Just relax and enjoy The Inn at Bay Harbor and Bay Harbor Golf Club along 'America's Third Coast'

By David R. Holland, Contributor

BAY HARBOR, Mich. -- Looking for a place of solitude to escape the summer heat and big city noise? Look no further than The Inn at Bay Harbor and Bay Harbor Golf Club on the banks of Lake Michigan's Little Traverse Bay.

The Inn at Bay Harbor
The Inn at Bay Harbor sits on the banks of Lake Michigan's scenic Little Traverse Bay.
The Inn at Bay HarborThe Inn at Bay Harbor - MichiganBay Harbor Golf Club - Quarry course - hole 7Bay Harbor Golf Club - Links course - hole 1Crooked Tree Golf Club
If you go

Relax and reflect in one of the covered beach chaise lounges or Adirondack chairs, watch the children dare to run in the cold waters, admire the orange sunsets of what many call "America's Third Coast" and relax after a day on the impressive 27 golf holes designed by Arthur Hills.

Once you have gazed on The Inn at Bay Harbor, which mirrors the architecture of San Diego's turn-of-the-century jewel, the Hotel Del Coronado, you won't believe this classic hotel (which opened for guests in 1998) was built on the site of an old cement plant. The vibe is much more olden days America with today's amenities.

"Guests love the resort's picturesque views and setting on the shores of Lake Michigan's Little Traverse Bay, the beautiful sunsets, friendly staff and guest services, as well as amenities like our nightly bonfire and s'mores along the lakeshore," said Erin Ernst, director of communications for Boyne Resorts' Michigan operations. "It's a place where people can really get away."

Amenities abound at The Inn at Bay Harbor

The Inn at Bay Harbor, which is consistently ranked among the top five customer-satisfaction survey results for all Renaissance (Marriott) Hotels and Resorts, features 134 guest rooms, including 84 suites, 23 two- and three-bedroom cottages, Lakeside Cottages and 14 Cottages at Crooked Tree. Make sure to book one with the view of the lake.

Dine at Sagamore's Dining Room, the South American Grille and Wine Bar, The Inn Cafe and, in summer, the Cabana Bar at the pool. The Spa at The Inn at Bay Harbor is a full-service spa and salon that includes a private manicure/pedicure room and a private couples massage room. Families can also enjoy the outdoor heated swimming pool and whirlpool, cabanas, beach area, lawn chess and croquet, exercise room and biking trails. Complimentary wireless Internet access is included.

Bay Harbor Golf Club

Most rave about Bay Harbor Golf Club's Links/Quarry combination, which is reminiscent of formidable Irish seaside courses. You can spend hours exploring the lake coastline, rolling dunes and waving tall fescue while being challenged by the immense shale quarry that plunges 40 feet and frames shots from atop stone cliffs, over ponds and a scenic waterfall.

The Links nine skirts 150-foot bluffs, overlooking some of the deepest blue freshwater vistas in the world. The signature seventh, a 490-yard par 5, is ranked among the top 500 golf holes in the world by Golf Magazine. It goes gently uphill and narrows, making the tee shot and approach somewhat blind, but near the green the lake view opens.

The Quarry nine features a mammoth shale quarry, complete with gaping gorges surrounded by stone cliffs, natural ponds and a gentle waterfall. It finishes with an amazing walk in sight of the lake and clubhouse. This was my favorite nine.

The Preserve nine is known for its natural beauty and is a refuge for wildlife and golfers. Hardwoods frame green grasses, wildflowers and wetlands -- all within audible range of Lake Michigan's shores. The final hole opens up to a photo worthy shoreline panorama.

The Inn at Bay Harbor, and Bay Harbor Golf Club: The verdict

If you can't have fun and get totally involved in this vacation you are most likely a big-time complainer. There wasn't anything I didn't enjoy.

Guests also have access to Crooked Tree Golf Club, designed by Harry Bowers, as well as Boyne Golf Academy packages and private instruction.

And as part of Boyne Resorts, Bay Harbor is centered in a wealth of Michigan's northern lower peninsula that includes 180 holes of world-class golf designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., Hills and even a course with some of Donald Ross' best holes, The Donald Ross Memorial Course.

Gaylord Golf Mecca

The Gaylord Golf Mecca is a marketing group that includes 17 golf courses and 20 lodging facilities in the Gaylord area of the northern lower peninsula part of Michigan, located off Interstate 75. This is a beautiful part of the state with woods, lakes and long, warm summer days that continue into early evening. See www.gaylordgolfmecca.com for more information.

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Contributor

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter @David_R_Holland.

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