|Traverse City at night|
With such a short schedule, we limited our exploration to an area within walking distance of our downtown hotel and limited our activities to walking, eating, and drinking. Plus, after a rain-soaked drive from Metro Detroit, neither one of us wanted to spend more time in the car. Midway through the night, I dubbed our series of quick stops the "Tour de Traverse City."
First Stage: Clinch Park and Grand Traverse Bay
We stayed at the Park Place Hotel, which is in the heart of Traverse City. We arrived around 4 p.m. and were fortunate that the monsoon that had plagued the last hour of our drive stopped when we reached the hotel. Knowing that the rain would return, we moved quickly and walked toward the shore of the Grand Traverse Bay.
|Boats on the Boardman River|
After crossing the river, we crossed the Grandview Parkway, whose name is fitting. The skies were still overcast, but the view of Grand Traverse Bay was stunning. Though there are houses dotting the shores of the bay, the hilly shorelines surrounding the bay are covered with trees, making the bay seem pleasantly undeveloped.
|Grand Traverse Bay|
Second Stage: Red Ginger
|The ceviche and the Lotus Flower drink|
Third Stage: Grand Traverse Distillery
|Grand Traverse Distillery|
The tasting room sells bottles of their spirits, souvenir glasses, shirts, and hats, and it also allows visitors to taste their spirits for $1 per taste. The bartender asked what I normally drink and suggested the Peninsula Gin. He clearly knew his trade because it was excellent. I also tried the bourbon whiskey, which I also enjoyed, and the True North Vodka, which was my least favorite but still good.
|The tasting room|
Fourth Stage: The Franklin
|Looking outside from The Franklin|
Fifth Stage: North Peak Brewing Company
I am a fan of North Peak Brewing Company's beer. I have had their beers in bottles and on tap throughout southeast Michigan. As a fan, I felt that I owed them a visit. The brewpub is a few blocks away from the heart of downtown, but it is worth walking a few extra blocks, plus it helped burn off some of the food we had eaten. Since we were no longer hungry, we just ordered one beer each.
|The taps at North Peak|
Sixth Stage: Low Bar
|Old fashioned and a Hemingway quote|
Seventh and Final Stage: Milk and Honey
Nothing caps a summer night like good ice cream, and Milk and Honey delivered. They use organic products from local farms to make their ice cream and other treats. I ordered the Almond Joyous ice cream in a waffle cone and happily devoured it while walking back to the hotel.
I survived the Tour de Traverse City and fell in love with Traverse City in one night. I look forward to visiting again soon, and I know that my next Tour de Traverse City will be longer than one day.