GETTING THERE: Once 16 passenger trains a day rumbled through Traverse City in the summer. Those days are gone: There is now no passenger train service at all to the region.

The city has an airport, however, with 10 flights in and out each day during the summer. Republic, Midstate and Simmons Airlines service Traverse City from Chicago, Republic and Simmons from Detroit.

It takes about 10 hours to drive to Detroit from the Washington area, another five hours to Traverse City from Detroit, the last hour on good, but single-lane, roads.

ANNUAL EVENTS: Each summer Traverse City plays host to the National Cherry Festival, an expansive and enthusiastic celebration of the cherry. The week-long event in mid-July attracts 150,000 people.

Two of the nation's premier yacht races, the Chicago to Mackinac and the Port Huron to Mackinac, sail right past Grand Traverse Bay each summer, ending up at Mackinac Island, two hours north.

WHERE TO STAY: There are 2,000 hotel rooms in the Traverse City area, and equal or greater space available for rent, in lakeside homes or cabins, from private individuals. The hotels often are fully booked a year in advance for the peak periods -- the Cherry Festival in July and most midsummer weekends.

The hotels range from the expected chain hotels to several large resorts, with rates from $60 to $150 a night double during the summer season, about half that in the winter.

Prices for renting a lakeside house or cabin range from $100 to $800 per week, depending on size, facilities and location.

INFORMATION: The best sources for information on rentals are the newspaper advertisements placed by owners in the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News and the Chicago Tribune, usually in the spring. A service called RSVP (Reservation Service and Vacation Planning, 616-947-1166) provides information and reservations for all types of accommodations.

The area's convention and visitors bureau can provide names and addresses of people who want to rent summer homes, as well as general information about other accommodations, restaurants, festivals and events: Grand Traverse Convention and Visitors Bureau, 900 East Front St., Suite 100, Traverse City, Mich. 49684, (616) 947-1120.