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Romantic Weekend in Upper Michigan

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I need to be in Cheboygan on business from Oct 4 thru 8. We've heard for years about how beautiful upper Michigan is and thought this might be the perfect opportunity to take a couple of extra days (probably Oct 1 thru 3) to see the area but I could use some advice. We like history, antiques, historical hotels/inns, and some nice restaurants. The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island looks wonderful but we don't want to spend the $500-$600 per night that I see on their website. Another thought was Traverse City since it looks like that might be an easy drive to/from the airport to my mtg in Cheyboygan. My husband and I would be flying in separately from Washington DC, and Nashville and would need airport access, with our destination preferably no more than a 2 -3 hour drive from the airport. Can you recommend some very nice, historical inns or a very nice hotel in the Traverse City area, or something on Mackinac that would fit the bill? Would Mackinac be too crowded at that time? Are there any elegant but rustic lodges overlooking the mountains or lakes somewhere in the area? As you can tell, I have lots of ideas of what we like, but not sure where to start looking. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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