Visit Interlochen Center for the Arts

The passion is palpable at Interlochen, which, for more than 70 years, has been the hub for all things art in the North. The reverent hush of the woods on campus makes a fine backdrop for witnessing the talents of students and nationally recognized performers all summer long.

Feel the artistic vibe at Interlochen Center for the Arts’ 1,200-acre campus, where summertime signals the start of its renowned arts camp and music festival. Look around and observe a mini United Nations — 2,000 students from 50 states and 40 countries, all dressed in powder-blue shirts and navy pants.

Take in an open-air concert at Interlochen’s Kresge Auditorium on a breezy summer night and look out at a pink-and-purple sunset over Green Lake. You might even be lucky enough to catch a performance by one of the academy’s celebrated former students, such as vocalists Norah Jones, Josh Groban or Jessye Norman.

From the log-cabin structures that pepper the campus, you can hear sweet sounds of violins and concert pianos filtering through a thick canopy of trees. More than 400 student presentations in dance, theater, creative writing, visual arts, motion picture arts and music can be seen and heard throughout the season, along with guest performances by luminaries like Van Cliburn, B.B. King and Lee Ann Womack. (For tickets, or 800-681-5920.)

And if you want to rub elbows with some of these stars, head over to the Hofbrau (2784 M-137, Interlochen, 231-276-6979), where they’re known to congregate after the show for a burger, ribs or just-like-mom’s meatloaf.

Patty Lanoue Stearns is a freelancer based in Traverse City.

Note: This article was first published in April 2006, and was updated for the web February 2008.