Unplug in Traverse City

The Cherry Capital of the World offers a serene setting for family summertime fun. Here are some sweet offerings and tips to plan your trip.

Are you looking to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of life in the D? Look no further than Traverse City.

The Cherry Capital of the World is just four hours northwest of the Motor City and offers ample opportunities for families to relax together, experience nature and cut the cord on their tech.

“Traverse City is very much a place where people have to travel aways. We’re not on the way anywhere. It’s a retreat,” explains Jenny Jenness, the public relations and media manager for Traverse City Tourism. “You’re unplugging, getting back to face-to-face and not needing to see the world through your camera.”

And the beginning of the summer is the perfect time to make the trek, Jenness adds.

“We have a lot of experiences to connect to the land,” she says. “Agriculture is rich and in the summer we have dozens of U-picks.”

Cherry U-picks are a huge draw, but another option is the lavender fields at the Secret Garden of Brys Estate – a 91-acre family estate turned vineyard and winery that dates back all the way to the 1890s.

“Secret Garden is off of a little path that you wouldn’t see unless you know it’s there,” Jenness says. “It feels like a surprise coming around the bend and offers fields of rolling lavender, a garden shop – you name it and they make it out of lavender there.”

Traverse City is also home to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, which is a definite must-see for families.

“There are a lot of ways to experience the dunes, but my favorite is the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive,” she says. “It’s an intro to all the different elements in the national lakeshore. There are grassy lands, shaded trees and covered bridges. You can see the dunes and feel the sand and you’ll see the big lookout 500 feet above the water.”

Beyond these natural attractions, families will also find opportunities for live entertainment at the Old Town Playhouse, the City Opera House and the recently renovated Bijou by the Bay movie house.

Plus, plenty of summertime festivals, including the largest Pride March in the state, which runs June 17-23, and of course, the National Cherry Festival around the Fourth of July.

“The National Cherry Festival is the climax of our agricultural culture and we go all out,” Jenness says. Families that attend this festival are treated to live music, a huge carnival, an air show and activities in the cherry orchards.

And if that isn’t enough to fill your family’s itinerary, you can always walk the main strip and check out more than 150 restaurants and shops owned by local residents.

“In Traverse City, we’re removing the filter between people and bringing them together to experience something new and simple, things that are organic,” Jenness adds. “You’re going far away and coming closer together.”

For more information about Traverse City, or to start planning your trip, visit Traverse City Tourism online at TraverseCity.com.


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