Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Relaxing Weekend in Traverse City

A view of Grand Traverse Bay from the Shores
My family and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Traverse City because I had the crazy idea to run the Bayshore Marathon. We rented a great condo at the Shores condominiums in Acme, on the east side of East Grand Traverse Bay. The Shores's beach has a beautiful view of the bay and Old Mission Peninsula.

We stayed in on Friday night, since I had to wake up early for the marathon. On Saturday afternoon, after a few hours of post-marathon recovery, we drove up the eastern shore of the Old Mission Peninsula, so I could show my wife and kids the views I saw while running.

Driving the Old Mission Peninsula
The drive was so relaxing that we ended up driving to the northern tip of the peninsula and visited the Mission Point Lighthouse and beach. The tip of the Old Mission Peninsula is on the 45th parallel, meaning we were standing halfway between the equator and the North Pole. We would have explored the lighthouse and beach more, but there were a lot of bugs out, and my four-year-old daughter was not happy that bugs kept landing on her. I also was exhausted and wanted to eat, so we just took a few photos of the lighthouse and the beach. 

Mission Point Lighthouse
We drove back down the western shore of the peninsula toward downtown Traverse City. We went to Apache Trout Grill for dinner because several people recommended it. There was supposed to be an hour wait, but fortune intervened and a table in the bar area opened up after only about 5 minutes.

I ordered my first post-marathon beer, and our waiter also brought out bread with a pesto dip. The pesto is made with olives, giving it a different taste, but we liked it so much we asked for more. We also ordered the delectable beer cheese fondue, which comes with a pretzel braid. For dinner, my wife, Allison, had the Baja Tacos, and I ordered the Apache Burger with sweet potato fries. The sweet potato fries came with an incredible syrupy pecan dip that made the fries taste like french toast. They also have a great kids menu, and our daughters loved the burger and chicken tenders.

Apache Burger
After dinner, we stopped at the Grand Traverse Pie Company and bought a small blueberry pie and large cherry pie (Don't judge. I ran 26.2 miles that morning). The pies were a much-deserved reward after months of training and were great for breakfast the next two mornings.

Even an impending storm is beautiful on the bay
On Sunday, we spent the morning at the beach near the condo until a thunderstorm rolled in over the bay. After I rested and stretched my legs, we headed back into Traverse City and ate at North Peak Brewing Company for lunch. I've been to North Peak before and wanted something good and reliable. Allison and I split a Caesar salad and the excellent white cheddar ale soup and each ordered a beer. We all ordered pizzas, the BBQ boar for me, the wild mushroom for Allison, and the cheese and pepperoni pizzas for the kids. We left the restaurant happy and full.

Books are the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.
After lunch, we were relieved that the storm had passed, so we walked along Front Street. We popped in and out of stores, but the highlight for me was Brilliant Books. Like any good independent bookstore, Brilliant Books is a place to wander, browse, and discover. I had one book that I wanted to look for, but I also stumbled upon a book by one of my favorite writers. The store also has a good kids section.

Moomers. The long wait was worth it.
That evening we went to Moomers ice cream. The line was long, probably because Moomers is always on ice cream "best of" lists and was named the best ice cream shop in America by Good Morning America in 2008. While waiting in line, we were able to appreciate the field of cows that produced the milk for our ice cream. The line moved quickly, and we soon had to make the tough choice of which ice cream to eat. The cherries moobilee (black cherry flavored ice cream with chunks of black sweet cherries, chocolate fudge swirl, and chunks of brownies) that I ordered was phenomenal and very much worth the wait.

The ice cream shop overlooks the dairy farm.
Our last Traverse City experience was a stop at The Little Fleet, a collection of eight food trucks with varied cuisines. The Little Fleet also has a bar that serves beer, wine, and mixed drinks, and it hosts live music on Friday nights. Allison got delicious sushi from White on Rice, and I had two awesome tacos from Happy's Taco Shop. The girls were stuffed from ice cream and lunch, so they just snacked on leftovers back at the condo. The Little Fleet would be a fun place to hang out and snack on different foods for a few hours on a warm summer day, but our day and trip to Traverse City were winding down.

Happy's Taco Shop at The Little Fleet
We went back to the condo hoping to catch one sunset over the bay. The descending sun painted a radiant collection of pink, red, gold, and orange hues until the clouds cast a curtain over the sun as it fell toward the Old Mission Peninsula.

Sunset on our last night
Everything was tranquil, except for the sounds of children laughing and playing.

The clouds hid the sun, but not the bay's beauty.

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