1. Music House Museum: Hear the sweet sounds of decades past through a unique collection of antique automated instruments. View elaborate organs and music boxes, then bring yourself back to present day with a live concert. (231-938-9300, musichouse.org)
2. National Cherry Festival: An entire week of festivities all in the name of a little red fruit? You bet. The annual T.C. celebration features parades, carnivals, concerts and plenty of cherry fare. (231-947-4230, cherryfestival.org)
3. Old Mission Lighthouse Park Beach: Spread your towel in the shadow of a historic lighthouse (tip of Old Mission Peninsula off M-37, 231-223-7322). Afterward, stop into the Old Mission General Store (18250 Mission Rd., 231-223-4310) for ice cream. The century-old establishment boasts it was the first store between Ft. Wayne, Indiana and the Straits of Mackinac.
4. Wine country: The temperate climate on Old Mission Peninsula makes it perfect for grape growing — check out the fine award-winning wineries on the trail (wineriesofoldmission.com).
5. Sand volleyball courts: A little sand in the shorts never hurt anyone, especially if acquired during a great game of beach volleyball. Gather your pals and hit the courts between Grandview Parkway and West Bay. (231-922-4910)
6. South Island Nature Preserve: Put in your watercraft at Crescent Shores boat launch on Long Lake and paddle to this 14-acre island for a hike along a marked nature trail. For directions to this and other Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy preserves, visit gtrlc.org.
7. Antique shopping: Treasure hunting is an everyday adventure in Traverse City, where antique shops offer rare and whimsical finds. Scour stores from the bay front to downtown; you’re sure to unearth a gem or two along the way.
8. Traverse City Farmers Market: Juicy blueberries, buttery squash, dewy bunches of basil, fresh pesto bread — and that’s just the first farmer’s table. Held Saturday and Wednesday mornings in the parking lot between Union and Cass Streets. (231-922-2090)
9. VASA Pathway: Mountain bike or cross-country ski along one of the area’s most scenic bike trails, ranging in intensity from mild to steep terrain. Main trailhead located in Acme Township Park on Bartlett Road. (231-941-4300, traversetrails.org)
10. Dennos Museum Center: Peruse a collection of Inuit art, try the hands-on Discovery Gallery or catch a musical performance at the 367-seat Milliken Auditorium. Three exhibition galleries rotate throughout the year (231-995-1055, dennosmuseum.org).
Emily Bingham is assistant editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.[email protected]
Note: This article was first published in April 2006, and was updated for the web February 2008.