In our last post about Chicago, we wrote about Bridgman, Michigan, a place we (apparently mistakenly) compared to the Hamptons in New York. We’ve since been informed that Charlevoix, Michigan is the real getaway from the big city. We protested - we said that it was a six hour drive from downtown in no traffic - and we were told that doesn’t count as a long drive for Midwesterners (there’s also a nearby airport in Traverse City with service from Chicago, Detroit, and New York, and Pellston, which has service from Detroit). Thankfully, one of our hoparans has spent a long time in northern Michigan, and she’s been able to give us a lot of tips on what to see and where to go.
We think that the ideal way to get situated in town is to do a harbor walk around Round Lake, possibly with a bit of Murdick’s fudge in your hand. There are beautiful sailboats filling the lake, which connects Lake Charlevoix with Lake Michigan. There are concerts every Thursday and Saturday and several major art fairs here during the summer. If that’s not enough culture for you, Castle Farms has antique shows (and has the added benefit of being available for weddings, so call ahead to make sure you’re not crashing).
Charlevoix has become a bit of a foodie heaven during the summer (during the winter, it’s under several feet of snow and is really, really cold). Pram’s Esperance is one of the hidden gems in town, with a fantastic restaurant up front and a wine and cheese store in the back. There’s also the always-classic Rowe Inn in nearby Ellsworth for wonderful duck - just make sure you save room for the white chocolate brownie at dessert! And if you just want to watch boats go to and fro, the beautiful patio at the Weathervane is the place to go - the whitefish is what we order here.
Northern Michigan is more than just sitting around, though. While you can charter a boat through Charlevoix Yacht Charters, we love taking a canoe down the Jordan River, which is a long, slow journey. Jordan Valley Outfitters will rent you a canoe or take you on a guided tour. Not fast enough for you? You can also rent a jet ski from Sunset Watersports. And if you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, there’s a bike path between Charlevoix and Petosky - you can rent a bike through Revolution Bike.
Finally, you’re probably on the lookout for a good place to rest after playing around the lake. The Weathervane also has rooms and a great view; we also like the Horton Creek Inn because it’s always fun to stay in a log cabin, and the Inn at Grey Gables overdoes it a bit with their Victorian decor, but has great service and nice package deal with local spa Shabby Girls. Sometimes, it’s worth taking a really, really long drive from civilization, and Charlevoix is one of those places!