I was recently asked where we were headed next. My answer…No where! And I was excited about it! This weather is what Michiganders endure 6 months of winter for! It is finally going to be beach weather and we have some of the best beaches and beach towns (I may be a bit biased.) Okay, so I’m not exactly going to stay put. Truthfully, I am going to take every opportunity to hit up the lakeshore and road trip it up north. We just had our very own family tradition of our “unofficial first weekend of summer” in Traverse City. Here is where we ate:
In town, we chose Blue Tractor. It was a few blocks off of the main drag but worth the walk. The atmosphere was kid-friendly, with a very cute kids menu. My kids lasted for over an hour for lunch here, which is actually saying quite a bit. Originally a saloon, the fare is traditional American and quite tasty.
If you have time (or even if you don’t), I’d recommend that you meander downtown to pop into Cherry Republic to pick up some dark chocolate covered cherries or dried cherries or cherry salsa (you get the idea). You can even take care of all of your Christmas gifts right at the store. Or, you can wine taste. Or, eat at the cafe in back or sample all of the wonderful offerings or let your kids burn off some energy in the cherry pit (I must admit that I was somewhat relieved that they had replaced the real cherry pits with red play balls). The possibilities are endless.
Out on Old Mission Peninsula, we almost always make a beeline for Mission Table or Jolly Pumpkin (they are on the same property). The food is delicious! For a more formal setting, gourmet food, and views of the west bay, Mission Table is the perfect culinary experience. With children and/or for a more casual woodsy setting, Jolly Pumpkin is your spot.
We typically go to the Boathouse (also on Old Mission Peninsula) by ourselves, but eventually will invite our children along. Again, the view of the west bay are stunning. There is also a small sandy beach and docks to watch the boats coming in. The food is very nicely plated and tastes delicious.
While on the peninsula, you might as well stop by Bonobo Winery to glimpse the vineyards and bay in the background. On a trip here last year, we showed up with 4 adults and 5 children and were immediately told it was absolutely fine. We sampled the wine and the kids played Scrabble (I think that maybe two of them could spell but they still had fun with this novel game). It was amazing. I am not typically a Chardonnay drinker, but theirs is definitely worth a try and a bottle for home.
All in all, a fabulous weekend! In fact, it was so great that I had to chase down our 4 year old across a public and then private beach (the kid is fast) because he didn’t want to leave. If you don’t already have Traverse City on your itinerary for the summer and/or autumn months, you definitely should add it. And here is a pin in case any/all of these restaurants sound like your cup of tea (or glass of Chardonnay).