Get Out On The Water – Explore The Beautiful Lakes & Rivers of Northern Michigan

Here at the tip of the mitt we are surrounded by all things WATER! Whether it’s Lake Michigan, Crooked Lake, Burt Lake, the Historic Inland Waterway, Round Lake, Pickerel Lake, Lake Charlevoix or South Arm – if it’s water you desire, you’ll find it here! Below are a few of the ways to explore these charming lakes.


Riverboat Tours – Alanson
A new northern Michigan experience! Hop aboard with Captain Gary for a unique tour of the Crooked River, part of the famed Inland Waterway. The tour begins in the Village of Alanson, travelling towards Burt lake. Guests will most likely see wildlife including: Geese, ducks, birds, eagles, deer, turtles, and even a few jumping fish. The hour and a half tour varies slightly depending on boat traffic. Captain Gary shares interesting history of how the trade on the Inland Waterway was developed, the Hotels that used to be along the path, and this was the ‘original route’ to Mackinaw island for those coming to Northern Michigan by Train. View schedule and pricing at, and come on board to experience this beautiful river of Michigan that can only be enjoyed from the water!


Captain Gary – River Boat Tours on the Crooked River

Historic Pointer Boat Tours – Harbor Springs
After many years of rest, the Pointer Boat is once again available for harbor cruises in Harbor Springs, Michigan. Originally built in 1934, this historic boat was restored in 1989 and extensively upgraded in 2014 to meet today’s United States Coast Guard standards. Tours will depart from the Pier Restaurant in downtown Harbor Springs. This tour hugs the shoreline of historic associations including Harbor Point and Wequetonsing. Tours can be catered by Stafford’s with hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches and beverages. Pricing and tour times available at Guests of all ages are welcome to join us!DSC_0030

DSC_1021 copy

The Pointer Boat Tours – Great For Guests Of All Ages!

Sunshine Tours – Charlevoix
Take in all that “Charlevoix the Beautiful” with a relaxing sailing trip on Sunshine Charters. These tours offer stunning views of Lake Charlevoix, Round Lake and Lake Michigan in the morning hours, during the day or a romantic sunset cruise. View their schedule and more information at

Sunshine Charters

Sunshine Charters

Explore With Colorful Kayaks
Kayaking is another great way to explore our lakes and rivers. There are many places to rent kayaks including: Bahnhof Sports (Petoskey), The Outfitter (Harbor Springs) or Windjammer Marina (Oden). Exploring the Harbor in Harbor Springs, Little Traverse Bay, the Crooked River, Crooked Lake and Bear River are a few of our favorite places to go. If you are a guest of Stafford’s Crooked River Lodge & Suites, we offer complimentary kayaks for overnight lodging guests to use.

Colors of summer - kayaks

River Tours at Big Bear Adventure – Indian River
A great way to explore the picturesque Sturgeon River in Indian River. Guided tours allow you to explore by kayak, raft, tubing or group rafts. This is a one-of-a-kind experience for a fun adventure up north! Reservations are strongly encouraged. View pricing, schedule and contact information at

Keewanaw Excursions – Charlevoix
Since 2000, Keweenaw Excursions has been offering outstanding sunset and sightseeing tours along the various waterways of our beautiful state. They offer a wide range of cruises from mid May through mid October including sunset tours, sight-seeing tours, and 1 to 5 day lighthouse and ship watching cruises. Enjoy cocktails, friendly staff, quiet drifting waters, informative dialog, and unparalleled beauty as we cruise out into Michigan’s majestic waterways. Whether you’re out for an informative tour or romantic excursion, whether you’re creating a photo essay of Great Lakes lighthouses or simply relaxing and enjoying the view, you’ll enjoy your cruise on the Keweenaw Star (read more of their story and find pricing and schedule details at their website –


Keewanaw Excursions

Rent or Learn to Paddle Board – Harbor Springs
Add this to your bucket list! Harbor Springs Paddle Board Club has teamed up with Red Paddle Co. offering top notch rental boards, paddles, and leashes. They offer a high end SUP rental package and several amazing launch locations in Harbor Springs including Zorn Park, Ford Park right off Bay Street and Zoll Street Beach. Guided paddle board tours are just over 2 hours long and include an ASI accredited SUP instructor, music, go pro footage, and photos. A guide takes all the pressure from somebody in the group having to “be responsible” for every body’s safety and well being. Rather than rent a paddle board, try a paddle board tour. The tour is an awesome experience and a better value. Learn more details on their website –


Rent A Boat
If boating is your style, there are a few places to rent boats as well. In Oden, we recommend Windjammer Marina, they offer a variety of Pontoons, ski boats and paddle boards. They will deliver to local lakes (for an additional fee – please see their website for details). In Charlevoix, Summertime Rentals offers a variety of pontoons, jet skis, fishing boats and more. View their website at for pricing and availability.

sunsetphotoLooking for more? Check out this video on a few Historic Boat Tours in northern Michigan, too!

