Traverse City Guide: Where To Stay & Things To Do

traverse city bowers harbor vineyards

Traverse City…If you’re looking for ideas on where to stay, what to do, wine tours, day trips, where to eat…I’ve got you covered! This city has SO MUCH TO OFFER. You cannot possibly see and do it all in one trip. It is a magical place that I will come back to again and again and again!

 

One of my friends lived there for a while, and I’m kinda jealous. Although, I think I would spend all of my money on wine, so it’s probably for the best! Haha

 

If you have never been, it is on the North West Coast of Michigan, and it is WINE COUNTRY. With all of the vineyards and hills, it almost feels like California or Tuscany (Italy). It is the perfect setting for a Girls’ Trip or a Romantic Getaway.

Traverse City itself is situated on the main land between two peninsulas (Old Mission and Leelanau). Two peninsulas means two bays full of gorgeous views to enjoy too! (Plus kayaking, paddle boarding, parasailing, beaches, boating…tons of water activities)

 

The East Bay area seemed pretty touristy (mini-golf, chain restaurants, resorts, etc.) Our B&B was on the west side of Traverse City, and I LOVED that location. Traffic was never too crazy or heavy (like we saw on the east side when we came into town).

 

It was my first time in TC. I went with my friend, Laurel. She is from Ohio, and it was her first time in Michigan! When her husband saw the pics of our B&B he said, “Enjoy your honeymoon.” Hahaha πŸ™‚

 

Where To Stay

If you are looking for the cutest most romantic and peaceful experience (that is also only 10 minutes away from all of the action), please check out…

Blended Roots Farm 
5950 Cedar Run Rd.
Traverse City, MI 49684

You actually need to turn down Gray Rd from Cedar Run. You’ll see a blue sign that says Hainey Lane. Turn down there, and you’ll see the farm and the drive way!

I connected with Rebecca (the owner) over Facebook (on Things To Do Metro Detroit) back in May. She saw my Sunflower Fields post and reached out to tell me about her farm in Traverse City with a beautiful sunflower field and a brand new B&B. A collaboration was born! She invited me to come check out the B&B and sunflower field while it was in full bloom. Of course, all opinions are my own.*

 

*I take my reputation very seriously. This is my name behind this brand, and I want to make sure that whatever I recommend is top quality. If I ever am hosted somewhere or gifted something or whatever…if I am not 100% happy…I will gladly pay and walk away vs recommending something to my audience that I wouldn’t do/use myself or recommend to family.*

 

I was beyond THRILLED with our stay here. The B&B was beautiful and clean. I can kinda be a germ freak and I am a stickler about cleanliness, and I was impressed.

 

I also thought our location was perfect. We were just to the west of town…away from all the touristy congestion and traffic by the East Bay. It was a 10 minute drive to town, and it was a great location for heading out early on morning to see Sleeping Bear. You are super close to the Leelanau Peninsula too!

 

Rebecca and her husband Matt were the best hosts. She checked in on us a few times to make sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed. She even offered recommendations for things to do and see.

 

The B&B kitchen was also stocked full of lots of goodies…fruit, bread and jam for toast, goodies from Third Coast (vegan, gluten free, etc.) There was water in the fridge, and she even had microwave popcorn in the cupboard too. Laurel is lactose intolerant, so Rebecca has lactose free milk for her too! Lake Soap Co also left goodies bags for us in the bathroom. Make sure you check them out when you visit TC!

 

We were there when the sunflower field was in peak bloom too…SO BEAUTIFUL! Check out my Highlights on Instagram to see the sunset sunflower field video.

 

 

Recap:

  • Beautiful, Peaceful, Romantic
  • Super Clean
  • 10 Minutes From Downtown
  • Easy To Navigate to Sleeping Bear
  • Breakfast/Snacks/Goodies
  • Sunflower Field (when in season)
  • Very Helpful Hosts

 

A Few Things To Note:

The room is connected to their farm house. There is a chain link lock on both sides of the door to prevent either party from entering. Also, it is a farm, so there may occasionally be some noise! It was never an issue for us and was very quiet at night. It is not like a traditional B&B, either, where you sit down to eat with other people, but we actually preferred that. We liked having grab-and-go goodies and heading out on the town to do our thing!

