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Sleeping Bear Dunes hike in Traverse City, Michigan
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Spectacular Lake Michigan views in Traverse City, Michigan
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Looking out at the natural landscapes in Traverse City, Michigan
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Blossoming Michigan cherry trees in Traverse City
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Beach vacation on Lake Michigan in Traverse City, Michigan
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Fall foliage and lush vineyards in Traverse City, Michigan
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Exploring wine country in Traverse City, Michigan
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Picking fresh cherries in Traverse City, Michigan
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View from Sleeping Bear Dunes in Traverse City, Michigan
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In downtown Traverse City, Michigan, boutiques and busy streets
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I recently took my first trip to Michigan, and I had been told by friends in Virginia that Traverse City was one of the neatest places to visit.

I soon discovered that they weren’t wrong. From the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan to the wineries and charming downtown, there is so much fun to indulge in here.

Great Lakes and Kayaking Adventures

My first stop was at the Platte River, a picturesque place to kayak. The water was surprisingly warm, so we kayaked for quite some time and took in the scenery. You can rent kayaks or bring your own, and there are some lovely areas to have a picnic.

After my trip on the river, I drove to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. After a short walk to the top of the dunes, I was welcomed by the most magnificently breath-taking view you can imagine from 137-meter dunes overlooking Lake Michigan. Words like serene and peaceful don’t really do the place justice. It is awe-inspiring to say the least. With 103 kilometers of shoreline, it feels like you are staring at the ocean, and on the other side of the dunes there are even more views that will leave you speechless. You can walk the steep slope down to the foot of the dunes and back, but today I left that for others to do as I wanted to just sit and melt into my surroundings.

Wining and Dining in Traverse City

When I left Sleeping Bear Dunes, it was close to 5 p.m., so I headed to downtown Traverse City to see what was happening on this Friday night. A few blocks long, the downtown area is an interesting mix of charming and trendy. The streets are lined with eclectic shops, unique restaurants, boutiques, some great architecture and lots of lively people. I stopped in at Amical, a restaurant known for its farm-to-table menu, with everything locally sourced. I had a fabulous glass of wine and tried several dishes, including their famous olive twist – puff pastry, feta, olives and an orange pepper cream. It was fantastic.

The next day I found my way to the Black Star Farms Winery. The lovely staff gave me lots of information about the property, the specific wines and more. I tasted many of the wines, from a champagne style to a robust red. All were excellent, and several were purchased. The winery, which offers spectacular views, is also a bed-and-breakfast.

My last stop in Traverse City was at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a cute mix of shops where you can find the most extraordinary gifts, artwork and clothes.

Traverse City was all I’d hoped for and then some. Although I am sad to leave, I plan to come back here in the very near future!