I love a drive through Leelanau County.
Any season is wonderful - Fall colors are amazing and tourists come in droves to experience the area with it's charm and wonder. The many farm markets are full of apples, pumpkins, mums and cidars, petting zoos and maizes to get lost in.
Winter snows line the orchards and two-track seasonal roads with x-country tracks are visible from use by hardy visitors. Considered one of the most beautiful times of year here, it is quiet and peaceful.
Seeing the blooms on the trees just before they pop out as full leaves in the spring is heady stuff indeed. There is the hazy green that lets you look deep into the woods yet promises warmth and summer. You swear that you can see the blooms come. Cherry Orchards generally bloom the 1st or 2nd week in May.
Ah, summer in the North. Poets, musicians and artists have all tried to express the beauty that is Leelanau. Come experience it for yourself.
Get up early on Saturday mornings and bike down to the Downtown Farmer's Market, right across from the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay. There you will find enough local foods and flowers that have flavor and beauty to last the entire week.
We like to eat breakfast at El Dorado first (see Places to Eat) and wander to the nearby market. A typical morning would include purchasing potting plants and flowers, seasonal fruits and vegetables, homemade salsa, cheeses, soup mix, and honey. mmmm Good!
Each Saturday from May through late October (and Wednesdays in the summer) hundreds of people bring their baskets and bags to fill with goodies. Come early. The 8:00 am start time is suggested only but the noon close is more apt to hold true because the vendors sell out of their fine products. Downtown Traverse City enjoys fresh and our market provides it.
If you are in Northern Michigan, I highly recommend the Cherry Bowl Drive-in Theatre. It's like stepping back into the friendly, uncomplicated 50's. All of the movies are PG-13 or under making the nightly double features family friendly. The food is homemade and features broasted chicken and "Crazy Harry's" BBQ Ribs (Named after owner Harry Clark). They have a 50's style mini-golf, playground for the kids and lots of hula hoop contests and giveaways. They are celebrating their 55th anniversary this year. Definitely worth a visit.
Perhaps THE culinary events of the year in Traverse City is the annual "Epicurean Classic", held annually in mid-September. The 2007 event, which is held as a benefit for the Great Lakes Culinary Institute in Traverse City, will be held between Sept 13-15, and it's a perfect time to enjoy the good life and spirit of this classy town. The Classic bills itself as "A Celebration of Food and Wine Artisanship". My good friend Matt Sutherland is one of the co-founders/producers of this event, and trust me... Matt is all about first class culinary adventures and creations. Among the scheduled guest chefs at this years festival are Padma Lakshmi, Julie Rosso, Michael Tucker, Roberto Santibenez and Laura Werlin. Additionally, wine experts Evan Goldstein, Bob Paulinski and Madeline Triffon are schedule to participate. These folks will be featured in a variety of cooking demos, wine tastings and book signing events.
Another great attraction of interest during the festival are a plethora of culinary and gourmet classes taught by a wide variety of famous chefs and kitchen artists. They are generally held at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute. There will be classes associated with cooking, wine, beer & spirits, cheeses, and even cigars!
One of the more popular areas during the Classic is the "tasting pavilion", something that probably needs little elaboration. Here's your chance to really taste the good life of northern Michigan. :)
They also have a silent auction, with items up for bid consisting of dozens of wine lots featuring hard-to-find, prestigious, funky, and just plain great drinking vintages from around the world, as well as food/wine-related accessories for your home.
For more information, please visit the Classic website, www.epicureanclassic.com, or contact the EC brass at the numbers/website below. And if you can get by for the Classic, please find Matt Sutherland and tell him Pete from Tallahassee sent you. Ask him to say hello to Seth, too. (an inside joke, but he'll think it's funny)
There are approximately 18 wineries in the area, many of which have dedicated wine tasting facilities. One can easily spend an afternoon or longer doing tastings along with the picturesque drive from one winery to the next.
Parasailing with Traverse Bay parasail is so much fun and relaxing. It's so much easier than you think. You just sit up there and enjoy the view! The take-off and langing are dry and simple! I'd recommend for any age or family and they offer photo service where you can get pictures on board.
The National Cherry Festival celebrates a feast of cherries and local wines and a world record attempt to host the world's largest cherry pancake breakfast. Included in this festival are also entertainment and musical guests, seniors and children's events, and competitive events such as volleyball, golf and other local-type contests.
This usually takes place the 2nd weekend of July and lasts for an entire week.
for more information visit the festival's official website listed below.
The oldest permanent town in the Grand Traverse area began in 1839, when the Rev. Peter Dougherty established a mission to the local Odawa Indians near the tip of what is now known as the Old Mission Peninsula. Many of its nineteenth-century buildings are still standing, including a church and general store that are still in use. A replica of Dougherty’s original log schoolhouse contains a small museum explaining the community’s history. Depicted is small beach near Old Mission.
The oldest permanent town in the Grand Traverse area began in 1839, when the Rev. Peter Dougherty established a mission to the local Odawa Indians near the tip of what is now known as the Old Mission Peninsula. Many of its nineteenth-century buildings are still standing, including a church and general store that are still in use. A replica of Dougherty’s original log schoolhouse contains a small museum explaining the community’s history. Depicted is small beach in immediate proximity of Old Mission.
The Traverse City Area has some of the finest golfing around. All price ranges and challenge levels. Try "The Bear" at the Grand Traverse Resort or "The Legend" at Shanty Creek. These are just two of dozens of golf courses in the area.
National Cherry Festival, Interlochen Arts Festival, Friday Night Live
Traverse City is the national cherry capitol of the world, take advantage of it and take in the beauty of the area, the delicious cherries and the carnival and parades. Friday night live is when they close down main street and vendors, clowns, musicians, etc. fill the streets and shops hold sales Friday nights in the summer. Interlochen Arts Festival has tons of concerts every summer.
Our area has a great amount of snow each winter, beginning in late October, sometimes, and ending in April, sometimes!
So... ski, snowshoe, ski some more and enjoy!
The light house is inside a State Park at the tip of the "little finger". You can walk along the protected shoreline.
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