Festivals | Travel

Looking beyond the Cherry fest

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.

Interlochen Center for the Arts: 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.

Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail: 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 rieslings, pinot blancs and pinot noirs around.

Leland: Sandwiched between Lake Leelanau and Lake Michigan, Leland has few competitors when it comes to oozing village charm. Interesting shops, including historic Fishtown, restaurants and impressive views of the Manitou Islands.

Moomers Homemade Ice Cream: Food & Wine magazine named Moomers 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 Bellaire (a former 19th-century hardware store) is as lively as the unusually flavored beers. It’s a busy place most weekend nights; try the pizza. 121 N. Bridge, Bellaire. (231) 498-2300.

Greg Tasker
Greg Tasker is Detroit News Arts and Entertainment Editor and has been writing about travel for more than a decade. His travel stories have appeared in AAA Living, Frommer's Budget Travel, Scouting, AMC Outdoors, Vermont Life and Island Life.