The Cherry Bowl Drive In.
Let simple pastimes transport you to times past, in Beulah, on the shore of Crystal Lake.
You don't have to wear a poodle skirt in Beulah. But you could. Folks in this Crystal Lake village appreciate progress - if they can keep one foot in the past. To turn back your clock, begin a Beulah day with breakfast at the Hungry Tummy (226 S. Benzie Blvd., 231-882-5103). After you've slid into a vinyl booth, a waitress in a nifty maroon-trimmed-in-white uniform will whisk out your bacon and eggs.
If the day promises rain, grab a lane at the Beulah Bowling Center (229 S. Benzie Blvd., 231-882-4121). Founded in 1944, this small-town alley sports a vintage feel. Tip: If the sun is out, don't head for Beulah Bowling Center. Owner Mike Messina will be at the beach, where he thinks you should be, too. The best spot to lie around in the sun is the in-town Beulah Beach on Crystal Lake.
Come lunch, look for Cherry Jerry's smiling pie-face on the sign at Cherry Hut (216 N. Michigan Ave., 231-882-4431). Whatever you order, dessert has to be a piece of the Cherry Hut's cherry pie - still as good as it was when the Cherry Hut opened in 1922. To burn it off, head a couple doors down to Crystal Mini Golf (129 N. Michigan Ave., 231-882-7050) for a rousing game. The winner gets a soft-serve next door at the Dairy King. The losers do, too. If it's an old-fashioned ice cream soda you crave, head down to the Hilltop Soda Shoppe in Benzonia (7117 South St., 231-882-9697) where they serve up the real thing.
When the sun starts to sink, it's getting on toward show time at the nearby Cherry Bowl Drive In (9812 Honor Hwy., U.S. 31, 231-325-3413, cherrybowldrivein.com). Arrive early to catch dinner in the drive-in's diner, try your hips at Hula Hoops or play more mini-golf - it's all right there. Some nights, Elvis shows up to work the crowd, or there are other treats like pony rides. As dark arrives, snuggle up in your car. It's show time on the big white screen.
Elizabeth Edwards is managing editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.
Note: This article was first published in June 2006, and was updated for the web February 2008.