Summer is here and I’m super excited – even more so than usual. I’m making plans for family to visit and to get together with friends for good times that were definitely missed last year. I hope you’re doing the same!

If you’re ready to travel to our communities – Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Bay Harbor, Alanson, Boyne City and Boyne Falls, you are in for some surprises. In spite of the pandemic, new businesses have opened, old ones have refreshed and we are gearing up for a fun-filled, if slightly different, summer.

Let me tell you about some of the new stuff:

Boyne Highlands has added TrackMan Range to the Ross Golf Center, enabling players of all levels to practice distance control, shot-shaping and more, to improve their game. Golfers of all levels will want to check this out. 

Little Traverse Tileworks now has a permanent location in Harbor Springs. Stop in to find some great tiles – even watch while they’re being made!

Absolutely A-dor-able. When you’re in Boyne City, be sure to check out the newest gift store, Whimsical Wit. The name sums it up perfectly!

Tequila – you shouted that in your head when you read it, didn’t you? Mi Tequila Bar & Grill Mexican Restaurant is one of the newest eateries to open. It was a terrific place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and you should try it the next time you’re in the mood for tacos, flautas, enchiladas and more of the flavors of Mexico.

Just this month Flora Bae Home opened in downtown Petoskey. Don’t go in there planning to leave empty handed – it just won’t work. Or at least it didn’t for me! Gifts, botanicals and home goods are just part of the appeal – workshops and events coming, too.

Not only do they sing and dance, but the Young Americans can pivot to make sure the show goes on. They’ve cut back on the capacity for their ever-popular dinner shows, but they’ve also added matinees that don’t include a meal. Bet you’ll be humming as you leave!

Maybe the artist in you needs a place to which you can escape, dream and work on the many ideas rolling around in your head. If so, the answer may very well be the Good Hart Artist Residency where you can do all those things in a beautiful setting.

I’m interested in checking out the renovations (and food!) of a closed restaurant which is now home to Beacon Bistro in Petoskey. Expanded facilities, a view of the bay and a fresh menu are good indications of success for this downtown eatery.

Needing to spruce up your wardrobe after a year of living in sweats? Harbor Boys Apparel in Harbor Springs has stylish, comfortable clothes to up your game.

On the other side of the bay in Petoskey, you’ll find really cute clothes, accessories and fun stuff for kids at Fox and Hound. As a grandma, I’m loving this!

If you’re interested in both learning and having fun (great combo!), be sure to look into Toponexus in Harbor Springs. Self-guided, interactive exploration (think scavenger hunt) makes a terrific way for individuals and families to explore the Little Traverse Bay area.

Just a little preview of coming attractions for you, too. The Village at Bay Harbor will be welcoming a brand new waterfront restaurant, LOCAL. Chatham House Interiors will moving to the Village, the Original Pancake House will open under new management, and SIP Wine Lounge will also open with high-end wines from Europe and California by the glass, bottle and case.

In Boyne City watch for Home Again, an upscale resale shop with higher end home accessories, art and collectable items. And a new place, Boppi’s Pizza, is going in where Thick-N-Juicy was located. Looking forward to good stuff here!

I’m sure there’s places that I didn’t mention and there will be more to share in the next few months, but why not come see what’s up for yourself? I always love to go back and visit my old favorites… it’s like being welcomed home each season. But I try to keep in mind that at one time, my old favorites were new. And so the circle continues.

If you’re looking for a place to stay while visiting these new additions to our wonderful communities, visit the website and if your dates are not flexible, book early!  

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About the author

Diane Dakins is passionate about all of the communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. She strives to create informative content that gives potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.