A Four Season Victorian Village

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A must stay is the magnificent turreted and gabled Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast Inn considered one of the best examples of Queen Anne Victorian architecture in the state and situated in the downtown of historic Bellaire, a 19th century Victorian era lumber village and now a place for serious foodies and those who love a piece of history.

Just a block away is the Bellaire Smokehouse where owners Tim and Karen Watters smoke bacon, trout, whitefish, pork tenderloins, jerkies, ribs and traditional style milk and egg German bratwurst and also make Greek sausages stuffed with feta, freshly minced garlic and spinach and offer an assortment of gourmet goodies as well as wines and local and regional microbrews.

Wander down Bridge Street (the main drag of town), visiting shops such as Sassy Sunflower, Sassafras, the French Bulldog Boutique (with the creative tag line of being “a dress and handbag destination”) and Little Treasures Toy Shop

Check out Shorts Brewing Company where they serve handcrafted spirits such as their seasonal Noble Chaos, an Oktoberfest style lager and Bourbon Wizard — barley wine aged in bourbon barrels for ten months.

Outdoor buffs will want to grab a basket for apple picking at the 27-acre Clam Lake Orchard with its 26 varieties of fruit or cast a line in the Intermediate River for trout and bass. See the area the old fashioned way by saddling up and hitting the trail at Coyote Bill’s which offers guided horseback tours through pastures and woods.

For a panoramic view of the area’s pastoral splendor, climb aboard the ski lift for a color or summer tour at Shanty Creek Resorts’ Schuss Mountain. Descending, golfers might want to hit the greens at one of the resorts four courses including Tom Weiskopf’s Cedar River and The Legend, designed by Arnold Palmer, which earned 4½ stars in Golf Digest’s “Places to Play Directory.” And if it’s winter, well, downhill skiing, tubing and cross country skiing are a must.

Rent a kayak at Stone Waters Inn, a brand new place done up to fit in with the historic ambience of the downtown and located on the Intermediate (which by the way is one of the least romantic names possible for a body of water) or opt for the pontoon boat and take it down the Chain O’ Lakes, a series of interconnecting waterways.

Dine at Lulu’s Bistro with its sophisticated modern featuring the creative flourishes of chef/owner Michael Peterson’s seafood take on the classic Cobb salad with smoked salmon rillette, smoked bacon, heart of romaine served with a creamy dill dressing, sautéed Cross Fisheries (a fishery located not too far away in Charlevoix) whitefish accompanied with a caper basmati rice, grilled onion watercress salad and sundried tomato ratatouille in a basil butter sauce as well as such killer desserts as a hot fudge sundae with caramel and toasted Macadamia nuts.

At A Glance

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