There are lots of special places to find near Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast and Cottages and around Lake Michigan. During this challenging time, not all the adventures of Glen Arbor, MI, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore, and the Leelanau Peninsula are open and available. But so much is open, from water to wineries to trails to shops to limited dining. Ask us for recommendations. Make reservations. Or just let it happen. You can’t miss.
Things to Do in Glen Arbor
Make your plans! Experience everything!
Dunes, Trails & Beaches
Best of all….THE DUNE CLIMB is a quick drive, or a couple miles on your bike down the Heritage Trail and through Glen Haven from the inn. Guests have actually marked their stay with a climb-up-and-run-down-the-front-face both morning and evening. More ambitious? The full Dune Climb is a strenuous 3.5 mile round trip from the parking lot to the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.Read More...
More experiences? Explore “The Five Great Experiences at the Water in Glen Arbor and the Leelanau Peninsula.” Unforgettable!
Tramp through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore with views of Glen Lake, Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands. Something for everyone. Details have been carefully mapped by the dedicated Friends of Sleeping Bear.
- Old Indian, 2 loops of about 2.5 miles; one easy, the other moderate. Woods walking and a view of Lake Michigan.
- Sleeping Bear Point, a 2.8 mile strenuous hike through dunes with a view of Lake Michigan.
- Alligator Hill, 3 loops of 3.0 to 4.7 miles of moderate woods hiking with views of Lake Michigan and Glen Lakes.
- Pyramid Point, a moderate hike of 1.2 miles to the overlook and back, or take the 2.7 mile loop. These are moderate hikes providing woods and views of Lake Michigan, and the Manitou Islands.
THE STUNNING PIERCE STOCKING DRIVE
Wind through the woods on the stunning Pierce Stocking Drive with twelve marked stops, including the best dune-and-water views anywhere at the Lake Michigan Overlook Stop #9. Only this summer, Pierce Stocking is open on Saturdays and Sundays.
THE SPECTACULAR BEACHES
Spend a day or days – after all, this is what you came for – on Lake Michigan’s sugar sand beaches just 500 feet down the road or at nearby Empire, Glen Haven, or Port Oneida. We’ll point the way from the inn, and even put a beach chair on your shoulder.
Pedal, Paddle, Fish & Golf
Crystal River Outfitters is rolling from mid-May to late October. The do-not-miss experiences of Glen Arbor: paddling on the Crystal River and pedaling the Heritage Trail, Palmer Woods Mountain Bike Path, or another great byway. Take a look at great options in our helpful Cycling Guide. We’ll make it easy for you to line everything up.Read More...
Shops & Markets
Charming spots from Glen Arbor to Leland and on to Suttons Bay and Traverse City.Read More...
Find everything from souvenirs to toys to designer finds and uniquely M22 items. Too, each day there are Farmers’ Markets and farm stands —with ours on Tuesdays, 9:00-1:00 behind the Town Hall. Even on rainy days there is lots to explore. Before you start wandering, peek at our “What to Do in Glen Arbor on A Rainy Day” blog. Some great ideas.
In Glen Arbor…..
- A stop at Cherry Republic Café & Store is a taste and “stock up” delight; tour buses stop here to take away jars and bags and boxes of cherry treats. Few leave town without something.
- M22 Store — 2 blocks east at the other end of our shopping “strip” in the Crystal River Outfitters Recreational District — offers souvenir M22 items and a Leelanau winery tasting bar. Next door, the new shop, aptly named Coastal, brings upscale clothing, biking gear, footwear, and accessories. Adjacent you will find the kayak livery and the Cyclery, hosted by their exceptionally welcoming team. How can you miss? You may even spend most of the day buying, tasting and playing in the District.
- Jeweler-extraordinaire Becky Thatcher’s gallery, around the corner on Lake Street, will tempt you with serious pieces.
- The Totem Shop is an “adventure outfitter,” with great kids’ games, toys and sports items.
- What about a fleece, jacket or new sportswear outfit at Momentum’s amazing prices next door to the inn.
- Pick up a best seller, old classic or great children’s book at The Cottage Book Shop, where you always find a smile and well-informed recommendations.
End your day at Glen Arbor Wines — you can see them from the inn on Lake Street. Relax in their lounge area with a glass of wine and a game of bocce, taste multiple varietals to take home, or pick up at bottle and deli items for your evening enjoyment.
On to Leland, wandering M22, we love Leland’s historic shanties-turned-shops at the harbor in quaint, historic Fishtown. The Cheese Shanty, Carlson’s Smoke House, favorite Sporck Tileart, the inevitable sweatshirt and ice cream shops, and more. That’s where you board the Manitou Island Transit to explore South Manitou and the majestic Lighthouse. Too, we are enchanted by Tampico’s Mexican jewelry, Molly’s beautiful sweaters, and multiple galleries.
On the other side of the Peninsula, Suttons Bay has fun ice cream and fudge shops, great clothing stores, a marina docking the Inland Seas Education Association boats, the Bay Theatre, and interesting venues like the Brainstorm Shop, specializing in “Smart Fun” that exercises the mind, the body and the imagination for “kids” of ALL ages.
