If you're looking for an entirely a different kind of spring shopping experience, try one or two of the picturesque freshwater port towns that surround Traverse City. These small towns are rich with personality and neighborliness -- the heart and soul of Northern Michigan -- and it's a delight to browse through their art galleries, shops, bookstores, boutiques and gift stores. (Remember that a few of the more seasonal places may not yet be open in early spring.)
To the west you'll find the Leelanau Peninsula, with relaxed little villages like Suttons Bay, Lake Leelanau, Empire, Glen Arbor, Lelandand Northportthat are filled with charming shops, beautiful scenery and friendly little eateries. (Don’t miss Leland’s famousFishtowndistrict, a collection of old fishing shanties and net-drying sheds that are now shops, galleries and stores.) To the east, in the Chain of Lakes region of Antrim County, the picturesque villages of Elk Rapids, Bellaire, and Aldenare wonderful places for a shopping adventure.