 

To Book: 

Please call Rebecca Ligon at 231-360-3703 or email blendedrootsfarm@gmail.com for special rates! When you call or email, let her know you saw this post πŸ˜‰

Check them out on Airbnb for pictures and reviews, but it is a much better deal price-wise to book direct!!! (Plus no minimum stay when you book direct!)

 

Best Places To Eat

You can’t seem to go wrong picking a restaurant in Traverse City though. This place was made for foodies and winos haha.

 

Little Fleat

Food Trucks that rotate plus a bar! The bar was indoors but open air, and there was a taco stand (indoors) next to the bar too! I had a Pork Street Taco, and it was amazing!

There were a wide variety of food trucks when we went too including pizza, BBQ, tacos, Vietnamese, burgers…

It was a fun hang out spot and great people watching too!

 

Hop Lot Brewing Co

This one is located on the Leelanau Peninsula. It’s a great stop for food if you’re visiting some wineries!

The menu was mostly BBQ items when we went. I had the smoked brisket, and it was out of this world good!

You order on your phone, pick up at window, and enjoy!

They had bonfires going around the whole place and a bar too. If you order a drink on your phone, they bring that over to you!

They also had cornhole!

This is another great hangout spot!

 

Poppycocks

Came highly recommended by my friend who used to live in TC. Laurel was extremely happy with her chicken. I got the special of the night, and I thought it was just ok. I’d give this place another try though!

 

Brasserie Amie

So good! Absolute MUST while you’re in town. Get the beignets!!!!! Get a whole plate for yourself. You’ll thank me later!

Laurel and I decided that you probably can’t go wrong with anything on this menu. It’s going to be delicious! Our waitress told us that some people have describe the omlette as “the best omlette I have ever had in my life.” So naturally, I had to try it. She was not wrong.

 

The Towne Plaza

Went here for breakfast and were seated very quickly.

I had the eggs benny with beef tenderloin and it was out of this world good.

 

Wanted To Try/Came Highly Recommended

Sadly we couldn’t get to all of these on this trip, but just another excuse to come back πŸ˜‰ Grab the Google Map at the end of this post!

  • Apache Trout Grill
  • Trattoria Stella (Located in The Commons which is built on the site of an old state asylum. You can do Spooky Tours…see below.)
  • Left Foot Charley (A winery in The Commons. The Cinnamon Girl Cider was highly recommended.)
  • PepeNero
  • The Omelette Shoppe
  • Red Ginger
  • Taproot Cider House
  • U&I (Hole in the Wall/Dive Bar)
  • 7 Monks Taproom (Speakeasy Bar)
  • Jolly Pumpkin (If you want to eat on the peninsula.)
  • Rare Bird Brewpub
  • Right Brain Brewery
  • Bubba’s (Delicious downtown bar food.)
  • Spooky Tour of the commons area. Beer and wine tastings used to be included. Do the Twilight Tour or Historical Tour!

 

Things To Do:  Wine Tour

Now to choose…Old Mission or Leelanau? Many people say to do Old Mission for the views and do Leelanau for better wines. 

 

We decided to do Old Mission because we wanted the best views. The joke was on us though because there was so much haze from the wildfires in Canada that the gorgeous views were obstructed. It didn’t matter though because we had the best time anyway πŸ™‚ 

 

We booked a Join in Tour through Traverse City Wine & Beer Tours. You can book a private tour too, but we thought we’d meet more people on the Join in Tour since it was just the two of us.

 

They picked us up at a location in town (outside Brasserie Amie). They probably would have picked us up at our B&B since it was so close to downtown, BUT we knew we’d probably be a little tipsy after all that wine. We wanted to get dinner and hangout downtown for a while after the tour. Also, uber wasn’t really a thing. I don’t know why. We looked, but it always said unavailable.

 

We parked the car at Hardy Parking Garage right downtown. It was $15 to park there for the day. Another parking garage option is Old Town Parking Garage.

