Michiganders love their Up North excursions each summer as witnessed by the number of trucks and SUVs loaded down with camping equipment, jet skis, and supplies for their rustic cabins.
However, come November when haunted house season is over (yes, Michiganders also love their spooky Halloweens), you’ll still find them heading up north, but for a different reason – for a weekend of holiday shopping.
And Petoskey Michigan, along with its neighboring communities is a popular holiday shopping destination in Northern Michigan.
Petoskey Michigan Shops
Known as a place for exploring the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay searching for Petoskey Stones, Petoskey also boasts a picturesque downtown area with streets lined with unique shops and boutiques, cafés, and restaurants.
And while it’s a shopping Mecca all year round, come Christmastime, it’s just what the doctor ordered – Dr. Santa, that is.
The problem is deciding where to start ….and making sure to leave time to check out Harbor Springs and Charlevoix, and possibly Boyne City and Bay Harbor, for they all have a plethora of businesses all stocked with items that are probably on your Christmas shopping list.
Most of the shops are located in the storied gaslight district of downtown, with over 170 one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants serving cuisines you’d expect in a cosmopolitan city rather than a small town with only 6,000 residents,
Joie De Vie Antiques
1901 M-119, Petoskey, MI 49770
Known for its pink tent, Joie De Vie, as its name testifies, carries a wide and varied selection of antiques sure to delight antique lovers on your list. But you’ll also find conversation piece accessories, accent furnishings, paintings, mirrors, paintings, estate jewelry, and although they don’t qualify as antiques, Nespresso Coffee machines.
216 Howard Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
Do you have any homebodies on your list or perhaps someone who’s just purchased a house? Well then, Cutlers should be your next stop.
A treasure trove of home gifts you can find anything that goes into presenting a meal: dishes, and mugs; saucepans, frying pans, sauté, loaf, cake, and pie pans; not to mention cookbooks, cutlery, cookie sheets, and cleaning tools.
And that’s just one department. Cutler’s is a place you have to be to believe. And if like many shoppers, your eyes are bigger than your arms, Cutler’s will ship anywhere.
321 E. Lake Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
And now for the outdoor enthusiasts on your list. Whether they’re campers or birders, scuba divers or fishers, Bearcub Outfitters can, well… outfit them all. Hammocks for the loungers, backpacks for the trekkers, tents, and tarps for the campers.
If they do it, Cutler’s has the tools. And they also have the clothing to fit the weather – rain suits and ponchos, thermal vests and jackets, fleece pullovers, puffy parkas, and lightweight windbreakers. Need we say more?
Grandpa Shorter’s Gifts
301 E Lake Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
Grandpa Shorter’s is truly the grandfather of the Gaslight District. Opened in 1946 in a 12×15-foot space, the family-owned emporium started out selling one item – Minnetonka Moccasins but went on to offer so many items with an up North aura that it was voted Northern Michigan’s favorite gift shop.
And if you have loved ones who’d love an authentic Petoskey gift, it’s the place to get them a polished Petoskey stone, or perhaps a Petoskey stone pendant, ornament, pocketknife, or a pocketful of Petoskey worry stones.
Meyer ACE Hardware
421 East Mitchell Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
If a hardware store seems out of place on a list of Christmas shopping destinations, hold that thought.
Don’t you have individuals on your list who are This Old House wannabes? Meyer ACE Hardware is, as they say, the helpful place to help them feed their fantasy with a diet of power and/or mechanic tools and the bags, chests, and cabinets to store them.
And while you’re here, don’t forget your own home, doesn’t it deserve to be decked out in the latest Christmas styles? Meyer has inflatable snowmen, Santas, and reindeer, pre-lit, wreaths, garlands, and trees as well as strings of Christmas lights.
Harbor Springs Shops
Harbor Springs is another Up North community that should be on your Christmas shopping list. Its location on Little Traverse Bay makes it a year-round vacation spot with kayaking, sailing, and golfing during warm weather, skiing and snow tubing when things turn cold, but it especially lights up during the holidays when the two-block totally walkable downtown shopping area turns into a paradise for shoppers searching for those special people on their list.
246 East Main Street, Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Lake Affect describes itself as a carefully curated retail experience that allows visitors to discover and celebrate the essence of Up North Life. Geared toward women, it offers gracefully comfortable fashions ranging from flowing robe-like cardigans to form-fitting cowl dresses to deconstructed joggers.
But if you’re not certain of the size of an individual on your list, you can browse other fashionable items gathered here: the casual leather strung beaded jewelry, fashionable eyewear, or Detroit-made Shinola watches.
139 State Street, Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Belle Aquatic mixes art gallery with upscale finely crafted jewelry store. In other words, it is not a place you’ll find inexpensive trinkets.
