Traverse City Off The Beaten Path

  • Brys Estate Boutique VineYard & Winery
    Brys Estate Boutique VineYard & Winery
    by deecat
  • Mickey trying wines inside Peninsula Cellars
    Mickey trying wines inside Peninsula...
    by deecat
  • Sign directing visitors to Peninsula Cellars
    Sign directing visitors to Peninsula...
    by deecat

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Traverse City

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Black Star Farms on Leelanau Peninsula

    by deecat Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Wine/cheese making Building at Black Star Farms
    3 more images

    Black Star Farms produces wines of high character, acidity, and balance. They also produce Leelanau Cheese in the Creamery at Black Star Farms. This Leelanau Peninsular location was their original home and is located 3 miles south of Suttons Bay. It is on a working farm with a winery, creamery, farmers' market, equestrian facility, vineyards, orchards, trails, and a B&B Inn!

    We tasted wines in the tasting room, and we observed cheese being made by looking through huge glass windows, seeing the cheese makers. We learned that the milk for the cheese comes from the Gavin Farm in Cedar, MI. They have grass fed cows. They have a cellar that is cave like; it holds a certain temperature and humidity level [the cheese develops flavor while aging.]

    It takes 3 months for the mild Raclette to ripen; 8-10 months for the sharp; and two years for the extra sharp. Seeing and learning about the cheese making was quite interesting. We were able to taste the cheese, which was DELICIOUS. Because we stayed in a hotel and had to type of refrigeration for the drive home, we did not buy any.

    The Black Star Farms is just wonderful and should be on everyone's list to visit.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Women's Travel
    • Wine Tasting

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Sleeping Bear Point Maritime Museum

    by deecat Updated Jun 1, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sleeping Bear Point Maritime Museum
    1 more image

    Hours: Mid May to Early September: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Daily
    early September to Mid October: Noon to 5:00 p.m. Weekend (Sat & Sun only)

    The Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum is located just west of Glen Haven. It is the original Sleeping Bear Point U.S. Life-Saving Station [which was moved to its present location because of the encroaching sand dunes were beginning to bury it in sand!]

    During the summer, each day at 3:00 p.m., there is a re-enactment of the breeches buoy rescue drill that utilizes Raggedy Ann & Andy as the shipwreck victims. Children love this and are encouraged to participate in the drill.

    Here, you will find exhibits that cover the U.S. Life-Saving Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Great Lakes shipping history. A room on the second floor is outfitted as a Steamer Wheelhouse with a great view of the Manitou Passage shipping channel.

    You will learn that each station had a "keeper, often called "Captain who had overall responsibility for the station. He supervised a crew of six to eight surfmen hired from the local community. Although the Keeper worked year around, the surfmen worked during the shipping season from April to mid-December.

    The waters of the Manitou Passage could be treacherous; thus, shipwrecks occurred frequently. Sleeping Bear Point was one of the life-saving stations that guarded this passage which saw ships that were traveling between Chicago and the Straits of Mackinac.

    Photographs:

    1. Sleeping Bear Point Maritime Museum

    2. Micky in front of Lake Michigan and facing the Maritime Museum

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Glen Haven

    by deecat Updated Jun 1, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Glen Haven General Store

    Glen Haven, Michigan, is a renovated and restored logging village on the Leelanau Peninsula and is located within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In 1857, Glen Haven was founded west of Glen Arbor and was a settlement called Sleeping Bearville. By 1881, there were eleven buildings in this community. The Park Service purchased all of the village by the mid-1970s. Sadly, the last resident, Carolyn Bumgardner, was evicted through "eminent domain" in November of 2007 [she had put up a long battle to keep her property!]

    Of interest in Glen Haven are:

    1. In the photograph: Glen Haven General store is operated by Eastern National. This historic general store appears as it did in the 1920s. It offers typical general store merchandise and items related to the history of the Glen Haven area. Public restrooms are available next to the store.

