A sleepy Chain of Lakes burg with a hip side that surfaces when the sun goes down—especially during the swingin’ summer months. By day, the town hums along quietly as tourists pass through on their way to fishing and boating on nearby Lake Bellaire and Torch Lake, or rounds of golf (or, seasonally, skiing and snowboarding) at Shanty Creek Resorts. Craven Park—with a picnic pavilion and a beach—is a charming spot for lounging around at the north end of town. After dusk, the big draws are the Bellaire Theater for first-run flicks (post-show, grab a cone at Ruthie’s Chicken and Dairy Twist, right across the street); Short’s Brewing Co., a lauded microbrewery with live music and excellent, unexpected deli food (housemade bruschetta, flatbread pizza, gourmet sandwiches); and Lulu’s, a swank sidewalk bistro with artful cuisine, a fab wine list and Sunday fondue nights. 

Photo(s) by Brian Confer