Christmas In A Small Town – Petoskey Merchant’s Night



I received no compensation for this post.  The purpose of this post is to share the fun and delight of my small town living.


I live in a small area and I say area because the towns are small, and then we have one large town that has a few big box stores but mostly a nice downtown.  While I live in Harbor Springs which in itself is a small Victorian town or neighbor Petoskey, has the big box stores and a full downtown.  Petoskey too is Victorian and the first Friday of every December is Merchants Night.



The town closes off the streets, lights up the Christmas lights and the merchants offer treats of all sorts.  Some years we have to trudge through the snow, but this year it was clear streets and mild weather.  Our family parked a good mile out of town and ventured into the gathering of people.  Our very first stop, which is our first stop every year is Grandpa Shorters.  This store offers old fashioned merchant store products as well as treats, toys, Made in Michigan products, and one of my favorites, Minnetonka Moccasins.  Their windows are always dressed beautifully and this year was no different.  I’m in love with the Polar Bear and Coke Display!


Our next stop was for a light supper at Roast and Toast.  We indulged in Soup and Coffee or in the case of my son Hot Cocoa.  Roast and Toast is what I would consider a high grade coffee shop with food.  It’s reasonably priced and no matter what you get to eat or drink it’s delicious.  This cute coffee shop is more modern and doesn’t fit the Victorian theme but it kind of has the 50s vibe.


Each store has something different to feature, whether it be food, drink (including alcohol), or a stringed trio.  It was an absolute joy to enter each store and find something different and fun for the whole family.

Steel Drum Band

The night would not be right with out the sounds of the Petoskey High School Steel Drum Band.  The sounds that come from this high school band are amazing.  It’s incredible that a high school can teach these kids to not only play instruments but to play many different instruments.  The sound and excitement that this rocking open bus produces is fascinating.


Growing up one of my favorite stores was the Circus Shop.  A shop full of fun clothes for babies, girls and boys.  While shopping there was always treat and we were generally shopping for something special such as a First Communion Dress or tux it was always a shop that let your imagination run wild.  Right outside the door is a gliding horse/zebra that has fascinated kids for as long as I can remember.  When my kids were small browsing the Circus Shop was as fun for me as it was for them and there have been times they’ve featured puppet shows to entertain the children while the parents shop.


Patronizing these shops supports small business and brings community to life for your children.

Horizon Books

Our last and final stop was our local bookstore, Horizon Books, which also has a coffee shop.  You can NEVER have too much coffee.  So before leaving town we took a break to browse the shelves of the local bookstore.  Our night was well under $20 and full of fun for the whole family.



10 comments for “Christmas In A Small Town – Petoskey Merchant’s Night

  1. December 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Oh how I miss small town Christmas. I lived in Show Low, AZ many years ago and they were a small town in the northern part of the state and they did the same thing. Carolers, the shops opened up and the streets were lined with snow. I miss that magic! Now we have palm trees doting lights at best. So glad you guys had fun.

  2. Lisa Coomer Queen
    December 8, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    I loved this. I live in a small town also. In South Carolina. Nothing is better.

  3. Lori Berson
    December 10, 2014 at 6:55 am

    What a reminder of the quaintness of small towns. Petoskey caught my attention and I was trying to figure out if it was in MI because we have a town with that name.

  4. December 10, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Hi Lori, YES! It’s in Michigan do you live near us?

  5. Stephanie Keeping
    December 10, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    I love living in small towns! There’s a bond with the people around they can’t get anywhere else.

  6. December 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    What beautiful pics! I live 7 minutes from downtown Montreal, on an island, with 20,000 people. I love it! We have small shops and restaurants and every time I go out, I meet someone I know. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing! Happy Holidays!

  7. December 10, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    It looks like a wonderful evening! My family chose to live in a small town in New Jersey, even though we could have lived on a bigger property in a housing development somewhere!

  8. December 11, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Love small towns for this reason!

  9. Katherine Riley
    December 30, 2014 at 4:48 am

    I lived near Traverse City for almost 8 years and miss the small town atmosphere. The pancake breakfasts that signified the end of winter and the Halloween celebrations spend driving miles from house to house until we ended up in Cedar for the town’s party. Thanks for sharing the holidays from Petoskey.

  10. Edna Williams
    December 26, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    How beautiful!

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