    2. Cannery Boat Museum: A volunteer staff is available for impromptu interpretive talks. It has an historic boat collection that includes vessels, motors and equipment. Picnic tables are available adjacent to the parking area.

    3. Glen Haven Blacksmith Shop: This is a fully restore 1920s Blacksmith Shop that provides blacksmith demonstrations for people of all ages. You are able to see how bars of iron are heated and transformed into useful items. Note: it is open depending on staff availability!

    4. Sleeping Bear Point Maritime Museum: See the next tip.

    HOURS:
    Open only Saturday and Sunday from end of May to end of June.
    From end of June to Beginning part of September: Noon to 5:00 p.m. daily

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Philip A. Hart Visitor Center

    by deecat Updated Jun 1, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Philip A. Hart Visitor Center/Sleeping Bear Dunes

    The Philip A. Hart Visitor Center is located in Empire, Michigan, on M-72.. This visitor center is named for the long-time Michigan senator who efforts were central to establishing Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It is a relatively new building, and while we were there, workers were doing yearly renovations. Because we visited in the "off season", tickets to the park were purchased here. Fortunately, I have a Senior Lifetime Pass, and the woman who takes tickets was impressed. Thus we did not have to buy a $10.00 seven day pass or a $20.00 annual pass for 12 months from date of purchase.

    Inside the building, they present a free slide show called "Dreams of the Sleeping Bear". This includes a mix of photography, music and narration as it orients you to the park.

    There are also museum exhibits that explore the geologic, natural history, and human stories of the park. They have a large relief map and an interactive touch-screen kiosk.

    There is a great bookstore called Eastern National Bookstore. Public restrooms are available here as well as a water fountain, a pay phone, and an assistive listening devices found at the information desk.

    This facility is open all year long except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Days.

    Hours Open:

    Memorial Day to Labor Day [Summer]: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Labor Day to Memorial Day [Fall, Winter & Spring]: 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Grand Traverse Lighthouse

    by deecat Updated Jun 1, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Grand Traverse Lighthouse
    2 more images

    Photographs:
    1. Grand Traverse Lighthouse
    2. Inside the Lighthouse
    3. On the grounds is the old boat used as a planter

    Grand Traverse Lighthouse is located in Leelanau State Park in Northport, Michigan. This lighthouse was built in 1852 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When we visited, it was great fun to climb the lighthouse tower for great views. It was also interesting to visit the restored keeper's residence.

    The restored keeper's residence contains furniture and household items dating back to the 1920s and 1930s. There are exhibits about shipwrecks, foghorns, and other lighthouses. There is also a gift shop which offers clothing, books, souvenirs, and nautical gifts.

    We discovered that there is a Grand Traverse Lighthouse Keeper Program. From April through December, you may qualify to spend one or two weeks staying in the lighthouse as a "Lighthouse Keeper. As a "Keeper", you will stay on the northern side of the lighthouse that has a fully-equipped and modern kitchen, living room are, 2 bedrooms, and a bath and a half. During that stay, you would be responsible for greeting visitors and providing historical information about the light house. You have to be in good physical condition, able to climb stairs, and able to work long hours. fIf you visit the website listed, you can obtain detailed information.

    Open:
    Daily May: Noon to 4:00 p.m.
    June to Labor Day: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    Labor Day to October 31: Noon to 4:00 p.m.
    November-Saturdays and Sundays Only: Noon to 4:00 p.m.

    ADMISSION is $4.00 per adult
    $2 per child
    5 and under: FREE

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Leland Historic District [Fishtown]

    by deecat Updated Jun 1, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Dam Candy Store
    2 more images

    What a clever village Leland seems to be....about 40 years ago, my husband and I had been to Leland, but I don't remember it. I wanted to return on this trip to see if the new visit would "jog" my memory.

