Traverse City , Michigan- Our Summer Trip
Ever since we got back from Traverse City, Michigan a few weeks ago I have been going on and on about we cannot wait to go back. From the beautiful drive from our doorstep to theirs, this was a trip where not one of us had one complaint. Does that ever happen? (not in my house!)
There are several things that we did while we were there that mainly focused on enjoying the natural beauty of the area, exploring local wineries/breweries, relaxing on the beach and eating great food. Typically when we travel as a family (my favorite way) these are the key points we use to build our trip around. We are not seeking out the arcades, theme parks, you know- the tourist traps. I am also not a shopper. Many, many suggestions were made to me for shopping hot spots and admittedly- I only went to one place. I mean- this is Michigan after all. I had to go to Cherry Republic!
I am going to share our highlights in 2 post. The first will be this photo post and the second will be one that focused on the wineries- because they deserved their own post. I brought back 2 cases of wine in addition to what I shipped back to myself so that should tell you something. Read about a sneak peek I got to have of Bonobo Winery HERE.
We stayed at the Bay Shore Resort in Traverse City. Regrettably, none of my photos turned out well. We liked this place and definitely would go back. The rooms were clean and ours had an enormous jacuzzi (that was clean) in our room. My only issue was that it is IN the room. So if you want to use it then your family has to exit stage left. But I used it twice while my guys were playing frisbee on the beach. They offer a nice continental breakfast buffet and the front desk staff is very helpful. There is also a well-sized indoor pool- but we did not use it. We just wanted to be outside! I would recommend anyone stay there.
It is close to everything you could want to do and accessible to the water (clearly), city trails and walkways. Next time we will rent bikes to get around in the immediate vicinity. Also, adjacent to the hotel is an awesome liquor store named Blue Goat. Liquor store really isn’t a great classification for this business as they have a sampling of pretty much every Michigan-made wine, beer or distilled spirit. Their staff really knows their stuff and I bought a lot to take home and try from them. Now why can’t there be a place like this in Indiana?
Now I cannot overstate this here but the best way to plan your trip to Traverse City is to visit their website HERE. There you can find the complete hotel, B&B, restaurant, attraction, outdoor venue, beach listings. This is just what WE did. Had we been able to stay maybe 3 or 4 more days we would have visited Leelanau Peninsula, Sleeping Bear Dunes and much more of the area. We just literally ran out of time. There is always next year ????
The next day we explored Old Mission Peninsula. I have never been anywhere like it and while we were there we had almost talked ourselves into buying a few acres and starting a hop farm- which is a dream my husband has. Read all about our day on OMP HERE. This is one of the few hop farms we stopped by and this photo doesn’t do it justice. If you want to see a great hop operation in Michigan visit Hop Head Farms. Matt is dying to visit there and had we had time we would have gotten a tour. Maybe this fall.
We had lunch, even though we snacked at every winery we visited, at the Jolly Pumpkin. Jacob is still talking about that place and their pulled pork nachos. It was a real culinary delight for this family. We ate every bit of our food and even ordered a few more items that we couldn’t leave without tasting. Yes, our bill was high because we literally ordered 6 meals- but who knows when we were going to be back! The view was amazing and all told we were there 2 hours. We also, well Matt not me, bought 6-packs to take home that they boxed up for us. Jolly Pumpkin is owned by North Peak Brewery. As is the Blue Tractor where we ate the night before. Different food, same great tip of the hat to local products, ingredients and growers. I give both an A++.
There were almost too many options of places to eat, breweries to try and bakeries I wanted to visit. I relied heavily on friends I had in the area for tips and suggestions. Mike Norton with Traverse City Tourism was my go-to trip planner (see link above), Kirsten of Comfortably Domestic who lives in the area needs to work for Traverse City Tourism. She is like an encyclopedia of the area- where to eat, where not to eat, where to take your kids, etc. If you are planning on going there hit her up on Twitter and ask for some suggestions. @ComfortDomestic. Also, My friend Deb Thompson of Just Short of Crazy gave me all sorts of pointers, tips and suggestions that we used as well. It helps to have good friends ????
The day we left we had brunch at a local favorite in town and strolled around getting coffee, a few pastries and of course- went to Cherry Republic. I really liked the place we ate at for brunch, The Towne Plaza, their food was very good and the menu was legitimately local and well thought out. The only comments I would make was that our outdoor table was on top of anthills (in the paver stones) that crawled all over us and we were there way, way too long. We made no substitutions or special orders. But 52 minutes from order to service is too much. Nevertheless I would eat there again and the puffed pastry stuffed with pulled pork that I had was divine.
We will for sure be back soon. While we were there we had the chance to check out rental houses and places we would stay for at least a week or more- because it is that kind of area. I hope you check it out for yourself! Let me know, in the comments, if YOU have ever been to this area? What did YOU enjoy? I have 3 more posts about our extended trip to Michigan. Next up- the wineries we visited then on to the Silver Lake area and a visit at Michigan’s largest family owned dairy.