It’s no secret that I love visiting the Traverse City area. From May-October this area of northern Michigan becomes an irresistible attraction with wineries, breweries, distilleries, restaurants, resorts, golf courses, farmer’s markets, apple orchards, creameries, stables, marinas, antique shops, boutiques, lighthouses, and even a casino.
There is literally something here for everyone, but culinary travelers, in particular, will find an endless string of tasting experiences and innovative cuisine. Having lived in the Chicago area for almost 20 years it’s easy to take for granted what visitors from other states find so breathtaking; the oceanic scale of Lake Michigan, to which the lakeshore up here with miles of scenic shoreline and lighthouses lend a salty Atlantic feel that’s still only a few hour’s drive outside of Chicago.
I try to make it up here at least twice each year, and always seek to experience a different aspect of what this area has to offer; this Summer I was invited to visit the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa to try out the amenities and to dine at Traverse City’s highest fine-dining restaurant to sample the new menu at Aerie.
Our comfortable room was on the 11th floor of the hotel tower with sweeping views overlooking the 900-acre resort and the spectacular Grand Traverse bay. The wonderful hotel staff demonstrates impressive attention to detail; from evening turn-down service with chocolates to a late-night emergency corkscrew delivery at a moment’s notice, they swoop in effortlessly to save the day and never fail to make you feel welcome.
In addition to the world-class golf course with its clubhouse and pro shop, for year-round guests, the resort has extensive indoor and outdoor fitness facilities including tennis courts, a spa with massage and facial services, two indoor swimming pools, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool for lounging complete with a cocktail bar.
Inside you will find a coffee shop with fresh baked goods straight out of the Aerie kitchen, a breakfast cafe with plated as well as buffet options, Dylan’s Candy Bar for little ones (and those of us with a sweet tooth!), a sports bar, outdoor gear and clothing boutiques, gift shops, and of course Aerie, the resort’s crowning jewel which I will be sharing with you in the next write-up.