The Month of Our Independence – Northern Michigan Style!

Land of the free, home of the brave! Whether you’re here for an Independence Day celebration over the long weekend or you’re here for the whole month, we’re just glad you’re here in Northern Michigan with us! Each of our quaint communities host an exciting lineup of events to honor this remarkable time in our nation’s history. And, stick around, the whole month is full of fun! Read on for a list of holiday happenings and events throughout the whole month of July.
flag and 4th
Saturday, July 4
Parade: 11 am


Friday, July 3
Petoskey Steel Drum Band: 8 to 11 pm
Fireworks: Dusk

Saturday, July 4
Parade on Main Street: 11 am to 12 pm

Friday, July 3
39th Annual Waterside Arts & Crafts Show: 10 am to 5 pm
Inflatable Alley: 10 am to 9 pm
Stroll the Streets: 6 to 9 pm

Saturday, July 4
Inflatable Alley: 9 am to 7 pm
39th Annual Waterside Arts & Crafts Show: 10 am to 5 pm
Grande Parade: 10 am
Children’s Pie Eating Contest: 11:30 am
Soap Box Derby: 2 to 4 pm
Fireworks: 10:30 pm

Friday, July 3
Burt Lake Fireworks: Dusk

Saturday, July 4
Parade: 11 am

Thursday, July 2
Street Musique: 7 to 9 pm

Saturday, July 4
Farmers Market: 9 am to 1 pm
Parade: Saturday, July 4, 1 pm & Bagpipers at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant immediately follow the parade.
Red, White & Brew: 4 to 7 pm, $5 per guest, 21 and over.
Young Americans at Shay Park: 3 pm.

Friday, July 3
Farmers Market: 8:30 am to 1 pm
Ghost Walk: $15 per guest
Live Music at The Noggin Room Pub: 8:30 to 11:30 pm

Saturday, July 4
Antiques at the Fairgrounds: 9 am to 5 pm
Parade: 6 pm
Fireworks: Dusk

But, that’s not all! We hope you’ll stick around all month – July is packed full of wonderful things to do! Check out some of our favorite July events below. For a complete list of area events visit the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau‘s website.
veranda with flag and july
Movies in the Marina
Mondays, Dusk
Enjoy an outdoor movie in downtown Charlevoix! Movies begin at dusk. View the schedule of movies here.

Charlevoix Summer Concert Series
Thursdays, 7 to 9 pm
Every Thursday from Memorial Day to Labor Day in downtown Charlevoix’s beautiful Odmark Performance Pavilion! Enjoy local, regional and nationwide musicians playing a variety of genres. View the schedule of musicians here.

Petoskey Rocks! & Movie in the Park at Dark
Fridays, beginning July 10, 7 to 9 pm (movie at dark)
Petoskey Rocks!
is a Friday evening event in downtown Petoksey. This year marks its 4th season! Get out and enjoy all that downtown has to offer then stick around for a movie in the park at dark. Visit the Downtown Petoskey website to view the theme of the evening, selected movie and approximate show times.

Meet the Artist – Thomas Legault
Friday, July 10, 2 to 8 pm

Watch this Michigan artist at work! He will set up a studio at Stafford’s Gallery creating original pieces on canvas, along with a new collection of paintings to select from.

Harbor Springs Night of Arts
Friday, July 10, 6 to 9 pm
A celebration of fine art, adornments and antiques! All the details here.

BlissFest Music Festival
Friday, July 10 – Saturday, July 12
This is a celebration of music, culture, art and community for families of all ages! Enjoy diverse and innovative folk, world and roots music and dance at the Festival Farm. Learn more here.

Boyne Thunder
Friday, July 10 – Saturday, July 11
Watch the high performance boats slicing through Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan on a 150 mile trek! Stroll the streets of beautiful Boyne City and this great downtown! View the schedule of events here.
sumphoto 1

Indian River SummerFest
Monday, July 13 – Sunday, July 19
Enjoy a week full of events – food, music, fun and sun! Bring the whole family! Read all about it here.

Cottage Walk 2015
Tuesday, July 14, 10 am to 4 pm
Explore beautiful, historic Bay View!  The walking tour features nine private cottages and four campus buildings.  Musical and dramatic performances throughout the day. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 the day of the event. Free guest parking at Petoskey High School and shuttle to and from Bay View. For more information or for advance tickets, click here.
(1) Historic ArcheitectureStreet Musique
Thursdays, 7 to 9 pm
Enjoy musical delights while strolling Main Street in downtown Harbor Springs – every Thursday evening from June 25 through August 27, 7 to 9 pm! Visit the Harbor Springs Chamber of Commerce website for details.

Shay Days
Friday, July 17 & Saturday, July 18, 10 am to 2 pm
Join the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society as they celebrate the life and work of  Ephraim Shay. Fun for the whole family, featuring small scale live steam locomotives in Shay Park, kids games and self-guided tours of the Shay Hexagon House, crafts at the Harbor Springs History Museum and more! Details here.