    Even though I still don't recall that first visit, this new visit is fresh on my mind. Leland certainly is picturesque. Its located on a sliver of land located between Lake Michigan and Lake Leelanau on the Leelanau Peninsula.. This is a great village for WALKING. The shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums are located within a short distance of each other. I noted that "there is easy access to public beaches, boat launches on each lake, and a river connecting the two."

    The best part of Leland, I think, is the Leland Historical district that is known as Fishtown.

    Here, there are rustic shanties reminiscent of life and commercial fishing 100 years ago. However, today there are shops and galleries that fill these shanties. Charter fishing trips and a public ferry [to the Manitou islands] exist rather than individual commercial fishing [except for the remaining one called "Carlson's of Fishtown"] There is also a full service marina here where people are able to moor boats on Lake Michigan.

    Warning: parking is tight in and around the Historical district. We were there before the actual "season begins", and we found it quite difficult to find a place to park.

    Photographs:

    1. This shanty is home to "DAM CANDY STORE", which is a clever title since this candy store is located right in front of the river's dam!

    2. This photo is of that River Dam.

    3. This picture shows the popular and famous CARLSON'S OF FISHTOWN. Fishtown is located at the mouth of the Leland River. Here you find the region's last full-time commercial fishing operation, Carlson's of Fishtown. This store sells fresh and smoked fish and even a smoked fish sausage. We went inside and perused the place. Unfortunately, we had no way to take back any fish.

    I'm sure glad that I could not remember that first visit to Leland all those years ago because that lead me to returning this vacation.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    The Village of Suttons Bay

    by deecat Updated May 31, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Suttons Bay
    1 more image

    Photographs:

    1. Shops along their main street, St. Joseph's Avenue
    2. Whimsical store called Michigan Artists Gallery

    Both Mickey and I agree of all the towns that we visited on this trip, our favorite was SuttonsBay. It is located midway up the eastern shore of the Leelanau Peninsula.

    During the early 19th century [when its harbor was used as a port by schooners transporting lumber from the area to large towns in the Midwest], the population increased, and the town "blossomed."

    I love the architecture of Suttons Bay, and most of the shoreline of Suttons Bay is park land for all to enjoy. There are trails to hike at Bahle Park. Nearby are wineries, golf courses, sport fishing, boating, downhill and cross country skiing, casino gambling, and two national parks.

    What I loved most is that in this village, there are no fast food franchises, no parking meters, and no stoplights! Suttons Bay is such a charming and historical village. It doesn't hurt that it has such adorable specialty shops either!

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Mission Point Lighthouse/Hessler Log House

    by deecat Updated May 31, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mission Point Lighthouse
    3 more images

    Photographs:
    1. Mission Point Lighthouse
    2. Mickey in front of Lighthouse
    3. The Hessler Log Home
    5. Room Inside the Lighthouse

    Mission Point Lighthouse and grounds are really a park. The Lighthouse was built in 1870, and today it is maintained by Peninsula Township and short-term keepers are allowed to live in the lighthouse.

    The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1933, but did not open for public tours until 2008!

    Open Hours:
    10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

    Self-guided tours are available 7 days a week which includes access to the tower.
    I walked up to the tower with its narrow steep steps and low headroom. I'm only 5'1" tall, and I bumped my head! So beware.

    The Hessler Log Home was built in 1854-1856 in the southern part of the Old Mission Peninsula by early settlers, Mary & Joseph Hessler. The huge logs were cut from pine trees and were hand hewn and stacked on top of each other to form the walls, while modified dove-tailed joints held the corners snuggled together without nails or fasteners.

    "This cabin was moved to Mission Point Lighthouse Park where it wasrepaired and furnished during 1992-1997. Supposedly, here the Hessler Log Home would have more visits to further assist the public in understanding how our pioneer families lived and utilized the untamed land."

    This information is found on a beautiful sign next to the cabin.

