A Chinese proverb says, “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”

My husband and I love to pick up tidbits of information when we travel. Whether it’s how to do something, or the history of someone or somewhere, it’s just what we like to do among our other activities.

As long as you’re going on vacation anyway (and you know you want to, right?) you may as well absorb the history of the area — maybe even take up a new hobby after going to a class. The Petoskey Area is not only scenic, but a good place to pick up a bit of wisdom, too. Keep these places in mind when you visit:

Kilwins Chocolate Kitchen, Petoskey – watch how chocolates are made at this nearly 75-year-old company that started in a small storefront in Petoskey.

Bay View Association, Bay View – I’m talking a huge variety here. Yoga, soup making, religion, tap dancing, painting… and the list goes on. All classes are open to the public in this area that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

TOPOnexus, Harbor Springs – Explore Little Traverse Bay in a whole new way. Find hidden landmarks, learn local lore and do other fun stuff! This is a wonderful family activity.

Petoskey Yesterday, Petoskey – Ernest Hemingway spent his first 22 summers in the region and Christopher Struble, President of the Michigan Hemingway Society, can give you the whole rundown on the celebrated author. Not a big Hemingway fan? Try one of Chris’ ghost tours instead just for grins and giggles.

Lavender Hill Farm, Boyne City – Of course Lavender Hill Farm can teach you a thing or two (or twelve) about lavender, lavender growing, lavender in cooking and really all things lavender. You can also visit this picturesque venue and get tips and tricks on zumba, yoga, painting, photography, belly dancing (it’s very good for you!), beekeeping and more. Who knew?

Little Traverse Historical Museum, Petoskey – A simple self-guided tour of the museum (once the Chicago and West Michigan Railroad Depot), is a terrific way to discover the history of Petoskey. But wait – there’s more! This year, walking tours are being offered Monday – Saturday at 2pm and also by appointment.

Crooked Lake Sailors, Oden (just minutes NE of Petoskey on US 31) – For kids 8 to 18, and older kids 19 – 90, Crooked Lake Sailors can show you the best way to handle yourself and a sailboat. Columbus would have gotten where he was going a lot sooner if he’d hooked up with this crew.

Harbor Springs Historical Society Museum, Harbor Springs – From Ephraim Shay (inventor of the Shay locomotive, among other things) to local history and hands-on experiences for children, this museum, located in the former Harbor Springs City Hall, does an amazing job of making history fun.

Petoskey Wine Region, various communities – 14 wineries now comprise the Petoskey Wine Region (formerly the Bay View Wine Trail) and each has a story to tell. Wine makers love to share their knowledge and passion, so stop in for a sampling and find out why the “finish” is so important.

Three Pines Studio, Cross Village – Whether you want to learn or not, this studio/gallery is a must visit! Located just off the end of the Tunnel of Trees, the beautiful drive and marvelous artwork is enough of a reason to make the trek. But if you DO want to pick up some pointers, Three Pines has some terrific open air painting workshops in July and August this year.  

There’s obviously lots to learn here – and you’ll have such a good time while you’re doing it! Plan to make Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor, Alanson, Boyne City/Boyne Falls — the Petoskey Area — your next vacation destination. Book a room in advance – It’s the smart thing to do!

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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.