Founded by ice-cream enthusiasts Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone Creamery has grown to more than 1,400 locations across North America. Each day, the shop's scoopers mix up fresh batches of ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet, which are served by the scoop, piled high in sundaes, and blended into shakes. After customers choose their desired flavor, the staffers toss the chilly sustenance upon a slab of frozen granite and fold in a smorgasbord of candy and nuts to achieve the ideal ice-cream-to-add-in ratio. Customers can dream up their own creations or opt for a signature masterpiece, sampling one of more than 11.5 million possible flavor combinations, which still await a brave conqueror to unlock them all. To accommodate sweets cravings at celebrations, staff members also dish out ready-made treats, such as ice-cream cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.
A brick oven imbues each of Luigi’s Restaurant’s pizzas with a distinct flavor and crispy crust. Chefs adorn these bubbling hot discs with 20 toppings that range from veggies such as jalapeños and mushrooms to meaty morsels of hamburger and pepperoni. They also handcraft their own spinach ravioli, meatballs, soups, lasagna, and abstract finger paintings. Servers deliver these lovingly prepared meals to tables, which populate an intimate dining room decorated with framed photographs.
The French Laundry is modeled after classic Old World eateries, delighting eyes with black-and-white tile floors and an exposed wood-beam ceiling while warming tongues and spirits with its savory café eats and friendly service. Breakfast promises everything from soft, doughy bagels and baked eggs to challah french toast infused with cream cheese and fresh strawberries ($9.25). A bevy of artisan sandwiches populates the six-page lunch menu, while evening hours shower sustenance seekers with seafood, steak, and supersized sandwiches between a garden of salads and an above-ground pool of soups. During the sunny season, pull up a chair on the patio for a cup of coffee and a freshly baked pastry or dessert such as a cookie, cake, or slice of pie.
The Holly Mill & Company offers shoppers wares that are born and raised in Michigan, and lets them customize beauty products to their own sniffing standards inside the historic 1917 Holly Mill. Design your own smellable destiny with more than 500 scents to mix and match, or go with a pre-blended bouquet of aromas, which can be applied to a covey of products. Custom fragrant oils (1 dram for $10, 2 dram for $15, .5 oz. for $25) or Himalayan bath salt crystals ($7–$15) kick fresh aromas into washtubs, and lotions, soaps, and massage oils (8 oz. for $16, 16 oz. for $22) keep skin smelling and feeling clean. Make memories at the office by lining your work hat with smoldering incense, which comes in custom scented (100 sticks for $25) or prescented varieties (100 for $15). Spicy up a Sunday afternoon or settle a rowdy stomach with the English-produced Mad Hatter tea blend ($14 for a box), which inspires patrons to shout "Tea Time!" and ask their friend a riddle after every sip.
Tropical Smoothie Café's wholesome smoothies are filled to the gills with fresh fruit, juices, yogurt, chocolate, nuts, and healthful supplements, minimizing the crushing guilt of dessert consumption to a soft heartbeat emanating from the floorboards. Puréed potions such as pomegranate plunge (pomegranate, banana, strawberries, and cranberry; $4.79) are stuffed with super fruit, and low-fat options, such as mango magic (mango, pineapples, and non-fat yogurt; $4.29), trick gullible taste buds into believing that they are traversing a candy factory full of whipped-cream lollipops. Supercharged smoothies are stocked with a healthy dose of supplements, such as the kiwi citrus green tea's antioxidant-laden matcha charge or the muscle blaster's whey or soy protein ($4.79 each). Individual supplements can also be added to any other smoothie ($0.79 extra), boosting its magic points by +10.
Train tracks used to run right along The Holly Hotel, making the three-story redbrick building a hub of social activity throughout the early 20th century. Civic and social groups held meetings and demonstrations, transients spent the night, and opera goers shined their monocles in the hotel’s opulent parlors after shows at Baird’s Opera House, situated just a mile south.
Today, this Queen Anne–style structure is no longer a hotel, but an acclaimed restaurant and venue. The hotel's architecture, along with its historical charm, persist, even after a fire in 1913 and again—65 years later to the date—in 1978. The elegant interior’s plaster walls, tin ceilings, and custom millwork date back to 1913 and before, while much of the wood, railing, tile, and glass are salvaged from the second blaze.
Although its architecture helped The Holly Hotel grab a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, its unique stories also supplied historic credibility. For instance, in 1908, Carry Nation and a flock of pro-Temperance supporters attacked drinkers at the hotel; Nation swatted bar goers on the head with her umbrella and even smashed whiskey bottles with an ax.
Modern-day visitors do not face such antagonism. Instead, they enjoy elegant meals composed of fresh, free-range ingredients at the restaurant, where chefs plate beef wellington, braised pork cheeks over hawaiian fingerlings, and lamb strip loin baked in green oregano. On Sundays, the kitchen team puts on an elegant brunch, featuring a spread of farm-raised goose, peel-and-eat shrimp, and made-to-order omelets. Fridays and Saturdays are a time for laughs; guffaws spill over from the comedy club as guests enjoy cracks by headliners from cities from Los Angeles to New York. Of course, sometimes the laugher may just be coming from one of the hotel’s lingering spirits.