It doesn’t have to be all cherries this weekend.
While the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City is one of the state’s premier events, drawing tens of thousands over the next week, there’s plenty to do away from the crowds. Here are a few recommendations:
Sleeping Bear Dunes: If you’ve already conquered the dune climb and splashed at the beach, how about a drive along one of Michigan’s most scenic stretches? The 7.4-mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive offers stunning vistas of the dunes and lakes. A Lake Michigan overlook is some 450 feet above the shoreline.
: Fifteen miles southwest of Traverse City, the 1,200-acre arts campus is open for public tours and performances. “The Tempest” is on stage Thursday and the Capitol Steps perform Saturday. (231) 276-7200. Center for the Arts
: Choose from three designated loops — Northern, Sleeping Bear or Grand Traverse Bay — or create your own. The peninsula is home to some two dozen wineries, producing some of the best Peninsula Wine Trail , and around.
Leland: Sandwiched between Lake and Lake Michigan, Leland has few competitors when it comes to oozing village charm. Interesting shops, including historic , restaurants and impressive views of the Islands.
: Food & Wine magazine named Homemade Ice Cream among the Best Ice Cream Spots in the U.S. The family-owned business churns out more than 120 flavors; 20 are available at any given time. Five miles from Traverse City, the North Long Lake Road shop sits right next to the dairy farm — talk about close to the source. (231) 941-4122.
Short’s Brewing Co.: One of the craft brewers that helped put Northern Michigan beers on the map. The pub in (a former 19 hardware store) is as lively as the unusually flavored beers. It’s a busy place most weekend nights; try the pizza. 121 N. Bridge, . (231) 498-2300.