Welcome to Traverse City through the eyes of a (sorta) newcomer! I grew up in the area and after eight years in Grand Rapids, I felt the pull of Northern Michigan and returned home to complete my teaching certification. Over the next few months, I’m planning to rediscover my hometown a few weekends at a time. I was instantly inundated with new places to try, and I’m excited to see how many new places have cropped up around town in my absence – I plan to pass along my discoveries to the Awesome Mitten readership as I try them out!
Here’s the deal so far:
Downtown Traverse City has aged like a fine wine! I walked the strip after school the other day and marveled at how much it has changed from touristy t-shirt traps every other storefront to a collection of unique stops designed to serve locals and visitors alike. I met a friend at Brew, a coffee shop meets Michigan tap room. The shop was full of all walks of life: high schoolers, business suits, retirees, and mothers with infants in tow. Many had laptops to take advantage of the wifi, and I enjoyed my first autumn beverage of the season as I ordered a pumpkin chai tea. They had six Michigan taps, a small breakfast and lunch menu, and plenty of space to sit and enjoy. It was a good way to start the rediscovery. Read more about Brew from Joanna Dueweke in the 365 Days of Awesome series.
After standing in forty degree weather with a steady rain on top of it, I left the rivalry football game between the two local high schools at Thirlby Field and headed to check out Mackinac Brewing Co. on Front Street. It was packed, which is usually a good sign for local restaurants, and the food smelled amazing. My brother and I sat at the bar and tried the West Bay IPA and their freshly tapped Octoberfest Ale, which was surprisingly light but still delivered a malty profile. Our bartender, Joe, was celebrating his fourteenth work anniversary at MBC, so they must be doing something right to their staff too! They offer a pretty awesome Mug Club membership for life for just $50; it includes 10% off of food, $2 beers on Tuesdays and a bunch of other daily and annual perks… so I’m considering joining!
This past weekend was disappointing weather-wise, but the family decided to make a bike ride happen considering how snow could be just around the corner. We parked in Acme and hit the TART (Traverse Area Recreational Trail) to ride the eight or so miles into town. The trail is well-maintained and just far enough off the beaten path that you feel separated from traffic. We rode by the State Park and headed a few more miles to McLain’s Cycle Shop on 8th street, one of their three locations in Northern Michigan. My dad was on the hunt for a new tire tube and we are never disappointed at McLain’s: the staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and they can help cycling gurus and newbies too (like myself).
So far I’ve been loving the move, and I’m looking forward to more events, beer, wine, shopping, and seasonal outings! Is there anything you’d like reviewed in Northern Michigan? Let us know and I’ll check it out!