Art in the Park
Saturday, July 18, 9 am to 4 pm
Peruse the artists from near and far for a wide variety of items from pottery to jewelry, from paintings to photographs, and much more! For more information, click here.

North American Indian Art Fair
Saturday, July 18, 9 am to 4 pm
In the park next to Stafford’s Pier Restaurant, showcasing culture, history and native American Indian tradition through the works of Native American artists and artisans. Featuring demonstrations of copper bowl making, wood spoon making, black ash basketry, natural dyes, beadwork and more. Read more here.

Venetian Festival
Saturday, July 18 – Saturday, July 25
This local tradition began 85 years ago as a simple candle-lit boat parade. Now, it’s grown into an entire week packed with fun. There is something for everyone at every age! Read all about it here.

Northern Michigan Antique Flywheelers Engine & Craft Show
Thursday, July 23 – Sunday, July 26
Fun for families of all ages! Enjoy the history, flea market, arts, crafts and music! Read more about it here.

Little Traverse Yacht Club’s Ugotta Regatta
Friday, July 24 – Sunday, July 26
Get out and watch some of the best sailboat racer in the county on Little Traverse Bay! For more information, click here.

Bay Harbor Arts Festival
Saturday, July 25 – Sunday, July 26
Now in its 16th year, stop by to check out the high quality art. Learn more about the festival here.

50th Annual Sidewalk Sales
Friday, July 31 – Saturday, August 1
Enjoy bargains, entertainment, food and fun this downtown Petoskey tradition! Click here for all the details!
Downtown Petoskey

Looking for more to do? Check out our 103 Things To Do In Northern Michigan or visit the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau.

Sip Along In ‘Up North’ Wine Country + Events

DSC_0317The Bay View Wine Trail is a collaborative effort of the 9 wineries in “Up North” Wine Country. Sip award-winning wines, enjoy gracious hospitality and experience these beautiful destinations!

Northern Michigan Wineries & Tasting Rooms

Harbor Springs Annual Waterfront Wine Festival
Set for Saturday, June 27, 2015 from 4 to 7 pm, the festival takes place on the lawn right next to Stafford’s Pier Restaurant. It’s a wonderful afternoon of wine tasting, live local music, raffle prizes and more. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 the day of event. You can purchase a ticket by visiting the Harbor Springs Area Chamber of Commerce website. For more information, follow the Waterfront Wine Festival on facebook!DSC_0346

The Sweet Sounds of Summertime

Part of Northern Michigan’s quaint charm is created by all our talented local musicians that call this place home! Be sure to enjoy the sweet sounds of summertime with any or all of these fabulous ongoing events through out the summer. No matter which town you may be visiting, or what day of the week it is, music is within ear shot!

Charlotte Ross Lee Concerts in the Park
Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays, 12 pm, Pennsylvania Park, Downtown Petoskey
Pack a picnic and enjoy a nice relaxing lunch break in downtown Petoskey. Children’s theme on Wednesdays! View the schedule of musicians here.

(62) Concert in the Park
Music on Bidwell Plaza

Thursdays, 12 pm, Crooked Tree Arts Center, Downtown Petoskey
Enjoy this outdoor singer/songwriter series, part of Crooked Tree Arts Center. View the schedule and musicians here.

(14) Crooked Tree Arts Center
Summer Concert Series

Thursdays, 7 to 9 pm, Odmark Performance Pavilion, Downtown Charlevoix
A concert series you don’t want to miss! Relax with a variety of music right on the water in downtown Charlevoix! View the schedule of musicians here.

Street Musique

Thursdays, 7 to 9 pm, Downtown Harbor Springs
Local musicians set up through out the quaint downtown streets of Harbor Springs each summer, creating a wonderful vibe to downtown! View details here.

(51) Street Musique - atwood green band (courtesy of PAVB)
Stroll the Streets

Fridays, Downtown Boyne City
The streets are closed and filled with local musicians and fun for the entire family! An event you do not want to miss this summer! View the schedule of musicians here.

Stroll the Streets 2011 2
Jam Sessions
Sundays, Red Sky Stage, Downtown Petoskey
Musicians of all skill levels are welcome to bring an instrument, sing along or just listen at these informal sessions. Bliss Fest Jam Sessions: 1 to 4 pm. Jazz Jam Sessions: 5 to 7 pm. Details and more events here.

Vespers Concerts
Sundays, 8 pm, John M. Hall Auditorium, Bay View
A Bay View tradition since the 1800s! Catch these wonderful performances – view a complete schedule here.

(69) Vespers concert at John M. Hall Auditorium
Petoskey Steel Drum Band

Enjoy this unique sound that has become synonymous with summertime in Northern Michigan! The band will be performing at various times and locations throughout the summer. View their calendar of events here. Catch them on the Rose Garden Veranda at Stafford’s Perry Hotel Thursday, July 2, 7 to 9 pm!

