Sandy dunes. Sunny seashores. Cherry orchards. World-class wineries. On the northwest fringe of Michigan’s Decrease Peninsula, the small city of Traverse Metropolis is a hub for foodies, wine connoisseurs, outside lovers, and cherry lovers. Surrounded by water, towering forests, and lovely seashores, this Lake Michigan seaside city is the proper destinaton for a summer season or fall getaway!
Traverse Metropolis will get its identify from Grand Traverse Bay (a bay of Lake Michigan) — which received its identify from the French voyageurs who made “the lengthy crossing” (le grande traverse) from Canada south throughout the bay. Traverse Metropolis is perched on the base of the enourmous bay, which is break up in half by the Previous Mission Peninsula. To the west, the Leelanau Peninsula (Michigan’s pinky finger) separates Traverse Metropolis from the deep, open waters of Lake Michigan.
We tapped a neighborhood insider, Emily Batdorf for a neighborhood’s information to issues to do in Traverse Metropolis! And particular because of Sensible Wanderlust group member Jordan Wagner of Hamburg and Beyond for generously letting us use images of her hometown and offering extra native perception. Take it away, Emily!
Psst: Planning a visit to the northern states? …. We have now a bunch of different posts you’ll love!
Traverse Metropolis FAQs
Contemplating a go to to Traverse Metropolis? Listed below are a number of native’s ideas that will help you plan your journey!
What’s the historical past of Traverse Metropolis?
Lengthy earlier than gourmand eating places, wine excursions, and paddle boarding, this area of northern Michigan was inhabited by the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples. These nations had been outstanding merchants with established commerce routes stretching to the Atlantic Ocean within the east, the Rocky Mountains to the west, Northern Canada to the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south!
When the French and English arrived, they arrange buying and selling partnerships and later established a everlasting village within the 1840s in what’s now Leelanau County. In 1980, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians turned the primary tribe within the nation to efficiently petition for federal recognition. At present, the tribe’s resort and on line casino operations play a significant position within the area’s booming tourism trade.
Within the 1840’s, the town’s founder, Perry Hannah, started to develop the lumber trade in Traverse Metropolis. The trade took off within the late 1800s, and the state of Michigan rapidly turned the nation’s prime lumber producer. Railroads had been constructed to move the lumber out of the realm, lots of which now function routes for native leisure trails.
After the lumber growth, the area’s economic system turned to agriculture. At present, the area is the Cherry Capital of the world, a preferred (and rising) wine area, and a favourite summer season vacationer vacation spot.
What’s the perfect time of 12 months to go to Traverse Metropolis?
Every season has its highlights in Traverse Metropolis, however the perfect instances to go to are between Could and October. Whereas the tip of spring is usually a little chilly, there’s a palpable pleasure within the air as the town opens up after a protracted winter. And in mid to late Could, guests can benefit from the gorgeous cherry blossoms that adorn the area’s quite a few orchards.
Because the summer season continues, everybody heads to the water to chill off — July and August are the perfect months to take full benefit of TC’s seashores and water sports activities.
The peak of summer season sees guests from throughout — downstate, throughout the Midwest, even throughout the nation. Large occasions just like the National Cherry Festival and the Traverse City Film Festival are main summer season points of interest — and convey main crowds.
And don’t overlook the autumn: September and October carry altering leaves, apple cider, and a pleasing crispness to the air. Summer season crowds are gone, however weekends carry leaf peepers chasing the colourful surroundings!
Ought to I lease a automotive?
You’ll in all probability need to rent a car whereas visiting Traverse Metropolis. Having a automotive lets you try among the many close by points of interest that may’t be reached by public transportation, like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Old Mission Peninsula.
Nonetheless, for those who truly plan to stay to downtown Traverse Metropolis (and are staying downtown, too) you will get away with out a automotive. Downtown may be very walkable; you’ll be able to entry seashores, breweries, eating places and purchasing all inside a number of blocks. You may even catch a brew bus to take you to among the wineries out of city!
That stated, for those who’ve received greater than a few days to spend, rent a car and make a degree of seeing the attractive northern Michigan countryside. We suggest utilizing Kayak to match car rental offers and discover the perfect fee!
How do I get to Traverse Metropolis?
If you happen to’re touring by air to Traverse Metropolis, you’ll fly into Cherry Capital Airport (how cute is that?) The airport is a simple 5 miles — or 15-minute drive — from downtown TC.
If you happen to’re driving to Traverse Metropolis, you’ll both drive in by Michigan’s Higher or Decrease Peninsula. Most folk coming from or close to the Chicago space will drive US-131 N by Grand Rapids. For an extended drive – however one which takes you by a few of Michigan’s most pretty seaside cities – you’ll be able to drive US-31 N alongside the western shore of the state. Vacationers from the Detroit space will take I-75 N by the middle of the state.
Driving throughout the Higher Peninsula (UP, or da Yoop as da Yoopers say) is an journey in itself. Identified for dense forest, glowing waterfalls, and only a few folks, the UP is a scenic path to Traverse Metropolis for those who occur to be touring from one other northern state.
From the north, you’ll enter the Decrease Peninsula through I-75 S. And this route takes you over the Mackinac Bridge, a 5-mile lengthy, superbly scenic suspension bridge connecting Michigan’s 2 peninsulas.
Whereas Michigan isn’t actually identified for its site visitors, driving “Up North” on Fridays all through the summer season is a factor. There isn’t a lot that Michiganders take extra critically than their summer season holidays, so be ready for this freeway stampede for those who occur to be touring on a Friday.
The place to Keep in Traverse Metropolis
There may be a lot to do proper alongside the lakeshore that it’s value staying downtown throughout your go to to Traverse Metropolis. The downtown space is sufficiently small you can just about stroll wherever! Listed below are the perfect boutique accommodations, B&Bs, and trip leases in Traverse Metropolis.
- Keep in a Trip Rental: There are a selection of incredible picks for trip leases in Traverse Metropolis on VRBO! We suggest reserving instantly by VRBO as a result of it has fewer charges and extra versatile cancellation insurance policies than Airbnb – additionally, we’re not followers of Airbnb’s unethical monitor report and lax security. This modern downtown condo is centrally positioned on Entrance Avenue with a phenomenal skyline view of city – and it’s finances pleasant! Only a 15-minute stroll away from city, this charming garden cottage is steps away from the lake (with lovely lakefront views) and the seaside!
