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The saying there is no place like home rings so true! Especially since I returned back to my home town, Detroit, after three years, for a week long family vacation. I am so excited to share with you one of the highlights of my trip to Pure Michigan, which was visiting Traverse City!! I was born and raised in Detroit up until I went to college. So you can imagine that I never experienced Michigan as a visitor or tourist. I always heard of people saying they were going “Up North” for the summer. I imagined them staying in wooded cabins or camping. Not really my style, so I didn’t think I was missing out… until I saw the Pure Michigan commercials that is!
The Pure Michigan commercials showed all of these beautiful towns, right in my home state, Michigan! I knew I wanted to return home to see my dad for a summer vacation. But, I also thought, how cool would it be to do a road trip and experience some of the sights I saw in the commercials? So we decided to road trip to Traverse City, Michigan, about a 4 hour drive from Detroit. Traverse City, Michigan is home to beaches, wineries, beer distilleries, light houses and plenty of outdoor activities for all of you outdoorsy folk out there. Of course its family friendly too with splash parks, U-Pick farms and more. Oh, did I mention sand dunes?? Oh yes, you read right!
So stick around as I share with you the best vacation I’ve had, right in my home state, Michigan!
Day One: Traverse City, Here we come!!
We headed out around 10:00 am to grab breakfast before we hit the road to TC. Fortunately, the drive was about 4.5 hours from Detroit, which is perfect when you have a toddler in tow. The weather was a bit cloudy and rainy on the road, but the closer we got to the city, the skies began to clear up and all was well. I was so thankful that we had a spacious and comfortable SUV for the trip. The 2017 GMC Acadia had plenty amenities like WiFi, Apple Car Play, dual sun roofs and a third row. Camille really loved the dual sunroofs as she was all about checking the skies and trees as we were driving. Its funny how kids have a way of reminding you to look at the simple, beautiful things that we somehow take for granted.
Once we made it to Traverse City, we headed straight to the Sleeping Bear Dunes. Sleeping Bear Dunes is simply the most amazing sight on the Lake Michigan shoreline. In order to get there, you have to go thru Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive to access the points along the way to the dunes. You do need a park pass in order to drive thru. There are various points where you can pull off and take in the beauty of each stop along the way. I captured this picture of Camille at one of the points. This pic is all her daddy idea and I love it. I’m telling you Camille was living her absolute best life on this trip!
Once we made it through a few of the stops, we were not prepared for the beauty that is the Sleeping Bear Dunes. As we walked up the path, it was super windy as the wind from Lake Michigan swept thru with sand whirling around us. But, once we were able to look up, I saw the most beautiful sight. The dunes are breath taking. You can hike up or down the dunes, but its not really recommended. I’ve read that it could take a full hour or more start to finish. These pictures are not really doing much justice. Thats why you just have to book a trip to Michigan and see it yourself!
After the dunes, we ate and went back to our hotel, Bayshore Resort, to check in and relax. Bayshore Resort has its own private beach on Grand Traverse Bay. So you don’t have to worry about it being too crowded, which was perfect after a long day of travel and sight seeing. The rooms are very spacious and we were fortunate to get a beach front view. The decor is an older, victorian style, which is not my usual preference. But, very clean, comfortable and most importantly, great customer service.
Camille had an absolute blast playing in the beach and getting her feet wet. The weather while we were in Traverse City was very cool, even though it was August. The high was maybe 75 that day. So as you can imagine, the temperature was much cooler off the beach. Eric and I regretted not getting a bottle of wine before checking in to the hotel. Its something about relaxing by the beach, the sound of the waves and just feeling at peace makes you want to indulge in a glass of wine. We asked one of the hotel guests who were outside drinking wine, where did they purchase theirs. They kindly offered us some wine to share with them! Such a kind gesture from strangers made for such a perfect ending to a long day.
Day 2: Sailing with Tall Ship Manitou, Wine Tasting and Blueberry Picking at Brys Estate!
