Before beginning your shopping adventure in Suttons Bay (231-271-5077, suttonsbayarea.com), swing into the 45th Parallel Café (102 W. Broadway, 231-271-2233) to fuel up. Lounge under an umbrella-shaded table outside the intimate eatery as you snack on a cherry oatmeal scone and sip a tall glass of passion-fruit iced tea. Poke your head in at the adjoining 45th Parallel's Candy World to pick up some chocolate raspberry bark for yourself or a bag of rainbow-hued jelly beans for the kids.
Head down the street to Bahle's (210 St. Joseph, 231-271-3841, bahles.net) for classic fine clothing and a peek at some Suttons Bay history - vintage photos and antiques from the late 1800's, when the store first opened. Outfit yourself for a Northern summer: a sundress for balmy afternoons, a cozy knit cardigan for sunsets by the beach.
Farther on up the block, look for the orange and red archway topped by giant hand-carved, rainbow-colored fish. That's the entry to the Michigan Artists Gallery (309 St. Joseph, 231-271-4922), home to an eclectic mix of must-have art: woodcut prints, delicate ceramic flowers, jewelry, watercolor paintings and photographs.
Conduct more investigations of your own, then kick back for a dinner of grilled salmon, stuffed portabella mushrooms or tequila lime chicken at the Village Inn Tavern (210 St. Joseph, 231-271-3300). As the peach hues of evening light color the water, wrap yourself in that cardigan and make your way down to the marina to watch white sailboats bob in their slips, or spread out in the grassy bayside park and linger until the stars shine brightly above.
Katie Holland was an intern at Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.
Note: This article was first published in May 2007 and was updated for the web February 2008.