Summer Getaways in Michigan's Little Traverse Bay
Harbor Springs: A quaint gateway to a legendary scenic drive
In a word Preppy. The northernmost community on Little Traverse Bay feels like a posh suburb of Petoskey. Equestrian clubs surround town, and you'll see many cardigans draped just-so over shoulders. But you don't have to flash a membership card to soak up the New England-like atmosphere before exploring the Tunnel of Trees byway, which unfurls north of town.
Your kind of town? Tellingly, you won't find many inns in Harbor Springs. Unless you plan to rent a cottage and settle in for a week, think of this as a day-trip escape from the busier towns.
Destination dinner A restored water taxi bobs in the yacht basin outside Stafford's Pier, a refined backdrop for drinks on the patio or dinner in the white-tablecloth Pointer Room. Meals start with pleasantly retro smoked salmon spread. Signature oak-planked whitefish flakes at the mere sight of a fork. You can save money by eating in the Pier's pubby wood-paneled Wheelhouse Lounge, which fills with laughter every night.
Local secret Pop into Howse's Fudge shop and ask owner Chris Howse to point you to the steep steps and boardwalk that loop up the bluff behind downtown. In early June, fragrant lilac bushes bend over the path, and at the top, you'll be rewarded with a view of the harbor, treetops and white steeples. When you come down again to Spring Street, snag a treat at Tom's Mom's Cookies.
Pictured: Tidy shops and galleries, including Tvedten Fine Art, fill downtown Harbor Springs.