And Traverse City
Most robust is pedestrian-friendly Front Street in Traverse City. Main Street America at its best, with blocks of wonderful shops, delicious “foodie” options, the magnificently restored (and all volunteer run) State Theatre, and the Victorian City Opera House. There always seems to be a festival or art fair happening on Front Street, too. Plan time to wander up-and-down if you possibly can.
Wineries, Distilleries, Microbreweries
The wineries – along with our water, beaches and dunes – are a highlight of the Leelanau Peninsula. Scroll down to find some great distilleries and microbreweries in the region, too. More and better all the time!!!Read More...
The wineries – along with our water, beaches and dunes – are a highlight of the Leelanau Peninsula. Follow the Leelanau Vintners’ Wine Trail Map to twenty-five vintners…many of them award-winning. We have favorites and are pleased to share. Just ask! Open daily late May through October, and Friday/Saturday/Sunday in early May. Although, some tasting rooms have switched to outdoor patios and pours to pre-ordered flights. All are open, but best advice: Call ahead for hours and expectations.
Special events are beginning to return among the wineries. Wine Trail dreamin’ : “A Wine Lovers’ Guide”
- “Hunt for the Reds of October” with a generous pour on the house Monday through Friday in October at most wineries.
- “Toast to the Season,” the first two weekends in November, features wine and food pairings at many wineries. End the inn’s season with our package special either weekend, including chauffeured coach, room, meals, and 3rd night complimentary.
As for microbreweries, it is all about Traverse City. Five microbreweries in walking distance right downtown and five more are a quick drive away. Given the size of the local hops crop now being cultivated, there must be more in the planning, too. “Paddle & Brew” and “TC Cycle” tours are novel means to make the rounds. Draftmagazine named TC one of America’s three newest Emerging Beer Towns.
Then, something new in the neighborhood. The innovative Iron Fish Distillery is, in their words, “a working farm dedicated to the practice of distilling small-batch craft spirits…Every step of the process –from growing and harvesting to cultivating native yeast, milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, aging and bottling – is by hand.” Whiskey, rum and vodka spirits available, with more aging in casks. At Thompsonville in nearby Benzie County. We promise it is worth the trip.
The other option – and a very different one – is Northern Latitudes Distillery in Lake Leelanau. Stop here at the end of a Wine Tour to pick up a distinct spirit or two. Whaleback Spiced Rum? Apollo Horseradish Vodka? Jack Pine Gin? Deer Camp Whiskey?
Creative Galleries, Performances & Festivals
The concerts and performances that distinguish Glen Arbor are slowly returning after the 2020 disruption. Individual galleries and artisans in this Creative Community may be found along Western Avenue and Lake Street (on both sides of Western Avenue), on M22 headed south, and at the GA Arts Center on Pine Street.
Jewelers, ceramicists, sculptors, potters, art glass and wood artisans, painters and photographers exhibit at many galleries and fairs. Ruth Conklin’s and Synchronicity Galleries are down the street on M109. The Lake Street Studios on – what else – Lake Street are around the corner; and the Glen Arbor Artisans Gallery, featuring Kristin Hurlin, is on M22 across from the Town Park.
The Manitou Music Festival, presented by the Glen Arbor Arts Center many nights in June, July and August. Even occasional Sunday night events at Glen Arbor Wines and Foothills Cafe. And don’t overlook the world-renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts, only 30 minutes away, which presents headliner performances in the great amphitheater throughout the summer. Just look around.
The joyful, memorable festivals of the Leelanau Peninsula and Traverse City are reemerging in 2022:
- July 2nd-9th: Traverse City’s National Cherry Festival, a celebration of galas, a big carnival, races, concerts, contests, and the Air & Water Show. With fascinating adaptations, it’s back! Ten days of fun, fun, fun.
- 4th of July, Glen Arbor’s own “Anything Goes Parade” will once again draw more than 4,000 spectators, after a one-year hiatus to keep everyone safe. It will take nearly an hour to pass the main corner at the inn with every imaginable red-white-and-blue decorated vehicle, band, and costumed celebrants. 12:00 sharp beginning in Glen Haven.
- July 20th: Glen Arbor Women’s Club Art Fair, featuring more than 100 talented artists and crafters in many media. All day at the Town Hall, including around the circle in the “backyard.”
- August 4th, 5th & 6th: Glen Arbor Art Center’s Plein Air Weekend, one of Michigan’s most popular Paint Outs. Participating artists are challenged to “capture the moment”. Find artists in fields, on river banks, beaches, woods, and roadsides “capturing the moment”. The challenge: all works must be completed on the same day, rain or shine, with judging and sale in the evening.
1K Walks to Marathons
Join in triathlons, marathons, 5K races and kids’ runs as they are announced for the summer and fall. Many were restored in 2021, and even more are being restored for 2022. Spectacular venues. Many participants have already claimed a room or cottage to be here. Will you be joining?Read More...
- Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon & 5K. Runners make their way along the shoreline of Big Glen Lake, featuring almost all fast and flat terrain June 18, 2022.