- Park Place Hotel: This newly renovated lodge is within the coronary heart of downtown. It’s only a block away from Entrance Avenue — the primary drag — and chock-full of nice eating places and outlets. And, it’s simply two blocks from the seaside. This metropolis landmark was constructed on metropolis parkland, therefore the identify. Lumber barons within the 1870s purchased this new constructing and upgraded it to an expensive and regal lodge. In 1930, the Park Place lodge turned the town’s tallest constructing with the addition of a 10-story tower. The lodge’s Beacon Lounge is positioned on the prime of the lodge, and you’ll take pleasure in dwell music and appetizers with incredible views of Traverse Bay!
- Sugar Beach Resort Hotel: Situated simply three miles from downtown, this contemporary seaside lodge will make you’re feeling such as you’re nearer to the tropics than Canada! The rooms are freshly up to date in clear greens and blues, and better of all, you’ve got entry to the lodge’s personal seaside alongside the bay! The lodge additionally gives a continental breakfast and a heated indoor pool.
- Hotel Indigo: Overlooking Clinch Park Beach, Lodge Indigo is likely one of the hippest new accommodations in Traverse Metropolis! The inside has a contemporary rustic really feel, with numerous woodland accents paired with inexperienced and reds. Onsite they’ve their very own restaurant, in addition to a terrace which overlooks the seaside and bay, which you’ll be able to even swim in. Sure, please!
- The Oviatt House Bed and Breakfast: For a extra intimate vibe, this BnB is positioned on the north fringe of downtown, only a brief stroll away from the outlets and eating places. This 1900 residence belonged to a Scottish blacksmith, and the home. nonetheless boasts unique woodwork and element. Moreover the intense and elegantly furnished rooms, they supply locally-grown, natural meals to start out your day!
- Wellington Inn Bed & Breakfast and Tea Room: Whereas this feature is a bit pricier than the opposite locations we’ve really useful, this neoclassical mansion will make you’re feeling as fancy as the unique lumber baron that constructed it in 1905! With its 9 visitor rooms, its super-cozy library (to dwell your greatest Belle fantasy), and opulent full breakfast within the turn-of-the-century eating room it could be laborious to go away as soon as breakfast is over. It is a great spot to make your go to to Traverse Metropolis a romantic getaway! Browse Reviews on TripAdvisor
Issues to Do in Traverse Metropolis
As a scenic Michigan seaside city, Traverse Metropolis caters to each the hip, native crowd and the abundance of vacationers that flock right here in the summertime. A fast go searching this attractive northern panorama will probably be sufficient to know downstaters’ obsession with this place. And for good cause!
From the good blue waters of Lake Michigan and the Grand Traverse Bay to the flourishing meals and wine scene unfolding within the northern countryside, Traverse Metropolis is your subsequent vacation spot for a down-to-earth, scrumptious, and nature-centric trip.
You’ll haven’t any bother lining up your itinerary, however listed here are some native ideas that will help you take pleasure in the perfect issues to do in Traverse Metropolis!
Discover Downtown Traverse Metropolis
For a smaller city, Traverse Metropolis has an extremely vibrant downtown! It’s filled with the unbelievable meals, historical past, purchasing, and tradition that make Traverse Metropolis such a much-loved Midwestern vacation spot.
Historic neighborhoods, first-rate eating places, cultural points of interest, quite a few brewpubs and — after all — the seaside are all inside a number of blocks of each other.
You may take a stroll previous founding lumber barons’ beautiful mansions on sixth Avenue, seize a morning espresso and pastry, perform a little purchasing on Entrance Avenue, and hit the seaside — all earlier than lunch. Listed below are a number of highlights in downtown Traverse Metropolis:
- Browse Native Boutiques: Although small, TC’s downtown district is filled with native gems. Many outlets are devoted to the area’s appreciation (learn: obsession) with meals.
- Fustini’s is a novel cease that carries each possible taste of oils and vinegars. Decide up a bit bottle of blood orange olive oil and cranberry balsamic vinegar for a enjoyable twist, or roll up your sleeves for a category on the School of Cooking and learn to make numerous cuisines like Italian, French, and even Thai dishes!
- Kilwin’s originated in northern Michigan with the Kilwin’s Chocolate Kitchen 60 miles north within the little city of Petoskey. TC’s location throughout from Clinch Park is the perfect place to get an ice cream downtown. Or fudge. Or goodies. Or all of the sugar on a regular basis!
- West Bay Handmade is a cutesy store with lovely native artwork, residence items, and soaps. Whereas Traverse Metropolis is certainly a vacationer city — which means it’s actually straightforward to discover a T-shirt — this store stands out as an genuine vacation spot for distinctive, hand-made items.
- Backcountry North is a neighborhood clothes shop that has a downtown location for your entire outdoorsy wants. Forgot a hat? Misplaced your water bottle? Want a path information? That is your home. The tremendous pleasant employees will be sure to’re outfitted for no matter adventures you’re endeavor.
- Another nice outlets embody Haystacks, Ella’s, Cherry Hill Boutique, Calistic, and What to Wear.
- Visit the Perry Hannah House: Situated on sixth Avenue in downtown Traverse Metropolis, lumber baron and the unique founding father of Traverse Metropolis constructed his retirement residence which was accomplished in 1893. Constructed within the Queen Anne style architecture, the three-story uneven brick constructing features a turret and sweeping entrance porch exterior, and 40 rooms and ten fireplaces inside! As you’ll be able to think about, a lumber baron is aware of his wooden, and inside yow will discover intricately carved cherry, birch, beech, birdseye, curly maple, oak, darkish oak, and walnut. At present, the home is the Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home, however they do enable guests if there isn’t a funeral happening (simply make sure that to name forward!)
- Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market: On Wednesday and Saturday mornings from Could by October, yow will discover the area’s freshest produce on the market proper downtown. The Sara Hardy Farmers Market options over 100 native farmers all through the season and is an effective way to pattern the perfect of the season. If you happen to’re not selecting up groceries for dinner, you’ll be able to seize a pint of recent cherries for a snack or a jar of Cherry Honey Mustard to carry residence.