Looking for more Northern Michigan fun? View our 103 Things To Do In Northern Michigan post here!

The “Earth” without “art” is just “eh”

Add some color to your summer with these fine Michigan artists! Stop by Stafford’s Gallery of Art to browse their collections or join us for an exciting event this summer. We’re open late every Friday evening throughout the summer for Petoskey Rocks!

Gallery Walk
Thursday, June 18, 6 to 9 pm
A much anticipated annual event! Join us for an evening of art. Browse Downtown Petoskey’s art galleries, meet artists and win some fabulous prizes. Enjoy the afterglow on the Rose Garden Veranda and Stafford’s Perry Hotel! For more information, visit the Downtown Petoksey website.

Cork & Canvas Plein Air – A Creative Afternoon
Tuesday, June 30, 3 to 6 pm
We invite you to bring your friends for an afternoon of art and wine on the Rose Garden Veranda! Local artist Katie Brines, will provide step-by-step instructions allowing you to create a one of a kind masterpiece on canvas. No painting talent required! Our fee includes all supplies, wine tastings and light hors d’oeuvres. Each guest will take home a finished piece of artwork. Reservations for this event are required – we fill up fast! $50 per guest. Contact our friendly Gallery staff to reserve your spot, 231-347-0142.
perry painter

Meet the Artist – Thomas Legault
Friday, July 10, 2 to 8 pm
Watch this Michigan artist at work! He will set up a studio in the gallery creating original pieces on canvas, along with a new collection of painting to select from.
Thomas LeGault - Summer Lake - Original Acrylic

Meet the Artists – Kathy Schroeder, Elaine Case, Lisa Poulson
Thursday, August 6, 4 to 6 pm
Kathy Schroeder – Enjoy her whimsical paintings representing favorite regional locations.
Elaine Case – A watercolor artist bringing in her collection of one-of-a-kind happy cards.
Lisa Poulson – She creates enamel glass paintings along with fused glass lamps and vases.

Cork & Canvas Plein Air – A Creative Afternoon
Tuesday, August 11, 3 to 6 pm
We invite you to bring your friends for an afternoon of art and wine on the Rose Garden Veranda! Local artist Katie Brines, will provide step-by-step instructions allowing you to create a one of a kind masterpiece on canvas. No painting talent required! Our fee includes all supplies, wine tastings and light hors d’oeuvres. Each guest will take home a finished piece of artwork. Reservations for this event are required – we fill up fast! $50 per guest. Contact our friendly Gallery staff to reserve your spot, 231-347-0142.
air 2photo 2 - Copy
Learn more about the gallery and view all of our artists here.

Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 10 am to 6 pm
Friday: 10 am to 8 pm
Saturday: 10 am to 6 pm
Sunday: 10 am to 4 pm

Contact Info

10 Things To Do In Alanson

Whether you’ve just arrived to our neck of the woods and are ready for some fun and relaxation or you’re lucky enough to call this place home and you’re looking for a great way to spend some time this summer, we have the answer for you! What to do, what to do? Well, the possibilities are endless, but here are 10 of our favorite things to do in Alanson!

1. Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center
Spend some time checking out the exhibits, train car, nature trail and gift shop at Oden State Fish Hatchery and Visitor Center just South of Alanson – fun for families of all ages. Learn more here.
hatchery collage


2. Sanctuary Island
Take a ride on the small hand-propelled ferry and venture over to the island. Follow the board walk once you arrive! Learn more here.
sanctuary island boardwalk 2

3. Playground
Ready. Set. Go! The kids will love an afternoon at the playground in downtown Alanson. Pack a picnic lunch enjoy.
playground WEB

4. North Western State Trail
Run, walk or bike along the North Western State Trail. Head North to Mackinaw City (not paved, undergoing renovations) or South to Petoskey. Don’t forget your helmet!
Trails Collage

5. Swing Bridge
Alanson is home to the world’s shortest swing bridge! Take a walk or drive over it or boat under it. Learn more about it here.
(81) Swinging Bridge

6. Nature Exploration
Grab a property map from the front desk and take a hike along our nature trail, feed the fish in the pond and enjoy the view! Too hot, take a dip in the pool. (Purchase a pool pass from our friendly front desk staff.) Lodging guests have access to complimentary kayaks and paddle boats.
outside collage

7. Alanson Riverboat Tours
New this year! Come enjoy the beautiful Crooked River with a Riverboat Tour, a perfect way to experience the incredible beauty of this historical Inland Waterway, with ever-changing landscapes, scenery and wildlife. This 40′ Coast Guard certified pontoon boat offers comfortable seating, a bathroom and a beautiful, one-of-a-kind panoramic view of the river. Schedule and costs may be found here. Great photo by Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau!
river boat tours

8. Inland Water Route Historical Society Museum
Take a step back in time and learn about our treasured Inland Waterway and the towns along it. View hours and contact info here.
(55) Inland Waterway Museum
9. Go Boating
Rent a boat or a fun-toon from Windjammer Marina and explore Crooked Lake, Crooked River, Burt Lake and more on your own schedule! Contact Windjammer Marina for all the details.
river collage

10. Sweet Treats
Two great places to add to your must-do list! First, the Dutch Oven Bakery in downtown Alanson. Enjoy donuts, scones, light lunch and other baked goods. Next, head to the Mackinac Island Fudge and Creamery Company for hand-dipped ice cream, chocolates, caramel corn and more!
creamery and dutch oven

Looking for more to do? Visit our 103 Things To Do In Northern Michigan post! 

