The northwestern part of the lower peninsula is very much a resort area. There are people who make their homes there year round, but the small cities and towns subsist on tourism. I'd been to Traverse City before, but this was my first time going up a bit further to Charlevoix and Petoskey. Even though we just got home, I'm ready to go back!
You can see the lake from most places in both towns, and both town centers have the feel of the east coast of the US. There are pretty harbors, cozy little bookstores and coffee shops, lots of music and theatre throughout the summer, and a slew of great restaurants.
It's just over a three hour drive from where we live now, and I can't for the life of me figure out why we haven't been sooner!