Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Traverse City

I think we've mentioned that Traverse City is the largest port we've been in so far. They have a very developed downtown area (Front Street is the main street) with home-furnishing and outdoor sports focused stores in addition to the souvenir-type shops and restaurants. They have two food stores in the general area of the marina, although as Phil found out - Tom's Market is much further on foot than it appears to be via bicycle ;). Folgarelli's Market has more of the gourmet type items and a very large selection of specialty cheeses and wines (local and other). We enjoyed the ice cream - very large dishes of Sleeping Bear Supreme's Cherry Chocolate - at the Cherry Stop and sampled the local brews at the Mackinaw Brewing Company (but not at the same time). Traverse City has a good independent book store - Horizon Books.

We also visited The Grand Traverse Heritage Center. In addition to its standard exhibits about life in Traverse City in the early days, they were showing an exhibit on Mysteries of the Great Lakes. This exhibit talked about waterspouts, St. Elmo's Fire (the weather event, not the movie), ghost ships and pirates. Apparently there was one pirate who went around robbing ships and took his ill-gotten gains to Chicago where "he could easily unload them".

Their regular exhibits show a room in the old Northern Michigan Asylum and a schoolhouse scene. The schoolhouse scene also listed the rules for teachers. Pretty strict - especially the one about not being able to loiter in the ice cream shop! That's cruel and unusual punishment!

The TART trail also connects to two other trails and is a nice ride with interesting sites along the way. The TART Trail is paved. The Leelanau Trail is not paved but is crushed gravel.

As you can see, there is quite a lot to do there between the bike trails, shops, markets, wineries and museums. We could have easily stayed a fourth night and will be looking forward to visiting the area again.

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