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Traverse City, Sleeping Bear NP

August 1, 2018 Leave a comment

After leaving the Akers, we drove to Traverse City, where we stayed at the Indigo Bluffs RV Resort. It is located some 20 miles west of TC, and is convenient access to Sleeping Bear National Park. This park has some nice hikes, some of it in canopied forests, some on the dunes. We even climbed the Dune Climb. If you want a great workout, try some of the hills in the Dunes. We got to see a great horned owl and some sand cranes on our walks.

At the north end of the peninsula is a Rescue Station, dating back to the 1800’s. Using rather crude boats, they rescued many sailors from Lake Michigan. Later this became better known as the US Coast Guard. It’s interesting to see how those people lived and worked in difficult conditions.

We’ve been to Traverse City before, and elected to spend most of our time at the Commons. This was originally known as the Northern Michigan Asylum, started in the 1880’s. It later became the Traverse City State Hospital and grew to over one million square feet of space. It served the mental needs but also diseases such as tuberculosis.

In the 1950s use of the facility declined to where it was closed. Some of the buildings were demolished and the main building was gutted with fire. It was rebuilt according to the original plans and is now a senior home as well as some very fine shopping.

Traverse City earns #1 Foodie City name

August 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Traverse City is called the #1 Foodie City in the US, and we decided to find out why.  So we drove up the Peninsula, where we found large farms, orchards, vineyards, and vegetable farms.  So claim #1 – fresh local vegetables – is confirmed.  Then, we went to the Traverse City Farmers market.  A very large collection of fresh fruits, veggies, free range chicken, organic eggs, and specialty meats was readily available.  We got some fresh corn, peppers, and blueberries.  Fresh veggies readily available – check.

Next, we went downtown, which has a surprisingly busy main street.  People walking and enjoying food and drink.  Lots of stores.  We ducked into a place called Phil’s, a cafe and chocolate store.  Not by accident, but because some locals recommended it, and they are know for their “soon to be famous bread pudding”.  We had a great lunch, but alas, the bread pudding would not be ready for another 45 minutes or so.  So, our waiter suggested we walk around outside, and be sure to visit the oil and vinegar store across the street.  Don’t worry about the bill, just pay when you come back.  So we did.

So we checked out various stores, including Fustini’s Oils and Vinegars.  What a fun place!  First time I’ve ever had “better than chocolate balsamic vinegar”.  Boy, it was good!  We had unique pairings, such as Chocolate Balsamic vinegar mixed with Meyer Lemon infused olive oil.  Terrific, and of course, we bought some 18 year old Balsamic Vinegar.

Back to Phil’s for the bread pudding.  They use croissants for the bread, and no raisins.  Instead, they add dried cherries, apricots, peaches and dark chocolate, covered with caramel butter sauce.  Different, and very, very good.

In short, Traverse City is an insult to those on diets.  Highly recommended.  BTW, tonight there is a big dinner with Mario Batali as Master Chef.  We won’t go, but we’re tempted!

A slough downtown reminded me of Holland

Downtown corner, with local bakery and coffee house

Classic, old fashioned, movie theater, right downtown

One wall inside Fustini's. Mix and make your own blend!

And right across the theater you'll find Phil's

Bread pudding, delicious. $6 gets you enough to share.

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