"Finding peace outside the city"
We chose to stay in Manistee because it was the first place up the West coast of Michigan that didn't advertise 'Bring the whole family! We have water parks! It's great for the kids!'. We don't have children and our idea of a nice vacation doesn't generally include lots of screaming kids. Manistee sounded nice and peaceful.
We were not disappointed! It was very quiet and very peaceful. Manistee is far enough north to be surrounded by pine forests. The lake is very close by and offered spectacular sunsets. The town does music on the river and at the lake after sunset, which is nice. There are some cute shops and restaurants downtown. Driving up the coast brought us into more cute towns and ultimately to Traverse City for some excellent shopping.