 

When you do a Join in Tour, you don’t necessarily get to pick your stops. We ended up discovering two wineries (Bonobo and Bowers) that we otherwise wouldn’t have stopped at. I loved both of them!

 

Bowers Harbor Vineyards: Wines are named after dogs. Gorgeous Views. Nice flights. (Not all wineries are doing flights or tastings again, so this was a super nice option!) I wish we could have stayed for longer. I’ll be back πŸ˜‰

 

Brys EstateVineyard & Winery: Make sure you try the frosé! Not that we needed to, but we topped ours off with some bubbly πŸ™‚

Go inside and do a tasting for $10 too. (They JUST started doing tastings again…you’re welcome.) You can go up to the sitting area on the balcony for some pictures too (without a reservation). We didn’t linger though.

I also got a coupon for $3 off a bottle of wine when I bought my frosé, but then I forgot to use it when I bought my bottle because I was rushing. So don’t be like me and forget to use your coupon πŸ™

There is also a SECRET GARDEN HERE that is especially lovely when lavender is in peak bloom. We sadly did not have time to check it out, but it’s on my Lavender Fields list!

 

Bonobo Winery: Make sure you head outside and go down to the lower level for the swing! (We loved the rosé here too. I just realized…are we basic1!?!?! Aw well. What cares?) This place is owned by some celebrities (Carter Oosterhouse from HGTV and his wife Amy Smart) too, which is kinda cool I guess. They have a giant monkey mural outside along with the swing. There is a little art gallery inside too. They also let you keep your glass! πŸ˜‰

When we were there, the special was  buy two glasses of wine and get $5 off a bottle! (Had to get that rosé haha.)

 

Other recommendations we got for wineries people love:

Old Mission:

Chateau Chantal for the views because you can see both the east and west bays. They also a B&B on the property!

Mari because it looks like it’s something out of California. You can also take a tour of their underground ageing caves.

Black Star was recommended because they have good wine.

Tabone is also new and has been highly recommended!

 

Leelanau:

Mawby (We went there on our own the next day!) They do wines and ciders. They double ferment, so everything is bubbly. Yum!

Leelanau Cellars (of course) because Great Lakes Red is one of my favorite!

 

Rove Estates: Not on either peninsula, but it was recommended to me as the best place to watch the sunset

 

*IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are going to do your own thing (not through a tour), it’s a good idea to call ahead and make reservations!!!*

 

 

Things To Do: Day Trips From Traverse City

Your options are really endless here. Traverse City is the perfect location to make your homebase and then springboard from there to see some of these sights.

 

Sleeping Bear National Park

It’s a National Park Service Property. We visited on August 4th, and to our pleasant surprise, it was free to get in on that day! (Normally $25)

 

I will do a separate post all about this one, but make sure you do the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. We wanted to hike the Empire Bluff Trail, but like I said before, the views were all obstructed due to the wildfire haze. We will be back to do it on a different day though!

 

We opted NOT to do the Dune Climb. We heard it was touristy and overrated. We stopped by to check it out and decided to pass.

 

We drove to Glen Arbor for lunch in the hopes of dining at the Cherry Public House. They were supposed to be open, but when we got there, they had a sign on the door saying they were closed for the day πŸ™

 

We picked a different spot that had high ratings on Google, but it was pretty awful…like cold food…missing ingredients that were listed on the menu…etc. Stick to Cherry Public House (from what I hear).

 

Art’s Tavern was also highly recommended by a friend. Art’s is cash only though.

Leland

Cutest little fishing town a stone’s throw from Sleeping Bear.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Leland Chamber (@lelandmi)

 

 

Torch Lake

Gorgeous Lake. Crystal clear blue waters.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Torch Lake Official (@torchlakeofficial)

 

 

East Jordan

Another cute town.  They do have glass blowing here! I went as a kid, and it was pretty cool.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Jeff Wellman (@jeffwellmanchristiesre)

 

 

Bellaire

Short’s Brewery is here if you’re into that!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Short’s Brewing Company (@shortsbrewing)

 

 

Keep scrolling for the map!

 

 

 

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