The Red Ladder.
Pair great antiquing with the charm of a Lake Michigan village, and you have the makings for an unforgettable day. Top it off with a bite to eat in one of Suttons Bay's delightful dinner spots.
Driving up the curvy, tree-lined coast of M-22 to Suttons Bay is always a joy, especially when your mission is meandering through the 19th-century village in search of vintage treasure.
Roll into town and park on the main drag. At Up North Antiques (311 N. Saint Josephs, 231-271-5400), find primitives, sterling silver, arts and crafts, old crocks, furniture and etchings. Nearby is the Red Ladder (326 Saint Josephs, 231-271-3231), the place for painted-white cottage furnishings, such as old dressers, and architectural finds like shutters, tall columns, leaded glass windows and lighting, all refurbished by owners Sue and Mike Gardiner. Heading over toward the bay, Suttons Bay Galleries (102 Jefferson St., 231-271-4444) carries spectacular vintage botanical and bird prints and fine art from the 15th to 20th centuries.
Now you're hungry. The 45th Parallel Café and Candy World (102 W. Broadway, 231-271-2233) cooks up divine omelets, house-made bread and hummus, amazing Asian chicken salad, and right next door, about a zillion flavors of fresh fudge and exquisite European chocolates. Or get a hit of thick spinach pie at the Silvertree Deli (119 N. Saint Josephs, 231-271-2271) and head back to the beach to push your toes into the sandy bottom of the bay.
If you still have energy on your way back home, drop into the rustic barn at Hilltop Corner (5046 S. West Bayshore, 231-271-3750) for home decor, antiques, gifts and country items.
Patty Lanoue Stearns is a freelancer based in Traverse City, Michigan. pattywrites.com
Note: This article was first published in May 2006, and was updated for the web February 2008.