We woke up around 8 after a wonderful nights sleep. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this beach side view? Eric loved to open the balcony and hear the waves crashing about, even though it was so chilly outside. Bayshore Resort also offers a free, continental style breakfast which works well when you just want a bite to eat before heading out for a day full of activities.
The agenda for the day was sailing and visiting a few of the wineries in the Old Mission Peninsula! I’ve never been sailing before, so this was a new experience for us all. It was very cold that day and we instantly regretted not packing warmer clothing. But, we did the best we could and headed out for our sailing adventure at Tall Ship Manitou!!
Tall Ship Manitou offers 2 hour sails at various times of the day, even an afternoon Ice Cream sail for kids, where they can enjoy Moomer’s Ice Cream on deck, a local area favorite. What is also cool about Tall Ship is that you can do an over night sail or a private sail for 2 hours. We really loved how they got the crowd to participate in raising the sails. Camille even got in on the action too! It was a long 2 hours as it was very chilly. Thankfully, we bought hoodies at their shop and they were kind enough to provide us with blankets. Tall Ship Manitou is definitely one activity you want to add to your list of things to do while in Traverse City!
After sailing, we went back to the hotel to change and head out for some wine tasting. Traverse City is home to various wineries and vineyards in Leenlanau and Old Mission Peninsula. Its a short drive from our hotel of about 20 minutes. Brys Estates was the first winery on our list and it did not disappoint. The grounds are beautiful and they also offer wine tours and an outdoor patio on the upper deck that overlooks the vineyard. Eric and I tasted various wines and they were all delicious. The Pinot Noir Reisling was my personal favorite. Brys also offers a wine club and can ship their wine offerings to you!
Brys also has a Secret Garden and its beautiful. Lavender, a flower garden, strawberry and blueberry can be found. They also offer U-Pick where you can pick your own fruit!! Camille had a blast picking her blueberries, although she seem to have ate more than put them in her basket. The setting is just beautiful as you can see rows and rows of lavender. Unfortunately, our trip was after the lavender season ended, only by a few weeks. So be sure to head their between July and early August to take in the beautiful lavender color and scent. It was still a sight to see and I am determined to come back when its in season!
After wine tasting and visiting the Secret Garden at Brys, our little one was exhausted and fell sleep in the car. We had plans to visit more wineries, but I knew that my baby wouldn’t be able to take any more adventures for the day. So we headed back to the hotel and ordered pizza and relaxed again by the beach. It was the culmination of such a perfect trip that I would never forget.
Day 3: Time to Return to Detroit!
Thursday was our last day in T.C. I was so sad to leave as there was still so much more I wanted to see and do. We headed out and grabbed lunch in Downtown Traverse City. Their downtown area has plenty of shops and local restaurants. I really wanted to explore this area more, but we had to get back on the road. We did however, made sure to stop at Moomer’s Ice Cream as its been hailed as, “America’s Best Ice Cream Parlor” by USA Today. They make over 100 different flavors of ice cream, so who can argue with that title? It most certainly was yummy! I was glad to stop by for some delicious ice cream before we headed home.
Our trip to Traverse City is definitely one for the books! We all had such a great time! It made my heart full to see Camille having such a great time, especially being there with her Papa. My dad told me the other day that he will never forget that trip. He said he constantly think about it and how happy he was to share those moments with us. Thats what family vacations are all about. Those memories that make you smile, just at the thought of it, the smiles and laughter or just the feeling of pure bliss. Even writing this post and looking at these pictures makes me so emotional to reflect on such a fun time.
So the next time you are considering a family trip, I invite you to my home state, Michigan, to explore all of its beauty and precious moments that I personally experienced myself, with my family. Add Traverse City to your list of destinations, you most certainly won’t regret it!
Special Thanks to:
Tall Ship Sailing for our lovely sail,
Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery for an informative and delicious wine tasting
Sleeping Bear National Park for such an amazing experience!
Also, special thanks to Tony Denim of Tony Denim Photography for capturing such AMAZING shots of us on the Tall Ship Manitou and at Brys Estate!!
Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by Traverse City Tourism. Views and opinion written in this blog post are solely my own. I strive to provide trustworthy content for my viewers you can depend upon.