20 Things To Do This June In Northern Michigan

FullSizeRenderWhether a visitor or local, here is our top list of things to do this June!

1. Sunday Brunch at Stafford’s Bay View Inn
Sunday, 8:30 am to 1:30 pm
A Bay View Inn tradition since 1962! Make reservations to enjoy a brunch you’ll never forget –  breakfast items, lunch entrees, chef carved meats, sides, sweets and a homemade waffle station! $21.95 per guest. Call 231-347-2771 for reservations.

Blueberry waffles with maple syrup, topped with whipped cream and mint leaf. Served with fresh strawberries and sausages on the side.2. Visit A Local Farmers Markets
Pick up fresh produce and other goods from our local growers right here in northern Michigan.

3. Take A Historic Tour Aboard The Pointer Boat
She’s back in the water and docked at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant! We are now taking reservations for Historic Tours on the Pointer Boat for the summer of 2015, beginning on or around June 1, 2015 through September (weather permitting). Reservations may be made by calling 231-881-8048. Tickets are $20 per person, $15 for children (10 and under).
DSC_01494. Join The Fun At The Downtown Petoskey Summer Open House!
Friday, June 5, 6 to 9 pm
Celebrate the beginning of the summer season in downtown Petoskey! Details here.

5. Mackinac Island Annual Lilac Festival
Friday, June 5 – Sunday, June 14
You won’t want to miss the views, aromas or activities throughout the week! View all the details here.Lilacs6. Head To Charlevoix’s Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, June 6
Celebrate Michigan Craft Brews and local foods in Charlevoix! Visit their Facebook page for more information.

7. Tuesday Wine Tasting at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant
Tuesday, June 9, 5:30 to 7 pm
Join Stafford’s Pier Restaurant for the final Tuesday Wine Tasting of the season, featuring a taste of select wines and Chef Britt’s appetizers. $10 per guest.
Tuesday Wine Tastings8. Join Downtown Petoskey For Gallery Walk
Thursday, June 18, 6 to 9 pm
Enjoy an evening of fine art in downtown Petoskey. Many galleries will even have their artists present throughout the evening. We welcome all art lovers to stop by Stafford’s Gallery of Art & History and the afterglow party on the Rose Garden Veranda at Stafford’s Perry Hotel!
Gallery Building 29. Visit The 13th Annual In-Water Boat Show
Friday, June 19 – Sunday, June 21
A great way to kick off the summer boating season in northern Michigan! Watch for details here.

10. Sample Local Favorites At The Annual Taste of the North
Saturday, June 20, 11 am to 3 pm|
Enjoy great food, activities and historical displays! Tickets will be available at the gate. We will be there, too! For more information, click here.

11. Blessing of the Fleet & Summer White Party
Wednesday, June 24
A Harbor Springs Historical Society’s tradition – the officially launch the summer season with the Blessing of the Fleet (boat parade). Then join the Summer White Party held at the Boathouse of Harbor Springs – music, local foods, beer, wines and cocktails! More information here.

12. Street Musique
Thursdays, June 25 – August 27, 7 to 9 pm
Enjoy musical delights while strolling Main Street in downtown Harbor Springs – every Thursday evening from June 25 through August 27, 7 to 9 pm!Visit the Harbor Springs Chamber of Commerce website for details.
51-street-musique-atwood-green-band-courtesy-of-pavb13. East Jordan Freedom Festival
Thursday, June 25 – Sunday, June 28
This event is great family fun! Click here for events details and schedule.

14. SOBO Arts Festival
Saturday, June 27
Celebrate the visual, performing, written and audible arts in Boyne City’s historic downtown! View more information here.

15. Fun For All Ages – The Bay Harbor Vintage Car & Boat Festival
Saturday, June 27
Enjoy a spectacular gathering of vintage cars and motor boats! The parade is free to the public. View more information here.

16. Sip Some Wine At The Annual Waterfront Wine Festival
Saturday, June 27, 4 to 7 pm
Enjoy an afternoon of wine, food and fun in downtown Harbor Springs! Click here for more information.
waterfront wine festival17. The 17th Annual Summer Art Show
Saturday, June 27, 10 am to 5 pm & Sunday, June 28, 10 am to 4 pm
Browse the works of art and scenic views on the shore of Round Lake in downtown Charlevoix! Participating artisans are carefully selected to ensure a well rounded show with many beautiful and unique items on display.

