But in June, when the temperatures hover around 75 luscious degrees, and the long days of sunshine warm the summer air, that title is not too impossible to imagine! There’s the Lake Michigan beaches, surrounded by quaint local wineries and lots of fun restaurants. Ok, now I’m getting the picture of Traverse City’s award winning title. Add to that, a spa, fabulous cuisine, wineries and a casino? What a great get-away!
A feisty, well-dressed group of adventurers set out last June to discover just what Traverse City had to offer. This group of ladies from Grand Haven Estates in Romeoville, IL, started out by making our spa appointments in advance of our arrival. Something to look forward to, right?
That was just the beginning of our enticements. Soon after our arrival, we sharpened our appetite at the elegant lounge, on the 16th floor of our equally elegant hotel, the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Tasty martinis, glasses of local wine, hearty bourbon beverages helped us transition from traveler to food aficionado. Our dinner began at a spacious table where we could take in the panoramic views of Grand Traverse Bay. We dined on dishes, such as blackened Mediterranean Sea bass or dry aged New York strip steak, and our taste buds were transported from earth to out of this universe! We enjoyed the meal offerings, the wine, and especially the views. What began as a cloud studded day, ended up being a breathtaking sunset. Lucky us!
The next day provided us with ample opportunities to explore Traverse City Village Campus, home of the State Hospital Grounds. Here, we learned about a historical hospital campus that housed and served hundreds of psych patients who needed help and direction. The hospital provided purpose and career training for their patients, in the fields of agriculture, food preparation and service, building engineering and farming. It was quite a successful experiment—to give guidance and purpose rather than drugs and isolation as a means of “helping” the patient. Eventually, the hospital lost funding and the patients were released to other programs or left to go their own ways. Today, the beautiful buildings are being renovated for use as housing, retail spots, and eateries.
On another day trip, we were delighted to learn about historical musical instruments, jukeboxes and nickelodeons of all kinds, sizes and nationalities! The Music House Museum offered us a lively trip back in history, from the very basic of music boxes to wall-sized, panoramic melody makers that graced World’s Fair venues! All were impressive and fun! We couldn’t help but tap our feet and smile at the atmosphere of this place. The gift shop offered unique musical products from music boxes, to scarves and quirky socks, and holiday ornaments. It was a hit with our group.
A favorite dining spot of ours was the Boat House Restaurant on the Leelanau Peninsula. It had the charming ambience of a homey cottage yet served unique, out-of-the ordinary delicious entrees! Our appetizer of fish liver pate was different in a great way! The salad and entrees were equally fresh and tasty. Crème Brule dessert was exceptional!
A trip highlight was the celebration of the summer solstice (on June 21), the longest day of the year! Our daring group cruised on the Nauticat Sunset Cruise on Grand Traverse Bay and shared a champagne toast to the new summer season. We celebrated the wind, the boisterous ride and mellow sunset that lasted a good 2 hours! Some of our group enjoyed a relaxing evening, comfortably lodged in an Adirondack chair, firmly planted in the sand, while delighting in beverages, dinner and listening to a lively band. All of our adventurous travelers had a grand start to the summer of 2018!
Did I mention cherries? Well, let me tell you that Traverse City is the cherry capital of Michigan! From cookies, to ice cream, of course, pies; dry goods, like dish towels or scarves with patterned cherries, cherry air freshener, and cherry hand cream, cherry soda and of course, cherry wine. We ate cherry stuff, bought cherry goods (at Cherry Republic) and enjoyed an alfresco lunch outdoors as well.
These wonderful ladies are open to new adventures. We will see what 2019 brings!