I have always loved Harbor Springs after my first visits there in the 1980s and 1990s. With a population of around 1,200, this 100 year old resort community is located in a sheltered bay on the north shore of the Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan. It is an easy 10 mile drive from Petoskey. It has a charming, walkable downtown and beautiful homes. My recent recommendations include:
The Pier Restaurant: On my most recent visit, I enjoyed dinner with a longtime local friend. It has a fun bar, The Wheelhouse Lounge, where you should grab a cocktail before dinner. The dining room has great views of the water and has a deck for outdoor dining.
My friend also loves The New York Restaurant, which is a charming spot at Bay & State Streets from 1904, that features locally sourced American cuisine and a large wine list.
Other spots to try include The Depot Club & Restaurant, a private fine dining club and bar where seasonal memberships are available. 111 W. Bay St.
Johan’s Pastry Shop is a casual spot for coffee and pastries at 138 W. 3rd. Paper Station, An American Bistro, is open for lunch and dinner at 145 E. Main St. Small Batch Bakery specializes in homemade baked goods, quiche and lunch specialties at 117 W. Main, while its Small Batch Restaurant at the Cupola at 340 State St. is a breakfast, lunch and brunch cafe. Howse’s Fudge at 201 E. Main, has a good selection of fudge, brittles, chocolates and caramels.
There is an American Spoon Foods store, at 125 E. Main, in a tiny cottage where you can buy their wonderful jams, jellies, dried cherries and more.
Northwest of Harbor Springs is The Tunnel of Trees which is one of Michigan’s most spectacular drives. The road is engulfed with trees on both sides. It is particularly beautiful in the Fall. From downtown Harbor Springs, take M-119 North through Good Hart. You must stop at the Good Hart General Store that features a deli and bakery Here you can try one of their special pot pies.