Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region pleases all with a nice mix of art, shopping and outdoorsy activities to satisfy both your cultural and outdoor cravings. Cynthia Earhart, a contributing writer for Michigan Travel Ideas, spends a weekend exploring the Michigan Tri-Cities of Saginaw, Bay City, Midland and the surrounding area.
College senior Ashley Prescott gets her first real taste of shopping “Traverse City-style”– and decides she may have been missing something all these years.
I’ll be honest. When I was younger, I thought Traverse City was the kind of place where old people go to gamble, play golf, and retire; or maybe where families could go for a week or two in the summer in order to unwind from their busy schedules. I never saw it as a place for somebody like me.
But after just one visit, I’ve fallen in love — and I’ve only just gotten here. I’ve already learned to call Traverse City “TC,” just like the locals do!
My first day in Traverse City began on Front Street, in the city’s downtown district, full of shops whose merchandise overflows onto the sidewalk, and restaurants that tempt you with mouth-watering smells as you walk past. I walked up from the beach nearby and meandered through streets that cascaded with blooming trees, admiring the downtown architecture. (These buildings are beautiful, yet with a friendly feeling that makes the city feel cozy.)
Claudia Capos, a contributing writer for Michigan Travel Ideas, takes a visit to Ann Arbor, home to the bustling University of Michigan campus. Upscale shops, old-fashioned bookstores, restaurants, brewpubs and galleries make this college town a must-visit for everyone.
My self-guided tour begins in the heart of the State Street district, linking downtown with the University of Michigan campus. I pass half a dozen coffee and ice cream shops on my way to Nickels Arcade, which offers high-end shopping amid the surrounding college paraphernalia. The two-story, block-long corridor, fashioned after Paris’ elegant glass-roofed shopping arcades, houses boutiques. One of my faves, the Caravan Shop specializes in imported gifts, including Russian matryoshka dolls and German nutcrackers.
Six blocks west (on William or Liberty streets), visitors explore the Main Street shopping district, with not only three brewpubs but also at least four bookstores, galleries and gift shops.
Traverse City and the region along the wide blue waters of Grand Traverse Bay seem to inspire more than their share of everything—art, flavor, reflective moments and thrills of discovery. Editor Barbara Morrow writes about some of her finds in Traverse City, as part of a girls-only getaway for the 2011 issue of Michigan Travel Ideas.
The bubble-gum pink sheath squeals “special,” even surrounded by dozens of other dresses, bags, scarves, and other irresistible accessories in Posh, one of the specialty shops and galleries along Traverse City’s Front Street. Joan and I spot it at the same time. It’s perfect! Not for us, of course, but for her college-age daughter. Even better, it’s $24.
Claudia Capos, a contributing writer for Michigan Travel Ideas, explores Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria along the banks of the Cass River. Settled by German immigrants in 1845, Frankenmuth holds on to some of the most appealing features of its heritage, including Bavarian-themed shops, inns, restaurants, breweries, as well as a few newcomers.
It’s only midmorning in Frankenmuth, but this Bavarian-theme town (86 miles northwest of Detroit) already reverberates with music and merriment. A spirited band cranks out polkas in the Fischer Platz by the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, and every hour, the 35-bell carillon inside the Inn’s glockenspiel tower plays upbeat German melodies. I try to convince my husband to join in, as a few couples clap and swing their partners to the music.