18. Cork & Canvas Plein Air – A Creative Afternoon
Tuesday, June 30, 3 to 6 pm
Local artist Katie Brines will be on the Rose Garden Veranda at Stafford’s Perry Hotel to provide step-by-step instructions allowing guests to create a one of a kind masterpiece on canvas. No painting talent required! Our fee includes all supplies, wine tastings and light hors d’oeuvres. Each guest will take home a finished piece of artwork. Reservations for this event are required – we fill up fast! $50 per guest. Contact our staff to reserve your spot, 231-347-0142.
IMG_735119. Explore The Beautiful Bike Trails
The most scenic bike trails are right here in northern Michigan. The Little Traverse Wheelway spans from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix and offers breathtaking views of Little Traverse Bay. The North Western State Trail can be accessed on M-119 and continues on a newly paved trail all the way to Alanson.

North Western State Trail

North Western State Trail

20. Hunt For Petoskey Stones
Petoskey Stones – our state stone – may be found anytime of year. We have learned it’s best to look after a storm. However, a search in the spring is most likely to yield the best results! Don’t forget a basket for your collection. View more tips on finding these treasures here.IMG_5946

Looking for a full area of events? View our calendar here or visit here.

Memorial Day Weekend

Perry-BalconyAs we take time this Memorial Day to reflect on the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who have served our country, we are thankful to call this corner of the mitten our home. Lets all take this time to enjoy our friends, families and loved ones – and remember why this is all possible! Here are some of our favorite ways to spend Memorial Weekend in northern Michigan!

Sidewalk Sales in Bay Harbor
Friday, May 22 – Monday, May 25
Stroll the Village of Bay Harbor and enjoy sidewalk sales.

Wild Flower Walks in Bay View
Saturdays in May, 2:30 to 4:30 pm
Join Bay View Association’s Woods Advisory Committee for a series of walks every Saturday in May! This event is free and weather-permitting.

Annual Memorial Weekend Pageant in Mackinaw City
Saturday, May 23 – Monday, May 25
Celebrate the area’s rich history with this free event – the Fort Michilimackinac Re-enactment Pageant!
Tour the Icebreaker Mackinaw Coast Guard Ship
Take a tour through the ‘Queen of the Great Lakes’  in Mackinaw, open for public tours.
(85) Coast Gaurd Cutter
Memorial Day 5K Run/Walk
Pack up the whole family to enjoy pancakes at the American Legion, 5K run/walk, parade and waterfront ceremony. Pre-register online or in person at The Outfitter.  Day-of registration at Zorn Park at 7:30 am. 100% of the entry fee will be donated to the Harbor Springs Food Pantry.

Memorial Day Parades & Services
Click here to view parade and service times and activities in Boyne City, Charlevoix, East Jordan, Harbor Springs, Indian River, Mackinaw City & Petoskey.
flags 004 (2)
What do you plan to do over this holiday weekend?  View a full calendar of events here.

She’s Back In The Water!

Stafford's Boat_thinner
In honor of the Pointer’s 80th Summer, we decided to do some major updates and renovations. It has taken a bit longer than we hoped, but we wanted to do it right! Thanks to all those at Irish Boat Shop, Inc. for their hard work, and also to the United States Coast Guard for their assistance in the certification of an 80 year old wooden vessel.
Pier Restaurant

Historic Tours
During the tour (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes), the Pointer Boat will cruise out to the end of Harbor Point, around the harbor towards Wequetonsing, to Harbor Beach and back to the dock at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant.

Beginning on or around June 1, 2015 through September (weather permitting)
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm & 7 pm

Tickets may be purchased in advance, $20 per adult, $15 per child (10 and under). Please call 231-881-8048 or email to book your tour. Or visit our website, Food, wine and beer may be ordered from the Pier’s regular menu in advance.

Pointer Boar Ride
A Little Bit Of History
The area which is now The Pointer Room at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant in Harbor Springs, Michigan is literally “on the water.” Until 1962 it was the boat house for the Harbor Point Association’s water taxi, The Pointer, which ran between Harbor Point and the Village of Harbor Springs.

As there were no cars allowed on Harbor Point, The Pointer provided a vital link for the residents of the association during the summer months. There were a total of three different vessels, all named The Pointer, which ran from 1930 until 1962. In May of 1990, Stafford C. Smith and Dudley Marvin of Stafford’s Hospitality had the last of these gracious yachts relaunched. The completely restored Pointer is now on display outside Stafford’s Pier Restaurant, in the exact location where residents and visitors formerly caught the boat for service to the Harbor Point Hotel.

Using vintage photographs by Virgil Haynes, Harbor Springs boat builder Steve Van Dam spent seven months creating an authentic restoration of The Pointer, including the green upholstered interior seating and side curtains. He added a beautifully designed compass rose table, ice storage area and sink to make the vessel a bit more yacht like.

