An Annual Summer Getaway to Harbor Springs, More than a Family Tradition

Melanie Dawson currently lives in Minneapolis, but she’s been visiting Harbor Springs, Michigan for 15 summers now. Today, she shares with us what draws her family back to the area year after year.

Photo credit: Lou Peeples-Photography; www.pointephotography.net


I grew up in Phoenix, AZ, the desert landscape being infinitely different from northern Michigan. But I lucked into marrying a Midwestern man from Indiana, whose family comes to Harbor Springs every summer. I’ve been visiting Harbor Springs for 15 summers now, my husband for 39. His mother spent her summers there, as did his grandmother and her parents, making our daughter the fifth generation. It’s more than a family tradition, for them (and now for me) it’s a way of life. A summer not spent in Harbor Springs is a summer with something missing. Every year we look forward to revisiting old favorites and finding new gems.

Restaurants we love: Depot Club & Restaurant, serving gourmet food. Coat required indoors, more casual on the patio. New this year is Petoskey Brewing, housed in an old brewery from 1898. This family-friendly place serves delicious microbrews (try a flight of three or four 4 oz pours) and a solid pub menu and is located on the drive between Harbors Springs and Petoskey. We also thoroughly enjoy sitting outside at Dudley’s Deck, which provides covered dining on the patio or the open grass area across from the dock. On a gorgeous night it’s a pleasure to sip one of their famous Hummers and watch the sun go down. Don’t miss Turkeys Café & Pizzeria (serving pizza and sandwiches) and Gurneys Harbor Bottle Shop (a liquor store that makes amazing cold sandwiches to order at lunchtime). There’s nowhere to sit at Gurney’s so take your sandwiches down to the pier and watch the yachts come in and out.

For ice cream and treats, my daughter would tell you that Yummies is a must, serving her favorite flavor of ice cream: Superman. As a grown-up, I am loving the new Velvet, an ice cream shop with a more sophisticated interior and delicious flavors. Not a summer goes by where we don’t get a cookie from Tom’s Mom’s. Housed in the tiniest shop you may have ever seen, the cookies are fresh baked. If you love fudge, check out Kilwin’s and Howse’s.

Leaving the downtown area, Pond Hill Farm is a wonderful way to spend a few hours. The farm is home to cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and geese. It features a café and winery with farm fresh ingredients.  There’s a trout pond to fish in, a squash rocket to experiment with, and a market that features pesticide and herbicide free produce hormone and antibiotic free organically raised beef, pork, and lamb, plus other organic products. My daughter’s grandparents enjoy taking the grandchildren to Thorne Swift Nature Preserve, featuring a boardwalk through dense woods and beach frontage and several stopping points with educational information on trees, flowers, animals, insects, and environmental topics. You can’t go wrong visiting the beach at Petoskey State Park where you can spend hours searching for the hard-to-find Petoskey Stone.

Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf in Petoskey is my daughter’s number one favorite activity to do when we visit Northern Michigan. With several locations around the country, it isn’t exclusive to Michigan, but it provides an hour or so of wicked fun. What kid (or kid at heart) doesn’t enjoy miniature golf with the family?

If you love being active on the water, visit The Outfitter. This comprehensive shop features all the gear you need (you can rent paddleboards and kayaks) plus a generous amount of activewear, shoes, and accessories for all of your active pursuits.

Melanie Dawson is an avid traveler who loves exploring the United States and abroad with her husband John and 8 year old daughter Reese. She lives in Minneapolis, MN where she pursues her passions of cooking, nutrition, and living an active lifestyle.

For more things to do and see in Harbor Springs, visit michigan.org.

Pure Michigan July 2013 Fan Photos

August is here and summer is still in full swing here in Pure Michigan! Since everyone has been out enjoying the sun and warmer weather, we wanted to take a look back at some of our favorite photos from July. Below is a gallery of just some of the stunning photos that our Pure Michigan Facebook community shared with us last month. See more on the Pure Michigan Flickr page.

Which photo from July is your favorite? If you have a photo to share with us, visit the Pure Michigan Facebook page and post it there.

The 2013 Ann Arbor Art Fair: 1,100 Artists, 1,100 Stories, and One Big Michigan Tradition

For more than 50 years artists with amazing talents and unsurpassed skills have come to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor to exhibit at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. This year, artists will display their latest work and engage the imaginations of more than 500,000 annual fairgoers from July 17 – 20. 

Daniel Cherrin who works with the team behind this award-winning event is here to fill us in on what to expect this year. Read from him below and learn more about The Ann Arbor Art Fair by visiting michigan.org.

Tradition is important in Michigan and some will even tell you that tradition began in Ann Arbor. In fact, every July 1,100 artists from all over the world submit their artwork to a jury of their peers waiting for the honor and privilege of exhibiting in The Ann Arbor Art Fair.  The Ann Arbor Art Fair is not just one fair – it is four major art fairs in one big event.

For four days, from July 17-20, 2013, art collectors, people watchers and those that just enjoy being a part of tradition will come to Ann Arbor to walk the 30 city blocks of pop-up retail before these artisans pack up their crafts and move on to other locations.  It is the time of year when friends meet up and where parents take a day off of work to spend it with their children.

Every year brings new artists and brand new art. Whether it is experimenting with a new medium – from mixed media to digital media, from wood to metal, jewelry to fiber and fabric – The Ann Arbor Art Fair has something for everyone, making it one of the top art fairs in the nation.

Every artist has a story to tell, and in Ann Arbor you will have the chance to hear their stories and then the opportunity to re-tell it when you share their art with friends and family.

For example, talk to celebrities such as Barbara Lazaroff or Dustin Hoffman and they will tell you about their private collection of works by Sondra Wampler, a California surfer turn photographic artist, whose works also appear in the corporate collections of the Four Seasons, Scottsdale Quarter, Kaiser Permanente and others.

Work from Darrin Hoover

Speaking of celebrities, have you seen artist Ayala Naphtali’s works on NBC’s Parenthood or how about the works of Armando Pedroso on Chicago Fire or Cougar Town?

Most artists have interesting stories to tell about how they became an artist.  Take Darrin Hoover, always known as “the kid that could draw,” is now a well-known artist who has created a unique style of aging new wood to create something we can all connect to.

So this July, come to Ann Arbor to celebrate, collaborate and create with our 1,100 artists, spanning over 30 city blocks, from 38 states and four countries, for the 54th Annual Ann Arbor Art Fair, July 17-20, 2013.,Each one has a story to tell and it is your opportunity to develop new relationships, build on old ones and enjoy a right of summer, one of Michigan’s best traditions and an event that is Pure Michigan. It’s a great time to also take part in the many art demonstrations, children’s activities, musical entertainment, shopping and to enjoy all the wonderful restaurants Ann Arbor has to offer. For more information, please visit TheAnnArborArtFair.com.

Will you be heading to Ann Arbor for the art fair? Share with us below!


Daniel Cherrin is an attorney practicing public relations, crisis management and public affairs. He is the former Communications Director for the City of Detroit and Press Secretary to the Mayor of Detroit. He is a co-founder of M10 Marketing, an integrated brand + advertising + marketing + agency, providing organizations the opportunity to expand and build their brand. The Ann Arbor Art Fair is an M10 client.