I have made a promise to myself to make more of an effort to thoroughly explore Traverse City. I just love this town. It's funny, but I have never spent much time in Traverse City. It always seems like I'm just passing through on my way to a more northern destination.
I spent a bit more time there last week, but I left wishing I could have stayed longer. Plans are already underway for a lengthier stay next summer.
If most of your experience with Traverse City is during the National Cherry Festival - you're missing out. Don't get me wrong - the National Cherry Festival is a great event. But with all of the special events and activities that surround the festival I think the charm of Traverse City might get lost in the shuffle and that is a shame.
Anyone that has at least driven through Traverse City knows just how beautiful it is. What they don't know (well, at least what I didn't know) is just how friendly the people are.
I constantly met people holding doors for my family and I, smiling, and saying hello in a cheerful way. For a town of its size, Traverse City residents sure seem to have a genuine small-town charm about them.
We ate lunch at one of my favorite northern Michigan restaurants, Scalawags Whitefish & Chips. I remember when you had to go all the way to Mackinaw City to get your fix for delicious deep-fried Great Lakes whitefish. The Traverse City location is excellent and the whitefish I had was probably the best I have had at any of their locations.
Hopes of my kids not caring for it (so I could eat theirs) quickly faded and I was left with offerings of their remaining french fries. Oh well :).
You can't take a "quick" walk around downtown Traverse City. There is just too much to see and too many neat shops. We didn't have any trouble parking and I quickly became jealous of the large number of people who were biking all over town on the numerous biking trails.
Traverse City is definitely biking friendly. The other Michigan town that quickly came to my mind when looking at the biking paths was Marquette (currently tied with Traverse City as my favorite northern Michigan town).
Traverse City State Park is just a short (two mile) bike ride to downtown and is a pretty popular camping spot. I always say, "one of these days we'll camp there" and maybe "one of these days" will come soon.
Before we left town we just had to stop in for pie at Grand Traverse Pie Company. We came for the pie and ended up staying for lunch, too :). One of the super-friendly staff highly recommended the Cherry Peach Crumb pie saying, "if all they served in heaven was Cherry Peach Crumb pie, that would be all right." After eating quite a few slices I would have to agree with her.
While I was ordering our pie a gentleman was trying to find out where to get a specific flavor of Leelanau Coffee. He said he had tried to find it at one of the local grocery stores, but they didn't carry it. I told him that their store is over in Glen Arbor and it's just a nice little scenic drive along M-22 away from Traverse City. He didn't sound too interested (his loss - the drive to Glen Arbor is beautiful) so I told him he could easily order it online as well.
With a bellyful of pie and a large cup of coffee (Grand Traverse Pie Company house blend - very good!) in hand we sadly pointed the truck south and headed on home.
So, until next summer, goodbye, Traverse City, thanks for having us.