However, if the ladies on your list are super special you’ll find bejeweled gold and silver adornments that let them know just how special they are. Their earrings range from dainty posts and delicate drops to wide hoops, dangling threads, and cascading drops.
You’ll also find graceful gold and silver necklaces bearing stones from diamonds and sapphires to turquoise, tourmaline, and opal. And of course, you’ll also find rings and bracelets too.
And if you book ahead you can also visit a gallery show featuring the work of one of the eclectic groups of artists Belle Aquatic has gathered from all parts of the country
Charlevoix is triply blessed with three shorelines. Located at the convergence of Lake Michigan, Round Lake, and Lake Charlevoix, it boasts floating docks where owners of impressive-looking yachts moor their boats while they dine in Charlevoix’s many cafés, breakfast spots, and fine dining establishments.
But you don’t have to be a sea-faring person to enjoy the delights of Charlevoix while crossing off a gift or two from your Christmas shopping list.
217 Bridge Street, Charlevoix, MI 49720
northBound may choose an unconventional way to capitalize its name, but its merchandise is down-home comfortable Up North stuff.
It carries nautically themed sweatshirts, t-shirts, tote bags, and housewares you’d be likely to pick up on a summertime visit but will also make great gifts for those casual friends on your list.
Check out their handcrafted candles and stationery. They all make great stocking stuffers.
317 Bridge Street, Charlevoix, MI 49720
Customers of this Charlevoix staple overwhelmingly rate it five stars for its reasonably priced women’s clothing that is both everyday fashionable yet eye-catching unique. But practically to a person, they all cite J.Phillips for its friendly sales associates who go out of their way to be helpful but not intrusive.
And then there are the elaborate window displays that have been attracting generations of Charlevoix residents. Check them out even if you don’t think you have time to stop. Chances are, you’ll find time once you’ve seen them. Everyone does!
Boyne City Shops
Boyne City shares Lake Charlevoix with Charlevoix but has a flavor all its own. And while its name doesn’t constantly come to mind when talking about typical Up North vacation spots, word on the lake has it that Charlevoix has a budding rival in Boyne City.
And a quick look at Boyne City’s social calendar will reveal dates blocked out for a car show, weekly farmer’s market, and not only an art festival but a harvest festival and a mushroom festival. Add street music, drag races, and an arts and crafts festival, and you’ll get the idea.
Boyne City is a festive place to visit. And that goes for every day, given the businesses and restaurants sprouting up.
52 Up North Weekends
101 Water Street Suite A, Boyne City, MI 49712
The name of this eclectic clothing/accessory/decor store sets the scene for what you’ll see when you walk through its door. And while in summer you may see swimwear, tees, and towels, at this time of year you’ll find casual comfortable clothing suitable for keeping warm on all the 20 or more cold Up North weekends: fleece-lined leggings, buckle shawls, and warm cardigans.
And for those new parents on your gift list 52 Up North Weekends has a wide selection of cuddly comfy infants’ clothing; and for everyone else, one-of-a-kind stocking stuffers like olive oil loofah soap and Petoskey stone coasters, and Petoskey stone fragrance diffusers.
The Birds Nest
112 Water Street, Boyne City, MI 49712
It’s tempting to call The Birds Nest a baby boutique, but the truth is it carries clothing for infants up to young adults and all the stages in between. You’ll also find adorably cheerful accessories to give their rooms a festive air, as well as toys and books to let them know Santa hasn’t forgotten them
Bay Harbor Shops
Its location along five miles of shoreline between Charlevoix and Petoskey means it has the same idyllic views but from a different angle. And visitors sampling its tasty restaurants and tasteful shops will find they display the same similar but slightly different phenomenon. In other words, Bay Harbor businesses have their own singular Up North flair.
Sturgeon River Pottery
3031 Charlevoix Avenue, Petoskey, MI 49770
Sturgeon River Pottery is on the Bay Harbor/Petoskey border, and as its name connotes it sells pottery – but not vases and bowls you’ll find in other shops of its kind.
The mugs, serving dishes, baking pans, and plaques you’ll find here have all been crafted by potters all over the country; skilled artists with whom the owners have established relationships over their nearly 40 years of welcoming holiday and summer visitors and transforming them into repeat customers.
SRP is also the place where you’ll find Petoskey stone clocks, picture frames, jewelry, and magnets, as well as wooden bowls, cutting boards, and outdoor furniture, all bearing the pride of craftsmanship.
4213 Main Street, Bay Harbor MI 49770
There’s a reason Candy Harbor appears last on this list. It’s the dessert of your visit!
After all, what’s a trip Up North if you don’t come home with an assortment of handmade fudge, turtles, pralines, chocolates, and other confections. This family-owned business is open year-round and is a gathering place for ice cream lovers.