Let’s talk Petoskey! Just when I think I have my Northern Michigan “spots” all figured out, we stumbled upon this little slice of heaven. Naturally, I made a list.
Petoskey is the ultimate place for beauty and relaxation. Petoskey means “ray of light.” You can see these “rays of light” reflected in the state stone, the Petoskey Stone, which is unique to this part of the world. There is also a bit of literary history as well but I’ll save that for another post. Tourism began back in the 1800’s; in fact, by 1900, there were enough hotels (14) to house up to 2000 guests. Perhaps one of the most famous summer guests was Ernest Hemingway (but again, more on that later). Without further ado, here is my list for visiting Petoskey.
Where to Stay:
While there are many, many options, I believe the top two have to be the historic Stafford’s Perry Hotel in downtown Petoskey or the Inn at Bay Harbor (which is part of Boyne Resorts and also a franchisee of Marriott, so if you happen to be a Marriott rewards member…). An additional benefit for guests of the Inn is enjoyment of the amenities of sister resorts, Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain; there is also a concurrent rewards program you can check out here). The Inn is a short drive or bike ride from town. Both are beautiful in their own way. On this trip, we stayed at the Inn. I have to admit, the views of Little Traverse Bay were pretty spectacular.
There are cabanas, a patio overlooking the water, hammocks, a pool, kayaks, bicycles, nightly s’mores and bonfires, and the all of the views I could wish for. It was hard to get motivated to leave the hotel to go explore the surrounding towns. When we finally left our Adirondack rockers, we discovered the Little Traverse Wheelway. This path is one of the top jogging paths I have been on. Just look at these views (again!).
Where to Eat:
We used the cinema-tastic complimentary hotel bicycles to ride about 3 miles into town. There may have been some singing of “In the Summertime…” from Wedding Crashers. Here are my recommendations for Petoskey eating…
Brunch: We enjoyed our anniversary brunch at Chandler’s. Chandler’s is an unassuming restaurant but is definitely one of the more upscale eateries in town (you can still show up in your athletic gear). You enter an alleyway bistro with lights strung overhead and a gas lamp burning. In addition to this eating area, there is also a more casual bar area in the building to the left and a fancier wine cellar for a swankier feel to the right.
Lunch: North Perk Coffee is a coffee bar that would be great for a light lunch or a latte to go. The inside is trendy and keeps with the Northern Michigan rustic feel.
Dinner: Palette Bistro offers outdoor patio dining overlooking the streets of downtown Petoskey or you can eat inside with stunning sunset views from the large windows. The food is amazing!
Where to Wander:
Above Chandler’s is the classic, Symon’s General Store, which was established in 1956. Since the beginning, the goal appears to be gourmet. There is a candy counter, local goods, and beverages.
We also discovered McLean and Eakin Bookstore and browsed in this book shop for quite a long time. The book store was impressive with unique sections, including Hemingway, Michigan, Book Club, and Staff recommendations. The staff was incredibly helpful. We ended up purchasing quite a few books that have nothing to do with travel or Petoskey, but also bought The Legend of the Petoskey Stone for our children.
And to go along with the book, we bought a couple of Petoskey stones from another cute store downtown. They even came with an insert about the history of the stone. Petoskey Stones are a prehistoric fossil and have a 350 million year history. We did stop to try to find our own stones in the bay and found some fossil rocks but were glad that we had our backup store-bought stones. (I later read that the best place to find them is in the spring on the shores of Lake Michigan.)
We decided that we couldn’t leave without trying at least one of the wineries on the Bay View Wine Trail. We chose Walloon Lake Winery and took advantage of the hotel’s complimentary shuttle service to travel to and from the winery. Just 4 years old, Walloon Lake Winery’s wine is wonderful and the owners are friendly, knowledgeable, and welcoming. Everything about the vineyard has been done by hand and kept within the family. From the vines to the building, this family has done the work. Even the beautiful ash table tops inside are repurposed from a dying ash tree that was cut down just around the corner from the winery.
Back at the Inn, we took advantage of the sunset patio views as well as the s’mores and bonfires. Sitting by the water, watching the sun explode before slowly fading beyond the horizon, and enjoying our campfire dessert with The Way You Look Tonight playing at the idyllic wedding celebration behind us, there was an unspoken understanding that life doesn’t really get much better than this.
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