A Traverse City Celebration: Part One (Downtown TC + Old Mission Peninsula)

Traverse City, Michigan - Wading in Big Shoes

I knew Brad was cooking something up for our first wedding anniversary. What tipped me off? His  random, "you don't know what I'm planning," or "what day of the week is the 21st?" comments, followed by abrupt silence and little elaboration after I answered the questions. No, my husband is not a good liar, but I think what really tipped me off was when we were sitting in our living room watching TV last week, and I saw that he was looking up hotel rates on his laptop--with the screen turned right towards my face. I asked him what he was doing, which prompted him to turn the computer about two inches in the other direction, but his lack of Bond skills were pretty much a giveaway. Took him about another half hour before he asked me if I'd like to go to Traverse City to celebrate our anniversary weekend.

Um, yes. Not the most stunning reveal, but I was still very excited about the trip. Plus, he did manage to surprise me with one more little detail:

Check that out.

Our ride for the weekend (yes, it's borrowed): a Chevy Camaro convertible. I guess being married to an engineer really does have its perks.

We set out Saturday morning for northern Michigan (about a four-hour drive if you're wondering). So far, this was the furthest we'd traveled to visit a new Michigan town, but after making several nine to eleven-hour drives over the past couple weeks, this mini road trip was a breeze. Not to mention, we did attract quite a lot of positive and envious attention while in our borrowed stud-mobile.

That's Brad on the right, checking for traffic, and me on the left--being happy about riding in a convertible.

We arrived in Traverse City just as everyone else was finishing breakfast, and didn't waste any time looking for something to do. A handy, little app I downloaded for the occasion told us that downtown was the place to be, so we listened--and off we went.

Traverse City, Michigan - Wading in Big Shoes

Traverse City, Michigan - Wading in Big Shoes

In addition to hosting loads of cute, cherry-themed shops and tons of delicious restaurant options, Traverse City's downtown area is conveniently located just off a main lake shore road. After picking up some cherry-chocolate coffee (free with a Foursquare check-in!) and cherry root beer from Cherry Republic, we shopped for souvenirs, then grabbed lunch at the Green House Cafe. Then, it was on to the beach, where everyone and their mothers seemed to be spending the afternoon. Boats, bikes, and beach bums galore--truly a beach town in a format I've never seen before (much different than the ocean-side, east coast beaches I'm used to).

Traverse City, Michigan - Wading in Big Shoes
Baby ducks at a boating dock! We watched these fuzzy, little cuties for a few minutes while they followed their mama.

When Saturday afternoon rolled around, we took a drive through the beautiful countryside on the Old Mission Peninsula. The area was filled with vineyards and scenic views galore, so we just had to get out of the car for a few photo opps.

Chateau Grand Traverse Winery/Vineyards - Wading in Big Shoes
Vineyard and view of one of Lake Michigan's bays at the Chateau Grand Traverse Winery

He just stands like this all the time.
We drove to the Mission Point Lighthouse, which is located on the 45th parallel (or, the halfway-point between the equator and the north pole). If you've ever wondered what halfway-to-Santa looks like, here you go.

Mission Point Lighthouse. Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan - Wading in Big Shoes
Mission Point Lighthouse. Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan

Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan - Wading in Big Shoes

The view was gorgeous, but the sun was hot and the gnats were in full swarm. Still, we had fun hopping from rock to rock on the semi-swamped beach and getting sucked into the spongy sand/mud. Okay, that last part wasn't actually fun, but overall, the place was very beautiful.

Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan - Wading in Big Shoes
One of the many rock-art pictures we found on the beach

I'd take my sunglasses off, but I can't see you as it is in this sunlight.

Mission Point Lighthouse - Traverse CIty, Michigan - Wading in Big Shoes
Front view of the Mission Point lighthouse

View from inside Mission Point Lighthouse - Traverse CIty, Michigan - Wading in Big Shoes
View from inside the lighthouse

Sunburned and exhausted from hours in the 89-degree heat, we headed back to Traverse City to rest and clean up for dinner. Deciding we were in the mood for steak and seafood (and going off of a recommendation), we went to Boone's Long Lake Inn, where the food was great, but the service and loud atmosphere were a bit off-putting.

After dinner, we went downtown for some window shopping and ice cream. A beautiful evening in a place where every local seems to know one another--that's a lovely picture of summertime.

Downtown Traverse City, Michigan - Wading in Big Shoes
Downtown Traverse City
Downtown Traverse City, Michigan - Wading in Big Shoes
The glitzy, downtown State Theatre

Brad, looking at (he said they were real) butterflies in a jewelry store window.

But wait! There's a whole 'nother day of Traverse City exploring on the horizon . . . which I will recap for you in my next post, coming soon to a blog near you (psst--that means here).

Any guesses as to what other Traverse City sites we saw? Feel free to throw out your guesses in the comment section below. And if you have no idea, I suppose you could always cheat and ask Google. Or Siri, but she'll just Google it herself.

Talk to you soon!