A couple weeks ago, my friend Marina, younger cousin, Stephanie and I went to Traverse City for one night. We were there for about 30 hours total. This was the first time Marina had ever been to Traverse City (which is blasphemy for someone who grew up in Michigan), so we let her pick everything we did!
For those of you who don’t know anything about Traverse City, I’ll share with you a bit of info! It is located in Northern Michigan on the Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. The city is known for its cherries and cherry wine! Traverse City is basically Michigan’s version of Sonoma County. There are so many amazing wineries that you can go to in the area! It’s also a great spot for families as well!
The Village at Grand Traverse Commons
We arrived in town around noon on Sunday and went straight to the Commons. The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is situated just outside of the downtown area. Maybe a 5 minute drive. It is basically shops and restaurants in what used to be an insane asylum. From the last time I was there, a lot more stores and restaurants have been added! I remember that they had empty rooms with the bars on the doors like a jail cell. That was years ago though. Most of the stores still have the original doors though! The upper floors have recently been made into residential apartments and condos. I wouldn’t want to live there! I’d be afraid that it’s haunted.
Higher Grounds Trading Company
This coffee shop is situated on the ground of the Commons but not in the actual building. They have no plastic or styrofoam cups. If you want a coffee to go, they give you an actual mug that you can keep or return. You can see to mugs on the wall in the picture below.
Marina and I both got the Marigold Latte made with oat milk. It’s essentially an orange vanilla bean iced latte. It was delicious. I’m thinking about it right now as I write this! We actually went back on Monday because I wanted to try their Lazy Lavender and Marina wanted to buy a cup. Unfortunately, they were making the lavender syrup when we got there and it wouldn’t have been ready for another 30 minutes.
After we left the Commons, we decided to head downtown to walk around and get a late lunch. As we were driving we noticed that the power was out on the traffic lights. It was strange because it was sunny out. We drove around looking for places to eat and park. Parking is free on the weekends FYI!!
We decided to go to Taproot for lunch, but since the power was out, they were only serving drinks but took my name and number for when the power came back on. We walked around for a bit but most stores could only take cash because of the power outage. It eventually did start pouring but luckily we just stayed in a store! When the power came back on, we ran back to Taproot because it was still raining, but luckily not pouring.
The first time I ate at Taproot was last year when we were in TC for this Metro Detroit Weddings shoot. I loved that they use local, products and their meat is humanely raised. This restaurant is also perfect for vegans and vegetarians. There are lots of options! They also have a lot of really good hard ciders!!
Last year, I got their noodle bowl which changes daily, but this time I got their grilled cheese. OMG it was delicious! It had apricot preserves, with apples and humanely raised bacon. If you personally know me, I only eat humanely raised meats. So a lot of the times, when I’m out or someplace where they need to know my dietary restrictions, I say vegetarian/pescatarian. If there is an opportunity for me to eat the meat, I will do it!
After lunch, we walked around downtown some more and went into a bunch of really cute shops! And since we are in wine country, we decided to stop into Cherry Republic for some wine tasting!
What I love about Cherry Republic is that it’s a very family friendly winery. Besides wine, you can also try some of their delicious pops! My favourite pop is their Cherry Root Beer! They also have samples of food. I probably took too many samples of their dark chocolate covered cherries. Oops! I couldn’t help myself!
You can try up to 5 complimentary wine/pop samples for free. Or you can pay and get full size samples. We opted for the free ones. My favourite has always been their Cherry Moscato. Since my cousin Stephanie is only 16, she sampled their pops and really enjoyed them!
After walking around downtown, we decided to head to our hotel to get some beach time in! By now it is about 4 Pm!
Sugar Beach Resort
I would like to thank Sugar Beach Resort Hotel for our complimentary stay. All thoughts and opinions are my own!
We arrived at our hotel, Sugar Beach Resort Hotel just before 4:30. The Grand Traverse Bay is split up into two bays by Mission Point. Downtown is located on the West Bay and our hotel is on the East Bay. We had a lovely lake view room that had one king and one queen bed! Perfect for families or even a girls trip just like ours! The entire room and hotel definitely has the beach town vibe to it. Don’t you just love the little sea turtle towel on our bed in the picture below! So cute. That takes some talent to make.