    Don't miss seeing both the Mission Point Light House and park as well as the Hessler Log Home.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    The Old Mission & Old Mission Church

    by deecat Updated May 31, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Old Mission
    2 more images

    Driving up Old Mission Penisula, we stopped to see the Old Mission Log Church. It is really a replica of the original Mission that was built in 1840. It was also used as a school for Chippewa Indians.
    (Photos #1 and 2)

    This Old Mission log Church is just part of this small peninsula town. There's the general store, the Old Mission Inn, the Old Mission Lighthouse, and the Old Mission General Store.

    Old Mission village from 1839 until 1852 was the site of a unique experiment created by Presbyterian missionary Peter Dougherty. It consisted of a small colony of teachers, artisans, and farmers [both Indians and non Indians] who all worked side by side.Today, this small village appears to be "frozen in time".

    Today, the New England-style Congregations church stands, and it is still occupied. Note the tall white spire. (Photo #3)

    It's certainly worth a visit to see this historic place.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Old Mission Inn

    by deecat Updated May 31, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sign announcingOld Mission Inn
    3 more images

    Photographs

    1. Sign announcing the Old Mission Inn
    2. The house and yard from a distance
    3. The long and lovely porch
    4. A replica of an "Out House" in the yard

    .While driving up Old Mission Peninsula, we came across the Old Mission Inn which originally [1869] a 31 room hotel. It's only had four owners in that time; since 1998, the owners have been Bruce, Angie, and Tyler Jensen. Would you believe that a 1936 guest register indicates that both Babe Ruth and Joe Louis signed it.

    Today the Inn has several rooms, and each one is uniquely themed in Victorian splendor. You can see views of Old Mission Bay.
    Names of some of the rooms and suites are:

    Cupid's Cove
    Vineyard Room
    Rose Garden
    Magnolia Room
    Essence of Ivy
    Cherry Tree Suite
    Apple Blossom Suite
    The rooms/suites range in price from $110 to $235 per nights.

    They have bonfires at night; it is walking distance to the beach with launch; it is 3 miles from the Lighthouse Park.

    No pets are allowed, and it is a SMOKE FREE environment.

    Non-guest tours are avalable for a donation [which benefits the Old Mission Inn Historic Preservation Fund].

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    The Old Mission General Store

    by deecat Updated May 31, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Old Mission General Store
    1 more image

    The Old Mission Peninsula has many unique places to visit, and one of the most unique, I bellieve, is The Mission General Store. This store has been at this location since the mid 1800s. It looks pretty much the same way today.

    You can have a meal in the parlor; there are pickles and candy from barrels, all manner of supplies and provisions, and wine, beer, and spirits are also sold.

    They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with 5 cent coffee! They also have fresh sandwiches made to order, deli and baked goods, Pizza, Ice Cream and a Fountain.
    I actually found the old-fashioned gum that I love: Beechnut, Black Jack, and Clove. That set the deal for me because it is very difficult to find those gums

    This is like an old trading post, stocked to the brim the all kinds of merchandise. What an enjoyable visit we had there!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive at Sleeping Dunes

    by deecat Updated May 31, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Covered Bridge on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
    4 more images

    At the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, you are able to take the "Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive" from late April until early November. We visited the National Park in the middle of May, 2010 and were quite impressed with the organization, the signage, the facilities, and the breathtaking beauty. There are 12 numbered interpretive stops along the 7.4 mile scenic loop road.

    I drove, and Mickey read the information and where to stop for photographs and views.
    At the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center, we were given a great map and step-by-step directions.

    Our first stop [see photo #1] was The Covered Bridge. Interesting information: "the sides of the original bridge were larely consumed by porcupines, which seem to relish man made structures more than the native wood of the forest!"

    Our second stop [see photo #2] was Glen Lake. This lake has such blue waters. The lake appears divided into two parts: Little Glen Lake in the foregroud (only 12 feet deep and Big Glen Lake (130 feet deep). The Hill on the north [left] side of Little Glan Lake is called Alligator Hill because of its shape.

