The Perfect Weekend Vacay: Saugatuck

Fantasizing about a few days away? Plan a weekend jaunt to Saugatuck, Michigan -- the charming harbor town that's 140-mile drive Southeast of the city.

This beachy town has got it all -- a bustling downtown shopping area made up of almost entirely local businesses, travel mag-fave Oval Beach, and waterfront restaurants galore. Here, the scoop on where to shop, eat, play, and sleep in this charming harbor town.

Shop Local Boutiques
For women, fashion HQ in Saugatuck is Chantal, a bright pink, chandelier-studded boutique that stocks new lines like Insight, Ted Baker, Poetic License, and Custo Barcelona as well as a small, well-curated vintage selection. This summer's hot item has been retro-looking swimsuits by Esther Williams ($98), says shop rep Cynthia Hatfield. And owner Chantal Nissin has recently designed her first line, cocktail dresses that are hitting racks next week.

Chantal also has two other boutiques around town -- just across the street from the main women's boutique is a Chantal shop for both men and women, which carries different women's lines like Peace, Love, Boheme, and men's picks include the likes of Ben Sherman. And across town there's Renuar, which caters to a younger crowd with popular picks from Free People.

For those on the market for some new Toms, beach-friendly Keens, or cute fedoras recently featured in Lucky Mag, head to Landsharks (see photo, above right).

Hang Around Town
When you're done lapping up Kilwin's ice cream, fork over a whopping $1 to take the handcranked ferry across the river to the beachside of town (or just rent a kayak). There, climb the sandy dunes for one of the region's best lake views, then cool off on the cleaner side of Lake Michigan.

Once you've gotten all the sun you need, get your culture fix at one of the area's dozens of art galleries. (It's not called "The Art Coast of Michigan" for nothing.)

Then head to one of the waterfront restaurant/bars for lake-caught fare, like the Mermaid Cafe for fish and chips or Coral Gables for a garlicky Great Lakes Whitefish Florentine.

Sleep in Renowned Chef's B&B
You just can't beat the Wickwood Inn, a gorgeous B&B where the breakfast is worth the price of the comfy bed and more, prepared by Silver Palate author and innkeeper Julee Rosso.

Case in point: the Champagne Brunch (right) features Pecan Sticky Buns, Vegetable Frittata, Country Ham, Sugar and Spice Popovers, Apple Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce -- among other treats. There are also candlelit evening apps like bruschetta and artisanal cheeses.

On the Road Again
When it's time to hit the road, fuel up for your 3.5-hour drive at Uncommon Ground Cafe for French press coffee made with fresh, in-house roasted beans.

Feeling inspired? Check out the map here and get your calendar out!

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