- July 26th Running Bear Run 5K Run/Walk, Kids ½ Mile Run/Walk. Everyone turns out for this, if only to share in the warmups on Lake Street at Cherry Republic. Savor scenic roads and shorelines on the route!
- August 5th Port Oneida 8th Annual Run for the Farms! Matchless tour of the Rural Historic District in the Park. Something for all: Kids’ dash, 5K walk/run and 10K on back gravel roads and firm Lake Michigan beach. Can’t miss.
- October 2nd, The Sleeping Bear Marathon/Half Marathon & 5K, together with Empire’s Hops Festival and the rich colors of Autumn.
We’re trying to get updates for the Annual Dune Dash 4 Mile Run/Walk, benefiting the Heritage Bike Trail; and the Vineyard to Bay 15K or 5K. Will update this message as we hear more.
Backroads & Lighthouses
What will you find along M22? Time to wander? The 116 miles — from the “trailhead” in Manistee, to Empire, past the inn to Northport, then back south to Suttons Bay. — was named by USA TODAY America’s #1 Best Scenic Autumn Drive. From beach town to beach town to beach town, “it’s not just a road, it’s a way of life.”Read More...
Time limited: check “A 48 Hour Guide to Leelanau and Benzie Counties’ Best Beach Towns” with our best advice.
What you will find along the way is exceptional in any season:
- Three lighthouses, including the Point Betsie Lighthouse north of Frankfort, the South Manitou Lighthouse at the end of the ferry from Leland, and the 150-year-old Grand Traverse Lighthouse at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula beyond Northport. The latter, particularly, hosts many events, including Summer Nights programs, and the Annual Lobster Fest.
- Love flowers? Stop at Omena Cut Flowers 5 miles north of Suttons Bay on M-22. Open from May through October, with over 40 varieties of annuals and perennials.
- Saving Birds Thru Habitat is an intriguing bird sanctuary also in Omena, offering hikes and programs throughout the season.
- Or create your own tour of the vintage barns on the backroads across the county — including the Leelanau Poor Farm Barn. Leelanau is rural. Stop at the many farmstands and markets, too. Cherries. Grapes. Asparagus. Honey. Maple Syrup. Peaches. Apples. Livestock. Can’t go wrong.
And do not miss Glen Haven, the historic Great Lakes steamship village just down the road. The Morning Star describes it as “A preserved cultural landscape, museum – that shows us a more complete picture of the lives of people who came before us….” (founded in 1857 as a settlement called Sleeping Bearville). Today, the National Park Service preserves a Blacksmith Shop, General Store (that’s a painting in the poster above), Cannery Boat Museum, and the U.S. Life-Saving Station. Plus, it is on one of the best beaches around.
There’s even more to find…..just head out the front door of the Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast and Cottages. Your perfect headquarters for everything in the town, the county and the region!
Casual to Gourmet Dining
Find out why Bon Appetit thinks the region is among the best. For lunch or dinner, choices are plentiful and first class. Following 2020, changes may still be in place at some establishments. Websites and Facebook posts will share the details for “the new normal.” And for many, your best bet is to order ahead. (Even bring your meal back to the inn to savor on an individual table on the porch, in the living room, in your room, or that special cottage you are enjoying.)Read More...
No matter the adaptations, though, our favorites on the Leelanau Peninsula are, marvelously, still here:
- Coffee or latte to-go any time of day at Leelanau Coffee Roasters.
- Art’s Tavern for top-rated cheeseburgers and tater tots — and to say that you did, since those knowing you’ve been here will ask. Be sure, too, to check the pennants that cover the ceiling. Is your school or professional team there, or do you need to donate one? (A guest last summer could not resist, sending his Auburn pennant ahead of his arrival.)
- Western Avenue Grill, a block from us, is always good for a drink or dinner.
- The M22 Market a few miles up the road on M22 — where else? — has exceptional pastrami sandwiches and excellent “Detroit pizza.” A smart and cozy stop. Be sure to tell Neil or Paul or Melanie “hello” for us if you stop.
In the evening, dine at award-winning restaurants. There’s the charming Italian Trattoria Funistrada or white-tablecloth French LaBecasse on the other side of Big Glen Lake in Burdickville, or the exceptional Blu around the corner from the inn, on the water, with James Beard-nominated chef Randy Chamberlain. For these three, though, ask us to make an advance reservation as they are often sold out by your arrival time.
If you’re venturing into Traverse City, we have great recommendations, too:
- Try gourmet Trattoria Stella in the Grand Traverse Commons, Amical on Front Street and steps from the State Theatre, or inventive farm-to-table The Cook’s House at Wellington and Front.
- On the more “smart casual” side, find Apache Trout Grill or the West End Tavern — love their amazing pork chops and the white fish — on the waterfront on W. Bayshore (M22) Drive, historic Sleder’s Tavern tucked around the corner from the Dairy Lodge off US31 for burgers and true “country mooseheads-on-the-wall” atmosphere, or excellent barbeque at Blue Tractor Cook Shop on Union Street.
One more time, we welcome requests for a reservation or recommendation when you book your room or cottage. Best to plan ahead if you have a special occasion as many of our favorites are coping with a new reality.