- City Opera House: This second-story theater was initially inbuilt 1891 and was the primary constructing on the town to put in electrical lights. Above the outlets and eating on Entrance Avenue, the Metropolis Opera Home is the proper place to catch an after-dinner present. The restored Opera Home is attractive in and out with its Victorian structure and hosts all types of occasions, together with many by the National Writers Series.
- The Dennos Museum Center: The Dennos Museum Middle is the place to go to take a look at one of many largest collections of Inuit artwork in the USA, with over 3000 artistic endeavors in whole. Roughly 1600 of the works are prints and sculptures made by the Inuit folks of the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, and Alaska within the museum’s 10,000 sq. toes of exhibit house. You may expertise the tradition of those Inuit folks by their paintings, lots of which depicts looking, fishing, ceremony, and neighborhood.
Hit the Seaside
Traverse Metropolis is a freshwater seaside city, with dozens of pristine sandy shores for an ideal day on the seaside. If you happen to’re touring from exterior the Nice Lakes area, it’s possible you’ll be underneath the impression that seashores are for Hawaii. Or Florida. Or California. And positive, these seashores are unbelievable, however they’ve sharks. And salt.
Step onto a white sand Michigan seaside and also you gained’t miss the ocean in any respect. The nice and cozy sand is pleasantly mushy, the water is a brilliant Caribbean blue, and you continue to get that tremendous sea breeze.
Relying in your favourite seaside actions (sunbathing, paddle boarding, ice cream cone licking) and your superb setting (near city or out in nature) you’ll be able to choose the proper seaside in your day within the solar.
- Clinch Park: For a hoppin’ seaside proper on the town, head to Clinch Park on the West Bay. This seaside parallels downtown TC, and is simply steps away from outlets, eating places, and brew pubs. On weekends, particularly, it’s a occurring place — and for cause. There’s a swimming seaside, cafe, and kayak and paddleboard rentals. Although there’s normally a crowd, this seaside can’t be overwhelmed for a surprising setting proper on the town.
- Suttons Bay Beach: For an additional “in-town” seaside — although a a lot quieter one — head north alongside scenic M-22 to Suttons Bay. This charming village has its personal beach, additionally bordering its downtown district. It’s undoubtedly a smaller, quieter various with out the added facilities of Clinch park, although to not be ignored for those who plan to spend a while within the quieter, although the splendidly artsy village of Suttons Bay. Suttons Bay Bikes, a brief stroll from the seaside, additionally rents out kayaks and paddleboards to be used on the Bay.
- Van’s Beach: Van’s Seaside, within the little neighborhood of Leland, is a real Lake Michigan seaside. Versus sitting on a bay, this seaside brings you to the true fringe of the huge Lake Michigan, which means you’re in prime sundown territory. The seaside itself is great too, and superb for rock-hunting. Whilst you’re in Leland, don’t miss Fishtown, a historic and nonetheless operational business fishing village (one of many solely within the state).
- Peterson Beach: For a scenic seaside within the coronary heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes, head to Peterson Seaside. To get there, you’ll drive from the primary freeway onto a gravel street, winding by the forest till it emerges onto this pristine Lake Michigan seaside. Whereas it nonetheless attracts guests, this seaside is tucked a bit out of the best way and tends to see fewer crowds than others. Beautiful views of towering dunes to the north make this a surprising setting for sunbathing, swimming, and — if the waves are good — physique browsing. This moderately distant seaside isn’t located in or close to any city, so pack a cooler filled with snacks for those who determine to make a day of it.
Go to Traverse Metropolis Wineries
Rising within the discipline round right here, we’ve received extra than simply cherries. The “tip of the mitt” is gaining recognition as one of many nation’s outstanding wine-making areas, and the sheer variety of wineries don’t lie!
Traverse Metropolis sits on the base of two skinny, finger-like peninsulas. Every has the proper circumstances for rising sure grapes – and for you to take pleasure in some wine.
Situated on the forty fifth parallel – the identical latitude as famed European wine areas just like the Bordeaux and Piedmont, these little slices of paradise have the excellent circumstances for grape rising.
Due to the encircling water (Lake Michigan is large, folks), the Leelanau and Previous Mission Peninsula’s microclimates are excellent for the method – numerous lake impact snow insulates and protects vines, and the peninsulas are blessed with an additional month of rising season, so the ripening just isn’t minimize brief.
Whilst you can have a beautiful time at any of the native wineries, right here a number of of the locals’ favorites:
- Brys Estate: This 111-acre winery and vineyard was voted the perfect by locals in 2020 — and for good cause. Situated on the Previous Mission Peninsula, Sip a glass of their mild and crisp Signature Rosé Reserve with a charcuterie board, all whereas sitting on the Higher Deck wanting over the deep blue bay. Additionally they have a “Secret Backyard” of over 6000 lavender vegetation, a flower backyard, strawberry patch, and herb backyard! You simply may by no means go away.
- Chateau Chantal: Get pleasure from a brief jaunt by Chateau Chantal’s hilly grounds earlier than or after your wine tasting. Chateau Chantal is thought for its ice wine – a candy, scrumptious wine constituted of grapes which are harvested whereas frozen. Undoubtedly a perk of creating wine in a chilly local weather! Come on a Thursday evening for Jazz at Sundown, the place you’ll be able to sip wine, benefit from the water views, and faucet your foot to some easy jazz. Subtle!
- 2 Lads Winery: Nearer to the tip of Previous Mission Peninsula, 2 Lads Vineyard stands out from the group. In contrast to different European-style wineries dotting the peninsula, 2 Lads is a contemporary, modern, industrial house looking over the East Bay. This vineyard focuses on each cool local weather crimson and glowing wines which they produce from sustainably-grown grapes on their 58 acres. Order a flight from the educated employees and sip out on the patio — whereas having fun with among the best views on the peninsula.
The simplest method to go to Traverse Metropolis Wineries is to guide a wine tour. You’ll have the ability to go to a number of wineries with out worrying about whose flip it’s to be DD! All you’ll must do is choose between wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula or wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula.
