longest nonstop canoe race in North America, the Weyerhaeuser Au Sable canoe Marathon from Grayling to Oscoda. You’ll swear these silent-sport types have motors in their arms. July 25–26, ausable canoemarathon.org.
  17. Lap up the lingering light of the longest evening of the year on a solstice pontoon cruise along the Grass River. Look for loons, beaver and sandhill cranes. Bring life jackets for children. June 22, grassriver.org.
  18. Cruise across the Mackinac Bridge to St. Ignace with the windows down. Get a Big C burger at Clyde’s Drive-In. Wait 20 minutes before going swimming in Lake Michigan. Lucky you, it’s a perfect 20 minutes west on U.S. 2 to the sandy beaches by Brevort. (Turn around and loop back to park on the south side of U.S. 2).
  19. Unleash some sea shanties aboard the Grand Traverse Bay’s majestic schooner Manitou, which offers freshwater sailing adventures ranging from two hours to four days. tallshipsailing.com.
  20. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn. You’ll eat Michael Moore’s favorite popcorn. The fifth annual Traverse City Film Festival is July 28 through August 2, 2009. traversecityfilmfest.org.

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