If you haven't been to the 100-year-old waterfront resort town
of Harbor Springs, Mich., start planning your trip now-even if you
only have a weekend to spare. This quaint, family-friendly spot is
loaded with charm and activities that make for a lively yet
relaxing vacation. My family, including 5-year-old twins, visited
for just 48 hours and recommend the following itinerary:
7 a.m.: Up and at 'em! Get on the road bright
and early for the nearly six-hour drive, which you'll find totally
worth it upon arrival.
1 p.m.: Arrive at Boyne Highlands Resort
(boyne.com), easily the most kid-friendly hotel in the vicinity,
with family suites and a bevy of things to do for all ages. Take a
scenic ride on the chair lift to get a good lay of the land, then
head toward downtown Harbor Springs.
2 p.m.: Grab lunch to go (try the Trainwreck
sandwich) at Gurney's Harbor Bottle Shop-a liquor store also known
for its exquisite sandwiches-and head to the downtown public beach
to catch some sun.
4 p.m.: After lounging on the white sand,
browse the unique shops featuring Michigan-made products such as:
The American Spoon, specializing in preserves, sauces and salsas;
Tom's Mom's Cookies, with 17 varieties of soft, chewy cookies
weighing in at 3 ounces each; and the beautiful Boyer Glassworks
Studio and Gallery.
6 p.m.: Dine at The New York Restaurant
overlooking Little Traverse Bay for dinner, then stop for dessert
at Yummies, which has more than 50 flavors of ice cream and
Dusk: It's Family Movie Night at Boyne on the
Main Lodge lawn, where families enjoy kid-friendly flicks and free
9 a.m.: Hit downtown Harbor Springs again for
breakfast at Mustang Wendy's, a classic serving up Tex-Mex and
Western fare. The chili braised beef short rib hash and breakfast
burrito are both gems.
Noon: Lunch at the Garden Café at Pondhill Farm
where farm-to-plate food is served in a historic barn overlooking
the gorgeous property. Afterward the kids can feed pigs, cows,
chicken and geese in the Livestock Barn. Don't leave without trying
out the Squash Rocket, a giant slingshot, to sling squash out into
2 p.m.: Cool off at the Boyne pool and chill
out at the resort. Practice shooting hoops on the basketball
courts, take a tennis lesson or tour the resort by bike or
6:30 p.m.: If your visit is in July or August
and the family enjoys live musical shows, The Young Americans
Dinner Theatre, featuring hand-picked talent from across the
country, is on site at Boyne and an absolute must-see.
Or get ready for a fabulous view and dinner on the water at
Stafford's Pier Restaurant, built on original pilings over the
Dusk: Enjoy dessert and cocktails on the patio
of the Slopeside Lounge at the resort while the kids roast
marshmallows and make s'mores by the bonfire on the adjacent
9 a.m.: Breakfast is at Mary Ellen's Place,
where locals and tourists peruse their newspaper of choice (they
sell out-of-town papers) and munch on hash browns stuffed with sour
cream and cheese.
Almost time to pack up and leave: Hit the Little Traverse Bay
Restaurant to fuel up for the journey home. Then lament why you
didn't plan to stay in Harbor Springs longer.
Linda made it a goal to try out every kid-friendly venue in Chicago, which she chronicles in her Chicago Parent Good-to-Go column.
See more of Linda's stories here.
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