For extra recommendations, try Wayfaring With Wagner’s native information on where to go wine tasting in Traverse City!
See Sleeping Bear Dunes
As soon as one of many higher Midwest’s best-kept secrets and techniques, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is now famous as considered one of “The Most Beautiful Places in America” in keeping with Good Morning America. And whereas the crowds are actually greater and the seashores now busier, it’s about time everybody observed how completely attractive this a part of the world is!
- Journey Tip: You’ll must buy an entry cross to benefit from the trails at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Or, you should utilize a National Park Pass, legitimate at any Nationwide Park web site for a 12 months from the month of buy! The National Parks pass pays for itself after visiting two parks AND 10% is donated to conservation, so it’s properly definitely worth the worth.
The place does the identify of Sleeping Bear Dunes come from? Like, are there truly bears? Nicely, not precisely: the Legend of Sleeping Bear comes from the Anishinaabe, or “unique folks,” together with the Odawa (Ottawa), Ojibwe (Chippewa), and Bodowadomi (Potawatomi) tribes — who lived, hunted, fished, and harvested in Michigan and surrounding areas lengthy earlier than the settlement by Europeans.
The Legend of Sleeping Bear recounts the story of a mom bear and her two cubs escaping fireplace or famine (relying on the story) within the woods of what’s now Wisconsin. Whereas the mom bear made it to the shore, laying down to attend for her cubs, the 2 little ones by no means arrived. In a single story, the cubs sink and later resurface, forming the North and South Manitou Islands simply off the shore of the dunes.
These two forested islands, yet another developed and one virtually fully wilderness space, appear like smaller “sleeping bears” off the Lake Michigan shore. On this story, the mom stays laying on prime of the dunes, watching over her cubs.
Whereas the Sleeping Bear legend isn’t notably…um…. completely happy, you will discover loads of pleasure in exploring this lovely panorama. Right here’s what to do on a go to to Sleeping Bear Dunes:
- Dune Climb: Sleeping Bear’s quintessential must-do exercise is the Dune Climb – and it’s precisely what it feels like. Hike up the towering dune for an unobstructed view of turquoise Glen Lake — and for those who hike far sufficient, you’ll be able to catch a view of Lake Michigan, too. The dunes are deceiving and appear to go on and on…and on. However for those who’re up for a hike, you’ll be able to stroll 2 miles over the dunes to considered one of Lake Michigan’s spectacular seashores. Take into account that this path is fully sand, making for a strenuous and gradual hike. Deliver numerous water and solar safety, and undoubtedly take a dip within the lake.
- Traverse Metropolis Tip: From the seaside, you’ll be able to add a 300-yard stroll to the south for an opportunity to see remnants of the 1857 shipwreck of (what’s regarded as) the James McBride – after all, it’ll depend upon the lake ranges and constantly migrating sand. All shipwrecks off the Lakeshore are protected by State regulation and are a part of the Manitou Passage State Underwater Protect.
- Pyramid Point – This path is likely one of the hottest on the lakeshore — and for good cause. On the Lookout — the hike’s fundamental attraction — you stand virtually 400 toes above the unbelievably blue water of Lake Michigan. You’re additionally granted superb views of the close by Manitou Islands. The water beneath seems to be extremely inviting on a sizzling day, however resist the temptation to slip down the dunes — the journey up takes roughly 50 instances as lengthy, and for those who wait lengthy sufficient, you’ll certainly see a drained soul making an attempt to make their method again up — and never having any enjoyable doing it. Whereas most people hike to the Lookout and again, the path continues to wrap round by picturesque woods and meadows. It’s undoubtedly value the additional time to finish the loop, and also you’ll probably have the path largely to your self.
- Glen Haven – This lovely village is perched proper on the lake simply 2 miles north of the Dune Climb. Visiting Glen Haven is like stepping again in time, to when Nice Lakes steamers stopped right here for resupply. Along with having fun with the prime seashores, you’ll be able to go to the Normal Retailer, the Cannery — now a museum for historic boats used within the space — and the Blacksmith Store. For a difficult hike close by, head west from Glen Haven to the Sleeping Bear Point Trail. This hike supplies countless Lake Michigan panoramic views, ghost forests (the place migrating dunes have killed the bushes), and a seaside in your after-hike swim.
You can too take a day tour to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park with a information that’s well-versed within the space historical past, flora & fauna, and geologic formation of the Nice lakes and Dune formations. It actually helps to have a information to clarify all the things from the Native Tribes that after roamed the realm, to the geologic forces that go away us with the Nice Lakes we all know at present. Oh, and so they additionally cater an exquisite lunch.
Stuff Your Face
For a small city, Traverse Metropolis actually delivers within the foods and drinks class! Whereas primarily identified for cherries, the realm additionally showcases its different regional produce, fish, dairy, wine, and beer on plentiful native menus.
The farm-to-table scene is kickin’ right here, with the agricultural roots of the realm on show simply miles exterior of downtown. Dedicate chunk of your journey to experiencing the realm’s culinary scene — you gained’t be disenchanted. Or hungry.
Let your deepest foodie needs take you by yourself culinary journey — simply be sure to try these favourite TC dishes and eating places earlier than leaving city!
- Taproot Cider House – Discover Traverse Metropolis’s best cherry cider, a bazillion different ciders, and a foodie-approved farm-fresh menu at downtown TC’s Taproot Cider Home. Taproot options its personal funky ciders — like Cherry Ginger and Moroccan Vanilla Bean — amongst different native favorites. The meals right here isn’t to be missed, both. They’ve received farm-to-table dishes that includes the area’s freshest produce. Strive the Taproot Root Salad made with native and natural roasted root greens, child kale, Northern Pure Natural apples, domestically foraged wild rice, and chèvre with an apple thyme French dressing. For a extra decadent choice, attempt the Loaded Mac N Cheese with roasted apples and caramelized onions for a Michigan tackle a real basic.
