With the Northern Michigan landscape as a background, it's no wonder that great art in Northern Michigan is booming. Here are three ways to immerse yourself in a Northern Michigan getaway weekend of gallery browsing, open-air art and sublime sustenance. Start tonight with the Traverse City Art Walk from 5-9 pm.
Downtown Traverse City
As if hanging out downtown isn’t chic already, Traverse City’s Downtown Art Walk offers a self-guided tour of the community’s most happening galleries (5–9 P.M. FRIDAY, SEPT. 17, DOWTOWNTC.COM). Be sure to stop into the new ArtisanDesign Network Gallery, a co-op of local artists and craftspeople featuring juried collections (231-935-1955, ARTDESIGNNET.COM).
Relish melt-in-your-mouth masterpieces at Phil’s on Front Street Restaurant & Chocolate Bar. Try the Louis XVI Chocolate Cake, made from Grand Marnier ganache, chocolate mousse, chocolate genoise and almond cake, with housemade caramel and sea salt ice cream (231-929-1710, PHILSONFRONT.COM). Surround yourself with mahogany and leaded glass at the Wellington Inn B&B, in walking distance of all the downtown action (FROM $195, 231-922-9900, WELLINGTONINN.COM).
With quirky shops and serious galleries, SOBO (South Boyne City) is staking out an edgy attitude. Check out Freshwater Studio’s concerts (FRESHWATERSTUDIO.ORG), the Boyne Arts Collective (BOYNEARTS.ORG) and the Jordan River Arts Council in nearby East Jordan, hosting the exhibit Our Favorite Things, special works from the board of directors’ private collections (JORDANRIVERARTS.COM).
Take in Northern Michigan’s best work on a hot air balloon ride from Walloon Balloon Adventures, by Lesley Pritchard. Sunrise or sunset cruises with champagne flights float over dazzling Walloon Lake. Postflight celebrations include continental breakfasts and mimosas or light hors d’oeuvres ($300 PER PERSON, 231-459-5699).
Each hour of the day offers a spectacular view of the lake from your room at the Walloon Lake Inn, where they serve breakfast at water’s edge (FROM $60, 231-535- 4665, WALLOONLAKEINN.COM). Sample local favorites at Charlevoix’s Oktoberfest, 17 miles northwest (SATURDAY, SEPT. 18, CHARLEVOIX.ORG) or the Taste of Harbor Springs, 25 miles north along Little Traverse Bay (12–3 P.M. SATURDAY, SEPT. 25, HARBORSPRINGSCHAMBER.COM).
One of the state’s most captivating small towns, Suttons Bay is all about the aesthetic. Galleries include Suttons Bay Galleries, Bayside Gallery, Michigan Artists Gallery, Painted Bird, Case-Daniels & Rae and Treeline Gallery (SUTTONSBAYAREA.COM). Get your tickets to The Bay Select Film Series at The Bay Theatre, an early 1900’s theatre with original seats and hardwood floors, and where 16mm and 35mm film projection are used for Hollywood hits ($8.50, 231-271-3772, LEELANAU.COM/THEBAY).
Stay in a cottage straight from a local painting at Fountain Point Resort, where the furnishings are antique and the water is just out your front door (FROM $60 P/P, 231-256-9800, FOUNTAINPOINTRESORT.COM). Linger late on Sunday and have dinner family-style at one long table at Martha’s Leelanau Table, a European-style cafe where everything is made from scratch (231-271-2344, MARTHASLEELANAUTABLE.COM).
Lisa Doublestein writes from Petoskey. [email protected]