In the mood for a different take on autumn shopping? Combine your fall color tour with a drive to one of the picturesque freshwater port towns that surround Traverse City. These charming villages are rich with personality and neighborliness -- the very heart and soul of Northern Michigan. Browsing through their art galleries, craft shops, bookstores, florists, clothing boutiques, and gift stores is a delight. (Be aware, of course, that a few of the more seasonal places may be closed when summer is over.)
Many of these little towns -- Northport, Suttons Bay, Empire, Lake Leelanau, Glen Arbor, and Leland --are located on the scenic Leelanau Peninsula, northwest of Traverse City. They're filled with charming shops, dramatic views and cozy little eateries. To the east is Antrim County, where the picturesque villages of Elk Rapids, Bellaire, and Alden are wonderful places for a shopping adventure.