Lighthouses, lakes, and dunes! Michigan is such a beautiful state, every time I go I feel like I am in a place far from the Midwest, while frankly I am right in the heart of it! Michigan is quite possibly my favorite place to visit in the Midwest! One minute you can be driving down old farm roads lined with little pop up produce stands of fresh blueberries, cherries, and peaches. While the next, your driving down a long coastal stretch of Lake Michigan that is so vast and endless it could fool you into thinking you’re at the ocean! Michigan is a huge state with tons of cool territory to cover! I only had a short two day holiday weekend to spend with my family, so we chose Traverse City!
Traverse city is a charming little lake town filled with plenty of shops, restaurants, trails, and wonderful little surrounding towns to explore that are just a short drive away!
We started our morning out roaming around downtown Traverse, and having a hearty breakfast at The Omelette Shop! HOLY YUM!!! was this place everything you dream of in a breakfast shop. With a large variety of breakfast foods, you can not go wrong, especially with the pancakes! The lemon blueberry ricotta pancakes were some of the best I’ve had and worth the food coma that hit afterwards!
After a scrumptious breakfast we ventured to the little town of Leland, the town is known as the historic fish town! I LOVED FISHTOWN! (The only thing that could of made it better was if they were bumpin some phish tunes!) Fishtown is a tiny old rustic lining of little wooden huts serving fresh caught fish and seafood and other goodies! At the start of the little fish village, a beautiful dam with rushing water spills out into a narrow canal of boats with hundreds of fishing poles hanging out the side! The Cove is the popular restaurant here offering the best views of Fishtown and the lake! Come here for their Bloody Mary! Served with a fresh full piece of smoked trout! Now that’s how you make a bloody! The Main Street Art Gallery in town is also worth a mention! The gallery was very unique, offering beautiful local art and incredible sculptures placed around a beautiful harbor view courtyard to walk around!
After Leland we ventured into Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore. Located just thirty minutes of Traverse, the national lake shore is perfect for a day of adventuring, hiking, swimming, or simply relaxing. We started with an easy little hike at, Pyramid Point, which led to a towering dune lookout that allowed you to run down the massively steep dune straight the the turquoise water! (Seriously, this water could be mistaken for the Caribbean!)
From there we drove to the, Dune Climb, and began the trek up the treacherous dunes. Much to our dismay we didn’t make it, mainly due to the fact we started too late! We would climb up several dunes expecting to see the lake, only to unfortunately find that another massive dune faced us daring us to climb another. However, the Dune Climb was beautiful and gives you panoramic views of the stunning, Glen Lake! We decided to turn back and drive out to Empire Point, the spot of all spots for watching a sunset!
Empire Point was by far the highlight of the whole trip and an absolute MUST SEE if your heading to the area! An easy hike mostly through shade and woods spills out to a wooden path of stairs letting you know you’ve made it to the magical view that lies ahead! This view seriously blew me away and made me feel like I was standing out on the cliffs of California, and not so much Michigan!!! My brothers and I stared out in awe as I set up my tripod and camera gear in attempts to capture the beauty that the sunset cascaded over the sky! We got the most picture perfect red and orange fire sunset.
To end the jam packed adventuring day we had a meal at, Trattoria Stella. I don’t think any of us expected to sit down and have truly one of the most amazing authentic Italian meal of our lives. This place was seriously off the charts and a must eat for any foodie out there. After striking up conversation with our waitress we found out the restaurant used to be an insane asylum, this made for a fun and spooky dinner!
We started the morning with more adventure, and well…A LOT OF FOOD! We made a pit stop for something to munch on at Peace, Love, & Little Donuts, as someone who is not really a doughnut fan (I know I’m a weirdo) I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this doughnut shop! The doughnuts were the perfect little bite size, and decorated with elaborate, creative toppings! After taking the edge off of our hunger, we drove to Elk Rapids, a cute little town situated right on the lake with a few blocks of little shops that meet the beach! We ate breakfast at, Harbor Cafe, which is THE stop if you want good pancakes! We had stuffed cherry and cinnamon drizzle pancakes that were devoured in the matter of minutes! (Traverse City is the largest producer of tart cherries in the US so be sure to get some while your there!)
After being sufficiently stuffed we drove out to Torch Lake, the lake is a few splendid shades of blue and is notorious for having big tie up sand bar parties. It was too cold when we went so we could not experience the lake to its fullest, however this is definitely the lake to come enjoy an afternoon on and indulge in some water activities! After Torch Lake, we drove to Jolly Pumpkin Brewery! Jolly Pumpkin is up there in one of the most unique breweries I’ve stumbled upon. Located back in Traverse, you drive down a nice strip of water and residential lake houses, until BAM! A beautiful brown house sits atop a mini hill with a lake view perfect for a jolly pumpkin! Jolly Pumpkin specializes in oak aged sours (my favorite kind of beer) and if you have the time I recommend taste testing them all! My personal favorites were the Clementina, a sour fruit saison, and the Maracaibo, a brown sour ale brewed with cacao nibs and spiced with cinnamon and orange! Lets just say the beers put a big ole JOLLY smile on my face with how good they were!
One of my favorite things about Michigan is the abundance of little markets and produce stands to stop off at while driving through the various towns! We stopped at one that I really loved the feel of! Known for their pies and wine tastings, Royal Farms Farm Market and Winery, has a charming farm vibe to it with a beautiful vibrant flower wine garden to sit and enjoy a glass and slice of their home made pie!
And Finally to continue on with FOOD, because who doesn’t love food, we ended the night at The Boathouse. The Boathouse was one of the more touristy recommended restaurants which we typically stray away from, the overall atmosphere was a bit stuffy but the views, if sitting outside, are spectacular and peaceful, and it is a good spot to stop for a drink and maybe an appetizer. The night ended back in our airbnb, watching the sunset over the pool and lake, playing games, sipping wine, and enjoying each other’s company before we ventured off on our 6 hour road trip back home. If your in the Midwest and looking for a fun weekend getaway, Traverse City is your spot!
Do you have a favorite weekend spot to getaway?
Comment below, I would LOVE to know!
Thank YOU all for reading
Wishing you a day and life full of adventure and total bliss!
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