On the road again: Harbor Springs

By Steve Ellis

Every summer, Jackie and I enjoy heading up to Harbor Springs.

The last couple years, we have decided to spend a a little time there during the much quieter winter months.

As expected, it is quieter in the winter, but with the popular ski slopes nearby and most of the stores and restaurant open downtown, we are always pleasantly surprised at the number of people in town.

We spend our days hiking at several of the local land preserves. If you enjoy the outdoors, this area has an abundance of wonderful trails, many following winding picturesque creeks through dense woods. Cross country and downhill skiing are also on our agenda. Jackie had not been to Nub’s Nob since she was a kid and we both had a great time at this family friendly resort.

Breakfast out includes meals at the eclectic Roast and Toast in Petoskey, Turkey’s in Harbor Springs and the Bistro, just north of Petoskey — all quite different and very good.

While dining at The Bistro, we headed north another mile or two, to the Oden Fish Hatchery. The Visitor Center is closed in the winter, but the trails are open.

Our favorite way into downtown Harbor Springs is the winding Beach Road south of M-119 that winds through the woods along Lake Michigan and into the Wequetonsing Association. This is a summer resort, founded in 1880, of a hundred or more of some of the most gorgeous summer homes found anywhere in the country. Riding bikes along the sidewalk in front of the largest homes on the water is one of the highlights of the summer trip each year.

A few of our don’t-miss stops include Yummie’s Ice Cream, Howse’s Fudge (their pecan turtles are unbelievable) and Tom’s Mom’ s Cookies in an old red brick building with a brick path leading to the door. The Saturday Farmers Market always draws a large crowd.

Turkey’s is our favorite spot for dinner. It is great casual restaurant on Main St with funky antique decor, shaded outdoor seating and great pizza. We made it there twice on this trip. Other dining choices include Pierson’s, Bar Harbor and Stafford’s Pier Restaurant, where we enjoyed a delicious Turkey Crisp sandwich by the fireplace.

The classic, gorgeously restored Lyric Theatre, is one of Jackies’s favorite spots and she always checks the movie listings before we head up.

A fun summer destination the last few years has been Pond Hill Farm, a great winery, brewery, cafe and market just north of town. Jackie’s grandkids love the trails, looking for gnome houses in the woods.

The downtown beach with its large raft and old wooden boats is one of the prettiest in Michigan.

So if you are looking for a great summer or winter, vacation spot that still has the look and feel of trips up north from days gone by, head up to Harbor Springs. You won’t be disappointed.

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