As close as Mr. Van Dam can figure, The Pointer was a work boat built in Chassell, Michigan in 1934, with painted wood construction typical of Scandinavian design.
Pier 3BW

103 Things To Do In Northern Michigan

Northern Michigan hosts an array of activities and events year ’round. Here is a list of 103 Things Do This Summer In Northern Michigan! All these activities can be enjoyed in the quaint communities of northern Michigan including Alanson, Boyne City, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, Mackinaw City, Petoskey and Walloon Village!


1. Feed the fish in our pond, explore and hike our 20 acres, splash in our pool, relax in our hot tub or kick back next to our indoor fireplace or outdoor fire pit at Stafford’s Crooked River Lodge & Suites.

2. Visit the Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center in Oden on US-31.

3. Head to Indian River and visit the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods and museum.

4. The Hillside Gardens in downtown Alanson are planted by local volunteers and are free to visit year round.

5. Kayak, tube or canoe on the Sturgeon River at Big Bear Adventures.

6. Take a walk on Sanctuary Island. Enjoy the hand cranked ferry and beautiful views of the Crooked River.

7. Morgan Trout Fishing Farm on US-31 N is a perfect afternoon activity.

8. Explore the Crooked River with a cruise on the Alanson River Boat Tours.

9. Visit the Historic Inland Waterway Museum in downtown.

10. Rent a boat and cruise the famed Inland Waterway, connecting you to a chain of lakes and rivers.

11. Alanson is home to the world’s shortest swing bridge. Walk or drive over it, or boat underneath it.

12. Catch a sunrise over the Crooked River.
alanson collage with no words

13. Boyne City offers shops, restaurants and events all summer including ‘Stroll the Streets’ every Friday evening beginning June 12.

14. Enjoy ‘Evenings at the Gazebo’ concert series Wednesdays at 6:30 pm during the summer beginning on June 24.

15. Stroll the Boyne City marina.

16. Soar high with Wildwood Rush Zipline Canopy Tours, open mid-May through October.
boyne city collage with no words

17. Dine alfresco on Jeff’s Deck or indoors at Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant in the Earl Young inspired building.

18. Our new restaurant, The Drawbridge Bistro, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with Michigan products and impeccable views of the drawbridge.

19. Visit the downtown Farmers Market Thursday mornings throughout the summer.

20. Paved sidewalks on both sides of the Pine River in Charlevoix make for a scenic and relaxing walk to Lake Michigan.

21. Stroll the Charlevoix marina.

22. Take a tour of Earl Young’s Mushroom Houses.

23. Play life-size chess on Castle Farms giant chessboard or take a guided tour of the grounds.

24. Friske Orchards has fresh apples, cider and a petting zoo!

25. East Park features a ‘Fountain of Youth’ and has spectacular harbor views.

26. Enjoy a journey of history with a cruise on the Keewanaw Star.

27. Set sail with a private or group tour by Sunshine Charters.
charlevoix collage with no words

28. Wine & dine at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant, indoors or outdoors!

29. Every Thursday evening the streets of Harbor Springs come to life with Street Musique beginning June 25.

30. Enjoy a chair lift ride or zip line adventure at Boyne Highlands.

31. Hop in your car and take a narrated tour to Cross Village through the Tunnel of Trees – CD’s available for purchase.

32. Stock your picnic basket with fresh produce from the Farmers Market, every Saturday morning on main street in the summer.

33. Browse through the Andrew Blackbird Museum.

34. Visit Boyer Glass Works in downtown for one-of-a-kind items.

35. Peruse the Harbor Springs History Museum in downtown Harbor Springs.

36. Sweet tooth? Tom’s Mom’s Cookies in Harbor Springs is a great treat.

37. Connect with nature during a visit to Deer Park.

38. Stroll the Harbor Springs marina.

39. For an adventure, sky dive with Sky Dive Harbor Springs.

40. Take a ride on the historic Pointer Boat. Call 231-526-6201 for reservations.

41. Visit Pond Hill Farms for fresh produce and sample their new wines in the tasting room.

42. Take the family to play a few frames of bowling at Northern Lights Recreation.

43. Go horseback riding! Take a one or two hour adventure through groomed trails at Boyne Highlands.

44. Catch the Young Americans Dinner Theater beginning late June through August.
harbor springs collage with no words

45. Cruise the Straits of Mackinac with a lighthouse cruise on Shepler’s Ferry.

46. Take a day trip to Mackinac Island.

47. Drive over the world’s 6th longest suspension bridge, the Mackinac Bridge!

48. Visit the historic sites Colonial Michilimackinac and Mill Creek.

49. The Headlands is an International Dark Sky Park and the perfect place to watch the night sky.

50. Tour the U.S.C.G.C. Icebreaker Mackinaw.

51. Explore Wilderness State Park.

52. Sturgeon Bay is a local favorite and known for its miles of sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, north of Harbor Springs.
mackinaw collage with no words

53. Take a walking tour of historic architecture in Petoskey.

54. Grab a drink in the Noggin Room Pub, complete an around the world tour of over 30 brews and add your name to the “Hall of Foam.”

