Since we were going to be in Michigan for my high school reunion last weekend, we decided to make a vacation of it and continue our drive north to Traverse City. It’s pretty much our favorite place ever, so we were really happy to have an opportunity to visit again after our trip last year.
This year we stayed at a hotel in Traverse City, so we were able to explore the city a little more while also making a few drives to other areas like Old Mission Peninsula, Suttons Bay and Leland, which are all must-see. The great part about the Traverse City area is that there’s a ton of things to see and do all within an easy hour-or-less drive — and the drive itself is half the fun just because it’s all so beautiful. I love that in just a short time you can go from city to sand dunes to rolling hills covered in grapes to fields of fruit trees to adorable small towns to untouched forest. The diversity is spectacular.
Heres’ a few of our favorite things to do in the Traverse City/Leelanau County area:
L. Mawby — This is kind of mind blowing, but Traverse City is on the same latitude as southern France/northern Italy, and it’s a perfect climate for grape growing. While the area has traditionally been known as one of the most prolific cherry-producing regions in the country/world, it’s increasingly being known for its wineries — and there’s A LOT of them. If you’re into wine, a trip to TC is an absolute must. There’s even a winery that does nothing but sparkling wine!! L. Mawby is located near the super cute town of Suttons Bay in a peaceful, idyllic area. You can get two glasses of very, very good bubbly along with a little snack (try the whitefish dip!) for only about $7, and then enjoy it outside in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I mean, it doesn’t get better than this.
Old Mission Lighthouse — It’s a gorgeous drive to the tip of Old Mission Peninsula to visit the lighthouse. There’s not much to see inside, but it’s definitely worth the drive to have a walk around.
Chateau Chantal — We drove past this winery on our way to Old Mission Lighthouse and decided to go back the next day to try their sparkling cherry wine (it’s amazing). The location is spectacular, with sweeping views of all their grape varieties on gorgeous rolling hills. They also offer free tours of their wine cellar and production facility, which we thought was really interesting.
Potter’s Bakery — Just good donuts. Nothing super fancy, but good. We were in TC for three days and went here twice, so…
Patisserie Amie — Oh my goodness. Go to this place hungry. This picture doesn’t show you how absolutely huge this plate is. Each scoop of whipped cream is bigger than my fist!! Amie’s specializes in breakfast with a French twist. We ordered the French waffle and French pancake, and really should have split one thing. But both of our meals were amazing, with tons of fresh strawberries and made-to-order whipped cream. It’s indulgent and worth every calorie. You might just need a nap after. I did.
Mackinaw Brewing Company — a nice place to stop for a beer and snacks right downtown.
Jolly Pumpkin Brewery — After going to the Old Mission Lighthouse, stop for lunch at Jolly Pumpkin. It’s a pretty setting, with nice gardens and beautiful lake views, but mostly it’s just great food.
Dish Cafe — excellent and inexpensive lunch spot in downtown TC with sandwiches and smoothies.
Grand Traverse Pie Company — It’s kind of like Panera but with reeeeally good pie. I got the cherry-peach crumble and Andy got apple, and they were both great.
Fishtown — Leland is one of our favorite little towns to visit in Leelanau County, and its historic fishing village is just adorable. There’s lots of cute shops to wander through and a fun walk along the docks to look at all the still-active commercial fishing boats.
(All photos by Kerry and Andy for Burritos and Bubbly. Follow all of our adventures on Instagram @burritosbubbly!)