- Farm Club capitalizes on the area’s wealthy agricultural scene. In contrast to Taproot, nonetheless, the restaurant and brewery are literally on the farm! You may drive the 7 miles from downtown Traverse Metropolis to achieve Farm Membership’s rural setting, or you’ll be able to bike there on the paved Leelanau Path, which takes you proper by the restaurant. This farm / brewery / restaurant / market has all the things you want: an idyllic setting during which to linger over your meal or drink, a market to select up loads of native treats, and a rotating menu that options no matter’s recent and in season — crispy recent onion rings, padrón peppers, and aioli, fresh-pressed grape spritzers, or — when these leaves begin to change — apple fritters.
- The Cook’s House is a hidden gem nestled in a nondescript home on the sting of downtown Traverse Metropolis. The cooks right here deal with — you guessed it — farm-to-table delicacies that displays northern Michigan’s richness and appreciation of the native bounty. The restaurant is minimalist and small, creating an intimate setting. The menu, whereas dear, can have your mouth watering at first look — savory squash creme brûlée and poached striped bass, anybody?
- The Little Fleet – For informal snack choices and an open-air bar, head to this lot of decked-out meals vehicles. Some meals vehicles keep all summer season whereas some cycle out and in. Both method, you’ll discover a fantastic chew — from tacos to smoothies to ramen — and a fresh-squeezed “farmer’s market” cocktail. In the summertime you’ll be able to catch performances from dwell native bands as properly. C’est la vie!
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Stuff Your Face… with Cherries!
You may’t be in Traverse Metropolis for greater than 2 minutes earlier than getting overwhelmed with Cherry. Cherry what? Cherry all the things. Pie. Cider. Wine. Hen. Salsa. And so. A lot. Extra.
In any case, Traverse Metropolis is the Cherry Capital of the world. And residential to the World’s Largest Cherry Pie Pan – sadly, not the best attraction the town has to supply.
However be sure to do attempt a bit of candy, crumbly cherry pie! Beneath are among the greatest locations to get your cherry repair!
- Grand Traverse Pie Company: That is the place to get a bit of decadent, melt-in-your-mouth cherry pie! And what’s a go to to Traverse Metropolis with out cherry pie? Situated within the coronary heart of downtown, Grand Traverse Pie Firm is the spot in your afternoon (or morning, who’s judging) pie craving. And for those who’re in search of one thing a bit extra substantial to gas an adventure-packed day, you’ve received to attempt the hen salad sandwich with Michigan grapes and (clearly) dried cherries – a northern Michigan basic.
- Cherry Republic: This place has all of it — each cherry memento you possibly can probably think about. The downtown TC location has partitions of cherry barbecue sauce, cherry-flavored wines and ciders, cherry pop (that is the Midwest, bear in mind), cherry queso, cherry snacks and sweet, and even distinctive, Michigan-themed kitchen items. Put together to stroll out of the place loaded down with a bit of all the things.
- Traverse Metropolis Tip: if you would like the unique expertise, head west to Glen Arbor, a captivating little city that’s residence to the flagship store, full with cafe, tasting room, and ice cream for the last word cherry expertise.
- Moomers Homemade Ice Cream: Lick old school cone of your favourite taste whereas greeting the cow that made it occur! This well-loved institution is 5 miles exterior of downtown Traverse Metropolis, the place rolling farmland, orchards, and fairly barns welcome you to the countryside. Get pleasure from your ice cream on the dairy itself, and see the place the magic occurs. Moomers makes over 160 flavors of ice cream, together with Apple Crisp, Cherry Cheesecake, and Tremendous Moo, Moomers’ tackle the basic Michigan Superman ice cream. It’s no surprise they gained “America’s Best Scoops!”
You may take pleasure in cherries any time of 12 months in Traverse Metropolis, however as you realize by now, TC is thought for cherries. So why not take into account planning your journey to coincide with the National Cherry Festival?
Happening in early July every summer season, The Nationwide Cherry Pageant has been celebrating the area’s favourite fruit since 1925. The custom grew from an earlier one — the “Blessing of the Blossoms” (cute!) starting round 1910.
These ceremonies, held in Could, celebrated, after all, the attractive cherry blossoms. If you happen to’re visiting throughout cherry blossom season in Could, drive up M-37 alongside the backbone of Previous Mission Peninsula to get a spectacular present of the bushes with Grand Traverse Bay because the backdrop. Alternatively, hop on a motorbike and experience up the Leelanau Trail between TC and Suttons Bay for a quiet experience previous the orchards on the Leelanau Peninsula.
In 1925, the first-ever Cherry Queen was topped, sparking a practice that continues to today. The festivities continued, gaining help and participation from native companies. Big pies had been baked, the celebration was prolonged, and the entire shebang was declared a nationwide celebration. And why not? Who doesn’t get riled up over an enormous cherry pie!?
The occasion brings round 500,000 folks to this metropolis of about 15,000. The festivities are countless: concert events, parades, rides, fireworks and naturally, good meals. Replenish on cherry pie, wine, beer, barbeque, and no matter else you’ll be able to think about from native eating places, meals vehicles, and farmers’ markets. To not point out this competition takes place alongside downtown TC’s picturesque seashores. Is there something extra summertime than cherries, fireworks, and seashores?
If you happen to’re feeling aggressive, you’ll be able to join a cherry pie-eating contest or a cherry pit-spitting contest. However for those who’d moderately take pleasure in the cherries, eat ‘em at your personal tempo whereas catching a dwell live performance, watching the parade and fireworks, or seeing the crowning of the Cherry Prince and Princess — that’s proper, elementary-aged cherry ambassadors! Earlier than your go to, be sure you verify the competition’s events page so that you don’t miss your favourite actions.
If you happen to don’t go to throughout this cherry-jam-packed week, no worries: there are a lot of cherries to go round throughout the remainder of the summer season. However if you’re right here through the Nationwide Cherry Pageant, roll up your sleeves for a pit spittin’, pie eatin’, all-around good time.
Take a Hike
Ask any native what they love about residing in Traverse Metropolis, and (after the native meals and wine) they’re just about assured to let you know about their favourite outside exercise.
Whereas Michiganders don’t have actual mountains to talk of, we do have rolling hills, towering dunes, and an entire lot of gorgeous water to take a look at — to not point out the white pine forests and well-known trout streams. So yeah, there are some issues to see.
The easiest way to see ‘em? By foot, after all! Lace up your sneakers and luxuriate in Michigan’s nice open air at these trails close to Traverse Metropolis.
