As mentioned in my introduction, Traverse City is centered in a major cherry growing and exporting area. The rebirth of the cherry industry has, to a great extent, been fueled by civic-minded locals hell-bent on saving the old cherry orchards from condo builder bulldozers.
You can buy just about any cherry-related or themed product you'd want in and around Traverse City. Some of them may be a stretch. I didn't see any cherry dog food, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it exists.
There is a huge civic pride in the cherry industry, and you almost find yourself feeling like a traitor is you choose to have blueberry jam with your scones.
And again, a personal recommendation. Google "Cherry Republic" for a nice assortment of cherry products and goodies. It's owned by Bob Sutherland, who is the brother/brother-in-law of my Traverse City friends. My PERSONAL favorite things the Cherry Republic sells are
(a) the Cherry Chocolate Coconut BoomChunka cookies. Imagine terrific oatmeal cookies with nuts, dark chocolate chips and coconut. Ummm Ummm, good.
(b) The Cherry Orchard Crunch, which is basically a gourmet caramel-coated popcorn product with pecans and dried cherries added.
If you really like the notion of "small-town America" and "America, the way it used to be", then you really do need to walk through the historic neighborhoods of TVC. And although the houses certainly have history, these neighborhoods are living and growing.
It's really satisfying in a generational way to see these beautiful old home so nicely kept up, and then to realize that there are young marrieds, growing families, aging baby boomers and seriously senior citizens all sharing the same basic space.
The perfect word is community.
Fondest memory: One of the best parts of a visit to Traverse is walking around town and in the neighborhoods. I personally walk for fitness, even to the point of wearing a pedometer and keeping up with my steps.
I can think of no more satisfying way to earn a few thousand steps is to walk these beautiful old neighborhoods on a crisp and cold Michigan morning. It gets your heart pumping. :)
Favorite thing: There are about 40 public free-internet-access terminals in the Traverse City Public Liblrary. No reservations, but you can usually get one immediately, or after a wait of 10-20 minutes. No library card required. The Library is at 8th and Woodmere, which is about a ten block walk from the city center. There is also a lake-shore park behind the library, a thrift-shop across the street, and very pretty librarians.
Go to the Cherry Festival in July and if possible, travel out into the West Bay to watch the 4th of July fireworks, it's beautiful
Fondest memory: My grandparents owned a house on the west bay and spending time on it is the best thing you can do. It's beautiful.
When visiting Traverse City, I find time to go downtown. Its very nice, especially in the summer.
Fondest memory: Since 1989, the US Navy Blue Angels have performed at the National Cherry Festival Airshow over the West Grand Traverse Bay. The airshow is a highlight and something I look forward to when I visit during the National Cherry Festival.
There are three auto-repair facilities that I highly recomment, all very near to each other---near the intersction of Cass Road and South Airport Road. They're all within walking distance of each other (and McDonalds, and three auto-parts stores). Between the three of them, you can get your car back on the road again.
1. For simple maintenance, Randy's Old Towne service, in the same building with the Holiday Station, Cass and Airport. 231-947-0349.
2. For brakes, mufflers, basic mechanical work, Cliff's Major Muffler. Watch for their sign on the left, as you drive about a block south on Cass Road from Airport Road. The shop is back on a side street, just past Rent-a-Center. 946-4262.
3. For major auto repairs, Auto Tech is the best in town. A block further down Cass, on the right---also back off the road, watch carefully for their sign. Auto Tech is a full-service shop, very honest and reliable, and they'll do their best to get you in in an emergency. Christian-operated, and very trustworthy. 24-hour emergency service, and mobile service if they can do the job on site without towing. 946-6008.
Just go to any beach area and watch the sun set! Also , Go Downtown even if it's just to window shop. There are some good restraunts and brew pubs down there.
Fondest memory: Tall Ship Sailing ! Wow!
All Four Seasons are Gorgeous!
Fondest memory: I love watching the leaves change in the fall along the Boardman Lake Trail.