Fall is Made for Antiquing in Northern Michigan

Antiques shops are like uncurated museums—jammed with history, packed with nostalgia, brimming with collections of pottery, glassware, silver, furniture, and on my latest excursion, a mother lode of all things Dutch, like gargantuan wooden shoes, commemorative Delft knickknacks and kitschy boy-and-girl salt-and-pepper shakers (wait—I see a hot trend emerging). Take advantage of late-summer deals on rooms, restaurants, lighter traffic and fine pickings in the shops. Here are a few of my favorites—browse away.

Traverse City

If it appears that each object gets a daily buffing at Union Antiques (128 South Union, 231-922-9285), it’s just that this sparkling emporium is housed in a brand-new, light-filled building, says manager Jane Strauser, who also oversees Wilson Antiques across the street (123 South Union, 231-946-4177, wilsonantiquemall.com). Between Union’s 15 dealers and the 42 at Wilson’s that occupy four floors and two mezzanines, there are 23,000 square feet of treasures to take in, so start early.

Hungry? Try a filling breakfast burrito atDish (108 South Union, 231-932-2233, thedishcafetc.com). Then on to more top TC hits: Bay West’s 20-plus dealers in a cavernous 6,000 squarefoot spot across from the beach (221 West Grandview Parkway, 231-947-3211); Rolling Hills, in an old two-story dairy barn (5085 Barney Rd., two miles west of town, 231-947-1063, rollinghillsantiques. com); and Walt & Susan’s Antiques, in a musty but magical three-floor, hundred-year-old barn (2513 Nelson Road off M-37 on Old Mission Peninsula, 231-223-4123, waltsoldbarn.com). Pair your historic browsing with a room at the circa 1905 neo-classical Wellington Inn (230 Wellington Street, Traverse City, 877-968-9900, wellingtoninn.com).

Elk Rapids

This town is a mecca for antiques shops all within a short drive, so check into the Cairn House Bed & Breakfast (8160 Cairn Highway, 231-264-8994, 866-642-4262, cairnhouse.com) across from Elk Lake, then head to Siren Hall (151 River Street, 231-264-6062, sirenhall.com) for a hit of Chef Michael Peterson’s wondrously fresh seafood—the burgers are luscious, too. The Harbor Antique Mall is next door (201 River Street, 231-264-6850,), where you can spend hours perusing 35 dealers’ goods. Save time for the Antique Warehouse (603 Bridge Street, 231-264-9192, erantiques.com), just south of town—9,000 square feet of elderly artifacts and an interactive website with monthly specials on items like Steuben and Weller. Lilacs Antiques, across the highway (965 Green Street, 231-264-9491, lilacsantiques.com), features vintage signs and postcards,cottage relics, stained glass, toys and Up North nostalgia.

Benzie County

Book a room at the smoke-free Elliott House Bed and Breakfast on Crystal Lake (7099 Crystal Avenue, Beulah, 231-882-7075), then drive to Crystal Lake Emporium (6613 Frankfort Highway, Benzonia, 231-882-0096), an old dairy packed with fun finds at every turn. Black Horse Antiques (11 North Benzie at East Street, Beulah, 231-882-0231) boasts a cool collection of restored and powder-coated mid century patio sets, along with cowboy and equestrian gear, glassware and other enchanting items. In Frankfort, E•Klek•Tik•A (735 Main Street, 231-352-8152) is yet another haven for great old stuff.

Need comfort food after all this unbridled nostalgia? Lunch on a cherry chicken salad sandwich at the retro Cherry Hut (216 North Michigan Avenue, Beulah, 231-882-4431, cherryhutstore.com). It’ll make your day.

Patty LaNoue Stearns is a TRAVERSE contributing editor. Reach her at pattywrites.com.

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