Shop Suttons Bay

Before beginning your shopping adventure in Suttons Bay (231-271-5077,, swing into the 45th Parallel Café (102 W. Broadway, 231-271-2233) to fuel up. Lounge under an umbrella-shaded table outside the intimate eatery as you snack on a cherry oatmeal scone and sip a tall glass of passion-fruit iced tea. Poke your head in at the adjoining 45th Parallel's Candy World to pick up some chocolate raspberry bark for yourself or a bag of rainbow-hued jelly beans for the kids.

Head down the street to Bahle's (210 St. Joseph, 231-271-3841, for classic fine clothing and a peek at some Suttons Bay history – vintage photos and antiques from the late 1800's, when the store first opened. Outfit yourself for a Northern summer: a sundress for balmy afternoons, a cozy knit cardigan for sunsets by the beach.

Farther on up the block, look for the orange and red archway topped by giant hand-carved, rainbow-colored fish. That's the entry to the Michigan Artists Gallery (309 St. Joseph, 231-271-4922), home to an eclectic mix of must-have art: woodcut prints, delicate ceramic flowers, jewelry, watercolor paintings and photographs.

Conduct more investigations of your own, then kick back for a dinner of grilled salmon, stuffed portabella mushrooms or tequila lime chicken at the Village Inn Tavern (210 St. Joseph, 231-271-3300). As the peach hues of evening light color the water, wrap yourself in that cardigan and make your way down to the marina to watch white sailboats bob in their slips, or spread out in the grassy bayside park and linger until the stars shine brightly above.

Katie Holland was an intern at Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.

Note: This article was first published in May 2007 and was updated for the web February 2008.

Article Comments

  • Anonymous

    There’s a nice bookstore in the blue building on the right of the photo below, called Brilliant Books. The owners are very accommodating, and will order anything you want, direct you to other books you’ll love and even tell you where to find good pasta.

  • Anonymous

    Labor Day is a great weekend to spend in Suttons Bay. Most of the tourists have gone home and the Sunday night fireworks are early enough (fall gets darker earlier) for really young kids to stay up for. Bring a picnic to the public beach. Let the kids play on the playground until dark then settle in for a nice show.

  • Anonymous

    Our family could spend a month in Suttons Bay and never run out of things to do. Don’t miss the paddle wheel across the street from Enerdyne. There’s a farmer’s market on Saturdays that has the most wonderful black cherries. All the restaurants are good–a couple of different styles of food from fancy to just plain bar food, but all are “come as you are.” We try to get up to the Suttons Bay Jazz Festival every year. When our kids were little, we packed a basket and a blanket and hung out in the back. Now that they’re older we can sit in the chairs.

    Rainy day? Blackstar Farms has a lovely wine tasting room and a petting zoo. Or there’s the quaint old time movie theater that didn’t disappoint us–good sound system, comfy seats. And of course there’s shopping, shopping and more shopping. Bring your Christmas list.

  • Anonymous

    Suttons Bay is a great place! If you are looking for a place to stay… check out

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant Books is an excellent bookstore. They were so nice and I’m signed up on their email so I’m getting great book reviews plus they will ship for free! Baywear is also a nice shop, nice people. Disappointed in Bahle’s. Shopped there for years but the women who work there could use some lessons in customer service. Decided not to purchase anything further there until the friendly service returns.