Exploring Michigan’s Petoskey
This past weekend kicked off the first of three weekends traveling to the northwestern part of Michigan, which happens to
be one of our favorite summertime areas in the state. This time we headed to Petoskey to attend a friend’s wedding. Neither of us had been to Petoskey so were looking forward to checking out the much talked about town that overlooks Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. We of course knew our time would be limited on Saturday since I was also a bridesmaid but we figured we could squeeze out some exploring time.
It’s not a fast drive to Petoskey from southeast Michigan – 4-4.5 hours on a good day; add torrential downpour and an accident, and boredom sets in. Thankfully conversation and laughs are readily available when hanging out with my fiancé. The ceremony was to be held in a small church on Emmett Street, a quaint old-fashion church with a young, friendly pastor. I loved the small town feel of the church, and particularly appreciated the short aisle to walk down!
After rehearsal, we headed to the waterfront where a picnic shelter had been reserved by the marina and dinner awaited us. Thankfully the rain had stopped, although it brought WIND and cooler temps. It was still a beautiful night to watch the sun set over the pier. After dinner we met up with friends to check out the local ‘watering holes.’ We started at Papa Lou’s but were told we had to order food if we wanted to sit at tables so we moved along. We next stopped at Mitchell Street Pub. We found a table in the back room for our small group and settled in to catch up and enjoy laughs. The service wasn’t the greatest (Justin and our friend, Angela, had to walk up to the bar to get the waitress!) but overall the company and good beer made up for the service. After leaving Mitchell, we headed to the Noggin Room Pub at the Stafford’s Perry Hotel. Ironically we ran into the groom enjoying some drinks with others so we settled in for more laughs.
The next morning, Justin and I found a Starbucks at the local Glen’s Market. The drive along the bay was awesome, particularly looking at the big Victorian homes. From there we parked in the downtown shopping area to wander the stores. Probably not a surprise that we found the Mackinaw Trail Winery so stopped in for a tasting. They charge $5 for five tastings, plus a wine glass. I recently learned that a 2010 law that allows wine tasting doesn’t allow charging for the samples. I’m guessing that wineries get around this by including a glass to take home. If you bring the glass back another time, the tasting is free (Black Star Farms in Traverse City does this too). There were some interesting flavors, such as Cherry Sangria, Blueberry and late harvest Riesling. Knowing that we’re heading to Traverse City soon, we passed on purchasing any bottles.
We stopped at the Life is Good store, which is one of my favorite brands. Every phrase they have makes me smile and feel a bit more relaxed. Knowing this, Justin has bought me a mug and found a cool car sticker to remind me always that “life is good!”
We headed back to Papa Lou’s for lunch, enjoying some tasty grinders and chili. The upstairs bar/dining area has several swings attached to the ceiling that serve as chairs at the bar. Very cool! After that we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding. The reception was at the charming Stafford’s Perry Hotel, which was built in 1899 and overlooks Little Traverse Bay. The day and evening flew by as we celebrated the marriage of our friends, Amy and John. And yes, we did receive Petoskey stones (our state stone) as favors – a great idea for the location!
We woke to beautiful blue skies and mild temps on Sunday. After a quick breakfast and checking out of the hotel, we headed to the waterfront again.
It’s interesting how piers and lighthouses are a draw for people to walk to and snap pictures. This lighthouse is only a few years old, as it’s a replica of the original lighthouse built in 1902 and swept off the pier during a storm in 1924. The breakwall (ie, pier) was repaired in 2010 by the Army Corps of Engineers. It has a great flat surface for pedestrians to walk along Lake Michigan. It’s popular to jump off the end of the pier near the lighthouse (but I have to imagine it’s cold!).
Then we walked toward the city administration building and discovered a trail along the river. As we wandered, I noticed a trail marker – the North Country Trail! How cool to realize we were on part of the North Country Trail that runs from New York to North Dakota. This 4,600-mile trail links seven states and 10 National Forests. I was really impressed with the lovely, clean parks and boardwalk that beckoned visitors and residents. Petoskey was certainly a quaint, comfortable, welcoming town.
I wish we would have had more time to explore the area but alas, the weekend came to an end and we started our drive home. Our next adventure will soon be upon us!