Grand Traverse Resort And Spa: A Grand Girlfriends Getaway in Traverse City, Michigan
A Grand Getaway – Traverse City, Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan sits at the magical 45th Parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. Magical? You bet! From stunning scenic vistas along Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to the rolling hills and valleys that hide and reveal apple and cherry orchards to vineyards producing some incredible wines and just about any manner of food and lodging.
Traverse City takes some time to get there, but it is so worth the trip. Easily a day’s drive from Chicago, or in my case, Milwaukee, WI. Build the travel time in, and find your favorite scenic route whether through Chicago, on the ferry from Wisconsin or through the UP, via the Mackinac Bridge.
The beautiful Grand Traverse Resort & Spa served as home base for this stay. Elegant, yet comfortable. Upscale, but down-to-earth, the Grand Traverse Resort is definitely a destination in itself. Rooms with comfortable beds and beautiful views. Friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff, reflect the good management of a very large complex, which features multiple lodging options, 3 golf courses, a complete spa,athletic center and plenty of kid-focused venues. The resort has several restaurants, including the beautiful, Aerie featuring top-notch food and gorgeous views from the 16th floor. It is tempting to stay in the resort, but there is much to see and do in Traverse City.
Explore the Uncommon Village at Grand Traverse Commons
The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is the former Traverse City State Hospital. This imposing Victorian Italianate building has emerged from quiet disuse as a vibrant, alive collection of living space, business, dining and unique shops. The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is regarded as the largest historic preservation and adaptive reuse development in the country. Trattoria Stella in the Village Commons serves up delicious Italian food in its lower level restaurant, using the same kitchen space that served the hospital, updated, of course, for contemporary use. After dining, a stroll through cream brick arches and corridors of the Mercato at the Commons reveals an eclectic mix of shops and art galleries. Historical exhibits spaced along the way tell the story of the hospital and its time as an asylum more than a century ago. Stop in at Gallery Fifty and check out the jewelry made from Fordite and Bluestone. Christmas in the Village is now going on every Saturday in December.
Let’s Go Downtown
Downtown Traverse City is utterly charming! Postcard pretty with interesting shops spanning several blocks. Front Street is the heart of this tightly knit dining and shopping hub. Cherry Republic is a must for all things cherry Traverse City is the cherry capitol of America and Cherry Republic shows that well with generous samples throughout the store. After sampling all that cherry deliciousness, walk around Front Street and take in the beauty of the 19th century red brick buildings, all historically preserved. The Downtown Traverse City Association is actively involved with reviving, preserving and sustaining this gem of a city. They also plan some fun activities. Get your shopping done on Ladies Night, Dec. 6 or Men’s Night, Dec. 13. Each night is tailored to meet your shopping needs, with specials at area eateries, gift-wrapping, entertainment, prizes and kids activities.
Traverse City Dining – So Many Choices, So Little Time
Traverse City continues to grow as a foodie destination. Recognized by Bon Appetit, Fodor’s, Huffington Post, and Traverse City resident Mario Battali for its passionate chefs, wonderful vineyards, artisan food producers and more, Traverse City celebrates food in innovative and extraordinary ways. Pretense and “haute” are left at the door. What you get is pure MIchigan cuisine. Pop into Phil’s on Front Street for a full dinner or just one of his incredible desserts or a handmade chocolate. Or follow your nose to Red Ginger for a unique spin on Asian cuisine. Don’t forget the Traverse City Pie Company. They serve an impressive selection of pies that truly rival homemade. Too full after dinner? Stop in and take a slice with you.
For a spectacular sunset dinner, try the Aerie Restaurant in the Tower at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Their “from scratch” kitchen will work with you to create your perfect dinner. Choose from several of Michigan’s fine wines to enjoy as you watch the sun set. Good Harbor Vineyards 2008 Chardonnay is a little bit of heaven in a glass.
The area boasts over 25 wineries from Traverse City, the Leelanau Peninsula, the Old Mission Peninsula and surrounding areas. Good Harbor Vineyards has several exceptional white wines. Remember them when you head to Traverse City for the Taste the Passion celebration of Wine, Chocolate and Love, Feb. 2 & 3, 2013.
Doing the Dunes
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a must-see. No matter your age or abilities, you can “do the dunes.” Seven miles of gorgeous scenery on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Historic preserved sites and museums. Sweeping vistas of unbelievable beauty make you feel like you are on the edge of the earth. All this plus the towering sand dunes, pristine beaches and crystal clear water are testament to ABC’s “Good Morning America” rating as the “Most Beautiful Place in America.”
The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is walkable, bike-able and wheelchair accessible. Travel a paved path from the Dune Climb through historic Glen Haven to Glen Arbor where you can find rest and sustenance at the Western Avenue Grill. Try the Parmesan Crusted Lake Michigan Whitefish, caught and served fresh that day.
At the End of the Day
After walking and climbing in the fresh air, the perfect end to a perfect day is a Cherry Infused massage at the Grand Traverse Spa, relaxing and reflective. A full menu of indulgent spa delights is available, with frequent specials and packages. The talented and friendly staff pamper you in luxurious style, as you relax near their fireplace and enjoy light refreshment. Close your eyes and dream of Pure Michigan.
Thanks to Julie Ravely for visiting Traverse City, Michigan and reporting back to us on her girlfriend-worthy getaway. Julie lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has written about some of her favorite spots in Door County and Fond du Lac. For more ideas on what to do in Traverse city, read this post on a summertime visit to the Lavender Hill Farms or winter venues with the family in tow. We also love to eat at Bay Bread Company or Red Mesa Grill.