Summer Fun
  1. Cruise up Fruit Stand Alley—U.S. 31 along the Lake Michigan coast is a gold mine of roadside fruit markets. Find out what’s cream of the crop at each. (Folks are such fans of the piecrust at Royal Farms, the baker rolls out extra to shape into snail cookies with cinnamon and sugar.)
  2. Pick up a paperback of Michigan Wildflowers in Color by Harry C. Lund and go on a flower scavenger hunt. Skipping through meadows allowed.
  3. Swing by Sleeping Bear Orchards’ peach stand one mile north of Empire for a bushel to pit and freeze for Michigan summer smoothies all year.
  4. The petting zoo at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay is abuzz with lambs, llamas, pot-bellied pigs, baby bunnies. Have you ever seen a baby mini horse?
  5. Stay at a historic B&B. The 1910 Terrace Inn, set in the Victorian gingerbread cottage village of Bay View, is a perfectly serene home base for a beach and boutique shopping weekend.
  6. Go early and find your very own blue lagoon along the 23-mile ribbon of coast at Wilderness State Park, just west of Mackinaw City. Go very early and find warm blueberry doughnuts at the Wilderness General Store, just west of the campground. 397 Wilderness Park Dr., Carp Lake, 231-436-5774.
  7. Golf one of the most serene and stunning courses in Michigan, then unwind on the porch at the Arcadia Bluffs clubhouse as the strolling bagpiper—and the sunset—take the day over the top.
  8. August 12, your backyard is the late-night hot spot. Lay down a blanket and watch the Perseids meteor shower produce about 60 meteors per hour.
  9. Putter through the Chain of Lakes on your own private pontoon. Dewitt Marine in Bellaire offers daily and weekly rates.
  10. Author Joe David named Chateau Chantal among the top 50 cooking schools in the U.S. in his new release, Gourmet Getaways—50 Top Spots to Cook and Learn. We’ve got our eye on June 20’s class, Pan Sauces, where Chef Nancy Krcek Allen reveals the secrets to preparing restaurant-style dishes like salmon with beurre blanc and shrimp in Thai coconut curry.
  11. Wake up your kid super early. Catch one of the first ferries to Mackinac Island, then explore the kid-way: bike rides, Butterfly House, ice cream cones, cannons at Fort Mackinac, kite demos from Great Turtle Toys and a kiddie cocktail on the famous Pink Pony patio—all before catching the evening ferry home.
  12. Cool summer day? Simply perfect for some cheese and chocolate. Pellston Market in the town known as the Icebox of Michigan has a bounty of both, from all over the world. Pack your cooler.
  13. Wine taste through Leelanau County. Pick a theme like Rieslings, fruit wines, or reds.
  14. Still time for one more cone at Shetler Family Dairy’s Open Barn. Kalkaska’s dairy (“our cows are not on drugs, but they are on grass”) invites you out September 19 for hayrides, tours, petting zoo, and to sample their all-new line of homemade ice cream. How ’bout some Mookies-n-Cream, Hoofprints, Peanut ’Udder Bliss?
  15. Snorkel the pristine waters off the south end of Beaver Island in search of the 1800’s wooden schooner Betsy Smith. Inland Seas Kayaking leads weekly snorkeling trips.
  16. Watch pooch athletes perform incredible dock jumps at the National Cherry Festival’s Ultimate Air Dog Competition. The gravity-defying feats begin Thursday, July 9.
  17. Pull on a summery sundress, shake the sand out of your loafers, take a romantic drive to dinner. Destination worthy: The Manitou on M-22 north of Frankfort, Rowe Inn in Ellsworth, La Becasse in Burdickville, blu in Glen Arbor. Find out more in our restaurant guide, page 61.
  18. Eat a bowl full of cherries. Even sweeter if you pick them yourself at Friske Orchards.
  19. Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theatre celebrates 55 years of cozy, star-lit family nights in Honor this summer. Our advice: go in August when the days are shorter, and the flicks start sooner. There’s always a double feature.
  20. Catch some bluegill for breakfast. No sure-bets in fishing, but we hear they’re biting on Guernsey Lake, eight miles west of Kalkaska.

Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski