Drive through vineyards and cherry orchards in the verdant countryside
Mar 10, 2021 at 10:25 AM
When planning your trip to Traverse City, be sure to allot plenty of time to venture out of the town center to experience the surrounding area, which is filled with all kinds of attractions and bucolic scenery.
If cherries are the queens in these parts then grapes are the kings. You can spend a whole day touring the wineries – and distilleries – in these parts, many of which are located on the Old Mission Peninsula and out past Greilickville on the M22. The drive through vineyards and cherry orchards in such verdant countryside will woo you and, of course, the tastings delight. The gift shops associated with these fine establishments are the cherry on top! (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)
You’ll find lots of Kodachrome moments out this way with some especially good ones at the Mission Point Lighthouse, an iconic piece of Michigan history that dates back to 1870. Self-guided tours are possible (when open) and here, too, you can have fun picking up souvenirs at their gift shop located in the historic Hessler Log Cabin. Take a nice hike on the trails located around the park (perhaps before the wine tasting); you’ll also find lots of places to picnic, birdwatch and relax. And yes, since this is Traverse City, there’s a beach, too.
If you want to be out on the water in a big way, consider lining up a tour with Traverse Tall Ship Company. A sail on the West Grand Traverse Bay on the Tall Ship Manitou will transport you back to the 1800s when such ships transported cargo along the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. This company also offers special tours on a windjammer. To enhance the experience, use your cellphone for picture taking only. For more wind-worthy excursions and programs, contact the Maritime Heritage Alliance.
Wee ones love to discover and explore everything from how fish hatch to the lifecycle of a cherry at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum.
The museum promotes learning through play-based exploration, and isn’t it through play that we’re most likely to learn? This theme lies at the foundation of all they offer here from their exhibits to visits to the products offered in their gift store. Have fun!
Big kids need play, too, and fortunately there are boatloads of possibilities for all types of fun in and around Traverse City. Here you’ll discover some of the best water-based recreation around. You can even do a kayak brew tour! If you want to bring your pup along, you might want to rent yourself a paddle board.
Whether you’re cruising along one of the many trails in and around Traverse City or lolling on the beach, this place is made for R & R. (Although in this case, R & R stands for recreation and relaxation. There’s so much to do that you likely won’t want to remain at rest for too long.)
Did you know that one of the most spectacular beaches in the country can be found just a short drive from Traverse City at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore? Yes, only twenty-five miles to the west of Traverse City you can discover the wondrous nature of towering sand dunes, miles of beaches, clear inland lakes, thick forests, unique flora and fauna, old homesteads, pastoral lands and more at this unique site. (There are only ten national seashores and four national lakeshores in the U.S., all of which are protected by the National Park Service. Sleeping Bear Dunes is a must!
You can marvel at nature's raw beauty here in winter as well. Or, you can hit the slopes. Yes, there’s skiing in them thar hills. You may do some snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and surely other winter sports, too. Traverse City stands out as one of those terrific destinations that’s lovely to experience winter, spring, summer and fall. There’s no need to cherry pick your way through all of the different things to do. Go ahead and stay a month and enjoy a good lot of them.