I honestly cannot get over our view from our room! I would just go out and sit and just stare at Lake Michigan. Wish I had a view like that to look at every day. The water is just gorgeous! I mean just look at that view!
The Breakfast Room
Even the breakfast room had a gorgeous view! If you saw my stories from my trip, you saw us enjoying our breakfast out on the balcony.
Game Room and Workout Room
As I mentioned before, this hotel is also very family friendly! They have a game room that brought back so many childhood memories. It was empty when I was in there since I’m pretty sure all the kids were out at the beach! It was a gorgeous day after the rain! There is also a workout room! I brought my gym clothes with all the intention to work out, but that didn’t happen!
After we had checked in and got situated, we wanted to go and spend some time down at the beach. I love that our hotel as its own private beach!
We settled into some lounge chairs and just relaxed! It was so wonderful! I did go stand in the water for a bit and I was amazed at how warm it was for Lake Michigan! I’m assuming it’s because it’s in a bay and the water is more protected! I love how calm the water was! It was definitely not that calm on the West Bay!
Sugar Beach also offers rentals on parasails, jet skis, paddle boards and boats! If we had more time up in Traverse City, I would’ve loved to have rented a jet ski or boat and maybe even try paddle boarding!! Not sure about parasailing! I’m still a bit nervous about that!
Fun Fact: The hotel is called Sugar Beach because the sand is almost like sugar! One of the employees told me that!
Pool and Hot Tub
Besides, there amazing beach, Sugar Beach Resort has an indoor heated pool and hot tub! Our plan was to go swimming in it after we got back from dinner. But as you read on you’ll see find out that it didn’t end up happening! The pool looks amazing though! I was tempted to jump in with my clothes on after I shot these pictures!
The pool and hot tub are perfect if it’s raining and can’t enjoy the beach. Or if it’s dark out and the beach is closed!
After laying down at the beach for about an hour, we went back up into our room to change for dinner. By the time we left back for downtown, it was about 7pm.
We actually went to 3 restaurants before we decided to walk to North Peak which we passed on our way back from the Commons. The restaurants that we had a gone to had a lot of meat and not a lot of vegetarian options.
North Peak Brewery
I wish I had a picture of North Peak! It’s technically a brewery but they have a restaurant outside. Marina and I shared the special. It was some type of cajun perch, with chili polenta and corn salsa of some sort. OMG it was delicious!! There was so much food! Even with us splitting it, we didn’t even finish it. They were a bit on the pricy side but our food was so worth it!
Actually, as we were walking to North Peak, we had passed a place called Teetotaler. At first we thought it was a tee shirt place but after Marina looked it up, it turns out it is a speakeasy! So after dinner we decided to go!
Please keep in mind that these pictures were taken on my phone and it was super dark inside so I don’t have the best pictures. Stephanie was actually not allowed in the actual bar, but she was able to stay in the front room which is actually a tea shop!
I cannot remember the name of the drink ordered but it had hibiscus in it! I do wish I ordered a sweeter drink, but it wasn’t bad. The entire experience was so cool. Stephanie said we have to come back when she s 21 so she can go in!
This is the door to the actual bar!!
We didn’t get to bed until after 11:30 and we missed the sunset the night before, so I decided to get up to watch sunrise! Don’t worry, I went back to sleep afterwards. I had set my alarm for 6:15 for the 6:26 sunrise. I happened to wake up around 6 and I noticed how pretty the sky was so I decided to wake up then! We had slept with our sliding glass door open and it was wonderful!
I loved that I could just sit out on our balcony and watch the sun rise! I was still in my pjs and the air felt wonderful!
Look how gorgeous the sky is! I’m loving all the pinks and purples!
After going back to sleep for a couple more hours, we got up and went to get some breakfast! Their continential breakfast was really nice! I had some fruit and I made myself an egg sandwich out of two hardboiled eggs and an english muffin.