- Old Mission Point Park Previous Mission Level Park, on the northern tip of the Previous Mission Peninsula, options about 5 miles of path by forests, meadows, and alongside the peninsula’s seashores. It’s nothing too difficult, and you’ll lengthen or shorten your hike to fit your urge for food for journey. This park can also be residence to the historic Mission Point Lighthouse (extra beneath!), which is certainly value a go to.
- Sleeping Bear Dunes Sleeping Bear Dunes Nationwide Lakeshore is the prime vacation spot for climbing close to Traverse Metropolis. With round 100 miles of trails, even probably the most avid hikers can discover sufficient choices right here. A few of the greatest trails embody Alligator Hill, Sleeping Bear Point, and Empire Bluff. Take a look at the visitor center for up-to-date path data.
- Journey Tip: You’ll must buy an entry cross to benefit from the trails at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Or, you should utilize a National Park Pass, legitimate at any Nationwide Park web site for a 12 months from the month of buy! The National Parks pass pays for itself after visiting two parks AND 10% is donated to conservation, so it’s properly definitely worth the worth.
- Brown Bridge Quiet Area If the crowds on the dunes are an excessive amount of and also you’re in search of one thing a bit extra…quiet, properly, you’ll be able to’t do higher than Brown Bridge Quiet Space. These trails, stewarded by the Grand Traverse Conservation District, circumnavigate what was once Brown Bridge Pond. When the dam creating the pond was decommissioned, the Boardman River might return to its pure state. You may see the restoration that’s occurring alongside this scenic river, which finally flows by downtown Traverse Metropolis and into the West Bay. There are about 6 miles of trails at Brown Bridge, with totally different connectors and routes to shorten your hike if wanted.
Go Biking round Traverse Metropolis
Traverse Metropolis and the encircling areas are crisscrossed with an unbelievable community of trails — Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART trails) (by chance or deliberately on cherry theme- the jury is out!).
This nonprofit group builds and maintains paved, grime, and gravel pathways for biking, strolling, cross nation snowboarding, climbing, and mountain biking, in each city and rural settings. Lots of the TART trails are literally transformed into paths from outdated railroad tracks that crisscrossed the area through the lumber growth.
TART trails are among the greatest locations to pedal round city or by the woods – and even to a couple close by wineries and breweries. Rent a bike and begin pedaling!
- Leelanau Trail: This 17-mile paved path connects Traverse Metropolis and its neighbor to the north, Suttons Bay. Whereas it does cross some roads, it doesn’t parallel any, making you’re feeling as if you’re biking by the attractive countryside – which, truly, you might be. This path additionally passes a variety of wineries and breweries. Hop Lot Brewing Company, Shady Lane Cellars, Farm Club, and MAWBY Vineyards and Winery are all steps from the Leelanau Path. Self-guided brew and wine tour, anybody?
- VASA Pathway: If you happen to’re in search of a extra rugged expertise — no wineries on this path, of us — lease a mountain bike and head to the VASA Pathway. Select one of many totally different size loops (3K, 5K, 10K, 25K) and luxuriate in an adventurous experience by this lovely state forest land. This path is a favourite amongst trail-loving locals of all types, particularly cross nation skiers within the winter.
Water Sports activities
You may’t come to Traverse Metropolis – or wherever northern Michigan – with out spending time in, on, or across the water. It’s merely a part of life Up North.
If being on the water actually isn’t your factor, you’ll be able to nonetheless get a kick out of strolling round one of many a number of marinas on the bay and ogling at some critically posh yachts!
However hopping in a ship is likely one of the true joys of summer season on the lake, and even probably the most cussed of landlubbers ought to attempt it. So placed on the sunscreen, seize your shades, and choose a water sport to fit your fancy!
- Paddle Boarding: Paddleboarding has actually taken off in northern Michigan, as there are about 1,000,000 locations to do it. You may lease stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) at The River Outfitters to check your steadiness on the Boardman River, the West Bay, or the East Bay. They’ll even drop them off to wherever you’re staying. Jackson Kayak gives a SUP half day class on a peaceful lake or the Bay— for individuals who want a bit assist navigating the SUP their first time! And for those who’re exploring in Suttons Bay (a quaint village 20 minutes north of TC) you’ll be able to lease a board on the beachside Suttons Bay Bikes.
- Canoeing: For the old fashioned open air particular person – or those that simply need to sit in a ship, not stand on a teetering board – why not take a canoe down considered one of Michigan’s scenic rivers? At Riverside Canoes, you’ll be able to take a ship down the Higher or Decrease Platte River in Sleeping Bear Dunes. They provide journeys for each starting and skilled canoeists, each with unbelievable surroundings. These journeys sometimes take 2-4 hours and embody shuttle service for you and your rental boat.
- Kayaking: Kayaking is one other glorious method to discover the rivers and lakes (Nice and small) close to Traverse Metropolis. The River Outfitters gives kayak leases to be used on the Boardman River, East Bay, or West Bay. It is a nice method to navigate downtown Traverse Metropolis by water, because the Boardman river winds by city and empties into the West Bay close to Clinch Park. Get pleasure from an city paddle and the entire accessible breweries, outlets, and cafes alongside the best way. And for those who’re a newbie? No drawback — you’ll be able to lease kayaks and get classes at Paddle TC.
- Crusing: Set sail… again in time! If paddling actually isn’t your factor, and also you’re not into laying within the sand and getting all… sandy, perhaps crusing is for you! And this isn’t the type of crusing that requires you to do the work. We’re speaking about sitting on an enormous outdated boat, having fun with the blue waters of the bay, sippin’ on a Bloody Mary. Did that get your consideration? Traverse Tall Ship Company gives excursions round Grand Traverse Bay on a reproduction of an 1800s schooner that may have sailed the Nice Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Get pleasure from this experience by historical past on a morning, midday, or dinnertime sail.
Take a Tour
Traverse Metropolis loves its beer and wine, and this’ll be apparent with the quantity of brew- and wine-hopping excursions being supplied. They’re standard for a cause although, and definitely worth the hype. However there’s a lot else to see and do if that’s not your factor… together with a very haunted tour of a very haunted city.