55. Hike the picturesque sand dunes at Petoskey State Park.

56. Voted Northern Michigan’s Best Brunch, Stafford’s Bay View Inn serves brunch every Sunday from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm (May – October).

57. Browse the boutique shops of Petoskey’s Historic Gaslight District.

58. The Little Traverse Historical Museum features Hemingway artifacts, train memorabilia and other facts from the past.

59. Try your luck at Odawa Casino.

60. Pack a picnic and relax in Pennsylvania Park with the Charlotte Ross Lee Concert Series.

61. Gather local produce at the Downtown Petoskey Farmers Market every Friday morning in the summer.

62. Walk through the winding community of Bay View and enjoy the gingerbread Victorian cottages. Concerts are held throughout the summer.

63. Enjoy the ever changing exhibits and performances at Crooked Tree Arts Center.

64. Play outdoor putt-putt golf at Pirate’s Cove Adventure.

65. Great American Adventures offers go karts, driving range, water wars, miniature golf and batting cages.

66. Petoskey is home to Kilwin’s – take home a delicious treat or tour the kitchen. Petoskey is where the company was founded.

67. Pick up some new reading material at the award winning McLean & Eakin Booksellers in downtown.

68. Canoe, kayak or stroll the Bear River Recreation Area. Rentals nearby.
Kayak Bear River cropped69. Take home some jam & sauce from American Spoon Foods – Petoskey is where the company was founded.

70. Stroll the Petoskey marina and waterfront park area.

71. Stop by Symon’s General Store in downtown for gourmet treats.

72. Sample oils and vinegars from Fustini’s in downtown Petoskey.

73. Catch a flick at the Petoskey Cinema.

74. Visit Lavender Hill Farm, just a few miles south west of Petoskey.

75. Peruse our collection of Michigan art and history at Stafford’s Art Gallery, located behind Stafford’s Perry Hotel.

76. Relax on the front porch of Stafford’s Bay View Inn or Stafford’s Perry Hotel on our comfortable wicker furniture or take in the views from our gardens in the adirondack chairs.

77. Stroll the Petoskey Breakwall.

78. Visit a northern Michigan brewery. Beards Brewery located in downtown Petoskey or Petoskey Brewing Co. located on M-119.

79. Enjoy live entertainment from local musicians in the Noggin Room Pub at Stafford’s Perry Hotel Friday & Saturday evenings, every night during the summer beginning June 12.

80. Enjoy breakfast or lunch on the Lewis Street Porch or H.O. Rose Dining Room at Stafford’s Perry Hotel.

81. Enjoy a treat at Maple Moon Family Sugary.

82. Sturgeon River Pottery offers a great selection of homemade pottery and gifts, and they make it right in the store.

83. Play of game of croquet on the lawn at Stafford’s Bay View Inn.

84. Take the little ones and spend some time at Busy Bodies Bounce Town.

85. Hop on a free trolley ride through downtown Petoskey during the mid-summer weeks.

86. Red Sky Stage is a coffee house style performing arts venue in downtown Petoskey.
petoskey collage with no words

87. Fly high above northern Michigan in a Hot Air Balloon.

88. Whirl around on roller skates at Pied Piper Skatery.

89. Spend some time on the beach and enjoy the nearby playground, too.
walloon collage wiht no words

90. Bicycle along the shore of Little Traverse Bay on the Little Traverse Wheelway, a 26 mile paved bike trail from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix. Bike rentals are nearby.

91. Bike, blade, jog or stroll along the North Western State Trail from M-119 in Petoskey to Mackinaw City.

92. Sit back, relax and take in the views of our beautiful corner of northern Michigan.

93. Pamper yourself at one of the areas renowned spas.

94. Try Stafford’s Oak Planked Whitefish – our specialty since 1961!

95. Experience exceptional northern Michigan wines along the Bay View Wine Trail.

96. Take a hike! Little Traverse Conservancy offers more than 172 nature preserves across northern Michigan.

97. Skip stones on the shores of Little Traverse Bay.

98. Fish on! Whether you want to fly fish, hire a charter or toss a line from the dock, get out and spend some time on our Great Lakes.

99. Golf at one of the areas numerous world class courses.

100. Watch local performances! Catch a concert by the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra or at the Harbor Springs Performing Arts Center.

101. Go antiquing at one of the many shops in northern Michigan.

102. Search for Petoskey stones along the shoreline of Little Traverse Bay, or purchase one in our gift shops.

103. Petoskey is known as the “Land of the Million Dollar Sunsets.” Stop by Sunset Park or the Rose Garden Veranda at Stafford’s Perry Hotel and watch the sun slowly fade into the water.
photo 2 (6)

We’d love to know, what’s your favorite thing to do in our neck of the woods?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.