On the way to or from Traverse City, make sure to drive through Ludington, a charming harbor town located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Pere Marquette River. Ludington was founded in 1845 as a center for trappers and fishermen. It boomed in the 1880s on the lake trade and remains a home of the only regular cross-lake ferry from Michigan to Wisconsin. Make sure you have time to explore.
It is known for its two lighthouses, the the North Breakwater Light and the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. Both were used primarily as a way to guide ships into port. The North Breakwater Light is one of the most popular in the US and most popular in Michigan.
Mitten Bar: At 109 W. Ludington Ave., this is a casual pub serving food along with live music. Draft Magazine named it one of the Best Beer Bars in the Midwest 2016.
The Old Hamlin Restaurant, 122 West Ludington Ave.: This is a local favorite since 1942. It is known for its great breakfasts as they feature many breakfast items and omelets. But they do have a number of burgers and sandwiches plus Mexican, Italian and Greek specialties for lunch and dinner.
House of Flavors: This is the place for homemade ice cream at 402 W. Ludington Ave. I loved the retro, 1950s style decor and the ice cream when I was in town. It is in its third generation of Neal family ownership.
Jamesport Brewing: At 410 S. James, this microbrewery and gastro pub is located in a group of Victorian storefronts from the early 1890s. They have a number of beers on tap along with a menu of salads, sandwiches, burgers, pastas and other dinner entrees.
Red Rooster Coffee: I enjoyed stopping for coffee at this local cafe. They feature a full coffee drink menu along with teas, beads, cookies, scones and pastries. 207 S. James.