    Our thrid stop [%c0see photo #3] was The Dune Overlook Here, we learned that Sleeping Bear Dunes cover an area of 4 square miles...small but diverse: high barren plateaus, lowlands. The panoramic view from the overlook encompasses North & South Manitou Islands, Pyramid Point, Sleeping Bear Bay, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Glen Lake, and surrounding hills.

    Our ninth stop [see photo #4] was the Lake Michigan Overlook which is 450 feet above Lake Michigan...the views are magnificent. When we were there, the park workers were shoring up the bluff which has been wearing back at the rate of about one foot per year Waves wear away the base of the bluff, and sand and rocks from above slide down to the beach

    Our 11th stop [see photo #5] was North Bar Lake
    The name describes how the lake formed; it is ponded behind a sand bar.

    While on this drive, we stopped to take a hike at Cottonwood Trail [another tip].
    This car or bike trail is very worthwhile because it is educational and quite beautiful.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Brys Estate VineYard & Winery

    by deecat Updated May 31, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Brys Estate Boutique VineYard & Winery
    3 more images

    Photos:
    1. 1890 renovated farmhouse
    2. Seats for viewing the countryside
    3. VineYard
    4. Old word brick and mahogany tasting room

    The most beautiful VineYard and Wine Tasting location was on Old Mission Peninsula
    at the Brys Estate VineYard & Winery. It is located on 80 acres of family owned land. Their boutique winery gives breathtaking views of the East Grand Traverse Pay. They live in a circa 1890 renovated farmhouse and barn [turned guest cottage]. Beautiful gardens abound.

    They have won over 150 medals in International and state wine competitions. The vineyard consists of 31 acres and are favous for their Riesling ice wine. The tasting room is breathtaking with its old-world brick and mahogany interior and with views into the intimate vaulted barrel room where their red wines are ages in traditional Bordeaux French oak barrels for 10-13 months.

    This tasting room required money for tasting, and if you purchase, that fee is taken off the price of the wine. This place was the most "exclusive" of all the wineries that we visited, and it was the only place that we did not do tasting and did not purchase. The exclusive attitude was a little "off putting". However, that does not take away the beauty and elegance of this lovely spot.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Wine Tasting

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Peninsula Cellars Tasting Room

    by deecat Updated May 31, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Former Maple Grove School; Now:  Peninsula Cellars
    2 more images

    The second day of our vacation, Mickey and I started out to visit wineries and wine tasting adventures along the Old Mission Peninsula. We are both retired English teachers; thus, we could not pass up an opportunity to visit a one-room school that had been transformed into Peninsula Cellars Old Mission Peninsula. It is located at 11480 Center Road [M-37], Traverse City, Michigan. The family operated winery is located on the 150-year old Kroupa farm. This is just six miles North of Traverse city, and this lovely 19th century one-room schoolhouse is a family owned winery that was created in 1994 by cherry farmers, David and Joan Kroupa.

    This is such an adorable location, and the owners have used clever marketing techniques. For example, we saw wines in this converted schoolhouse [once known as Maple Grove School] that were aptly named: Detention and Homework! The featured wines are: Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, as well as fruit and dessert wines..

    I really enjoyed their wines, especially the Rieslings; thus, I purchased a bottle, This area is near the 45th parallel as is the German territory that does wonderful Rieslings.

    This tasting experience is available from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Don't miss this wonder wine tasting experience and the friendly helpful people who run it.

    Related to:
    • Wine Tasting
    • Women's Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • ciaobellamici's Profile Photo

    Hull Park

    by ciaobellamici Updated Oct 2, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hull Park at the North End of the Baordman Lake

    The Boardman Lake Trail has been expanded to include a bridge over the Boardman River connecting the East side of the Lake to the West. The bridge, completed in October of 08, is a tribute to a community working together to combine beauty with function.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Traverse City

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

71 travelers online now

Comments

Traverse City Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Traverse City off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Traverse City sightseeing.

View all Traverse City hotels