Travel Guide: Traverse City, Michigan

I’ll start off by saying that Northern Michigan is my happy place. Growing up my family vacationed in Arcadia, Michigan, every summer and would use that week to explore the beautiful little towns with Lake Michigan as their backdrop.

Of those little towns, Traverse City, Michigan, stands out above them all which is why I picked it as my bachelorette party location. To be fair, my wonderful matron and maid of honor picked the location but I strongly encouraged them to consider Traverse City 🙂 Many of my friends had never been Northern Michigan and I was so excited to share this special place with them.

If you are looking to plan a friends bachelorette party or just looking for a long-weekend getaway, I cannot recommend Traverse City enough! Between the wineries, breweries, restaurants, beaches and parks there is something for everyone. The theme of my bachelorette was “Mose all Day” similar to “Rose all Day” but substituting my nickname from college, Mo. Clever right!?

I was very on theme this trip, peep my shoes!

Thursday – Travel Day

We kicked off the bachelorette weekend Thursday morning. My maid of honor scooped me up from the city and we drove the 5.5 hours to Traverse City. There is a small airport in Traverse City which came in handy as my matron of honor was coming from Iowa. I was giddy with excitement the entire time excited to get back to my happy place.

After we checked into the hotel, we stopped in the downtown area to grab a quick local bite before heading up to the Old Mission Peninsula for some wine tastings. Downtown Traverse has the cutest food truck options that form the Little Fleet. Lots of quick but fresh options from deli sandwiches, to tacos and Chinese cuisine.

The Little Fleet food truck stop in downtown Traverse City, Michigan.

Once we got some food in our bellies after the long trip, we headed north the Old Mission Pennisula which is home to ten unique and beautiful wineries. We had a wine tour scheduled for Saturday that would take us to four of these wineries so we took advantage of the afternoon to check two more off our list; Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery and Pennisula Cellars.

Wine tour at Brys Estate.

During a previous trip to Traverse City I joined the Brys Estate wine club. Of all the wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula, this one is by far my favorite. They have the most incredible wine selection (try the Riesling) and their winery is stunning. They have a gorgeous sun deck where we had another glass of wine and appetizers before heading down to their secret garden.

I was so grateful to have my best girlfriends make the trek from Chicago all the way north to Traverse City.

Our second winery stop was Pennisula Cellars, another quaint winery on the Mission Pennisula. This winery is unique in that its a converted one-room school house and each of their wines have a cute school themed name. My personal favorite was called Pop Quiz.

We wrapped up the evening with a quick dinner before we turned in for the evening . It was an early start in the morning to drive over to Sleeping Bear Dunes for hiking and views!

Friday – Sleeping Bear Dunes

I highly recommend going to Sleeping Bear Dunes if you the the time. It was a 45 minute drive west of Traverse City to the town of Empire. It’s hard to describe the beauty of these sand dunes, each time I’m there I am struck by these mountains of sand that run into Lake Michigan. If you plan to go, be sure to take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and stopping at the final scenic turnout and take in the stunning views.

After completing our dune hike and taking in the views, we drove over to Glenn Arbor, one of the beautiful little towns aforementioned, for a quick bite and a stroll around town. Glenn Arbor is home to the first Cherry Republic, the cutest little store featuring gourmet cherry products, including wine! Are you starting to see the pattern 🙂

That night we went to Georgina’s for the most incredible meal. I can’t recommend this place enough! We had a wonderful meal as a group before heading out to our last stop of the evening, Hotel Indigo.

The Rooftop at Hotel Indigo.

Hotel Ingido is a fairly recent hotel in Traverse that people may not be framiliar with if you haven’t been there recently. So many good things to say about this bar including the views of Traverse Bay, their outdoor fire pits and drink selections. Think all the local Michigan’s wines and beers on tap and course Moscow Mules!

Saturday – Traverse City Wine Bus

Saturday was the main attraction of the bachelorette weekend. With our activity day (Sleeping Bear Dunes) behind us it was time to drink some wine! We booked our wine trolley through Brew Bus that picked us up at our hotel and drove us to a handful of wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula.

The benefit of working with a local wine tour service is of course having a designated driver but also having a local that could make recommendations on wineries to visit. We stopped at the following wineries:

  • Chateau Chantal
  • Bowers Harbor Winery
  • Bonobo Winery
  • Black Star Farms
Views every direction you look on the Old Mission Peninsula.

Many glasses of wine were tasted, bottles purchased and laughs shared. We headed back to the hotel to get rest up and get ready for our final dinner of the weekend at The Franklin Room.

The Franklin Room is located in the heart of downtown Traverse City and has the cutest rooftop where we shared our final meal in Traverse City. The food was incredible and the company even better. It was the perfect ending to an incredible trip!

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