Located on the Grand Traverse Bay near Lake Michigan, Traverse City, Mich., provides more than just water activities. Fine dining restaurants, spa treatments, hotels for every budget, and wine tours are just some of the activities a girls’ getaway trip can include.
Resort and Beach Accommodations
The Traverse City area offers more than 5,000 guest rooms, including bed and breakfasts, full-service resorts and vacation rentals – some within walking distance to shops and restaurants. For a girlfriends’ getaway, consider a hotel right on the beach that provides striking views and the optimal location for sunbathing or swimming. We stayed at the Grand Beach Resort, located on Grand Traverse Bay. Our ground-floor room had a private patio perfect for watching and listening to the waves crash, and was steps from the sandy beach. Complimentary high-speed wireless Internet and an in-room fridge and microwave made it easy to check email and stay hydrated without having to stray far from the sandy shores.
Traverse City a Foodie Town
Traverse City offers a number of dining choices, from bistros and taverns to gourmet “slow food” restaurants. Trattoria Stella (pictured, right) offers a different menu each day, with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and an extensive wine list created by owner and sommelier Amanda Danielson. The restaurant is located in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a century-old campus that offers several restaurants, shops and galleries in a very walkable setting.
For a quick bite, visit Bubba’s Restaurant and Bar on East Front Street for burgers and Tex-Mex, or Don’s Drive In near the East Bay for burgers and shakes (my family loved the fresh strawberry shakes) in a fun, 50s diner setting.
Elements Spa at Great Wolf Lodge resort provides massages, manicures and pedicures, facials, and waxing. The Radiant Skin Facial is a favorite for moms (including this one), as it includes not only a skin-smoothing facial treatment, but a scalp, shoulder, and foot massage. With several treatment rooms, the spa can host girls’ getaway parties, as well as birthdays and other special occasions.
The hotel is also home to Scooops, a kids’ spa specializing in treatments for kids ages 4-12. Treatments are offered in three ice-cream-themed flavors: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. For mother-daughter treatments, the Scoops services are also available in Elements.
Wine Tastings on the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas
No trip to Traverse City is complete without a drive up and down the peninsulas – and a stop at a vineyard or two. As Cherry Capitol of the World, the area offers a number of cherry wines, as well as dessert wines, ports, and ice wines. Visit Chateau Grand Traverse and try one of their six cherry wines, including a cherry sangria, or the cranberry Riesling.
My husband and I always make a point of visiting Chateau Chantal (left), where you can sample their wines and purchase a glass or a bottle – along with cheeses they’ve selected to pair with their wines – and sit and enjoy sweeping views of the bay or the orchard. The vineyard also offers cooking classes, tapas tours, and has an on-site bed and breakfast with 11 units.
Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary stay at Grand Beach Resort Hotel and a spa treatment at Great Wolf Lodge.