DTCI: Pro trip — head up north to avoid vacation deficit disorder

dtci-mack-beverly.jpgThis year, the annual DTCI conference in South Bend will include a presentation by DRI’s Susan Gunter entitled “Stress Management and Resilience Strategies for Litigators.” If you Google the phrase, you will find references to “Vacation Deficit Disorder” going back to 2012. This article will focus on my own Michigan-based escapes that have helped me refocus and regenerate. All the getaways I mention are recommended therapy for overworked and overstressed attorneys.

Those who find themselves with spare time in the northern part of Indiana should cross the state line into Michigan on the Red Arrow Highway. Since I relocated to Indiana, I have heard numerous people say that the instant they enter Michigan on the Red Arrow Highway, they feel like they are on vacation. I recommend Lakeside, St. Joseph and South Haven, Michigan as stops along the highway. If retail therapy is for you, Frecklefarm in Lakeside is a worthy stop. One of my favorite drives is leaving St. Joseph on Highway 63 on the way to South Haven. As you drive on 63, there is a spectacular Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course associated with the Harbor Shores development in plain sight. Plus, the Inn at Harbor Shores boasts panoramic views of the golf course, the St. Joseph River and Lake Michigan. The Inn also displays the work of Michigan artists. For a day trip, I have driven as far as Holland. The downtown Holland area is noteworthy for its heated sidewalks in the winter, galleries, etc. One of my favorite downtown lunch spots is the Alpenrose Restaurant. Make sure to drive down South Shore Drive and other Lake Macatawa residential areas.

If you have only one day open, New Buffalo, Union Pier and Harbert are excellent destinations.

One of my favorite destination restaurants is Tosi’s in Stevensville, which is on the way to St. Joseph. When driving past Stevensville, I always take the opportunity to drive on Old Lake Shore Road in St. Joseph, a drive which has optimum views of Lake Michigan. Another noteworthy dinner choice in this area is The Grand Mere Inn, also in Stevensville.

Traverse City is one of my favorite vacation destinations. I highly recommend Tamarack Lodge, a waterfront gem, very near a paved walk, bike and run path that leads up and down the Bay. (For years, my screensaver has been a panoramic view looking out of a guest room at Tamarack Lodge at sunset.) The area is well known for beautiful sunsets. If you drive from Traverse City through Charlevoix, Petoskey and up to Mackinaw City, be sure to take advantage of Michigan 119, the “Tunnel of Trees,” that hugs the coastline and winds its way back to Harbor Shores, which is a lovely Victorian town. I once read that a retired Detroit transactional attorney built his dream home along Michigan 119 after conquering Mt. Everest in 2006. Within the past couple of years, the Chicago Tribune has featured Michigan 119 and stops along the way, in its Travel section. If you make it to Petoskey, try lunch at the Twisted Olive with panoramic views of Lake Michigan.

One of my favorite restaurants on the Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City is the Boathouse (frankly, I could live at the Boathouse). Other notable destinations include Mission Table and Trattoria Stella.

Of course, no mention of Traverse City would be complete without a reference to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, including the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. The drive en route through towns like Suttons Bay, Glen Arbor and Fishtown is a must-see experience. All of Leelanau County is a wonderful destination.

I highly recommend the healing effects of the many Lake Michigan vistas available in Michigan. On the topic of wellness, these trips have provided real, discernable breaks with lasting effects.•

Beverly J. Mack is a partner in the LaPorte firm of Huelat & Mack and serves on the DTCI Board of Directors. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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