- Kayak, Bike, & Brew Tour: This distinctive “KaBrew” tour takes benefit of TC’s quite a few breweries, downtown waterways, and plentiful bike trails. Beginning downtown, you’ll bike to The Filling Station within the historic railroad district. Afterward, you’ll hop in a kayak and paddle throughout Boardman Lake to Right Brain Brewery. Right here, you’ll discover funky vibes and beers like Cake Stroll and Thai Peanut ales. Again within the Kayaks, you’ll paddle down the Boardman River by the center of downtown to Rare Bird Brewpub. The final vacation spot, Workshop Brewing, is a brief stroll away. That’s 4 — rely ‘em — 4 native breweries through bike and kayak. Does the beer even rely for those who’ve kayaked throughout a lake to get it?
- Grand Traverse Tours – Winery, Brewery & Distillery Tours: These excursions actually capitalize on the area’s rising acclaim as a vacation spot for wineries, breweries, and distilleries. These excursions are versatile and the professionals can assist you choose the perfect locations in your particular style and pursuits. Be it wine, beer, or whiskey, Grand Traverse Excursions visits quite a few native institutions so you’ll be able to actually get a style of all the things. For one thing a bit totally different, attempt the distillery tour for an opportunity to go to some distinctive spots – together with the “hyperlocal” Ethanology Distillation and the farm-based Iron Fish Distillery.
- Historic Ghost Lantern Tour: As if Traverse Metropolis might get any cooler. TC is, in keeping with the locals, tremendous haunted. From the Previous State Hospital — often known as the Northern Michigan Asylum — to the Previous City Playhouse, the place the lights flicker and unexplained piano music performs, this city is supremely haunted. Quite a few books have been written on the topic if you wish to do some spooktacular analysis in preparation in your go to. The Historic Ghost Lantern Tour sticks to downtown locations just like the Opera Home (haunted by the ghost of a bit woman rumored to have fallen off the balcony to her loss of life, ahh!) and ghostly State Theater, and consists of precise ghost looking with the usage of ghost looking gear. Now that’s spooky.
Discover the Village at Traverse Commons
As soon as the previous Northern Michigan Asylum, the Village at Traverse Commons is your one-stop store to take a look at some superb native eating places and outlets whereas having fun with a little bit of fascinating historical past.
The Victorian-Italianate-style Asylum was established in 1881, and the primary superintendent Dr. James Decker Munson believed that sufferers wanted remedy by kindness and luxury and that “Magnificence is Remedy”, filling the asylum with flowers from the asylum’s greenhouse and the bushes planted on the property.
Dr. Munson additionally prohibited straight jackets, actually breaking the mould of the grim and abusive asylums we’ve got a picture of at present. It’s poetic that the Village at Traverse Metropolis is a spot of delight and leisure, like Dr. Munson, would have wished it to be!
Right here are some things to do in your go to to the Village:
- Take a Tour: If the historical past above has piqued your curiosity, you must try the Guided Historic Strolling Tour supplied right here! On this tour, you’ll study extra about Dr. Munson’s “Magnificence is Remedy” principle on affected person care, former makes use of of the assorted constructions on the property, all whereas venturing by components of the unrenovated historic constructing, and even strolling by a tremendous brick steam tunnel inbuilt 1883. It’s like, spooky ghost tour vibes however the place you’ll be able to think about the ghosts will not be truly tortured however completely happy!
- Take a Hike – Behind Constructing 50 there are 140 acres of unpaved climbing trails simply ready to be explored! Moreover the glittering streams, the gorgeously wooded areas, and panoramic views of the Village, you’ll be able to hike as much as the outdated reservoir, which used to provide recent water to the asylum. At present the large concrete construction stands stark in opposition to the pure background and is roofed with loads of brightly coloured graffiti making it really feel like fashionable artwork. On the entrance garden, you’ll be able to try Dr. Munson’s flowering bushes whereas utilizing this treemap that will help you establish them!
- Seize a Chew at Trattoria Stella: Whereas there are a slew of wonderful eating choices within the Village, Trattoria Stella is a reputation well-known in Traverse Metropolis. They deal with sustainable elements sourced domestically when doable and serve up house-made pastas, recent cheeses, charcuterie, breads, and desserts. The charcuterie is the star of any desk, with house-made duck liver pate, mazzafegati, smoked pork pastrami, Toulouse sausage, rabbit galantine, cherry mostarda, giardiniera greens, Ida crimson applesauce, and toast! Delicioso! Their employees can also be tremendous educated concerning the meals, and particularly the wine, which in flip has designated them as one of many Prime 100 Wine Eating places in America by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. They can assist you pair your wine together with your meal, from Italian wine to native wines like Old Mission and Leelanau.
- Try Some Wine at Left Foot Charley – This award-winning vineyard is beloved in Traverse Metropolis. Left Foot Charley works with grapes from a number of native growers who would in any other case promote to giant, out-of-state wineries. They make reds, whites, glowing wines, and laborious ciders, all whereas supporting native growers and retaining the grapes right here in TC! Their 2018 Island View Winery Pinot Blanc is their most award-winning wine, so make sure that to attempt a glass whilst you’re there.
Browse Michigan’s “E book Metropolis”
Cherries, seashores, wine, and, oh yeah – books! As of 2015, Traverse Metropolis is Michigan’s “E book Metropolis” — and for good cause. With 5 nice guide shops inside a number of blocks downtown, there isn’t a scarcity of paperbacks and bestsellers to browse as you stroll by city.
- Horizon Books has a big choice. Situated in an outdated JCPenney constructing, this multi-story bookstore was scheduled to shut in early 2020, however an outpouring of public help has stored it open. TC locals love this icon, with its neighborhood vibe and top-notch java.
- Higher Self Bookstore meets all of your religious guide wants and way more! E book particular providers like intuitive readings, reiki, and shamanic therapeutic, fill up on crystals or incense, embrace your witchy aspect, nourish your thoughts, physique, and spirit, howl on the moon, and evolve into your greater self! … After which, you realize, hit the seaside.
- The Bookie Joint is your cease for used books, so you’ll be able to come upon that excellent guide you had been in search of or by no means knew you wanted!
