Monday, August 20, 2007

Traverse City

Just returned from a wonderful week of vacation in Traverse City, MI. We stayed in this place, which was really nice (the picture is a sunrise taken from the back porch). We found through some creative Web searching for "last minute vacation deals. Traverse City is a cool place. Michael Moore has a home up there. It's about four hourse northwest of Ann Arbor, right on the western side of the state, on Lake Michigan. It has been developed rather nicely as a vacation spot. It kind of kicks Erie's ass unfortunately, because of the tremendous amount of waterfront accessibility. Plus the people are really friendly, and downtown is set up to be accessible to tourists, with cars yielding for pedestrians and all that. Plus, the waterfron has tons of resorts built up around it. We stayed in a cottage just outside of town. Moore has a film festival there, and there is a culteral bent to the downtown, but there is still plenty of family and more touristy things to do also.

One of best things we did was visit this place called the Sleeping Bear Dunes:




Basically, it's miles of these several hundred-foot high sand dunes that you climb, look at some great views (photo on left), play around on (photo 2) and then run down (that's me and my daughter in the middle of the third photo). The sand is really soft
with no big stones to worry about. It's hard work getting to the top, but very soothing on your feet. You can roll around or lay down and relax on the sand. Then you can fly down the hills, which are pretty steep, but if you fall, it's a very soft landing. The place has almost a holy feel to it-as these giant dunes, left behind by the glaciers, are quite remarkable.
That's about it for now.
Cheers.
Ralph



2 comments:

DocTorDee said...

Nice travelogue. Thanks for sharing.

Do they have any good beer up there?

Doc

Ralph said...

Doc:

There were a couple of local brewhouses that apparently were serving their own stuff on tap. Not quite the family atmosphere we were looking for and I couldn't find much local stuff in the stores-although there were a ton of stores selling beer, wine, and spirits, even designated "party stores" that also sold lottery tickets and jerky, which is apparently is a bit of a staple up that way. Also, as I mentioned, the people selling this stuff were extremely friendly. Maggie described entering a store to buy something as falling into a "black hole," as you couldn't get out of there without a "where ya' from?" "what are ya' doing up here?" series of quesitons.

The place just has a real solid, tourist infrastructure in place. I guess I'm getting back to that, as I reflect on the editorial that ran in today's time, touting the great "job" benefits associated with the horse track. I hope these are really long-term gains, and that we can build up this same sort of tourist-friendly attitude and infrastructure in Erie.

One thing that Traverse City had was a very accessible Visitor's Center, that was packed on a mid-Friday morning, with people getting information about the area. I don't know that Erie has such a thing, and if they do, it's sure not very well publicized, although I did read that the state was thinking of cutting our tourism bureau's (or something like that)budget by $10,000, which can't be good I wouldn't think...