Traverse City, MI

Traverse City, MI

In the 1850s lumbering dominated the Traverse City area, stripping the land of its white pine forests. When the lumber was gone, large-scale farming, fruit orchards and vineyards took hold. Today, with its scenic landscape, clear water, sand dunes and quaint towns, tourism has become a major industry in Traverse City.

One thing that hasn’t changed since 1852 is the proliferation of cherry trees. The first European settler in the Traverse City area planted a small orchard of the trees, which flourished in the sandy soil. Today Michigan produces 75 percent of the nation’s cherries and Traverse City calls itself the “Cherry Capital of the World.” If you are visiting in July, don’t miss the National Cherry Festival.

As with most Michigan vacation towns, Traverse City has plenty of other festivals including the Traverse City Film Festival, founded by filmmaker Michael Moore, which is held in late July. This is a big event that features free outdoor classic movies. You can even watch movies while sitting in the middle of the Bay. Nauti-Cat sponsors the sail into the sunset with a projector, screen and popcorn in tow. 

If you wish to stretch your legs, the Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area is a network of nine scenic trails that criss-cross 480 acres of preserved parkland. The longest trail is less than a mile long, but all offer a wide range of terrain experiences from wetlands and hardwood forests to steep hillsides and upland meadows. There are several trail heads including the brightly painted "hippie tree."

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