Mother Nature's got some stiff competition coming out of Ludington. Ceramic sculpting husband and wife team Nathan and Amanda St. Hilaire-Grubich have opened The Red Door gallery and artists studio, filling it with infinitely inspired earthy pieces like this Fruits of the Fire, which looks like it'd been born of the sea for your seaside cottage. $310. 231-392-4709, ludingtonreddoor.com.
Set in stone
Bid plastic utensils a big buh-bye and serve up some flatware that transforms dinner on the deck into a fine dining experience. The handle faces shown here are crafted from white mother of pearl and our Northern Michigan gem, the Petoskey stone, but you can pair the Petoskey with other accent stones like black onyx, turquoise, lapis or gold lip mother of pearl, too. Five-piece flatware sets ($240 each set) and serving pieces - from carving knives to caviar spoons - available. Little Traverse Jewelers, Petoskey, 231-347-0261.
Two if by sea
We love how candlelight flickers in these geometric-chic holders at night, but thanks to the shell-like luminescence of each delicate square, they're just as radiant in
sunlight. $25.99 and $31, My Favorite Things, Traverse City, 231-929-9665.
Set the scene
At least once in her life a woman needs to stand on shore in the golden light of a setting summer sun with a cocktail in her hand, a scarf draped seductively around her neck and a handsome hunk at her side. We found the scarf - the glamorous champagne-and-sand-hued Gypsy Lace at Our Gallery in Pentwater - you find the hunk. (We're betting he'll provide the cocktail.) $90. 231-869-8211, ourgallery-petri.com.
Get 'em wet, wring 'em out - these Chilewich placemats can survive a Northern summer's beating without losing their shape or their chichi sheen. Add to that a little heft and a non-slip surface, and you can see why these elegant outdoor dining accessories are as hot on yachts as they are on decks. Platinum shown here; gold, celadon, coral and aquamarine also available. $17.99 each. Silvery starfish made of a special cast aluminum alloy will add sparkle and shine to your outdoor dinner party decor, but they do double-duty, too: use their weight to help napkins, placemats or tablecloth corners withstand the evening's offshore breeze. $13.99 and $9.59. All from Ciao Bella! Garden & Home, Petoskey, 231-487-0623, CiaoBellaGardenAndHome.com.
Lynda Twardowski is assistant editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.
Note: These items were available at time of publication. Please check current availability with businesses listed.