While we were eating out on the balcony, I noticed that they were racking the sand with a John Deer and I thought this was a good time to get some more pictures of the beach when the sand was all nice!
After breakfast, we actually sat in the room for the bit, just enjoying are view before we had to check out! We checked out and then started the day by getting some coffee!
Mundos Roasting & Co.
Mundos Roasting & Co. is located outside of downtown. I absolutely love the location! It’s so bright and airy! I ordered a cinnamon honey iced latte made with oat milk! I’m really liking oat milk!If you’re not sure what to get, the employees are super helpful! It was an employee who told me she really loves the cinnamon honey latte! I was planning on trying an açai latte but they were all out! Marina got a turmeric latte and I took a sip and it was pretty good! If I ever go back, I might get an iced one!
Since this coffee shop is not downtown, I think it’s a great way to see more of Traverse City! Plus the decor is GOALS!
After getting coffee and Mundos, we headed back downtown to check out the stores that were closed because of the power outage! Today we had to pay for parking but if you have the Park Mobile app, it makes it so much easier!
As we were driving from Mundos to downtown, we had passed this really cute French restaurant! We talked about going to some treats or even lunch after downtown! We had decided to leave our car parked and walk there! Well we definitely walked way out of our way! I don’t even know how it happened because walking back to the car, it was literally a 5 minute walk while on the way there took at least 20!
Pattiserie Amie is a bakery and cafe serving French food and treats! They are only open for breakfast and lunch and close at 2! We walked in at 1:30 and they almost didn’t serve us!
I ordered the Pan Bagna and as you can see in the picture there is a lot of food! I ate the salad and part of my sandwich and saved the other part for later! It was delicious! The bread was so fresh and the tuna and the provence vegetables on it tasted so good!
I also ordered a coco miel and a lemon macaron! I actually ate part of my coco miel before my sandwich arrived! Oops! Life is short, eat dessert first!
Definitely got to make sure I got back here next time I’m in Traverse City! I haven’t had French food this good since my trip to Paris!
After lunch, we walked back to the car and planned to get more coffee from Higher Ground. But if you remember from what I said above, they were out of lavender syrup and the drink Marina wanted they didn’t have. We decided to stop for coffee on the way to Sleeping Bear Dunes! I’m not even going to talk about the coffee place we stopped at in Glen Arbor because my drink was disgusting and I don’t think the teenagers working even cared!
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Sleeping Bear Dunes is technically not Traverse City, but when you think of Traverse City, you think of the dunes. It is actually the Glen Arbor/Empire/Glen Haven area.
The legend of Sleeping Bear Dunes is about a mother bear and her two cubs from Wisconsin trying to get away from a forest fire and ending up swimming in Lake Michigan. They swam for hows and the cubs started to lag. The mom made it to shore and laid down on the hill to watch her cubs. The cubs became too tired and drowned with the shore insight. The Manitou Islands were then created where the cubs drowned and then the dune created is the mother bear. The story is so sad!
I’ve been to the dunes many times and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten to Lake Michigan! I might have when I was younger but I honestly can’t remember. We arrived at the National Park around 5 PM( the time we actually wanted to get on the road to head home.) The admittance fee is $20 for your car. But it is good for 7 days and can be used at all the national parks.
I started to climb up the dunes in my tennis shoes, but let me tell you, going barefoot is so much easier! Climbing up the first stretch takes about 10 minutes! It’s a lot steeper than it looks. We walked, I mean climbed the dunes for over an hour. Marina just wanted to be able to see Lake Michigan, not actually go to it! It’s about 3 dunes until you can actually see the lake at all, but let me tell you, you are still no where near it! We did climb the 4th dune to see if the view as any better. It might be a little bit, but if you’re not planning on going to the lake, it’s probably not worth it.
We had climbed the dunes for about an hour and it was finally time to head the 4 hours back home! Even though it was a short trip, it still was an amazing time!
Whelp, this is probably the longest blog post I’ve ever written! I really hope you enjoyed it! Thank you again to Sugar Beach Resort Hotel for hosting us!
Have you ever been to Traverse City? If not, do you now want to go?