Some Filipino-Americans describe Traverse City in northwestern Michigan as a city totally different from the cities in south Michigan.
We visited Traverse City over the weekend (June 29 and 30), and we confirmed its reputation as a different world. For one thing, it is a world-class tourist destination with many interesting places to visit.
These places include an area atop a mountain overlooking the Sleeping Beer Dunes, which is located in a national lakeshore park. Looking at the brown dunes at a wooden deck built for the purpose, we were amazed by the spectacle of this natural wonder.
People with much energy and stamina may hike on a trail to reach the dunes area which is about two to three miles from the observation deck.
Before we reached the viewing place, we drove on the Pierce-Stocking scenic loop that goes through “a forest primeval” with the trees rising to heights of some 300 to 400 feet. The verdant surroundings made the trip to the mountain top exhilarating and relaxing.
There are 12 spots along the loop where one can get out, look around and pose to take souvenir photos. Some of the spots offer tantalizing views of distant Lake Michigan and other lakes.
The quiet woods are sights to behold as these are as gorgeous as the scenic views of the dunes and Lake Michigan.
On the way back to Traverse City, we stopped at the family-friendly Dune Climb where the dunes mountain is located. People climbed the dunes, and children enjoyed running and biking down the dunes. Some kids were seen rolling down the clean, soft dunes.
We had one more stop before we were back in Traverse City. This was at a store that sells cherries, strawberries, wines, cherry donuts, etc. The newly harvested cherries were really sweet, and so were the strawberries.
We also visited the Mission Point Lighthouse and Park located at the tip of the Old Mission Point Peninsula. Built in 1870, the lighthouse offers a panoramic view of the Grand Traverse Bay. There is a shop inside where one can buy souvenir items.
A visit to Traverse City is not complete if one does not try wine-tasting. There are a few places where wine-tasting is offered. We visited the one located in the Village, a big building which used to be a hospital.
The place is actually a wine store operated by the Black Star Farms. There is a wooden, cavernous bar where the visitors may taste different kinds of wines.
We were asked by the petite bartender to select from a list five kinds of wines that we can sample. At a cost of $5, I tasted dry red and sweet red wines. Served one at a time, the wine was poured in a small wine glass, which was given later as souvenir.
I selected three dry wines – the Achuros Pinoit Noir, the Red House Red, the Arturos Merlot and two sweet wines, the Arturos Riesling and the Red House Red. The Arturos Merlot was the best: It is smooth but it packs a wallop.
My daughter-in-law Riza selected the sweet wines. She managed to sample only three kinds as she feared she might get drunk.
I have to admit: I felt tipsy when I stepped out of the store.
There are many other tourism-oriented establishments in Traverse City. And these are complemented by several three-star hotels. We stayed in the Grand Beach Hotel which is located on the shores of Traverse Bay. The sands are soft and powder-like almost similar to those in Boracay, Philippines.
On our way back to Detroit, we caught a glimpse of the Peshawbestown casino, which is operated by an Indian tribe.
Before we reached home, we took dinner at Tony’s Restaurant in Beech Run where the roast beef is superb.
Overall, it was a nice weekend getaway.