My mother came to town last weekend and we took a little get away to Traverse City and Petoskey!
The Ride Up
On the way up north there were occasional snow flurries at first, but once we got past the cement and clutter of suburbia it was an enjoyable pastoral scene. We made a few rest stops, and as we got further north the blustering winds really started to pick up.
My patient husband, holding on tight to the wheel, navigated us through as the snow got heavier and the wind stronger. At points where there were open fields along the roadside, the wind, uninterrupted by barns or tree banks, whipped up over the road blinding and tossing us about.
Lunch in Traverse City
After hours of white knuckle driving, we arrived in Traverse City safe and sound. Brian has a good friend who lives in town with his wife and toddler and he recommended we dine at Amical on Front Street.
Like most adorable vacation towns, Traverse City has a great walkable downtown district, with the main drag along Front Street, just off of the lake. In the summer all of the Northern Michigan vacation towns are crawling with people, but this time of year it’s easy to get a table pretty much anywhere. Yelp rated Amical as $$$, but had we not gotten drinks with our lunches it would have been reasonably priced. It was certainly delicious. Brian ranked the Amical Reuben among his favorites he’s had, and thought the pasta salad it came with was a great match. I had the chicken Caesar. As far as Caesar salads go, it was good. The dressing was tasty and had a bit more mustard flavor than usual (I use mustard powder in my Caesar dressing, but this had a strong mustard flavor). My mom got the special pumpkin seed encrusted whitefish on a bed of wild rice with arugula salad. We all cleared our plates and seemed to really enjoy it. Amical had a sweet atmosphere, good food, and a nice location. I would definitely recommend it!
After lunch we went for a brief, blustery stroll on front street. Even covered in snow and whipped by wind this place has the charm. We popped into Cherry Republic (for those who don’t know, cherry republic is a staple of northern Michigan offering a bevy of tart cherry products ranging from chocolate covered cherries, to cherry salsa and barbecue sauce). We chatted a bit with the shopkeeper, I was so pleased by his good nature and welcoming attitude. He explained to us about how Northern Michigan produces about a 3rd of the tart cherries either nationally or globally (check that), and about how 2 crops ago the early thaw and re-freeze led to loss of crops. Polish cherries came to the rescue, which is why a sign of gratitude to Poland hangs in the shop. We left with a bag of dark chocolate cherries and a jar of original cherry salsa (two of my favorites).
Next we stopped into a clothing shop, Glicks, which I had been in when we visited Frankfurt, Michigan a few years ago (link to post). Glicks is a trendy but sort of funky-cool boutique with reasonable prices and some great finds. The young woman tending shop was also a great personality and fun to talk to. My mom and I both picked up some fleece lined leggings, and I got some uber cool patterned leggings.
Overall, the shop keepers were all super nice, friendly, and funny (unlike the snobbish treatment I’ve received in some California vacation towns). Even the barista at a local coffee shop we ducked into to use the restroom was all smiles and conversation. This has been my experience in most of the shops we’ve gone to in Northern Michigan towns over the last few years. I love it up here! It’s beautiful, and the people are awesome.
We checked into the townhouse at the Traverse Bay Inn in the late afternoon ready for a nap. For the price, you can’t go wrong with this place. Our room had a small entry/lounging area with a studio style kitchen. The upstairs bedroom was cozy with two full size beds. And the downstairs bedroom had a queen and quaint view of snow-covered trees.
We met up with Brian’s buddy Dave, and is family for dinner at the at the Filling Station Microbrewery. The restaurant is cozy, and in what looks like an old train station. My mom and I were delighted to find that they had great gluten-free pizza. We shared on with basil oil, and an out of control sweet s’mores desert pizza (minus the graham cracker crumble. It’s not a gf kitchen, but we did ok (no cross contamination sickness). The pizza was really good, Brian enjoyed his regular (non-gf) pizza too. Good prices, “very good” beer (according to Brian), delicious food and a creative menu. Again, the staff was friendly. For how cold it is up here, Up North is warming on me.