Traverse City, MI is well worth the trip. So much to enjoy the list is amazing. I have a 3-1/2hr drive and would go up every weekend if I could. Over the years we have made a lot of friends from the area and found so many great local spots to stay and eat as well as visit. The list of winery's are amazing and so many great places to stay.
Locations to stay that we have enjoyed:
#1 Black Starr Farm Inn (awesome!) and the staff will take very good care of you. Worth every penny! But it is just 10-15 minutes north of Downtown T.C. Jill & Kelly will take very good care of you and the breakfest is excellent every morning. Just not by the water as you are looking for.
Might also look at Tamarack Lodge; they have some very nice rooms and right on the beach. http://www.tamaracklodgetc.com/ Somtimes you can get last minute deals, so always check with the front desk.
Be sure to check out The Village http://www.thevillagetc.com/ during your visit; they have a lot of great little stores as well as a Bakery making fresh goodies. The history of the place is amazing, it was built back in 1885 and now converted to a very amazing location.
And if you have a Beer Lover in the family/friends; then make sure you stop in at Right Brain Brewery www.rightbrainbrewery.com Be sure to take a Growler home to enjoy.
Great wine stops:
2Lads, 45-North, BlackStar Farms
And don't forget to check out "Grand Traverse Distillery http://www.grandtraversedistillery.com/ for some amazing samples that you cannot buy at the stores; they sell certain items in T.C. and Frankinmuth only.
Edited: 12:56 pm, January 29, 2013