- Brilliant Books is a cute cease for a smaller, although adorably curated choice.
- Wild Pages sells lovely writing provides along with books, as a result of typically you need to be the creator of your personal story. It additionally has a big assortment of up to date work, bridging the previous and current.
Tour A Lighthouse
For a state made up of two peninsulas and an entire lotta shoreline, it’s no surprise that Michigan boasts more lighthouses than some other state. Extra than simply being picturesque AF, these lighthouses supply killer views, fascinating Nice Lakes Historical past, and among the greatest seaside picnicking spots.
Listed below are a number of picturesque lighthouses to take a look at close to Traverse Metropolis:
- Mission Point Lighthouse – Situated on the tip of Previous Mission Peninsula, Mission Level Lighthouse sits on the forty fifth parallel – midway between the Equator and the North Pole. This quaint, white lighthouse was inbuilt 1870 to warn sailors of the shallow reefs close to the tip of the peninsula. After an 1860 shipwreck simply offshore, Previous Mission Lighthouse was constructed. After the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1933, native residents raised cash to guard it and the encircling forests. Guests can now tour the lighthouse and its two flooring of museums and stroll the intensive trails across the finish of this pretty peninsula.
- Grand Traverse Lighthouse – This historic lighthouse sits on the very tip of Michigan’s pinky finger – AKA the Leelanau Peninsula. Identified for its Caribbean blue waters and sandy dunes, touring this lighthouse is the cherry (ha!) on prime of an already unforgettably scenic drive. The Grand Traverse Lighthouse sits inside Leelanau State Park and marks an vital flip for ships coming into Grand Traverse Bay. You may tour the lighthouse tower and the historic museum in addition to having fun with the State Park’s trails and seashores.
- Geology Tip: That is an superior space to search for the area’s famed Petoskey Stones – fossilized corals which have a fairly hexagonal sample. In search of them is a bit like a grown-up treasure hunt.
- Point Betsie Lighthouse – Level Betsie Lighthouse sits on the southern finish of Sleeping Bear Dunes (17 miles south of Empire) and is the oldest construction in Benzie County. In 1983, it was the final lighthouse on Lake Michigan to be automated. This lighthouse marks the doorway into the shipwreck-rich Manitou Passage, the waters between Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Manitou Islands. Sailors tried to hunt refuge away from open water within the passage, although many had been unsuccessful in these typically turbulent waters. Whereas the passage doesn’t see giant business ships anymore, the lighthouse continues to be a beacon value visiting. You may even lease (for a hefty chunk of change) the Keeper’s Quarters for a one-of-a-kind keep on Michigan’s sundown coast!
Take a Day Journey
With a lot shoreline across the Nice Lakes, there’s no scarcity of different thrilling and scenic coastal cities and islands to discover. Even taking a scenic drive is an effective way to get a really feel for Michigan’s magnificence all whereas feeling the breeze from the lakes in your hair!
Right here’s the place to take a day journey from Traverse Metropolis:
- Visit Mackinac Island: Mackinac Island (pronounced mack-in-aw) is a captivating little island simply over 4 sq. miles massive off the northern tip of Michigan’s “mitt” and a 2-hour 20-minute drive from Traverse Metropolis. The complete island is a Nationwide Historic Landmark, in addition to being pedestrian-only, which implies you need to take a ferry from Mackinac Metropolis to achieve the island. The gem of the island is its Victorian Grand Hotel, a sprawling white constructing with a inexperienced roof and yellow awnings that glitter on the water, the place Thomas Edison and Mark Twain vacationed in a long time previous. The island additionally has two forts, many Victorian buildings, a rock formation referred to as Arch Rock, a number of fudgeries, and an 8.2 mile look across the island you can bike.
- Visit Fishtown: Fishtown in Leland County, Michigan is simply a couple of 40-minute drive from Traverse Metropolis however looks like stepping right into a bygone period of fishermen. This historic 19-century settlement of fisherman shanties is now a set of boutiques, galleries, and eateries, all within the shell of what was a booming fishing port. Additionally it is nonetheless an operational business fishing village; one of many solely within the state! Pop into the Village Cheese Shanty and check out a few of their 60+ totally different sorts of imported cheese paired with their world-famous pretzel bun, or try The Cove and check out their “Chubby Mary”, a Bloody Mary with a smoked chub protruding the highest! There’s a lot to discover on this rustic city, the place you’ll be able to actually eat the freshest fish possible, and sing your favourite sea shanty!
- Take a Scenic Drive on the M-119: Two hours north of Traverse Metropolis is the little city of Harbor Springs and the start of one of the vital scenic drives within the nation. The Tunnel of Bushes is a well-known stretch of M-119 that hugs the Lake Michigan shoreline and winds slowly underneath the wooded cover. Although doable as a day journey from TC, this attractive drive looks like a world away. Harbor Springs, a city of round 1,200, hugs the Little Traverse Bay and is a superb cease for lunch or treats earlier than hitting the Tunnel of Bushes. A leisurely drive by northern Michigan’s most interesting surroundings will carry you to the neighborhood of Good Hart — your cease for native baked items and jams on the much-loved Good Hart General Store.
- Eyaawing Museum & Cultural Center: Situated about half-hour north of Traverse Metropolis on the Grand Traverse Reservation, Eyaawing Museum & Cultural Middle chronicles the historical past of the Native American nations within the space with artifacts in its museum and sells conventional and up to date artworks. The identify “Eyaawing” (pronounced a-yah-wing) interprets to “Who we’re” in Anishinaabemowin, the normal language of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians who’re native to this a part of Michigan.
- Additionally be sure you try Suttons Bay, Glen Arbor, Frankfurt, and Empire, and Northport!
About Our Contributing Author: Emily is a copywriter, nature lover, and artwork dabbler who lives within the northern Michigan city of Traverse Metropolis. Her favourite components of journey are the outside pursuits distinctive to the vacation spot — and the perfect native foods and drinks she will be able to discover. Be taught extra at emilycarolcopy.com
Are you wanting ahead to a Traverse Metropolis journey be filled with cherries, seashores, wine, and journey? What are you most wanting ahead to in your journey to the tip of the mitt? Tell us within the feedback beneath!
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