The view from the porch at Trick Dog Gallery and Cafe (1121 Furnace Street, Elberta. 231-352-TDOG) tucked high atop Betsie Bay, is sublime in the morning. But so is the French toast—two layers of sweet egg bread dipped in a crunchy, nutty topping, then flooded with cream cheese and walnuts. Indulge in both, set your engine to idyll, then cruise south down the coast.

Follow M-22 as it winds past white country churches, weathered barns, forest and awe-inspiring bluff-top views of Lake Michigan. Turn inland on 13 Mile Road and wend your way to Rockin’ R Ranch and Rodeo (9061 13 Mile Road, Bear Lake. 231-864-3539). Saddle up on one of the docile horses, trained to sure-foot it up trails where wild raspberry, blackberry and blueberry bushes send their spring shoots sunward, and trees tower 100 feet high.

Post-gallop, head back to M-22 to the town of Onekama to ease your seat into a 14-foot aluminum boat. You’ll find one for rent at the historic Portage Point Inn (8513 Portage Point Drive, Onekama. 800-878-7248) plus bait and poles. If you hook a whopper, hang on to it; the inn’s expert chefs will transform it into a gourmet feast. No catch? Cashew-crusted walleye and smoked whitefish pâté await in the hotel’s waterside restaurant. Afterward, stroll past the inn’s whitewashed dollhouse cottages to watch the Lake Michigan sunset, then skedaddle back to the inn’s porch at nightfall. A line of rocking chairs sits under the dim yellow glow of porch lights—the perfect place to watch Portage Lake’s ripples lap at the moonlight.

Don’t want to go home? Find out more about Portage Point Inn’s weeknight deals at

Photo(s) by Brian Confer